According to Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, NAMB “exists to work with churches, associations and state conventions in mobilizing Southern Baptists as a missional force to impact North America with the gospel of Jesus Christ through evangelism and church planting.” Provision for NAMB comes primarily through the Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.
NAMB contends that the AAEO is much more than an offering envelope and an annual missions-giving emphasis. When people give to the offering, 100 percent of their gift will be transformed into missionary salaries and ministry supplies. Those missionaries and supplies will help others hear the message of Christ and respond in faith to His offer of salvation. Behind each penny given, there is a Southern Baptist who believes in what the missionaries do and is affirming the need to equip them to share the gospel with those who need a Savior.
When Southern Baptists place their money in the offering plate, they are in essence placing it in the hands of a missionary since every dollar given to the AAEO goes to support missionaries on the field. NAMB works in partnership with state conventions to distribute monies given through the AAEO to missionaries and their efforts.
The offering was begun as an emphasis of the Woman’s Missionary Union in 1895 and later named for Annie Armstrong (1850-1938). WMU Executive Director Wanda Lee describes the legacy of Armstrong, referring to her as “our respected mother whose voice called for the birth of WMU.” Armstrong served as WMU executive secretary for 18 years. Lee notes, “As a woman of means, she worked without financial support from WMU, yet she set an example of sacrificial giving and commitment that continues as a part of the fabric of WMU today. From teaching children to caring for the immigrants in Baltimore to sending aid to the Native Americans of Oklahoma, she modeled during those formative years how Jesus calls us to share His story with all people while meeting their physical needs.”
Since the offering’s inception, more than $1 billion has been received by NAMB to use in reaching people in North America for Christ. The 2014 national goal for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering is $70 million.
As for results, NAMB missionaries and resources helped provide for nearly 1,000 new church plants last year. They were also instrumental in revitalizing many local churches, coordinating disaster relief efforts, providing chaplains for our armed services, and leading evangelization efforts in what NAMB terms “Send Cities,” that is, cities with profound lostness.
NAMB is helping churches push back the growing spiritual darkness in North America. Will you help NAMB by giving through the AAEO?