If you have been following these blogs, I certainly hope that by now you realize that Mission work is important, and we do our best to support it, domestic and international. Fielding and keeping missionaries in the field around the world and here in North America is a challenge. One of the most important differentiators about Southern Baptists from other churches is that we fund our missionaries. They do not have to build up their own financial support. We want them to be singly focused on doing the Lord’s work, and not having to worry about paying the rent or having resources to live.
We Southern Baptist churches provide for our missionaries in several ways, but here are three that you will find interesting. The first way is through the Cooperative Program. Churches pool their resources for the work of the gospel among Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) organizations, including the International Mission Board (IMB), and the North American Mission Board (NAMB). Those two agencies are responsible for getting the missionaries where they are needed, then ensuring they have the support and resources needed to thrive for the Lord in an alien environment. The other ways are the two major offerings that we support each year. The Lottie Moon Christmas offering in honor of Lottie Moon, a missionary to China for over 40 years in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which supports international missions and missionaries around the world. The other offering is just about to begin.
The Annie Armstrong Easter offering is named for another lady, Annie Armstrong, who worked on the mission field at the same time as Lottie Moon, but her mission field was in a different part of the world. She traveled across North America in support of missionaries and the poor and the lost. Today, the Annie Armstrong Easter offering, which is collected through the end of April, is part of the North American Mission Board annual campaign to support more than 5,000 missionaries serving in the United States, Canada and U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa. That encompasses some 363 million people who speak some 350 languages. It is estimated that more than 75 percent of those people are lost. Just as Annie Armstrong was searching for the lost over 100 years ago, today those missionaries across North America are doing the same thing. The lost are everywhere, and it is our job, and the job of all believers, to tell them the good news of Jesus Christ. Even though we may not be able to go on mission, there are two things we can do:
Pray and Give
So, at this time of year, please remember the missionaries across North America who are obeying the admonition found in Matthew 28:19: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”