SBC DIGEST: Mission:Dignity gifts matched; Lifeway online Christmas store

Mission:Dignity gifts to be matched up to $500,000 on #GivingTuesday 

By Susan Ervien and Aaron Meraz/GuideStone

DALLAS (BP) – Gifts to Mission:Dignity made on Nov. 30, 2021, #GivingTuesday, will be doubled up to $500,000 because of matching funds in that amount given by generous donors.

Following the typical Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping days, #GivingTuesday is a refreshing change of pace at the start of the Christmas shopping season. Around the world, like-minded individuals join together on this special day to give to causes important to them. With this year’s complications of supply chain shortages and shipping delays, #GivingTuesday is an opportunity to give toward something that matters immediately.

As always, 100 percent of those gifts will go directly to retired Southern Baptist workers, ministers and widows near the poverty line – as an established endowment covers administrative and overhead costs for the ministry.

“Each year, thousands of donors join with GuideStone to provide dignity through Mission:Dignity,” GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins said. “So many of these dear servants served in out-of-the-way places where their churches were unable to pay well, let alone set aside money for retirement. Through Mission:Dignity, Southern Baptists are able to support these retired pastors, their wives, and in most cases, their widows, in their retirement years.”

Annually more than 2,500 individuals receive a monthly measure of comfort, security and dignity in their retirement years thanks to generous financial giving.

“Mission:Dignity is part of the very DNA of GuideStone,” said Hance Dilbeck, president-elect of GuideStone. “For more than a century, we’ve been on a mission to ensure no retirement-age pastor and his wife or widow must live in poverty. We cannot do it without the faithful support of Southern Baptist churches, Sunday school classes and individuals.”

Mission:Dignity receives no Cooperative Program gifts; 100 percent of the funding for the ministry is provided through gifts directly through the ministry. Additionally, all author royalties and proceeds from Hawkins’ Code series of books benefit Mission:Dignity.

Mission:Dignity’s support can mean being able to stay in the familiar surroundings of their own home. For others, it covers the cost of groceries, utilities, prescriptions and other necessities. But for all of them, it’s an expression of the love and care of their Southern Baptist family.

“The gifts from Mission:Dignity to these retired servants is really an honorarium to those who served so well,” Hawkins said. “Paul told Timothy, ‘Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.’ It is our sincere privilege to serve as the Lord’s hand extended to these retired Southern Baptist soldiers of the cross.

“We would encourage anyone interested in giving this year to consider multiplying the effectiveness of their gift by giving it on Tuesday, Nov. 30.”

To share a gift or for more information, visit GuideStone.org/GivingTuesday.


Lifeway launches online Christmas store

By Carol Pipes/Lifeway

NASHVILLE (BP) – Lifeway has launched its 2021 online Christmas store, lifeway.com/Christmas, to help churches and families experience and celebrate the joy of the Christmas season.

The site features resources for Advent, church supplies, gifts, Bibles, books and Bible studies, Christmas cards, and more. Customers will also find Christmas gift guides for kids and teens, women, and men.

“As we approach the holiday season, we know churches, families and individuals are looking for meaningful gifts and inspirational ways to celebrate the birth of Jesus,” said Lifeway CEO Ben Mandrell. “Our team has created family Advent guides, devotionals and Bible studies to help you walk through the Advent season and focus on the true meaning of Christmas.”

This year, at a time when families are distracted by activities, entertainment, and shopping, Lifeway is making it easier to bring yours together with the “Family Advent Devotional” by Matt and Lauren Chandler. Through 25 brief daily devotions and a weekly video, you can keep your family focused on Christ this season.

“Advent is not the crazy, chaotic Christmas you’re used to,” said Matt Chandler. “It’s rather a slowing down of your heart and mind to think about the coming of Jesus and its repercussions for your life.”

After a prolonged pandemic season of loss and heightened anxiety, we all need to be reminded we can find hope even in difficult circumstances. “Our Hope Has Come” from the Lifeway Women’s team is a 5-session Bible study that takes a closer look at the Christmas story and explores the hope that Jesus brings.

Author Scott James brings to light the many promises of Christ in his revised and updated devotional, “The Expected One.” These daily devotions, which can be used by both families and individuals, are timeless and moving reminders of the true gift of Christmas.

Marriage and family coaches, Dr. Josh and Christi Straub, wrote the “25 Days of the Christmas Story” family devotional to help kids and parents celebrate the season of Advent together. Each day’s devotion includes an easy-to-read story, a character trait, and an activity families can do together.

“We wanted to teach our kids the real story of Christmas in a fun way that took the events of Jesus’ birth beyond the pages of a book and into their everyday lives,” Christi Straub said. This devotional will help spark family conversations about the true meaning of Christmas.

“Our prayer,” Mandrell said, “is that you can use these resources to remember and celebrate Jesus’ birth and the hope and joy He offers.”

Visit https://www.lifeway.com/christmas for more information.

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