Antique globe spurs Southeastern to dig deep for Lottie1/15/2013
By Laura Fielding
RICHMOND, Va.—It all started with an antique, globe-shaped bank.
This tattered, grapefruit-sized trinket helped spur the students, faculty and staff of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) in Wake Forest, N.C., to give generously to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) for International Missions.
In early December, the staff of the Drummond Center for the Great Commission Studies needed an ornament for the staff Christmas tree competition, and the globe bank was chosen. Kristine Wager, administrative assistant for the associate directors of international and North American missions and an SEBTS student, added a small sign to the bank saying “Lottie Moon Christmas Offering” with an arrow pointing toward the coin slot.
After the competition, Greg Mathias, owner of the globe and the department’s associate director of international missions, asked Wager to retrieve his collectible. Wager decided to keep it on her desk and asked anyone who came by if they had spare change to give to Lottie Moon — “and people just did,” she said. One professor even brought his “change jar” from home — full to the brim with coins — to give to LMCO.
But Wager didn’t stop there. As a former journeyman — a short-term missionary with the International Mission Board — in East Asia from 2008-2010, she knew what a “blessing” the LMCO is for the nearly 5,000 Southern Baptist missionaries. Every penny of the offering is used to support them and their ministries, so they can concentrate on being Christ’s heart, hands and voice to those who have not yet heard the Gospel message.
The day before a chapel service where gifts to the Lottie Moon offering would be collected, Wager carried the globe to all of the seminary’s offices, asking staff for spare change. Give they did — change, dollars and checks — and if they could not give then, many made notes to remind them to give at the chapel service the next day.
“By the time I got back to my office, the globe was so heavy it was a relief to put down!” Wager said with a laugh.
Her rallying paid off — literally. SEBTS gave $3,556 this year to the Lottie Moon offering, a 36 percent increase from their 2011 total of $2,620.44.
“Where we are generous and where we give of ourselves and of our things, that really reveals where our hearts are,” Wager said. “I think that’s super exciting that our hearts are 36 percent more geared toward missions than they were last year.”
But Wager doesn’t take credit for this increase — she knows that her department and the entire seminary are devoted to the Great Commission.
“It wasn’t just me — my personal passion — but really the community of passion that is cultivated at Southeastern. … I think that’s just an attitude filtering down from Dr. Akin, how he’s so committed to the Great Commission and to missions in general, it really does go into everything that we do. … [His attitude] filters down to our faculty members, to our staff and to our students, as well.”
The seminary has taken up an offering for missions every year since Danny Akin became president of the institution in 2004.
“It’s hard not to be excited about missions at Southeastern,” Wager said.
Laura Fielding is a writer for IMB.