Wednesday Night Missions Offering
By David Crowe
I remember as a young pastor how much I enjoyed going to the National Association every year.
I looked forward to the fellowship with other Free Will Baptist families and opportunities to spend some time with my heroes. I always enjoyed the music because it stirred something inside me to hear several thousand Free Will Baptists lifting their voices together in praise and worship. I enjoyed the messages because I always got something from them I could use in my ministry and church.
I enjoyed the men who served in denominational positions, and I talked with them and listened to their wisdom and encouragement. I realized they were sincere and humble servants of the Lord. I enjoyed every aspect of the National Association (except maybe a few business sessions), but of all the things I experienced as a young pastor, the part I enjoyed most and anticipated most every year was the Wednesday night missions service.
I sat in humble admiration and jubilation as missionaries, both home and international, walked across the stage with their families and allowed us the wonderful privilege to admire and applaud them. It always moved me to experience that service, and it always motivated me to give and then give more to missionaries at home and around the world. It gave my wife Kathey and me a unique opportunity to show our love and support for families who had answered God’s call to plant churches and preach the gospel to the ends of the earth.
I remember the anticipation building as the offering was received and then counted immediately during the service so an announcement could be made at the end of the service to let us know how much was received in that special offering. I remember youth groups from various churches across the denomination that worked to raise money all year and presented a substantial check the night of the offering. I remember men’s and women’s groups from churches of all sizes, small to large, presented checks on that night.
I also remember how Kathey and I would begin praying months ahead of the meeting, asking God what He would have us give in the offering. We always came prepared to give. I sometimes wondered if the amount we gave each year made any difference in missions. I finally realized that while our offering probably didn’t make much difference by itself, when it was combined with what every other Free Will Baptist had given, it could and did make a difference here and around the world.
Over the last several years, I have watched the amount of the Wednesday night missions offering decline as our attention has been diverted to many other things. I know the economy has been up and down. I know it costs more to live than it once did. I also know it costs more to attend the National Association these days, leading not only to a decline in the offering, but also to a decline in attendance. In spite of all these things, I still believe God can move upon our hearts and provide the means to give as never before. Kathey and I still pray and ask God what He would have us give each year, and each year we want to give more than we ever have before.
I’m asking you as an individual, a family, an organization, or a church, to pray and ask God what He wants you to give. Then, come to Louisville, Kentucky, prepared to give more than you ever have before. We are currently developing ideas that will make it easier to give, such as texting the amount of your offering.
Will you join Kathey and me in that prayer and join with the staff and church planters at North American Ministries along with Clint and Lynette Morgan and the staff and missionaries of International Missions? Let’s pray, listen, respond, give…and then see what God will do.
About the Writer: Dr. H. David Crowe is director of North American Ministries. Learn more about the work of Free Will Baptist church planters: www.fwbnam.com. Need more information about the National Association? Visit www.nafwb.org.