INDIANAPOLIS (BP)–“It happens because you don’t sit on your hands,” North American Mission Board missionary David Proffitt told pastors who led in giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions in 2007.
The offering finances the ministry of more than 5,200 missionaries in North America. NAMB’s annual appreciation luncheon June 9 in Indianapolis honored about 130 churches as top givers by amount given or per capita giving in their associations.
“Churches who give are saying, ‘We want to do our part to see that the Gospel is shared,'” North American Mission Board President Geoff Hammond said, citing the example of a 35-member church that gave $65,000 last year yet asked to remain anonymous.
Hammond also emphasized the importance of North American missions as it lays the foundation for international work. “We are the engine for world evangelization.”
Proffitt told the pastors, “You are bold enough to pray and at the right time go before your people and say let’s make this thing happen.” He and his wife Shirley are church planting missionaries at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. The couple planted Aletheia Church six years ago.
Proffitt emphasized the critical relationship between missions-giving pastors and the missionaries they support.
“The North American Mission Board loves pastors. We love pastors. We think about you. We are you. As someone who’s done pastoral work for 30 years, I thank God for you. Thank you. Thank you for your sacrifice,” Proffitt said.
“You can’t go on vacation without thinking about the Gospel of God. You eat, drink, think, breathe, walk, talk and smell the Gospel.”
Proffitt told the story of young lady named Sam, an aspiring Apache helicopter pilot he led to Christ. He recounted the journey of Jenny who came to Christ and has helped start a church at Virginia Commonwealth University. Flashing through a slideshow of these and other converts, Proffitt highlighted his and Shirley’s evangelism strategy: loving and sharing.
From leading to Christ four tailgaters who had parked in his front yard to drawing an atheist toward Christ through home-cooked meals, Proffitt summed it up simply: “This is the best kind of evangelism. You can only be loved so much and then you have to come to Christ. You can only eat so much corn on the cob before you say I don’t care what He’s called or what He is — [His follower is] who I want to be.”
He reminded pastors that his ministry would never have had its platform without them. “Thank you for caring for people who are trying to live their lives without Christ.”
Richard Harris, NAMB’s senior strategist for missions advancement, closed the event by challenging pastors to give and pray. “Giving is important, but the praying is important too” Harris said. “There are 251 million lost people in North America.”
Adam Miller is associate editor of On Mission magazine and a staff writer for the North American Mission Board.