Boys and Girls Missionary Crusade
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Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge (BGMC) is the missions education emphasis for children in the United States who attend churches affiliated with the General Council of the Assemblies of God. The program provides resources to help teach kids about missions and supports General Council missionaries in their fields of ministry in the United States and around the world. It is the official missions giving program of the General Council's Royal Rangers, Girls Ministries formerly known as Missionettes, and Sunday School programs, as well as Christian primary schools affiliated with the General Council.
In the late 1940s, executives of the Assemblies of God, staff in the Foreign Missions Department, and personnel in the Sunday School Department discussed the development of a missions education program for boys and girls 12 years of age and younger. There currently was a missions program for adults, and there was a missions program for the youth, called Speed the Light, but nothing for children. At the time, children who wanted to participate in missions giving had to become a part of one of these two programs.
Sometime in 1949, someone in the National Sunday School Department was reported to say "if children are to grow up to be adults concerned about missions, then they must be taught about missions in their formative years" and "that the not too distant future of our missionary work depends upon the vision of our children of this generation." Thus, the basis for a new children's missions education program—Boys and Girls Missionary Crusade—was established.
In October 1949, the BGMC program was launched to meet the need for literature distribution, translation work, and study material. Another need was for the disposal of the backdated literature in the [Gospel Publishing House]. At the Seventh National Sunday School Convention held in Springfield, Missouri, these two needs were brought together, and BGMC was formed as the agent. The specific purpose BGMC was to raise money through the Sunday schools for the literature program. The first task undertaken by the new BGMC program was to raise funds for shipping these materials to the mission fields.
It was also decided that a child's training must be accompanied by an opportunity for him/her to personally invest in missions. The Division of Foreign Missions (now Assemblies of God World Missions) had indicated that the missionaries' current greatest need was for gospel literature. At the time, the Assemblies of God had printing plants in South Africa, Brazil, Peru, the Gold Coast, and other fields. Yet funds for translation and printing were limited. It was to be understood that all the money received by BGMC would be used entirely in the translation and production of gospel literature in the foreign fields.
BGMC was first introduced at the General Council meeting in Seattle, Washington, in September 1949. About the same time, a general letter was sent out to all churches. Immediately, 145 churches joined the BGMC program that same month. The number increased to 229 total charter members. Barrel banks were chosen as the collection containers since everything sent to the foreign field at that time was packed in sturdy wooden barrels. This evolved into "Buddy Barrel" becoming the mascot or symbol for BGMC. Buddy Barrel became the animated representation of the small barrel banks.
It was also decided that small wooden barrels would be given to all the Sunday schools, who wished to cooperate with the program, in sufficient quantity so that every boy and girl in the Sunday school would receive a barrel. The child was to take the barrel home and each day place a penny, nickel, dime or more in it. Once a month on the designated Sunday, each pupil would return his/her barrel to Sunday school.
In 2005, the program had raised 5.38 million dollars for the calendar year, for a grand total of 72.8 million dollars since the program's inception.
In 2007, BGMC is changing its name from Boys and Girls Missionary Crusade to Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge
How BGMC Works
Source of BGMC Funding
- Young children giving in "Buddy Barrels"
- Older children making faith promises
- Parents and other adults receiving special offerings
Target of BGMC Funding
General Council Foreign Missionaries (for ministry supplies that relate specifically to evangelism and discipleship):
- Puppets, music, and video tapes
- Tracts, Bibles, and literature
- Sound systems, computers, and copy machines
Foreign Missions Organizations:
- International Media Ministries
- Global University
- The Christian Training Network
- Generation XXI
- Resource and Development Ministries (RDM)
- STAR Radio Avance
- Center for Muslim Ministries
- HealthCare Ministries
- Teen Challenge International
General Council Home Missionaries and Missions Organizations:
- Chi Alpha Campus Ministries
- Institutional/Occupational Chaplaincy
- Intercultural Ministries
- Military Chaplaincy
- Teen Challenge
- Church Planting (provides each new church plant with $400.00 in start-up funds plus $75.00 each quarter for the first year for Sunday school materials)
- A percentage given back to General Council districts to use for their domestic missions projects
- 1957 First awards/trophies were given to honor amounts given by churches
- 1959 BGMC yearly giving reaches the $100,000 mark
- 1963 BGMC total giving reaches the one million mark
- 1971 Frances Foster retires after being the BGMC coordinator for 21 years
- 1977 Helen Rye resigned and Sandy Askew was named BGMC coordinator
- 1979 Plastic Buddy Barrels were introduced
- 1982 BGMC total giving reaches the ten million mark
- 1984 BGMC yearly giving reaches the one million mark
- 1985 Pencil Pal introduced
- 1987 New plastic Buddy barrels with plastic caps were introduced
- 1989 Winnie the World was introduced
- 1990 BGMC total giving reaches the twenty million mark
- 1991 Sandy Askew went full-time as the National BGMC Coordinator
- 1992 BGMC yearly giving reaches the two million mark
- 1995 BGMC total giving reaches the thirty million mark
- 1998 BGMC yearly giving reaches the three million mark
- 1998 BGMC total giving reaches the forty million mark
- 1999 BGMC quarterly missions packets are replaced with an annual manual
- 1999 Buddy Barrel celebrates his 50th Birthday
- 1999 Sandy Askew retires after 22 years, David and Mary Boyd become the new National BGMC Coordinators
- 1999 The National Children's Ministries Agency is created and BGMC becomes a part of this agency. David and Mary Boyd are the National Directors.
- 2001 The Executive Presbytery votes to make BGMC the missions education program for children in the Assemblies of God
- 2001 Royal Rangers, Missionettes, and Christian Schools adopt BGMC into their programs.