The History of BGMC
BGMC is the missions education program for all kids in the Assemblies of God. BGMC stands for "Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge." Kids are challenged to help our missionaries, challenged to sacrificially give to missions, challenged to help the needy in the world, challenged to pray for missionaries, challenged to pray for various people groups, challenged to love and accept people of all races, challenged to reach the lost, and challenged to keep their hearts open to the call of God for full-time missions. The money raised through BGMC is used to provide our missionaries with the supplies they need to reach people around the world. BGMC equips kids to know, to care, to pray, to give, and to reach the lost. BGMC has a two-fold purpose:
- to reach the children of the world and
- to create a heart of compassion in kids.
How Did It Start?
In the late 1940's, 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 the kids.
Sometime in 1949, someone in the National Sunday School Department said something sensational. In essence, they said, "If children are to grow up to be adults concerned about missions, then they must be taught about missions in their formative years." And so the basis for a new children's missions education program—BGMC—was established. The National Sunday School Department realized "that the not too distant future of our missionary work depends upon the vision of our children of this generation."
In October 1949, the BGMC program was launched because of a need—the need which missionaries all over the world had for literature that could be used for distribution, for translation work, and for 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 of 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 the Assemblies of God World Missions) had indicated that the missionaries' current greatest need was for gospel literature. 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 the Boys and Girls Missionary Crusade would be used entirely in the translation and production of gospel literature for our foreign fields.
BGMC Is Introduced
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 1950, Frances Foster was appointed to oversee the BGMC program. She remained in this position for 21 years.
The First BGMC Offering
The first BGMC offering was received in October 1949 in the amount of $9.35. It came from the New York-New Jersey District. However, it did not lie idle, but immediately packages of backdated literature were sent to Honduras and Jamaica. Enough literature was sent to use up the $9.35 that had been received. That first year, a total of $1,290.39 was given to BGMC. Back then, no one could have imaged how BGMC funds would grow and how it would be such a significant help to our missionaries.
The Purpose of BGMC
From the beginning, BGMC had two avowed aims. The first was to furnish needed literature for the mission fields. The second was to instill within the heart of every Pentecostal boy and girl the missionary vision. A slogan was created to accurately describe the ministry of BGMC. That slogan was "The Word for the World."
In 1952, BGMC began to emphasize a specific mission field every year. Emphasis was placed on that field, and a special offering was taken up on BGMC Day, which included the adults in the church.
The Executive Presbytery of the Assemblies of God voted in June 2001 that BGMC would be the children's missions education program for all Assemblies of God kids. This same year, Royal Rangers, Missionettes (now called Girls Ministries), and Christian Schools adopted BGMC as their missions program. All kids will hear the same missions message and will work toward the same goals. Rev. Thomas Trask, former General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, wanted the same relationship to exist between the children and BGMC that exists between the youth and Speed the Light. Today, BGMC exists as its own department so that more can be done to reach children around the world.
The use of BGMC funds has also expanded. Now missionaries can use BGMC funds for anything they need to help them spread the gospel. BGMC is the program that allows our missionaries to get the supplies that they need in order to spread the gospel and reach the world. BGMC is the only program that gives our missionaries the freedom to buy such things as puppets, clown outfits, costume animals, Bibles, tracts, Sunday school literature, computers, video tapes, CD's, training manuals, and lots more. The only restrictions that BGMC places are that the items have to do with "evangelism" or "discipleship." BGMC is the program that provides whatever a missionary needs—where they need it and when they need it. Many missionaries would be at a loss without BGMC. That's why our missionaries LOVE BGMC.
BGMC not only helps individual missionaries, but it also helps fund various missions organizations, such as International Media Ministries (IMM), Global University (formerly International Correspondence Institute), The Christian Training Network, Generation XXI, Resource and Development Ministries (RDM), Latin America Radio, Center for Muslim Ministries, Healthcare Ministries, Teen Challenge International, Life Publishers, Africa's Hope, Convoy of Hope, and all the compassion ministries of the Assemblies of God.
BGMC funds are used to supply Bible schools all over the world with equipment, library books, text books, and scholarships. BGMC is the major source of funds for these schools. The training of national pastors is so important to the perpetuating of the church in countries all over the world.
BGMC also provides supplies to our U.S. missionaries and missions organizations that we have here in America. BGMC helps Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, Institutional/Occupational Chaplaincy, Intercultural Ministries, the Military Chaplaincy, Teen Challenge, and Church Planting. In fact, BGMC provides each new church plant with money to buy supplies they need to get started. Plus they are given money each quarter for the first year to purchase Sunday School materials. A percentage of BGMC funds are also given back to the districts to use for home missions projects in their own districts. As you can see, BGMC is greatly used and greatly needed by our missionaries.
BGMC especially tries to target the children of the world by providing for street kids, orphanages, feeding programs, school supplies, sending kids to camps, the making of children's TV programs and videos, and lots more!
BGMC also pays to have materials translated into different languages so people can read things in their own language. BGMC has had the JBQ program, Royal Rangers, Missionettes, Kids Church curriculum, and Sunday School lessons translated into many different languages around the world. As you can see, BGMC is a GREAT help to our missionaries.
BGMC Mission Statements
BGMC has a two-fold purpose:
- To reach the children of the world.
- To create a heart of compassion in kids.
