A pastor recently wrote to IBSA Executive Director Nate Adams to ask a couple of questions about the state missions offering. The questions were excellent and so were the answers. We think they may help you as you explain to your congregation why we support the Mission Illinois Offering.
1. If you were here at our church during the Mission Illinois Offering season, what one thing would you tell us about MIO?
100% of the Mission Illinois Offering stays here in Illinois to focus on the evangelistic strengthening and starting of churches here in our home state. Right now there are around 80 new churches in Illinois in some stage of getting started, with about 25 new churches being planted each year.
Your Mission Illinois Offering allows us to nurture and help establish these churches, along with more than 750 existing churches whose leaders our staff helps train and strengthen each year, in areas ranging from evangelism and discipleship to Vacation Bible School, Worship & Technology, children’s ministry, and leadership development.
We also help churches navigate transitions and challenges, such as finding new pastors and addressing legal and financial challenges. As a result, together those churches baptize almost 5,000 new believers each year.
2. What makes the Mission Illinois Offering unique from Cooperative Program giving to the Illinois Baptist State Association? What special thing does it do?
The Mission Illinois Offering really supports all that we do as cooperating Illinois Baptists, as does the Cooperative Program. But with funding from the North American Mission Board shifting almost exclusively to church planting in the major cities, the MIO enables us to continue supporting ministries in Illinois that NAMB has moved away from.
For example, the Christian Activity Center in East St. Louis, collegiate ministry on 30 college campuses in Illinois, Women’s Ministry and Missions, including Illinois WMU, and Missions Mobilization staff that plan and assist Illinois Baptists in multiple mission trips and experiences each year.
The Mission Illinois Offering helps us focus on missions and ministries that are unique and important to Illinois Baptists, even if those are not priorities of the national SBC entities.
The Week of Prayer for the Mission Illinois Offering is Sept. 13-20. Resources are available at IBSA.org/mio.