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Annie Armstrong Offering exceeds goal; posts record gifts

TALLEDEGA, Ala. (BP)–For the sixth year in a row, Southern Baptists last year set another record in giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions. Total gifts were $43.3 million, 5 percent more than the previous year.

Results of the annual mission campaign were announced Jan. 10 by Robert E. “Bob” Reccord, president of the North American Mission Board, to the national executive board of Woman’s Missionary Union.

“Thank you for everything you do to impact the raising of the Annie Armstrong Offering,” Reccord told the WMU leaders, meeting at Shocco Springs Baptist assembly center at Talledega, Ala. “Without you and your people in the churches, it simply wouldn’t happen.”

Dellanna O’Brien, WMU executive director/treasurer, joined Reccord in expressing appreciation and noted the total exceeded the national goal of $42 million — the first time in 17 years the offering has reached its goal.

“We look at goals and wonder if we’ve raised them to the point that we can’t reach them,” O’Brien said. “But God is allowing his people to see the importance of giving to provide the resources necessary to meet the challenges of world evangelism. I’m glad we’re a part of it.”

The 1999 offering, which will be conducted in SBC churches this spring, will support the work of 5,000 missions personnel in the United States, its territories and Canada, most of whom are jointly appointed and supported with state Baptist conventions. More than one-third of NAMB’s income is derived from the offering, 100 percent of which supports the missionaries and their work starting new SBC churches, providing Christian ministry and evangelism.

Reccord and several NAMB officials also reported on the agency’s 1998 accomplishments. Randy Singer, executive vice president, told WMU leaders, “We were able to get more money to the field last year than ever before, and saw record numbers of missionary appointments and applications for mission service.”

NAMB appointed 251 new missionaries last year, according to Singer, a 50 percent increase over the average for the three previous years. Also, 371 applicants went through the interview process in 1998 compared with an average of 200 per year in previous years.

“The Lord is matching a record year in Annie Armstrong giving with a turning of Southern Baptists’ hearts to missions at a level unknown before,” Singer said.

However, challenging days lie ahead, Reccord said, because “the upcoming generation doesn’t have the same loyalty to our denomination as we had. We must find creative ways to reach the baby buster generation that are different from how we reached the baby boomer generation.

“And the millennial generation takes a whole different strategy,” Reccord said. “If we’re going to reach North America for Christ, we must color outside the lines, get outside the box and realize that one size doesn’t fit all anymore.”

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