If you have been around a Southern Baptist church very long, you have probably noticed how we have memorialized certain women with offering status! Names like Lottie, Annie, Louisiana’s Georgia, and Mississippi’s Margaret all flavor our Baptist language and serve as reminders for us to support missions. Take the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for example. In 1895, our national Woman’s Missionary Union auxiliary began a specific offering drive to support what was referred to as “home missions.” Later in 1934, that offering was named in honor of an avid supporter of the missionary enterprise, Annie Armstrong. Just as Annie, the woman, secured funds for missionaries through her extensive writing efforts, her personal appeals, and her organizational wisdom, so the offering itself provides for the needs of our Southern Baptist missionaries here at home.
This past year, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering made up roughly half of the entire revenue for the North American Mission Board. (The rest came from by the Cooperative Program, unrestricted gifts, investments, etc.) That observation itself reminds us that the offering plays a huge part in reaching North America for Christ! Through the contributions we make to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, we support church planters in Calgary, Chicago, Los Angeles, and beyond. Moreover, the Annie Armstrong resources aid our college students (GenSenders) as they serve in missionary contexts during the summer; undergird our national disaster relief efforts in places like Texas, Puerto Rico, Florida, etc.; and provide for compassion ministries across our continent.
Last summer, my family and I stayed in a house of a church planter in Calgary. The home was paid for through Annie Armstrong resources and was subsequently owned by the North American Mission Board. (We got to stay in an Annie house we helped pay for!) NAMB’s strategy was to allow the planter to live in the house for a couple of years as he worked to get the new church off the ground; then as he gained some type of self-sufficiency in his income, the missionary agency would move another planter into the house. This past Sunday, that church planter, Chris Flora, took another step toward that reality when he and his team launched Multiply Church. And praise the Lord, there were approximately 100 worshippers in attendance!
This coming week, let’s join our Southern Baptist brothers and sisters in praying for our North American missionaries and in giving through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering to support them in their works. Our specific church goal is $60,000. No doubt, God has blessed us so that we might turn it back to Kingdom blessing!
One final note . . . lift up our college students as they participate in Beach Reach this weekend at Panama City Beach. Over seventy of our students will be able to take the Gospel to “spring breakers” in PCB. This is an opportunity for the Lord to change lives! Ask Him to provide receptive hearts and to demonstrate His power.