DALLAS — Giving Tuesday, a global effort to support giving and generosity following shopping-focused days “Black Friday,” “Small Business Saturday” and “Cyber Monday” after Thanksgiving, is an opportunity to support Mission:Dignity, Southern Baptists’ ministry that provides financial assistance for retired Southern Baptist pastors and their widows. Giving Tuesday falls this year on December 2.
The GuideStone ministry, which recently approved special $250 Christmas gift checks for each recipient, also increased its monthly assistance amount by 12%, effective in October 2014. Mission:Dignity accepts gifts of any amount, and every dollar given helps those in need. Nothing is taken out for administrative expenses; an endowment funds the operating expenses of Mission:Dignity.
“We appreciate so much the faithful giving of churches, Sunday school classes, individuals and other groups that help underwrite this ministry,” said John Ambra, director of financial assistance at GuideStone. “This ministry serves as Christ’s hand to so many of these ‘soldiers of the cross,’ allowing them to live in vocational retirement with a much-deserved sense of dignity and well-being.”
Many of Mission:Dignity’s almost 2,000 recipients report that their monthly assistance means the ability to pay an electric bill, buy medicine or groceries, or even the ability to continue to live independently.
“More than 60% of the people we serve are widows — with one in four being a pastor’s widow over age 85,” Ambra said. “The book of James talks about serving orphans and widows as a sign of pure and undefiled religion. So many great ministries exist for orphans; Mission:Dignity is one of the few focused on the widows of pastors.
“We all love the Christmas season,” Ambra continued. “It is more blessed to give than to receive, so after taking advantage of the sales on tinsel and trinkets, we’re asking that our Southern Baptist family prayerfully consider remembering those pastors and their wives and widows who so often served in rural, out-of-the-way places, on Giving Tuesday and any other time the Lord may lead. These families went where the Lord led them, without regard to their salary or benefits. Now, they have reached vocational retirement with financial needs. Mission:Dignity is a way to serve as Christ’s hand extended to these faithful servants of His.”
Gifts to Mission:Dignity are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law and can be made online.