BGMC exists to serve the church in preparing kids for their fullest participation in world evangelization. As a children's missions education agency of the Assemblies of God, BGMC is committed to beginning the processes of missions awareness, missions concern, and missions stewardship in each young life and to introducing kids at the earliest possible age to Christ's Great Commission.
Challenging Kids to Reach the World
BGMC Vision Slogan
Equipping kids to know, care, pray, give, and reach the lost.
BGMC's Definition of Children's Missions Education
Children's missions education engages:
- the child's head with knowledge (missions awareness)
- the child's heart with caring and compassion (missions concern)
- the child's hands in responding to what he/she knows and feels (missions stewardship)
Missions Awareness includes multicultural education — introducing the child to a fascinating, culturally diverse world; to the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and the way of life in another culture. This must culminate in a look at religious beliefs and in the child's awareness that many of the people are lost and do not have an adequate explanation of the gospel to enable them to make a decision to follow Christ.
Missions Concern involves theology — teaching the child who God is and the part that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit play in missions. It is this aspect of children's missions education that introduces the child to Christ's Great Commission.
Missions Stewardship involves life application response and commitment to the Great Commission-giving time, talents, and treasures to reach the lost. Within this objective is training in prayer and personal evangelism and in giving systematically, once a month, to reach the lost.
- To establish an effective children's missions education program through BGMC in every Assemblies of God church.
- To train and equip BGMC coordinators for church, sectional, and district leadership.
- To inform the children's parents/caregivers of the objectives of BGMC and participate with them in fostering missions awareness, missions concern, and missions stewardship in their children's lives.
- To introduce children at the earliest possible age to God's love for the world and to Christ's Great Commission and effectively equip them to be His witnesses.
- To educate children about the peoples of the world, their countries, their cultures, and their need for Christ.
- To involve children in praying for lost family members and friends, and for the evangelism efforts of career missionaries.
- To invite children at least once a month to give of their treasures, time, and talents to reach the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- To encourage children entering their teen years to commit to personal evangelism and missions involvement, and to assist their transition to participation in Speed-the-Light, Ambassadors in Missions, and home and foreign missions endeavors.
Special Historical Dates
1948 - BGMC was launched
1949 - BGMC was introduced at the General Council meeting
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 1 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 10 million mark
1984 - BGMC yearly giving reaches the 1 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 20 million mark
1992 - BGMC yearly giving reaches the 2 million mark
1995 - BGMC total giving reaches the 30 million mark
1998 - BGMC yearly giving reaches the 3 million mark
- BGMC total giving reaches the 40 million mark
1999 - BGMC quarterly missions packets are replaced with an annual manual
- Buddy Barrel celebrates his 50th Birthday
- David and Mary Boyd become the new National BGMC Coordinators
- The national Children's Ministries Agency is created and BGMC becomes a part of this agency.
2001 - The Executive Presbytery votes to make BGMC the missions education program for kids in the AG.
- Royal Rangers, Missionettes (Girls Ministries), and Christian schools adopt BGMC into their programs.
- Coins For Kids becomes a part of BGMC
- BGMC yearly giving reaches the 4 million mark
- BGMC total giving reaches the 50 million mark
2003 - BGMC yearly giving reaches the 5 million mark
- BGMC total giving reaches the 60 million mark
2004 - BGMC Introduces the new theme “Just Fill It”
2005 - BGMC total giving reaches the seventy million mark
- Buddy Barrel banks are redesigned with a new look and a wider cap.
2006 - BGMC introduces the new Buddy Boxes as an additional giving container.
- BGMC introduces the campaign "Like Never Before"
- BGMC missions manual is put into a CD format
2007 - The Executive Leadership Team of the General Council of the Assemblies of God makes BGMC its own department. David Boyd is named the Director.
- BGMC changes its name to "Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge." The change is ratified at the 52nd General Council in Indianapolis, IN
- BGMC adds the motto "Challenging Kids to Reach the World"
- BGMC total giving reaches the 80 million mark
2008 - BGMC introduces new BGMC leader's Web site at www.bgmc.ag.org
- BGMC introduces new kids Web site at www.bgmckids.ag.org
- Language districts are organized into divisions for BGMC awards
- BGMC introduces "The Master's Toolbox" as the missions giving program for Royal Rangers
- BGMC total giving reaches the 90 million mark
2009 - BGMC celebrates its 60th anniversary.
- Buddy Barrel celebrates his 60th birthday.
- BGMC introduces new theme “Shake it Up”
2010 - BGMC total giving reaches the 100 million mark
2011 - BGMC introduces new theme “Year of the Child”
2012 -BGMC total giving reaches the 110 million mark
- BGMC introduces new theme “Change Agents”
2013 - BGMC yearly giving reaches the 6 million mark
- BGMC total giving reaches the 120 million mark
2014 - BGMC introduces the new transparent Buddy Barrel bank.
- BGMC introduces the new theme “Go Make a Difference”
2015 - BGMC yearly giving reaches the 7 million mark
- BGMC total giving reaches the 130 million mark
2016 - BGMC total giving reaches the 140 million mark
- BGMC introduces the new theme “Above and Beyond”
2017 - BGMC yearly giving reaches the 8 million mark
- BGMC missions manual is put into a flash drive format
2018 - BGMC total giving reaches the 150 million mark
-BGMC introduces the new theme “Count on Me”
2019 - BGMC celebrates its 70th anniversary. Buddy Barrel celebrates his 70th birthday.