Firmly Planted...Rooted in the Gospelby Milton A. Hollifield, Jr.
Each year as we prepare to commemorate Christ’s resurrection at Easter, Southern Baptists are challenged to pray fervently and give sacrificially to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering (AAEO) for the North American Mission Board (NAMB). NAMB’s 2014 theme is “Firmly Planted … Rooted in the Gospel.”
The expansion of our Lord’s Kingdom in North America is of the utmost importance. According to Acts 1:8, reaching our continent is part of our marching orders to reach all ethnic groups. NAMB researchers estimate that there are 260 million lost people in North America. In terms of lostness the top three countries in the world are China, India and Indonesia. The fourth, sadly, is the United States. NAMB President Kevin Ezell and the NAMB mission force are responding to this lostness in our continent by focusing intentional evangelism efforts in the 32 major cities that house the largest number of lost people in North America.
North Carolina Baptist churches gave $5.8 million to the AAEO in 2013, which is slightly more than their 2012 contribution. The AAEO’s national goal for 2014 is $70 million. This year, 65 percent of the funds received will support church-planting missionaries, collegiate evangelism missionaries and other missions in North America. Twenty percent of the offering will be invested in NAMB’s farm system to fund the next generation of missionaries—it will specifically aid student missionaries and church-planting interns. The remaining 15 percent of the offering will provide health care benefits for NAMB missionaries.
When the churches receive the AAEO, they send it to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) in Cary. The BSCNC records the amount each church sends, combines it with the contributions from other North Carolina Baptist churches and then forwards the entire amount to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee (SBC EC). In turn, the SBC EC allocates these funds to NAMB, which oversees the distribution of the funds to the many missionaries and mission projects that the offering supports. NAMB’s goal is to plant 15,000 new churches over the next 10 years.
Are you willing to invest in intentional, specific prayer for North American missions and missionaries? Will you pray fervently that our missionaries will see a fresh work of God happen in the states, cities and communities where they are serving? Join me in praying that every North Carolina Baptist will be firmly planted … and rooted in the gospel in our efforts to reach North America. Please use the week of prayer (the first full week of March, immediately before the AAEO promotion) to pray not only for NAMB missionaries, but also to pray about what you can do to serve in North America. You can pray, you can give and you can go.
“But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” Matthew 13:23