The International Mission Board will announce the 2013 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions at the convention next month but is "estimating a $3-5 million increase" over the $149.3 million offering for 2012. This would mean the largest Lottie Moon offering in history, something around $153 million. In 2006 and 2007 the LMCO went above $150 million but not since and never above $150.4 million.
While the offering is short of the $175 million goal, the unrealistic goal that was set in 2009 and kept each year since, it is a healthy increase and one that should be celebrated by Southern Baptists who are concerned about sharing the Gospel around the world.
Let's be candid here. There has not been much financial news in Southern Baptist life lately that is positive. A Lottie Moon offering of $153 million, an increase of a few million over the previous year, is not breathtaking (the LMCO increased by over $12 million in 2006 and by almost $21 million in 2003, both pre-economic crisis years) but it is significant. It shows a greater degree of commitment to international missions than to other parts of Southern Baptist life.
With Cooperative Program receipts flat or declining and LMCO receipts increasing only slightly (a $4 million increase over 2012 is about 2.5%) the IMB is looking at different methods of funding international missions. More on that later.