2016 Annie Armstrong giving 2nd highest ever at nearly $59 million

Jessica Paskins (center) is one of many baptized at church plants partially supported by the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions. (John Swain/NAMB)The nearly $59 million given to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering in 2016 ranks second highest in the offering's history, the North American Mission Board has announced.

Southern Baptists gave $58,860,553 in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 to the offering named for noted missionary Annie Armstrong, second only to the $59,463,281 given in 2007, NAMB said.

"This is extraordinary in a year when so many of our churches gave above and beyond in response to the special call from our International Mission Board," NAMB President Kevin Ezell wrote in a thank you column to Southern Baptists. "We are humbled by how God has moved once again through Southern Baptists and excited about what this means for our missionaries who serve throughout the United States and Canada."

North Carolina and Alabama Baptists gave the largest amounts this year, collecting $6,058,574 and $5,878,970, respectively, NAMB said.

"We are so grateful for the pastors, state leaders and all Southern Baptists who gave so generously in these states," Ezell said.

The Tennessee Baptist Convention notably made the largest increase in giving to the offering this year, NAMB said, with its total of $4,561,392 coming in at $376,878 more than 2015.

Conventions from other states noted for increased giving are, alphabetically, Arizona, Arkansas, California, the Dakotas, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota-Wisconsin, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, the Northwest Convention, Ohio, South Carolina, the Southern Baptists of Texas, the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

While Southern Baptist churches in the South are closer to effective congregation-to-population ratios, with Mississippi topping the list at one church for 1,395 people, Ezell said the contributions are even more critical in reaching the lost in such states as New Jersey and New York. In those New England states, he said, there is only one Southern Baptist church for every 75,124 and 57,900 people, respectively. In the province of Quebec, Canada, the ratio is one church for every 185,349 people.

"NAMB is rushing resources to non-South areas," he said.

Diana Chandler is Baptist Press' general assignment writer/editor. BP (bpnews.net) reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.

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