LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – From giving $883 as a church for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering in 2011 to giving $18,684 for the 2020 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, Hebron Baptist Church (HBC) of Little Rock has grown in financial generosity over the years.
“We aren’t a big church – we average around 41 people in our worship service. Our congregation is mostly retired people who don’t have a set income, but they love giving for missions. Here are people being involved in doing the work of God by giving.”
HBC’s pastor, Ed Hinkson, formerly worked for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, as well as the Pulaski Baptist Association. In these roles, he saw how generosity and faithful giving for missions impacted churches. Hinkson said, “I have watched churches get into financial distress and the first thing they cut is missions giving. That’s like cutting the heart out of a person.” Hinkson shared that not giving isn’t always a financial problem, but a spiritual problem. “Just trust the Lord. If we just trust the Lord to take care of us and to bless us, He will. We don’t give in order to receive back, but God is faithful to take care of His people.”
As for HBC, he described the congregation as committed and faithful. “They have an excitement from the right perspective: they are excited about what God is doing,” Hinkson said. He even believes that this excitement has led his smaller congregation to be generous in every area.
“When our church gives, it can only be explained by saying ‘only God could do that.’ From a financial point of view, there is no reason this small group of retired people should give that much, but it’s happening. There is a sweet excitement about doing missions and being generous amongst our people. We always use a lot more than what is budgeted because we respond to needs from across the entire world. We don’t state at the beginning of the year how the missions money will be spent, but we look back at the end of the year and see where that money was given,” Hinkson said.
Hinkson knows there are several other small churches, and he is concerned that many of them might be afraid to try new things. “Just take a small step and try giving. We haven’t grown much numerically, but we have grown financially. Just take a step of faith and see how God will move,” Hinkson shared. For their church, they decided to give consistently throughout the year for special offerings instead of giving in just one season for special offerings. “We challenged our church at the beginning of 2014 to set aside each paycheck – so, we collect throughout the year instead of just in this season,” Hinkson said.
At HBC, they do not take up any special offerings other than the Annie Armstrong, Lottie Moon, and Dixie Jackson offerings. However, they give to various people, ministries and needs that come up. One Arkansas Baptist ministry that they consistently give to is Camp Siloam. Just this week, they sent a check for $50,000 to Camp Siloam. Hinkson said, “Since we don’t really have children or youth at our church, we decided that Camp Siloam would be like our youth program and Jason Wilkie would be our youth minister – so we give to them frequently.” Hinkson also shared, “We have been able to (as of this month) give $108,000 to help support the ministry at Camp Siloam. We set aside money each month in order to do that. Our total missions giving for 2020 (counting the $50,000 we sent this week) was $95,170.23. We gave $102,438.11 to missions in 2018, which included $50,000 for Camp Siloam.”
Julia Ketner has been instrumental in growing HBC’s passion for missions. She joined HBC in June of 2016, and became their church’s missions ministry director. Hinkson said, “She has spearheaded our missions involvement and has stretched our people further than they thought they could be stretched.” One way Ketner has served has been through packing the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. “Our church started doing shoeboxes and she has become the central person in putting together shoebox material. Many people even give her their money and allow her to use that money to purchase materials for the Christmas shoeboxes. She makes sure that the recipients of these boxes get great things that they need.” In 2011, HBC did zero Christmas shoeboxes, but in 2020, HBC did 537 Christmas shoeboxes.
HBC Giving Growth:
- Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions: From $883 in 2011 to $18,684 in 2020 (last 3 years had an average of $17,998.89).
- Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions: From $810.25 in 2011 to $4,145 in 2020.
- Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering: From $775 in 2011 to $4,847.11 in 2020.Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes: from 0 boxes in 2011 to 537 boxes in 2020 (they collected items each month).