SBC leaders issue Annie Offering challenge
Mickey Noah, Baptist Press
April 12, 2011

SBC leaders issue Annie Offering challenge

SBC leaders issue Annie Offering challenge
Mickey Noah, Baptist Press
April 12, 2011

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Easter Sunday 2011 comes later this year —

on April 24 — than any other Easter since 1943. The next time Easter falls so

late will be on April 25, 2038.

Beyond the ancient tradition linking Easter to the spring equinox, the Annie

Armstrong Easter Offering is always vital to the North American Mission Board’s

(NAMB) never-ending work of sharing the gospel throughout the United States and


Photo by Adam Miller

Jan Vezikov in Boston is only one of hundreds of North American Mission Board missionary church planters starting new churches across North America, supported by the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. Vezikov moved to Boston in July 2009 to reach fellow Russian speakers and has since caught a vision for reaching young professionals and intellectuals through three churches: Mosaic Boston, Grace Church Boston, and Russian Church Boston.

Some 5,000 Southern Baptist missionaries in the United States and Canada count

on support from the offering’s 2011 goal of $70 million.

“As Christ-followers, we should have a consuming passion to reach our homeland

for Jesus Christ,” said Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in

Springdale, Ark.

“With 233 million lost people in the United States and 258

million lost people in all of North America, we need to give financially to

further the work of Christ, penetrating the darkness of lostness.

“With the exciting new commitment of the Southern Baptist Convention toward

church planting, we need to increase our funding of the Annie Armstrong

Offering for North American Missions,” Floyd said.

Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, said more than half

of NAMB’s budget comes from the annual Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.

“We are very dependent on this offering,” Ezell said. “As Annie Armstrong goes,

so goes the opportunities NAMB has to support missionaries.”

Ezell said during his first three months as president of the Southern Baptist

Convention (SBC) mission entity, he and other NAMB leaders worked to eliminate

everything possible to get more money in the field for missionaries.

“We downsized our staff by 36 percent. We decreased the travel budget by 50

percent. We deleted millions of dollars in other expenses so that in 2012, we’ll

have $15 million more than ever before for church planters,” Ezell said.

“Hopefully, churches will respond to Annie this year — knowing that NAMB will

be a good steward of their money, ensuring that it goes directly into the hands

of church planters and our missionaries.”

Gifts to Annie so far this year have been encouraging, Ezell said, but it’s far

too early to celebrate.

“The offering has been down for several years,” he noted, “and we need a good

year in order to meet the needs.”

Bryant Wright, president of the SBC, said the church he leads is giving the

largest Annie Armstrong Offering in its history.

“We so believe in what NAMB is doing in church planting,” said Wright, senior

pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga. “I want to challenge

pastors from churches across our convention. Knowing how important the Annie

Armstrong Offering is and with Easter fast approaching, I ask pastors to pray

about how to challenge their church. We hope to have thousands more churches

throughout the Southern Baptist Convention to give more to Annie this year and

be great lighthouses for Christ.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Noah writes for the North American Mission Board. For more

information about the Annie Armstrong Offering for North American Missions, go

to www.anniearmstrong.com.)

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