When Sylvania Baptist Church in Sylvania, Alabama committed to increase its Myers-Mallory State Missions Offering this September, they decided to do it with a pack of crayons and a poster.
Dale Starling, the pastor’s wife and a member of the church’s Women on Mission, was looking for something different to promote the offering. They tried other approaches in the past but received little enthusiasm.
Sylvania is a small rural church in the corner of northeast Alabama with an average worship attendance of 130. David Starling has served as bivocational pastor for the last 22 years. The church is a family and participates in many missions opportunities in the community and state.
“In the past, Sylvania took up an offering for the Myers-Mallory ministry offering and took in less than $1,000,” the pastor said. “This is the first year we’ve used a visual aid to promote the offering.”
Being creative, Dale was asked to come up with an informative and attractive idea for all ages.
“That’s when a light bulb came on,” she recalled. “Why not make a large poster of an Alabama map including all 67 counties left blank? Each of the 67 counties represent $25 of giving.
“We left the poster up for about four weeks and soon all 67 counties were colored in. Sylvania Baptist was able to reach our goal of $1,675 for missions.”
The project brought all ages in the church together. Children were especially involved, reminding their parents to give so they could color a county. As the counties were colored in, excitement grew throughout the congregation.
A young mother, new in her faith, approached Starling one Sunday and said, “The Lord has told me I need to finish the poster today.”
A young boy said, “My mom gave some money. Now can I color in a blank county?”
Visual aid projects have been known to increase spiritual growth in a congregation, and Sylvania Baptist is now thinking about how to promote the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering this December. It may include a world map on a wooden board with Christmas lights. As smaller goals are reached a light will come on to represent that amount; when the total goal is achieved, all the lights will be on.
When children become involved early, research shows they are more likely to engage in missions as adults. Recently, children and youth at the church helped hand out food at a local food bank to those in need.
The Myers-Mallory State Missions Offering
Named after two spiritual giants, the Myers-Mallory State Missions Offering honors Martha Myers and Kathleen Mallory, two women who lived a life of service and prayer that showed sacrificial giving to proclaim the gospel. Their lives were a legacy of life well lived for the Great Commission.
Started in 2016, the offering supports and compliments vital giving through the Cooperative Program and helps support:
- Alabama Woman’s Missionary Union
- Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief
- Church planting
- Partnership missions
- Church revitalization
The Great Commission
After His crucifixion, Jesus had told the 11 disciples to meet Him on a mountain near Galilee. Although they worshiped Him, some still doubted. Then Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:18–20).