North Carolina is the number one state in Annie Armstrong Easter Offering giving for 2011, Kevin Ezell announced June 18, during the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) appreciation luncheon in New Orleans. The event was held as Southern Baptists gather this week for their annual meeting.
Last year, N.C. Baptists raised $5.5 million for the offering, which was just over Alabama’s Baptist convention that raised $5 million. South Carolina’s convention led the way among states with fewer than 2,500 churches. The top convention with 500 or fewer congregations was Maryland/Delaware. The state also has seen more than 30 mission church starts since the beginning of this year, according to NAMB’s progress report.
Nationally, the 2012 Annie Armstrong offering is tracking 11 percent ahead of last year’s amount. According to NAMB’s report, the 2011 offering came in at 3 percent over the 2010 offering.
“We’re very thankful for our partnerships with the conventions who have exceeded in their giving in a very positive way,” said Ezell, NAMB’s president.
“We’re extremely thankful and indebted to North Carolina Baptists for … catching the vision of what we’re wanting to accomplish,” Ezell said after the luncheon. “But I think it has a great deal to do with Milton Hollifield being a leader.
“In a down economy when everything seems to be flat lined or below, for us to be tracking at 11 percent [above last year] this year, we’re overwhelmed by that.”
Milton A. Hollifield Jr., executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of N.C., praised Baptists in the state for their commitment to missions giving, which has also has led the way in past years among the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering as well.
“I’ve always been pleased and amazed at the giving of North Carolina Baptist churches even though we have been in the recession that we have been in,” Hollifield said.
During the lunch, Southern Baptists were also challenged to plant more churches to help see a net gain of 5,000 new churches in North America within the next 10 years. In order to accomplish that, Southern Baptists will need to plant 13,500 churches to keep up with the 880 churches that die each year.
“There is a call and a challenge – a big issue right now because of the great need we have to plant churches in North America,” Hollifield said. “I believe our churches are stepping up to the plate … rising to the occasion.
“I thank God and give him the glory, and I’m proud of what North Carolina churches are doing.”