During the Easter season, Christians often take the time to reflect on God’s goodness and blessing in raising Jesus from the dead. It is also during this time that Southern Baptists across the country are challenged to give to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering (AAEO), an offering that supports missions throughout North America.
Since 1895, the AAEO has supported missionaries through the North American Mission Board (NAMB), allowing the gospel to be spread and churches to be planted throughout the United States and Canada.
This year, there will be a week of prayer emphasis for this offering during March 6-13. During this time, Southern Baptists are encouraged to not only pray for NAMB missionaries, but also to ask the Lord how He might use them to do missions work in their own lives.
The 2016 theme of the AAEO is “Here I am, send me,” taken from Isaiah 6:8. How wonderful it is that our Father in Heaven has called us to do His bidding here on earth!
Since the offering’s beginning in 1895, more than $1 billion has been raised in support of North American missionaries. This year, the offering’s goal is $70 million, a $10 million increase from last year.
I’m thankful that N.C. Baptist churches are strong supporters of the AAEO. The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina led all state conventions in giving to this special offering in 2015.
On behalf of Kevin Ezell, president of NAMB, I thank you for contributing more than $5.89 million during the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2015.
NAMB uses part of this offering to help plant evangelistic churches in 32 “send cities” – which have been selected as a result of a dramatic decrease in the church-to-population ratio in North America.
On average, about 1,000 SBC churches close their doors (either temporarily or permanently) each year. These 32 cities are the places where there is the greatest disparity between the number churches and the population in the continent.
While the week of prayer emphasis for the AAEO is March 6-13 this year, offerings in support of the AAEO will be received year round.
I am grateful for all that Woman’s Missionary Union does each year during this season to emphasize the importance of prayer for missions in North America and promote this special missions offering. I pray that you will join me this year in fervent prayer for those who have been called by the Lord to preach the gospel in our own continent.
Just as the Lord has called missionaries to be His witness to the nations, He has called all of us to give sacrificially in the spread of the gospel. May each of us take the time during this week to answer, in our own way, “Here I am, send me.”
“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me’” – Isaiah 6:8 (NKJV).
(EDITOR’S NOTE – To learn more about the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, visit anniearmstrong.com or call (800) 634-2462.)