Small-town church with heart for missions raises more than $26K for Lottie Moon

The congregation of Fellowship Baptist Church in Witcherville takes seriously the command of the Great Commission to “therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

The Southern Baptist church, located in a town with a population of approximately 165 people, hosts several missions events each year and gives substantially to state, national and international missions. In December, the small-town church set a goal to raise $24,000 for the annual International Mission Board  Lottie Moon Christmas Offering®.

Fellowship Baptist Church Pastor Gary Martin said they surpassed that mark by more than $2,000, raising a total of $26,063 to support worldwide evangelism through the special offering named for famed missionary Lottie Moon. That amount is in addition to the 3% of undesignated receipts given by the church to Lottie Moon throughout the year.

To help raise money for the Lottie Moon offering, Martin said they placed Lottie Moon boxes in every Sunday School room and throughout the church. Some people put a dollar in, and others gave even more. On day one, just from that, Martin said they raised more than $7,000.

The church dedicated the 2023 offering in memory of Martin’s granddaughter, Lottie Rose Cooper.

Martin’s daughter and son-in-law, Tarah and Trevor Cooper, grew up attending Fellowship and are both extremely missions minded. Early in December, Tarah lost the baby while still in the womb. The baby’s name was Lottie Rose Cooper because of their commitment to missions.

One hundred percent of the money given to the Lottie Moon offering goes directly to support the work of overseas missionaries and their mission initiatives in carrying out the Great Commission.

In addition to contributing to the Lottie Moon offering, Martin, who has been pastor at Fellowship Baptist Church for nearly 30 years, said they also push the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and the Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering.

“Whenever the Lord brings people together in a church, He seems very good at linking people of like mind. I have always taken the Great Commission very seriously. … I’ve always had that desire to do missions work and that is because of the Great Commission. It just comes down to the Bible,” Martin said. “Here at Fellowship in Witcherville, we have people who are of like mind. We have taken seriously the ‘go ye into all the whole world.’ We’re just determined we are going to do what we can do.”

Fellowship is always looking for missions opportunities. Martin said they have supported multiple missions trips over the last 25 years, including work in Haiti, Romania and Mexico. The church also does outreach around the holidays and annually hosts a wild game banquet.

The church’s wild game banquet, which they’ve held for the last 15 years, is highly attended, bringing in 350 to 400 attendees each year.

“We do the Gospel real clear, and every year we have people who come to life in Jesus,” Martin said. “It reaches a group of people in Arkansas who may be overlooked. There are a lot of guys that didn’t grow up in church, but they are very outdoor minded, and they loved this thing. I have guys who are not saved who have come to it several years in a row. I expect every year they are the ones that are going to get saved and I hope and pray that they do.”

Additionally, Fellowship Baptist Church annually hosts a sports camp. Last year, they had about 200 enrolled in the sports camp and 30 decisions made for Christ.

“We’ll get involved in whatever is out there. We want to because we are called to it and because we love Jesus, and we want to serve Him. That is the way it is,” Martin said. “We’re just really wanting to do what the Lord has called us to do.”