Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Baptist Press and written by Mike Ebert.
CHICAGO—Southern Baptists gave a record $68.9 million to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering (AAEO) in 2022, breaking the giving record for a second year in a row. Giving to the offering has exceeded records in five of the last six years.
“This is incredible news for our missionaries,” said North American Mission Board (NAMB) president Kevin Ezell, “and it is an incredible testimony to God’s faithfulness and to the generosity of Southern Baptists.” Ezell made the comments immediately before sharing the offering total with NAMB trustees as they gathered for dinner Monday evening, Oct. 3. NAMB Trustees are holding their regularly scheduled fall meetings Oct. 3-4.
“We have an amazing group of missionaries who are all about taking the Gospel to hard-to-reach places in North America,” Ezell said. “I’m grateful for each one of them and the sacrifices they and their families have made to follow God’s calling. These gifts are already making a difference.”
The AAEO accounts for half of NAMB’s budget and every dollar of it goes directly to the mission field in the year the money is given. The offering’s total is tallied based on giving during the fiscal year, October 2021 through September 2022.
Southern Baptist giving to the AAEO set records for three consecutive years in 2017, 2018 and 2019 before pandemic shutdowns occurred in 2020 during the season when churches typically collect the AAEO, which supports NAMB missionaries who plant Gospel-proclaiming churches and provide Gospel-focused compassion ministry across North America. 2021 saw an enthusiastic comeback with the offering hitting $66.5 million, exceeding the previous top offering by nearly $5 million. Since 2010, giving to the offering has increased 27 percent.
The giving increases have allowed NAMB to expand missionary efforts and increase care for missionaries. In February 2022, NAMB announced that it would provide health care benefits and establish retirement accounts for first-year church planting missionaries through a partnership with Guidestone Financial Services.
“We celebrate this historic milestone knowing it will mean lives are transformed by the Gospel to the glory of God,” said Sandy Wisdom-Martin, executive director and treasurer of Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU). WMU staff and volunteers at the national, state and local church level play a key role in promoting Southern Baptist giving to the offering.
“For 134 years, WMU has been passionate about praying for and supporting our North American missionaries. The wonder of God’s plan is that it continues to unfold throughout eternity and He invites us to join Him. As Christian believers, our mission is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our responsibility lies in choosing how we will become involved in His mission.”
The chair of NAMB’s Board of Trustees, Erin Bounds, called the giving milestone humbling.
“I think about the men and women and even the children who have sacrificed to give to this offering,” said Bounds, a member of North Valley Baptist Church in Odenville, Ala. “They are doing without some things in order to give. That is a humbling truth that guides me and all of our trustees as we do our part to ensure that NAMB’s priority is always to reach the lost and help start evangelistic churches.”
For more information about the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, visit anniearmstrong.com.