The Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering and Week of Prayer officially kicks off this Sunday, September 12 and concludes on Sunday, September 19. A wide variety of resources are available to assist churches in promoting the Week of Prayer, the offering and the many ministries supported through the Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering. This is an exciting time of year as Arkansas Baptists set their focus on all that God is doing around the state.
This year’s theme for the Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering and Week of Prayer is “IGNITE”. The focus verse is found in Acts 13:49, which says, “And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.” God’s word began to spread like wildfire, even in the midst of opposition and persecution, as the Gospel was proclaimed to the Gentiles. We can take encouragement from this passage and know that even in the midst of current struggles, God’s word continues to spread as His people are faithful to meet needs and proclaim the Gospel to those who need to hear.
With over 53% of the state unclaimed by any church, and hundreds of thousands lost without Jesus, the task seems almost impossible. There is not a single person nor church that can reach everyone. Arkansas Baptists, however, have come to understand that together they truly can do more. One person can make a huge difference, especially when they combine their resources with thousands of others around the state.
Cooperative mission efforts among Arkansas Baptists were set in motion over 95 years ago through the efforts of one woman whose passion for missions helped ignite a fire that continues to burn almost a century later.
Dixie Jackson was a beautiful example of living the Gospel. Access to formal biblical training was limited in the town of Dardanelle, Arkansas, where Dixie Jackson and her husband James lived and raised their family. But she was passionate to learn and wasted no opportunity to study Scripture on her own. For Dixie Jackson, living the Gospel meant firmly grounding herself in the Word of God as she raised eight children and served in her church. In 1914, two years after the death of her husband, Dixie Jackson accepted a full-time position with the Arkansas chapter of the Women’s Missionary Union (WMU). She passionately applied herself to the work, but her greatest fulfillment came from traveling the state, training women, and spreading the word about Arkansas Baptist mission efforts.
Dixie Jackson’s passion for missions led her to enlist the help of the state WMU president to establish a Week of Prayer for Arkansas state missions. Held in 1926, this first Week of Prayer was so successful that it was repeated the next year. Before Dixie Jackson passed away from an illness in early 1929, she had the privilege of seeing an offering added to the third annual Week of Prayer, with more than $1,000 being collected to aid mission projects statewide.
Dixie Jackson’s investment in Arkansas Baptist women and missions ignited a fire that has continued to burn through the years. In 1935, the annual offering was named the Dixie Jackson Offering for State Missions in memory of this incredible woman.
Dixie Jackson could have never imagined the incredible impact that she would have on missions in Arkansas. Her desire was to be used by God to involve others in mission work across the state through praying, giving and going. She was just one person facing what seemed to be an impossible task, and yet she stepped out in faith, trusting that God would do what only He could do.
95 years later, Arkansas Baptists continue the work begun by Dixie Jackson, ignited by their passion for meeting needs and reaching the lost. That first Week of Prayer has become an annual event known as the Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering and Week of Prayer. A variety of resources have been provided to assist churches in promoting state missions. The initial offering of $1000 has grown to over $1.8 million in 2019. Even in the middle of a pandemic in 2020, when many churches could not meet in person, Arkansas Baptists continued their faithful giving to the tune of almost $1.6 million. This, in spite of the fact that 50,000 fewer offering envelopes were handed out that year.
God has blessed the efforts of so many faithful Arkansas Baptists as He has continued to move and to work. 2020 saw 21 inmates complete their second year of seminary training. Hundreds of college students were impacted by the work of BCM ministries resulting in 114 salvation decisions. Community missions helped churches focus on local ministries and evangelistic efforts with 284 salvations reported. In the last year as well, 500 babies have been saved from abortion through the work of local pregnancy care centers. Church planting also continued as 8 new churches were planted resulting in 119 baptisms. In addition, Disaster Relief volunteers continued to minister to disaster survivors which led to 261 salvations.
The goal for the 2021 Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering is $1.85 million. Be sure to check out all available resources at www.absc.org/dj. Here you will find everything from videos and posters to picture sets, prayer guides and lesson plans. New for 2021 you will also find a link which allows individuals to give online. Churches will still receive credit for offerings given through the website. Join with thousands of others across the state and pray that God would ignite a passion for praying, giving and going so that His word might continue to spread, and lives would continue to be changed through the power of the Gospel.