As you know, last year the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (for International Missions) was tens of millions of dollars short of the goal. As a result, many IMB missionaries have been delayed in their deployment while others are having to return home early.

That’s why this year’s LMCO is more important than ever.

As a church, our LMCO goal for 2009 is $20,000. With the economic slump in the US as well as recent offerings which have been lower than usual here at Forest, it’s clearly not going to be easy to reach our goal or the national LMCO goal of $175 million.

For us to reach this goal and keep our missionaries on the field it is going to take every person doing their part and making a special sacrifice. As we were recently reminded from the story of the widow’s mite, “Jesus is not as interested in the size of the gift, as much as He is in the size of the sacrifice.”

This week I was thinking about some creative and nontraditional ways that I (and my family) could give a little extra to the LMCO this year. As you may know my birthday is right around Christmas time and this year I am doing something I’ve never done before. I am…

…sending out a “reverse” birthday invitation to all my family and friends. Below, I’ve provided a copy of my letter for you to read. My hope is that this will spark some creative ideas and ways that you and your family can give a little extra for the sake of the LMCO.

It may seem early to talk about LMCO, but we begin collecting in December which is (believe it or not) just two weeks away. We can’t start planning and thinking too early. Together, let’s be proactive and creative as we work hard to reach our LMCO goal this year.

The Great Commission demands it.
The world neeeds it.
And, above all, our Lord deserves it.

Dear Family & Friends,

Many people believe that it is “bad luck” to tell everyone your birthday wish before (or after) you blow out your birthday cake candles. At the risk of being “unlucky”, I want to share my birthday wish with all of you.

Coming up on December 29, 2009 I will be celebrating my 30th birthday. I’m hoping that this will be my happiest birthday yet..and you can help me do just that. My birthday wish is very simple.

I “wish” that you would take whatever money you might be planning to spend (for a gift, a card, even a stamp, etc.) on me for birthday (and
Christmas, since they are so close together) and instead of giving it to me, give it to this woman I know. Her name is Lottie Moon. (Ok, we’re not giving it to her, but giving it in honor of her.) As you probably know, last year the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO, an offering received at Christmas by Southern Baptists churches for our international missionaries) was unusually short. We’re talking 10’s of millions of dollars short! As a result, many missionaries (some of my own personal friends serving overseas) may possibly have to come home for an indefinite period of time. The thought of that makes me sad. But the thought of them being able to stay makes me happy. So, if I want to have a truly happy birthday I need to do everything I can to keep them on the field. That’s where you come in.

I don’t need any money. They do.

I don’t need any gifts. But billions of people in this world need the gift of Jesus Christ.

You may be thinking, “Tyler, why don’t you just take what people give you and give it to the LMCO yourself?” Good question. There are two reasons.

#1) Not everyone gives me money. As much as I appreciate thoughtful and personal gifts, for this birthday “wish” to come true, the LMCO needs money. (Last time I checked, they wouldn’t take neckties or a brand new pair of shoes.)

#2) If you give it through your own church, it’s tax deductible. (Not many birthday gifts actually benefit you. That’s another reason to make my “wish” come true.)

If you’re not part of an SBC church that gives to the LMCO, here are a few suggestions that I would give.

#1) You can send a check to me (made out to “Forest Baptist Church” with “LMCO” in the memo line) and I can donate it on your behalf…you’ll still get tax credit. #2) Find some other evangelical missions organization and donate the money to them. You can donate online to organizations such as Wycliffe Bible Translators ( or New Tribes Mission (

Please understand, it’s not that I don’t love gifts or cards, it’s just that I love the gospel and our missionaries more. I’m sure you do too. Anyways, that’s my “reverse” birthday invitation. I hope you understand and help make my “wish” come true.

For the sake of His gospel, His glory, and His fame,
Tyler (still 29 for a few more weeks) Scarlett