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NAMB honors churches among top givers for Annie offering


ORLANDO, Fla. (BP) — Some 400 representatives of churches that gave most sacrificially to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions in 2009 heard directly in mid-June from missionaries about how those monies are being used.

The churches were honored at a luncheon hosted by the North American Mission Board during the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando, Fla.

The yearly Annie Armstrong Easter Offering Celebration Luncheon also honored the top-giving churches and state conventions. North Carolina was the top-giving state to the Annie offering in 2009. Alabama, the No. 2 giver, was also recognized as being the top giver to the Cooperative Program – NAMB’s other primary source of financial support.

Jim Ballard, a Week of Prayer missionary this year, shared how God has used the concept of cowboy churches to extend his ministry to the farms and ranches of eastern Idaho.

“It’s amazing that a western cowboy with the background of our area totally shies away from any brick-and-mortar building with a steeple on it,” Ballard said. “But when churches are started in the arena or barns where they live and work, people respond.”

Ballard also noted how mission trips to pioneer areas can impact churches elsewhere. One member of a mission team from Georgia, he said, stood up at one of the services, held up a quart jar, and said he wanted to take some of the water from a baptistery as an example for his own church back home.

“We have two ladies who are about to split the church over what color carpet we put in,” he said, “... but here people are excited to be on a dirt floor, shivering to sit through a church service and watch people get saved.”