ALBUQUERQUE (BNM) – The Mission New Mexico offering, collected each fall, supports specific New Mexico ministries throughout the year with generous gifts given by New Mexico Baptist churches. All contributions stay in New Mexico to fund critical mission and ministry work not funded through the Cooperative Program. Each gift to the offering makes a difference.
Eight ministries received allocations from the 2018 offering. They were church planting, hunger funds, Inlow Baptist Camp, Sivells Baptist Camp, international collegiate missions, New Mexico collegiate missions, the Ministers and Family Retreat and the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home’s Adoption Services.
The State Missions Offering began in 1912. The goal that year was $7,000 to fund the entire state mission board. In 1925, the Cooperative Program launched. Since that time, New Mexico churches have given over eight million dollars just through the state missions offering for work in New Mexico. 2018’s goal was $375,000. Baptist Convention of New Mexico churches sacrificially and generously gave $323,743. Over the past ten years, churches have averaged giving 93 percent of the goal. The current church participation rate is at 172 out of 336 churches. The average church gives $1,546 through the offering for New Mexico causes.
Listed below are a few examples of the offering’s impact in 2018:
Hunger Ministry: The offering supported 23 hunger ministries with $74,428. Those funds provided 303,023 meals for hungry people, facilitated 154,132 Gospel encounters and resulted in 144 professions of faith.
BCNM Camps: Sivells Baptist Camp and Inlow Baptist Camp hosted 13 summer camps that drew 1,679 campers. From those campers, 77 people made professions of faith and nine made decisions for vocational ministry.
Collegiate Ministries: Collegiate teams served seven New Mexico churches, traveling 2,000 miles over seven weeks. Through the teams’ ministries, 200 children attended VBS events and ten children received salvation. One member of the collegiate New Mexico Team who traveled the state during the summer months gave the following testimony of his experience. Caleb said, “Each week, my team and I primarily worked in Vacation Bible Schools for kindergarten through sixth grade. Also, we facilitated several youth activities. Looking back over the summer, we met and interacted with roughly 230 children over those seven weeks. One of my favorite stories from our summer mission occurred during the team’s third week at Bethel Baptist Church, Roswell. That week, we were using the LifeWay VBS curriculum ‘Game On!’ We averaged 30 children in attendance. One sixth-grader did not like the ‘Game On!’ motions with the songs. So, I took him aside each day and got to know him. He was interesting, and I was able to build a relationship with him. I felt like the Holy Spirit wanted me to challenge him in the area of salvation. So, I did. He had heard the Gospel many times before but had refused to place his faith in Jesus. Because I was intentional about building a friendship with him, he told me, ‘Caleb, I want to become a Christian.’”
The Albuquerque Deaf Baptist Church received Mission New Mexico funds when it was a new church plant seven years ago. According to Bobby J. Graff, pastor of the church, the plant started with five deaf people, grew to 10 people and then to 15. It has added more people every year. Now, approximately 30-40 attend its services every Sunday. Graff said that because of the church plant, he has been able to come to New Mexico and learn what serves the deaf in this state. Graff said, “Your support of Mission New Mexico is so vital. It is very costly to plant a church. Please continue to support Mission New Mexico and church planting in New Mexico.”
The Ministers and Family Retreat takes place every third year and receives its funding from the Mission New Mexico Offering. Kyle Bueermann, pastor of First Baptist Church, Alamogordo said, “Ministry is hard on pastors and their families. The Ministers and Family Retreat provides an amazing time of rest, relaxation and renewal. It allows a time to connect with pastors and families across the state and lets us know we are not alone in the tough work of taking the Gospel to the people of the state. The retreat is something our family looks forward to each year. Our family is grateful for your gifts to the Mission New Mexico Offering, which makes this retreat possible.”
The rural city of Vaughn is known as New Mexico’s crossroads. Three major highways pass through the small town, along with two major railroads. The community of 400 people also experiences many travelers passing through, and some need help. First Baptist Church, Vaughn, supplies the food pantry for the area, with financial assistance from the Mission New Mexico Offering.
Besides travelers, many residents are retired or on low income and food stamps. Sometimes, they do not have enough money to pay for their monthly needs. They come to the food pantry to supplement their food for the month. Pastor Roy Denton said, “We encourage families to schedule a time to come on the two days a week that the pantry is open.” Denton continued, “But if we are home, the food pantry will open to supply the need.” “Without Mission New Mexico, we couldn’t do what we do. Because of the offering, we can do three times more than what we could do on our own.”
Access the 2018 Mission New Mexico offering annual report by clicking here, visiting tiny.cc/MNMReport, or viewing the PDF accompanying this story.