Like many people, I am a sports fan and I especially love college sports. These young men and women are not professionals, and while they do get scholarships, they play for the love of the game. Yes, I know a small number of them will end up in professional sports and make millions of dollars, but the vast majority will not.
I have observed that halftime is one of the most important parts of the college game. Good coaches know how to make adjustments at halftime. Even when the first half of the game has been difficult and when the score is lopsided, good coaches and good teams make halftime adjustments that can change the outcome of the game.
The key word is “adjustments.” Sometimes these adjustments include alignment; sometimes personnel changes are necessary. Sometimes attitude adjustments need to be made. Nonetheless, good teams—winning teams—are able to be nimble enough to make adjustments that give them an opportunity to win.
Jim Collins, in one of the best business and leadership books I have ever read, Good to Great, makes the same point. The difference in good companies and great companies are those who have good leaders who are willing to risk change—adjustments—to move to another level.
So, where am I heading with this? I want to challenge Oklahoma Baptists to give generously and liberally to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, even while 600-800 missionaries are coming home. The adjustments being made today are halftime adjustments and are necessary changes that will prepare Southern Baptists to move forward in reaching the world. Without these adjustments, the International Mission Board would have found itself in epic financial woes with missionaries extended across the globe without adequate support. The adjustments would have been even more dramatic and difficult in the future if changes had not been made now.
These adjustments can be short-term in order to realign the work for a greater thrust into a lost world. We must remember that there are still approximately 3,500 missionaries around the world proclaiming the Gospel, discipling believers, and planting churches. These missionaries need and deserve our support.
Oklahoma Baptists can be a part of the solution. We can step into the locker room for halftime adjustments and come out more committed than ever to pray, send, and go to the ends of the Earth with the hope-filled Gospel of our Savior. We do not need to sit in the stands and wait for the players to take the field for the second half—we are the team!
Sometimes those halftime adjustments require dramatic changes. I am going to ask you, as a team member of SBC missions, to give your greatest Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions that you have ever given. Make a difference for the sake of spreading the Gospel to the ends of the Earth.
Thank you, Oklahoma Baptists, for being team players. Thank you for your generosity in giving through the Cooperative Program and, at this time of the year, to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.