2014 Annie Armstrong
The North American Missions Emphasis is a time to nurture in Southern Baptists an awareness of and sensitivity to the need to penetrate lostness among all people in North America. It is also a time to encourage Christians to be intentionally active in sharing the Gospel with their families, friends, and communities. During the emphasis, churches and individuals also increase awareness of and participation in giving to North American missions efforts through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering®, 100 percent of which goes directly to the mission field that is the United States, Canada, and their territories.
Southern Baptists are structured to be on mission together to reach all people. We pool our resources through the Cooperative Program and missions offerings, creating a dynamic synergy that makes our efforts on all levels stronger than they could ever be if we worked alone. Through the North American Mission Board, Southern Baptists are affirming God’s call in the lives of our missionaries, sending them out strategically to share His message, and supporting them through our prayers and financial gifts.
In the passage below, Jesus tells the parable of the sower. The sower spreads the seed intentionally and generously upon many types of soil, and each type yields unique results.
The seeds falling on the path represent those who hear the Gospel but dismiss it straight away—because of the “evil one’s” influence.
The seeds falling on the rocks represent those who hear the Gospel but only accept it shallowly—when the going gets rough their Gospel foundation shifts and crumbles.
The seeds falling among thorns represent those who hear the Gospel and take it to heart, but allow worldly concerns to choke it. They let circumstances rather than convictions determine their faith. They hear but do not heed.
The seeds falling on good soil represent those who hear and truly understand the Gospel, and they bear much fruit. The seed flourishes and thrives and yields a large harvest.
As Southern Baptists, we are all partners in sowing the seeds and firmly planting the Gospel throughout North America. NAMB missionaries are involved in planting churches dedicated to ensuring that those who hear the good news of Jesus Christ are firmly planted in the Gospel and are bearing fruit.
The call to sow seeds is a call we all share, but we can’t sow seeds sitting in the comfort of our homes or churches. We must sow individually and collectively with intentionality, and that means getting our hands dirty for the Kingdom. We don’t sow only once, and we don’t choose only the choicest soils. We sow generously and widely.
Support our missionaries and our church plants with your intentional partnership. Make sure you are firmly planted so you can help others be the same.
A quote from Charles Spurgeon gives special insight to the parable message:
The preacher of the Gospel is like the sower. He does not make his seed; it is given him by his divine Master. No man could create the smallest grain that ever grew upon the earth, much less the celestial seed of eternal life. The minister goes to his Master in secret, and asks him to teach him his Gospel, and thus he fills his basket with the good seed of the kingdom. He then goes forth in his Master's name and scatters precious truth. If he knew where the best soil was to be found, perhaps he might limit himself to that which had been prepared by the plough of conviction; but not knowing men's hearts, it is his business to preach the Gospel to every creature—to throw a handful on the hardened heart, and another on the mind which is overgrown with the cares and pleasures of the world. He has to leave the seed in the care of the Lord who gave it to him, for he is not responsible for the harvest, he is only accountable for the care and industry with which he does his work. If no single ear should ever make glad the reaper, the sower will be rewarded by His Master if he had planted the right seed with careful hand. —Charles Spurgeon (see www.spurgeon.org/misc/sower.htm)
Then He told them many things in parables, saying: “Consider the sower who went out to sow. As he was sowing, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on rocky ground, where there wasn’t much soil, and they sprang up quickly since the soil wasn’t deep. But when the sun came up they were scorched, and since they had no root, they withered. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them. Still others fell on good ground and produced a crop: some 100, some 60, and some 30 times what was sown. Anyone who has ears should listen! … You, then, listen to the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word about the kingdom and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the one sown along the path. And the one sown on rocky ground—this is one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. Yet he has no root in himself, but is short-lived. When pressure or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now the one sown among the thorns—this is one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and the seduction of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But the one sown on the good ground—this is one who hears and understands the word, who does bear fruit and yields: some 100, some 60, some 30 times what was sown” —Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23 (HSCB).
Scott is a church planter and pastor of Lakepointe Church near Detroit.
Pray for continued growth, as we have seen 25 percent growth each year since 2010.
Pray that we reach the harvest and see more lives transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Ara is a church planter and pastor of Armenian Fellowship of Burbank, reaching Armenian and Farsi-speaking people.
Pray for our church to grow spiritually.
Pray that the Armenian Fellowship Church of Burbank can start more churches to reach Armenian and Farsi-speaking people in California.
Pray for our new refugees to overcome the challenges they face through faith in Jesus. Help our church be a family to them. Pray for protection of our family against spiritual warfare.
Patrick is church planter and pastor of Kingdom Covenant Baptist Church and works with the Florida Baptist Convention's Urban Impact Ministries Team.
The Homestead/Miami area in general is a very unique area because of the great amount of cultural diversity. It is our prayer and hope that God will continue to open doors for relationships and Gospel presentation.
Pray for my family and our spiritual growth on our journey as church-planting missionaries.
Andrew is a church planter and the executive director and pastor of Graffiti 2 Church and Community Ministries.
Pray for children, teens, young adults and parents who participate in the after-school program. Pray that as needs are met God will draw them to himself through the power of the Gospel.
Pray for disciples within Graffiti 2 Church to be revolutionized revolutionaries ... or in other words, disciples that make disciples.
Pray for Graffiti 2 Community Ministries to make meaningful connections with businesses as we endeavor to create a workforce development program.
Pray for Graffiti 2 as we seek to identify, equip and coach individuals called to ministry-based church-planting and church revitalization in communities of need.
Pray for Graffiti 2 Church as we take initial steps to plant a church in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx while ministering to those within that neighborhood affected by human exploitation.
Lucas is a church planter and pastor of Encounter Church outside Montréal, Canada. His church focuses on reaching students at Bishops University and Champlain College.
Pray for a transformed community on our campus and in our city…only in the way that is made possible through the moving and leading of the Holy Spirit.
Pray for the salvation of the many students we interact with on a regular basis (namely the Tuesday night dinner).
Pray that as we lose leaders due to the natural transient nature of student ministry, we would equip and send new ones to serve in this capacity.
Jose is a church planter and pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista Cambridge.
Pray for the Lord to confirm the calling for ministry in the lives of several leaders already seeking their place in the Kingdom.
Pray for physical and spiritual strength in the battle, cause the enemy is not happy, and his attacks are more frequent and more furious as we advance.
Pray for wisdom and unity as we grow in numbers.
Growing the next generation of missionaries
Having enough missionaries to support Southern Baptists’ efforts to impact lostness in North America will require intentionality in developing the next generation of missionaries. NAMB’s farm system provides a way to identify individuals who sense God’s call to ministry and an opportunity for them to get hands-on experience and training with practiced church planters and pastors as student missionaries, interns and apprentices.
Sowing seeds in your backyard and beyond
Who are the people in your own backyard who need to hear the Gospel and be discipled?
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