Southern Baptists celebrated good news on the North American missions front last week with the announcement of a record annual offering.
Southern Baptists celebrated good news on the North
American missions front last week with the announcement of a record
Final receipts show that Southern Baptists gave a
record $53.8 through the 2004 Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North
The gifts were fueled by strong showing in a number
of states, including Louisiana, where final receipts for 2004 totaled a
record of more than $1.6 million.
Overall, the Southern Baptist total exceeded the
previous year’s offering by almost $4.2 million (8.5 percent). It fell
shy of the national offering goal of $54 million by just $154,011
Southern Baptist North American Mission Board
President Robert Reccord described Southern Baptists’ sacrificial
generosity in 2004 as a significant breakthrough in North American
“Southern Baptists have proven themselves faithful
to the cause of missions and reaching North America for Christ,”
Reccord said. “Never before has
funding been more critical to the mission of ensuring that every person
in the United States, Canada and their territories has the opportunity
to hear the gospel, respond with faith in Christ and participate in a
New Testament fellowship of believers.
“On behalf of our missionaries and mission partners,
I want to express my deepest appreciation to the pastors and mission
leaders in every church that challenged their members to prayerfully
give to this vital offering,” Reccord said.
“I want to especially thank the leadership and
membership of (the Southern Baptist) Woman’s Missionary Union who
tirelessly support all of our missions endeavors. Without them,
Southern Baptists would not have the missionary enterprise we do.”
Reccord expressed special appreciation to individuals and churches that
made special efforts to increase their giving to the offering last year.
He cited First Baptist Church of Katy, Texas, as an
example. “Led by pastor Randy White, this Houston-area church
designated its entire Easter morning offering to North American
missions, amounting to nearly $80,000,” Reccord said. “This 700 percent
increase sets a new pace for partnership in missions giving.”
The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering accounts for 45
percent of the north American Mission Board’s budget, while another 36
percent comes from church gifts through the Southern Baptist
One hundred percent of gifts given to Annie
Armstrong Easter Offering are used to support nearly 5,200 missionaries
and their ministries with state Baptist convention partners. Most of
the missionary force is involved in starting new churches and an array
of evangelistic endeavors.
With the 2004 receipts finalized, Southern Baptists
now set their sights on the 2005 challenge of $55 million. That goal –
and the cause of North American missions – is scheduled to be promoted
in most Southern Baptist churches in March, beginning with the Week of
Prayer for North American Missions, March 6-13 and continuing through
Easter on March 27.
The mission offering was established in 1895 by the
Woman’s Missionary Union in the United States. In 1934, it was named in
memory of WMU founder Annie Armstrong, a tireless missions advocate.
(For information about the Annie Armstrong offering and the Week of Prayer for North