While the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering is probably not viewed as the premiere mission offering by most Southern Baptists – the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering likely holds that distinction – it is no less important.
By Kelly Boggs
While the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering is
probably not viewed as the premiere mission offering by most Southern
Baptists – the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering likely holds that
distinction – it is no less important.
The AAEO currently being promoted in SBC
congregations from sea to shining sea, is received for the purpose of
providing support for mission endeavors throughout North America.
In the Bible Belt, where the vast majority of Southern Baptists dwell,
the need for an offering to support missions on our own continent might
not seem very critical. However, speaking as one who spent several
years ministering in one of the most unchurched areas of the United
States, I can assure you the AAEO is worthy of your support.
For seven years I was pastor of a church in Oregon,
a state that along with Washington and a small portion of northwest
Idaho comprises the Northwest Baptist Convention. It was there that I
learned firsthand how important the AAEO is for Southern Baptists to
maintain a witness in areas like the Pacific Northwest.
Unlike the South, where it almost seems there is a
church on every corner – many of them Southern Baptist – the Pacific
Northwest has few churches and even fewer SBC congregations.
The combined population of Oregon and Washington is approximately 9.3
million. The total number of churches/missions in the Northwest
Convention is only 439. To help put these figures in perspective,
Louisiana’s population is in the neighborhood of 4.5 million and the
number of churches/missions that makeup the Louisiana Baptist
Convention is approximately 1,600.
Southern Baptist churches in the Pacific
Northwest are attempting to minister to twice the population of
Louisiana with one quarter of the number of churches.
The population of Yamhill County in Oregon,
where I was pastor, is approximately 100,000. My church was one of only
two SBC churches in the area. Rapides Parish in Central Louisiana has a
population in the neighborhood of 128,000. Located in the parish are
approximately 82 Southern Baptist churches.
The reality is that churches of the Northwest
Baptist Convention simply lack many of the resources that we in the
Bible Belt take for granted.
“The Annie Armstrong Offering helps support
everything we do,” said Gus Suarez, executive director of the Northwest
Baptist Convention. “In Puget Sound (Seattle area) alone, we have found
more than 100 languages that are being spoken. It [AAEO] assists us in
providing missionaries to the various language groups we are trying to
“Also, our associations receive strong support from
Annie Armstrong,” Suarez offered. “All of our directors of missions
receive funding. For some, it is almost their entire support.”
The fact is, without the assistance of the AAEO,
many of the ministries of Southern Baptists in the Pacific Northwest
would simply disappear.
“All of our staff salaries are supplemented
significantly by the North American Mission Board,” said Bruce Sloan,
Director of Missions for the Portland area Interstate Baptist
Association. “Without Annie Armstrong, we probably would not have our
collegiate ministries or church planters. At the very least, we would
all be part-time.”
When it comes to special mission offerings, Annie
Armstrong is probably not viewed in the same light as Lottie Moon.
However, I know from personal experience that it is an important
offering and worthy of our support.