“MILES FOR MISSIONS” | Creative Missions Giving

If you look into the August issue of the Mission Sheets listings of the General Fund offerings, you will note an offering from First Baptist Church, Alexandria KY for $15,849.85.

Let me tell you the story behind that offering. In the beginning of this year, Pastor Ron Duty began corresponding with me about their church’s regrettable decisions concerning their overall financial cutbacks. The economic conditions affecting us all had impacted First Baptist Church, and they were necessarily reducing their ministry budgets across the board. They held off cutting their missions giving as long as they could. But, inevitably, their missions budget suffered as well.

So, they decided to give more creatively. They support several missionaries including BFM missionaries through the General Fund. They committed themselves to designating a special offering every other month to a specific missionary they support with the goal of still raising enough funds in that one special offering to at least match the annual total they had been giving that missionary during a typical whole year.

Their budgeted giving to BFM’s General Fund, though, was $1000.00 per month from their missions budget. So, they knew that matching that total annual giving in one offering would present some unique challenges.

Here’s what they did: Pastor Ron is an avid runner. Last year, he ran a Half Marathon competition in a Cincinnati event, and this year, he decided to go for the full Marathon [for the unitiated, that means 26 miles!].

Many of the participants in the Marathon race raise money through pledges for special personal causes. That’s how the “MILES FOR MISSIONS” project was inspired.

As Pastor Ron tells it, “The plan was simple: to promote the “MILES FOR MISSIONS” among our church members, other Christian friends, and even non-Christian family encouraging them to give a pledge of their own choosing towards “MILES FOR MISSIONS”. They could pledge a set amount or a per-mile amount. We promoted primarily through Facebook and had a signup list at First Baptist for encouraging all to make a pledge of some size.”

Well, Pastor Ron did, indeed, “run with endurance the race” that was set before him – ALL 26.2 miles of it! Six hours after the starting gun, he crossed the finish line – with his 10-year old son, Eli, running the last 100 yards alongside him. When all the personal commitments and per-mile pledges had been received, THE FINAL GIVING WAS $15,849.85! [Pastor Ron confesses he was shooting for $1000-1500 – but, you can’t outgive God!]

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3.20-21

Thank you, Lord!
Thank you, Pastor Ron and First Baptist Church!