Single-day missions offering collects $1 million for great commission cause
First Baptist Church in Rockwall, Texas, raises $1 million for missions.
January 2nd, 2017 / By: JC Davies / comments
ROCKWALL—Twenty-seven years ago, Steve Swofford, pastor of First Baptist Church Rockwall, came to the church with a vision—a vision for what the church could do to support missions around the globe.
Last month, at the church’s annual missions offering day, that dream was realized in a single Sunday, when church members gave more than $1 million dollars.
“I had prayed secretly in my heart that someday before I retired we might get a million dollars, but I never dreamed it would be this year,” Swofford said.
For his entire tenure at FBC Rockwall, Swofford has designated the first Sunday of each December as a day for the church to give generously toward the goal of reaching the ends of the earth with the gospel, and each year, generosity has increased, he said.
“We’re charged to win the world, and it’s an expensive venture to try to win the world,” he said.
Every November, Swofford preaches on the importance of missions and invites missionaries to come share their stories, in hopes of reminding the local body of its importance in great commission endeavors. Over the years, the pastor said he’s seen the congregation take hold of the charge.
“They have caught the vision. It is now important to them, too. It’s not just my deal. It’s their deal now. That’s what makes all the difference.”
All of the donations collected from the annual missions day offering are divided between state, national and international missions, with 10 percent going to the SBTC, 20 percent to NAMB’s Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, and 70 percent to IMB’s Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.
“We start in our own backyard, but we can’t stay there,” Swofford said of supporting missions at every level. “We’ve got to go all the way around the world.”
Prior to pastoring FBC Rockwall, Swofford was pastor at two other churches, one with about 100 members, the other with about 400. He has led an annual world missions offering day at all three churches and wants to encourage pastors with congregations of every size that the type of generosity seen at FBC Rockwall can be achieved anywhere, and that making missions a financial priority is never a hindrance.
“Every time I’ve ever done it over these 40 years, the regular offering was over budget, and a lot of times twice the normal. … I really strongly believe that God blesses the church that tries to bless the world.”