The California Mission Offering (CMO) is a special offering taken by California Southern Baptist Convention churches to support a variety of ministries aimed at winning people to Jesus in the Golden State.
All gifts collected through CMO directly support mission projects and ministries in the Golden State such as:
- Church Starting
- Association mission projects
- Disaster Relief and other mission action projects
- Season of Prayer & Promotion
The first state mission offering for the young Southern Baptist General Convention of California was set for October 25, 1942. State missions was to be observed not only by California Southern Baptists, but by all state Baptist conventions of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The October 8, 1942 issue of the California Southern Baptist reported: “This is the first time in Southern Baptist history when a great Mission Day Program could be put on from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It is a time for which many have prayed and worked.”
Shortly thereafter, the State Mission Board in March 1943 designated Easter Sunday, April 25, as State Mission Day. On this day a special offering was to be taken to increase the state mission budget of the Convention. It was reported in the CSB: “This special offering will be used wholly for mission work within the state."
The goal was set at $1,000. The May 1943 CSB reported that $832.70 had been collected toward the goal. That amount was from 22 churches and two individuals. Gifts ranged from $5.25 to $115.89.
For many years, October was designated for the state mission emphasis. In 1955, the offering was named in honor of Mrs. W.C. “Brooksie” Howell, who served as executive secretary of California Woman’s Missionary Union from December 1944 to July 1952. The CSB reported in its Sept. 15, 1955 edition: “During Mrs. Howell’s long years of service she magnified state missions and each year without doubt made the largest contribution to the cause of any Southern Baptist in California.”
The offering remained named in honor of Mrs. Howell until 1985 when messengers to the state convention annual meeting voted to change the name to the S.G. Posey Offering for State Missions. Posey was involved in early Convention ministry and served as one of the executive directors.
In the intervening years, September became the preferred time to promote prayer and offerings for state mission causes.
Since 2000, California Southern Baptists have given more than $5 million through the offering. The largest amount ever received was in 2005, with $515,392 contributed. The figure was an increase of $197,934, or 62 percent, over the 2004 total of $317,458.
Mission efforts funded through the offering are aimed at reaching California's culturally-diverse population.