DENVER (BP) – North American Mission Board (NAMB) President Kevin Ezell announced Monday evening that in 2023 Southern Baptists gave an all-time record $70.2 million to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering (AAEO) for North American missions. Ezell shared the news during the annual fall meeting of NAMB’s board of trustees in Denver. For six of the last seven years, Southern Baptists have set records in their giving to the Annie offering.“I am grateful for how Southern Baptists love their missionaries and for how they have bought into the vision of reaching North America through evangelism, church planting and compassion ministry,” Ezell said in comments made before the meeting. “We need more evangelistic churches, especially in regions where the Gospel presence is less visible.”
The AAEO has been the fuel that has helped Southern Baptists plant more than 10,000 churches since 2010, supporting more than 2,900 missionaries throughout North America. NAMB has provided evangelism resources and extended compassion ministry efforts throughout the continent as every contribution to the AAEO goes directly to support missionaries and ministry efforts on the field.
Since 2017, giving to the offering has attained record totals each year aside from pandemic-impacted 2020. Southern Baptists’ determination to raise the bar in their support of missionaries through the AAEO has allowed NAMB to extend additional benefits to Send Network church-planting missionaries and enabled a four-year survival rate that consistently hovers around 85 percent.
“Southern Baptists do believe in what you are doing,” Ezell told trustees and church planters gathered for dinner Monday evening, Oct. 2. “We have your back,” Ezell told church planters. “And the reason we can say that with great confidence is that Southern Baptists are helping us fuel that through the Annie offering and the Cooperative Program.”
The offering is named after Southern Baptist missions pioneer, Annie Armstrong, who rallied men, women and churches to support their missionaries financially to ensure that the Gospel continued to be delivered to the nations. In 2023, that need continues as people from around the world move to the U.S. and Canada.
In comments shared before the announcement, Sandy Wisdom-Martin, executive director-treasurer for Woman’s Missionary Union, noted, “Annie Armstrong once said, ‘God never issues a command without making obedience possible.’ People are moving across the planet in unprecedented ways, gaining access to the Gospel being proclaimed in North America. We must avail ourselves of the bountiful opportunities before us to share hope found only in Christ with our neighbors.
“We celebrate gifts to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and are grateful to Southern Baptists for their generosity,” Wisdom-Martin continued. “Through this giving mechanism, we are united to reach North America with the Good News.”
The offering provides more than half of NAMB’s overall budget each year, and the total is counted based on giving during each fiscal year, from October through September. Since 2010, Southern Baptists have increased their giving to the Annie Offering by 29 percent.
Vance Pitman, president of Send Network, NAMB’s church planting arm, pointed out that the record giving comes at a time of economic challenge and hardship for many people.
“This is a year when the economy is down. Most churches are reporting their giving is down. And to see a record like this, in the midst of that,” Pitman said. “It reminds me of the verse in 2 Corinthians when Paul writes about the church of Macedonia. He said out of their abundance of joy and their deep poverty, they gave.”
For more information about the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, visit anniearmstrong.com.