ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Trustees of the North American Mission Board (NAMB) gathered Oct. 5-6 to celebrate God’s provision and Southern Baptist faithfulness during a year marked by a pandemic, economic uncertainty and social unrest. Most trustees attended the meeting in person with social distancing at NAMB’s building in Alpharetta while some participated online.
At the group’s Monday evening celebration dinner, NAMB president Kevin Ezell noted that after the COVID-19 virus sent the United States into a lockdown just as most churches normally would raise funds for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, NAMB stopped promoting giving to the offering. But giving continued nonetheless as churches found creative ways to continue to promote and collect the offering.
“But 2020 was the greatest Annie Armstrong Offering in the history of the North American Mission Board,” Ezell said. “It was not the largest. But it was the greatest.”
Reporting a total of $49.3 million given, Ezell said, “The faithfulness of Southern Baptists is absolutely incredible and to me, never demonstrated better than giving almost $50 million in the midst of an unpromoted Annie Armstrong offering in the midst of a pandemic.”
In Tuesday’s full board meeting trustees unanimously passed a $99.8 million operating budget for fiscal year 2021, heard reports from each of the board’s committee chairpersons and recognized outgoing trustees. The budget is almost 20 percent below last year’s budget of $124,230,000. Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, NAMB instituted budgetary freezes and cutbacks designed to keep missionaries on the field.
Larry Robertson, pastor of Hilldale Baptist Church, Clarksville, was recognized for his 10 years of service as a NAMB trustee. Robertson was one of the first missionaries appointed by the newly formed North American Mission Board in the fall of 1997 and served with the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions and the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board before becoming pastor of Hilldale. B&R