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Humorous spots, video message ready for NAMB emphasis

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–You won’t see the Chimpanzee office workers that were featured in commercials during the Super Bowl, but newly released Week of Prayer promotional video spots also are using humor to illustrate the importance of funding the work of North American missionaries.

Missionaries depicted as life-size “cardboard cut-outs” are featured in five video segments -– produced much like television commercials –- for use by churches during the Week of Prayer for North American Missions, March 6-13, and throughout the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions emphasis.

The “Making Missions Come Alive” spots –- free for download at www.AnnieArmstrong.com –- are designed to be used during worship services, announcements and Sunday School to reinforce the need to support missions.

“The spots vividly illustrate, in a humorous manner, what mission work could be like if Southern Baptists didn’t have the funds for real, live missionaries, but substituted life-size cardboard cut-outs,” said Martin King, director of convention relations at the North American Mission Board.

The video spots coincide with the release of a special video message from NAMB President Robert E. (Bob) Reccord, also available free for download at the AAEO website. In the three-minute segment, Reccord thanks Southern Baptists for a record offering in 2004 and issues a challenge to again support missions sacrificially in 2005.

“We must not forget the urgency of the mission for us,” Reccord says in the video. “We know that seven out of every 10 people in North America are without a relationship with Christ. From Washington, D.C., to Hollywood, we are losing the spiritual foundation we once had as a nation…. We must answer this crisis by being salt and light in every corner of our culture.”

The cardboard cut-out missionary spots vary in length from 45 seconds to one minute. A fifth video segment is a compilation of the four spots and runs one minute and eight seconds.

The “Making Missions Come Alive –- Free Water” segment shows people in a park setting walking by a cardboard cut-out of missionary Derek Spain. The cut-out repeats the recorded message, “Free water and the Word of God. Would you like a free water?” as people walk by in puzzlement. After a gust of wind blows the cut-out of Spain over onto the group, the recording says, “God loves you.”

The “Making Missions Come Alive –- Church Invitation” spot features a cut-out of missionary Dwight Huffman at the front of a congregation. As a couple walks toward the front, their confusion is obvious as they hear a recorded voice say, “To make a decision for Christ, press one. To be baptized press two. To become a member of the church, press three.”

The “Making Missions Come Alive –- Backyard Bible Club” segment shows children on a baseball field becoming frustrated as pitches thrown to them fall out of their reach. They run up to a cut-out of missionary Grace McGraw whose recorded voice says, “I am a missionary. Welcome to Backyard Bible Club. Press one for baseball. Press two for story time. Press three for craft time.”

The “Making Missions Come Alive -– Visitation” spot features a cut-out of missionary Don Conley at the door of a prospect. The voice from the cut-out says, “I am a missionary, greetings from Community Baptist Church. I’m just stopping by to show how much we care. Press one if you are involved in a local church. Press two if you are seeking a church,” and so on. Confused, the prospect begins to look around as if the cut-out is a joke.

King said the intended message for all of the “Making Missions Come Alive” segments is to encourage Southern Baptists to give to, pray for and commit to missions involvement.

The 2005 goal for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions is $55 million. The offering will 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.

One hundred percent of gifts given to the offering are used to jointly 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.

In January, a free Week of Prayer promotion packet emphasizing the “Answer His Call” theme was mailed to every Southern Baptist church.

Week of Prayer missionaries are featured throughout the packet, in video segments on a CD-ROM, in a daily prayer guide and on missionary prayer cards available for purchase. Also included in the promotion packet is the 2005 North American Mission Study.
More information about the Week of Prayer for North American Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering is available at www.anniearmstrong.com.

    About the Author

  • Tim Yarbrough