By Kevin Ezell
President, North American Mission Board
Southern Baptists work together for one primary reason: to fulfill the Great Commission. For decades now, we have cooperated in that shared, sacred effort to reach the nations with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our society has seemingly been coming apart at the seams over the last few years, and the sharp divisions provide us an opportunity to display something radical to a lost and dying world. We have the chance to be united in ways that testify to the extraordinary power of the gospel.
While we don’t always agree on every small detail of theology or missional strategy, we do agree that North America — and the world — has one great need: to repent of sin and believe in the Savior who redeems and restores all things.
Despite our disagreements, what if we rallied with even greater fervor to unite around the priorities of evangelism, church planting and compassion ministry?
Last year, Southern Baptists demonstrated their desire to make the gospel mission the priority when they gave a record $66.5 million to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions, and I believe we can raise the bar even higher this year and hit our goal of $70 million.
At NAMB, we strive to be the best stewards of the resources Southern Baptists entrust us with by coming alongside churches to plant churches that wholeheartedly affirm our shared statement of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
Our missionaries are serving in difficult places where the gospel influence is small. North American culture is moving further and further from biblical truth and the way of Jesus. Now is not the time to focus on what divides us or shrink away from the mission of reaching those who desperately need the gospel.
We need to pray Paul’s prayer from Romans 15 and ask for the ability “to live in harmony with one another, according to Christ Jesus.” The results of our unifying around Jesus will allow us to “glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with one mind and one voice,” as Paul continued in that passage.
We need more churches to raise up missionaries who will plant churches in big cities, small towns and everywhere in between, places where there is not a strong, gospel witness. We need more churches and missionaries to engage the needs in their communities and present the eternal hope of the gospel.
Our evangelism team aims to stir the fire for evangelism across our entire faith family. By providing resources, hosting rallies and trainings in local churches and working with state conventions, local associations and churches, we have been seeing more Southern Baptists prioritize evangelism in their ministries.
When you give, you help us fulfill our purpose of helping Southern Baptists reach North America for Christ. My hope and my prayer is that we may stay united in that mission so more people can hear the gospel and give their lives to following Jesus as we make disciples.
We need each other, and the North American Mission Board needs more churches, not just to give to the Annie Offering, but to pray for and encourage their missionaries. We need more people from the pews to engage the mission directly and get involved in sharing the gospel in their communities.
Maybe, as you read this, the Lord is even leading you and your family to start a church in a neighborhood that does not have a solid, gospel witness. Would you heed the call and be united in the mission of reaching the nations with the gospel?
We are united together for the sake of the gospel, to make Jesus known to those who have yet to respond in faith. We cannot do this without you.
So, as you give and share about the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering during this season, let me say, “Thank you.” B&R