FIRST-PERSON: Go beyond
EDITOR'S NOTE: Kevin Ezell is president of the North American Mission Board.
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- Have you noticed that God does not settle for the status quo? There is no place in the Bible where He says, "There, that's good enough. You can take a break now." Even nature, which He created, is constantly shifting, changing and moving in order to keep the balance He intended.
God is always pushing us forward. He calls us closer in our walk with Him. He sends us out to tell people about Him. This is His nature.
I love to hear about our missionaries who are always pushing forward as well. They are starting new churches, connecting with new people and finding ways to meet needs so that in the process a conversation can turn toward the Gospel.
We must guard against a tendency of our human nature to be satisfied with things the way they are. No church should ever say, "That's it, we have reached enough people." And until God calls us home, no believer should ever say it either.
The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering is one way each year our Southern Baptist family says, "We will move forward." Between now and Easter Sunday, thousands of Southern Baptist churches will take up the Annie Offering. Others will give to an offering for North American missions at different times. Either way, everything designated to the Annie Offering is focused on reaching people in North America for Christ. Every dollar given goes to support missionaries who are on the field, working every day to share Jesus and give people greater access to the Gospel.
In Maine, the U.S. state with the third-lowest average weekly church attendance, missionary Dan Coleman started a church three years ago that is now attended by 1,200 people each week. In Jacksonville, Fla., missionary Kim Carr is seeing refugees from several different ethnic backgrounds embrace Jesus as Lord after first building a relationship with them through English and citizenship classes. At Washington State University in Pullman, missionary Jacob Dahl is impacting future generations of leaders by bringing students to Christ and discipling them.
When you give to the Annie Offering you have a direct impact in these places and in ministries like these throughout the United States and Canada. In addition, as we start strong, new evangelistic churches here in North America, they will raise up missionaries and resources to support the work of the International Mission Board as it reaches all over the world.
Each church and every believer has their own personal role to play in the Great Commission which cannot be fulfilled solely by giving money. Let's not settle for the spiritual status quo in North America. By giving to the Annie Offering, Southern Baptists will make a greater impact that goes far beyond what any of us could do alone.