A Brief History:
1902 – Recognizing the urgency of the needs in Tennessee and feeling all Baptists should know about them, Mildred Golden (Mrs. W. C.) suggested a special season of prayer with an offering for state missions just as churches prayed for and gave to foreign missions and home missions. Dr. W. C. Golden was State Missions Secretary at the time; together they prepared and distributed the materials from their home. The first offering received was $800.
1943 – Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union officially named the state missions offering in honor of the Goldens; it became the Golden State Missions Offering (GSMO).
1952 – The offering goal was $35,000. Allocations included camps, rural work, women missionaries, and preachers’ schools.
1962 – The goal of $75,000 included allocations for an international student retreat, student aid at Harrison-Chilhowee Academy, and a church lot fund.
1972 – More than doubling in a decade, the goal of $170,000 included gifts to native Tennessee missionaries, ministry to the deaf, student summer missions, mission center ministries, and special rural and mountain ministries.
1982 – The offering goal was $550,000. Student scholarships were identified for church-related vocations, medical and Acteens. Disaster relief, language missions ministries, ministry to the handicapped, resort missions, scripture distribution, and world witness through the World’s Fair in Knoxville were some of the allocations.
1992 – The offering topped a million with a goal of $1,050,000. Tennessee had a population of 4.9 million. Allocations included homes for the developmentally disabled, mega-focus cities, a site fund for new churches, and seminary extension.
2002 – In the centennial year the offering name was changed to the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions to clarify its purpose and still honor the legacy of Dr. and Mrs. Golden. One-half of the offering of $1.6 million focused on starting new churches.