MATTHEWS – Idlewild Baptist Church’s second Following the Star 5K and fun run will give the community an opportunity to extend Christmas spirit to those in need.
The event, on Christmas Eve, will raise money for Southern Baptist Missionaries though the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, named in honor of missionary Lottie Moon, who died aboard a ship in Japan on Dec. 24, 1912. Last year’s event marked the 100-year anniversary of Moon’s death, though the Matthews church has always given a donation in Moon’s name this time each year.
Throughout her career in Asia, Moon wrote letters to people in the United States about the Chinese culture, missionary life and the needs of the people. “Additionally, she challenged Southern Baptists to go to China or give so that others could go,” the International Mission Board website said. Eventually, Moon’s wish was granted and by 1888 the Southern Baptist women had raised more than $3,000 to send missionaries to China.
The Following the Star event seeks to help further that cause.
“We wanted to recognize (Moon’s) contributions to international missions in a unique way,” Crystal Komis, one of the race coordinators, said.
Organizers had only a month to plan the inaugural event, though it still turned out better than expected, Komis said. The church found sponsors, hired a timing company and developed the course near the Idlewild Road campus, then saw 200 participants raise around $5,000 for the cause.
“For a first-time race, a holiday race, and a month of planning, we were elated at the number of people that participated and even more thankful for the amount we were able to give,” Komis
Planning started much earlier this year for the Following the Star race, but this month has still been hectic as the church prepares for Christmas Eve. “Last year, we crammed too much into too little of time,” Komis said. “By the grace of God, we were able to orchestrate a successful race.”
With the event taking place during the holidays, the church is able to remind people of the reason for the season and place a spotlight on the work missionaries are doing no matter what day of the year it
“We have international missionaries sharing Christ, and we can do the same with those that participate in the events,” Komis said. “Lastly, we wanted a fun holiday activity that families can take part in while at the same time giving back to
The course is an “out and back” trail on church property. Cost to participate is $25 for the 5K and $20 for the fun run before race day, and $30 for the 5K and $25 for the fun run the day of the
From here on out, the race will be taken one year at a time, and Komis said she isn’t sure if it will stay an annual event.
“We will always be focused on our core mission of sharing Christ and supporting international missions. If it comes to a point that we are not fulfilling that mission, we may opt to explore another avenue,” she
Find more information about the Following the Star 5K and fun run at www.followingthestar.racesonline.com. Find more information about the International Mission Board at www.imb.org.