LOUISVILLE, Ky. — More than 350 representatives of small to large Southern Baptist churches were honored for their 2008 gifts to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions during a June 23 luncheon at the SBC annual meeting in Louisville, Ky.
Recognized as either the top dollar-giving or the highest per capita-giving church in their local association to the Annie Armstrong Offering, the churches — along with associations, state conventions and Woman’s Missionary Union — were praised for raising more than $58.1 million in 2008.
The North American Mission Board (NAMB) honored churches of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina for leading all state conventions in their gifts to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, sending $6.08 million for North American missions.
NAMB President Geoff Hammond said the 2008 Annie Armstrong offering was just 2.3 percent less than the year before. He reminded luncheon attendees that 2008 will be long remembered for the start of the worst U.S. recession of the last 60 years and for $4-per-gallon gasoline.
“Being in this room means your church and your association have influenced people to give to North American missions,” Hammond said at the luncheon. “On behalf of our missionaries, thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.”
Noting that North America is a mission field, Hammond said the United States and Canada are two of the few industrial nations continuing to grow. Canada is growing by 250,000 immigrants a year, he said, while the U.S. will have 100 million more people in the next 35 years.
“Thirty years from now, we’ll see an American population that is 30 percent Hispanic and 46 percent Anglo,” Hammond said. “Folks, we have to reach the peoples of North America and you are NAMB’s key partners. It is going to take praying, giving and going.”
Richard Harris, NAMB’s senior strategist for missions advancement, said NAMB had 5,611 commissioned missionaries and 3,077 chaplains at the end of 2008.
Saying 46 percent of NAMB’s budget comes from the Annie Armstrong offering and 36 percent from the Cooperative Program, Harris said, “We’re in some troubled times — economically, politically and spiritually.”
Woman’s Missionary Union, headed by Executive Director/Treasurer Wanda Lee and President Kaye Miller, was lauded by Hammond and Harris for their support of the Annie Armstrong Offering.
“We couldn’t do what we do without you ladies,” Harris said. Lee replied that the partnership between NAMB and WMU “has never been closer or better.”
NAMB’s Harris also released the top 10 states for Annie Armstrong donations in 2008: 1. North Carolina, $6.08 million; 2. Alabama, $5.85 million; 3. Georgia, $5.1 million; 4. Texas (BGCT), $4.7 million; 5. Tennessee, $4.06 million; 6. South Carolina, $3.9 million; 7. Mississippi, $3.8 million; 8. Florida, $2.9 million; 9. Texas (SBTC), $2.5 million; and 10. Louisiana, $2.2 million.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Noah writes for the North American Mission Board.)