HEARTLAND | Nate Adams
Years ago when I worked in Christian magazine publishing, one of my jobs was to help write headlines for our subscription promotions. Almost every Christmas, we would go back to the tried and true headline, “Give the gift that keeps on giving.”
With one act of generosity you could send your gift recipients magazines several times throughout the coming year. It was a gift that allowed people to give over and over and over again.
In the days ahead, I believe that principle of year-round giving is something that we as Illinois Baptists need to apply more and more to the needs of our Illinois mission field. For one thing, those needs are now greater than ever.
As I mentioned in my last column, North American Mission Board funding shifts have necessitated that IBSA absorb full responsibility for our state WMU and Women’s Ministry Director, for other missions positions and initiatives that are not specifically church planting, and for funding that assists local associations. We have also received notice that areas such as collegiate ministry, urban ministry centers, and disaster relief coordination will not be funded by NAMB in future budget years.
With Cooperative Program giving from churches currently about 4% lower than last year, it will be difficult to sustain many of these important ministries unless there is a substantial increase in gifts through the Mission Illinois Offering.
The “season of prayer” and emphasis on Illinois missions has traditionally been in September of each year. Thank you in advance for the gift you may have already given through your church this past month! But here are three additional ways that Illinois Baptists can think, pray and give through the Mission Illinois Offering, throughout the year.
1. Starting in 2015, IBSA will provide Mission Illinois Offering promotional materials starting in January, giving your church the option of promoting and receiving an offering for Illinois missions at any time during the year. This will also allow churches that have an annual missions conference to access videos and other information about Illinois missions at any time during the year.
2. Whether your church receives a formal Mission Illinois Offering or not (about half of IBSA churches do not), individuals can now give directly to the Mission Illinois Offering at any time during the year, though the IBSA website. Simply go to http://www.IBSA.org and choose “Give to MIO” from the Donate menu. This option will be especially helpful to those seeking to make an additional, tax-deductible gift before the end of the year.
3. Through the Baptist Foundation of Illinois, you can set up your own “Family Giving Fund,” sometimes referred to as a donor advised fund. It’s like a savings account for your or your family’s charitable giving. You can place money in the fund with BFI, and decide later the non-profit causes to which you want to disperse those funds.
Perhaps you want to save in order to help with the next disaster relief effort in the state. Or save to send Christmas gifts to students at the Christian Activity Center or the Baptist Children’s Home. Or maybe you want to invest in the statewide ministries of IBSA that I mentioned above, simply by directing your fund to the Mission Illinois Offering. For help setting up a
Family Giving Fund, simply contact Doug Morrow at the Baptist Foundation of Illinois (firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-391-3102).
Year-round giving isn’t for everyone, but if you are one of the Illinois Baptists whose heart God is stirring to give more than once a year, I hope one of these year-round options will help you do just that. Your gift to missions in Illinois is one that keeps on giving, even into eternity.
Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association.