Easter is getting closer, so it’s time to prepare for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.
North Carolina Baptists will join with Southern Baptists across the United States in contributing to this offering. It provides major funding to the North American Mission Board (NAMB), whose approximately 5,000 missionaries serve across the U.S. and Canada.
For promotion materials, visit anniearmstrong.com and download videos, clipart and other resources. These materials are also distributed by Woman’s Missionary Union. The theme for the offering this year is “Whatever It Takes,” based on the account in Mark 2:1-5 of how a sick man’s friends broke through a roof so they could lower him down to be healed by Jesus.
NAMB leaders are saying Baptists must adopt a “whatever it takes” approach to both missions involvement and support, in order to make a significant impact on our continent’s lostness.
The 2012 Annie Armstrong offering goal is $70 million, which will be used for missionary support, church planting and evangelism.
These offering funds and those provided by churches through the Cooperative Program account for the majority of NAMB funding.
Southern Baptists already start more than 100 new churches each month across North America, which is more than any other church group is doing. Yet, thousands of additional churches are needed to reach the estimated 259 million people across the United States and Canada who have no personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
NAMB recently launched the “Send North America” strategy, seeking to mobilize congregations and church planters across the continent in an all-out push to start more churches.
Missionaries will focus efforts on major urban areas such as New York City, where millions have no knowledge of the gospel.
The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina has committed to partner in several areas, including New York. More than 700 volunteers served there during 2011 through the Convention’s Office of Great Commission Partnerships.
North Carolina Baptists can use materials from the Annie Armstrong website to lead entire congregations to support this offering.
One good approach is to lead families to observe the Week of Prayer for North American Missions March 4-11.
Baptists can learn about missionaries they’re supporting as these missions servants struggle to reach people for Christ and start new churches in challenging places like Toronto, Canada; Norwich, Connecticut; and Clovis, New Mexico.
Young people can learn how they, too, can help start churches by serving in one of NAMB’s programs, such as the semester missionary program or the US/C2 program.
NAMB works with more than 3,000 Southern Baptist chaplains, including military chaplains, among others. NAMB also operates many other ministries, such as lay renewal, Christian apologetics ministry, sports evangelism, resort missions and disaster relief.
This strategic offering was named for Annie Armstrong (1850-1938) because of her ministry of encouraging missions support.
A native of Baltimore, Md., Armstrong helped organize the Woman’s Home Mission Society in Maryland. She later helped organize the national Woman’s Missionary Union and served as its first corresponding secretary.
She took that “corresponding” part of her title seriously.
In 1893 she sent out nearly 18,000 letters that she wrote by hand or by typewriter as she rallied Baptists to get behind missions with their pocketbooks and their prayers.
Annie Armstrong’s “whatever it takes” approach to missions remains a great example of what Baptists can achieve when they embrace missions with a similar commitment.