Week of Prayer for North American Missions

Missionary Spotlight Update: Week of Prayer for North American Missions missionaries

It’s in our DNA as Southern Baptists to pull together as a community of believers and spread the gospel.

In the 1880s, Annie Armstrong pioneered the Maryland Mission Rooms, a missions literature library that detailed and circulated information regarding vital needs on the missions field. Armstrong called for women’s groups throughout the United States to pool their “egg money” and prayers for missions. Women knew that by combining their efforts, they could make an impact.

It might be 2018, but the goal remains the same. The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering enables North American missionaries to plant new churches, care for those in the community, and reach the lost all across the United States, Canada, and their territories. It is one of the most unique cooperative offerings in that 100% of the gifts go to support and equip missionaries.

On Mission: Here and Now in North America

Each year, your gifts to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering help support more than 5,000 missionaries and more than 3,800 chaplains throughout the United States and Canada who are sharing the gospel in some very tough places.

This year’s theme is On Mission: Here and Now. For North American missionaries, “here and now” is their missions field. For each of us, “here and now” is a challenge to live a missional life wherever God has planted us.

This year’s official date for the Week of Prayer and Mission Study for North American Missions is March 4–11. However, the prayer guide and other materials are not dated, so your church can choose any week during the Easter season to participate.

Promote the offering and the week of prayer this year by using the promotion ideas guide or one of these suggestions:

Week of Prayer for North American Missions 2018

The Week of Prayer for North American Missions is nearly upon us! Starting on Sunday, March 4, 2018, Southern Baptists from all over will be specifically praying for various missionary efforts and the folks who oversee them here at home. From church planting to disaster relief and everything in-between, North American missionaries are continually on the lookout for ways to fulfill the Great Commission.

It may be difficult for some of us to think that missionary work needs to be done here at home. But as current trends of church decline and globalization of United States cities persist, missionary efforts here at home have perhaps never been needed more than they are now. In years past, to carry the message of Jesus Christ to different cultures and languages meant traveling the vast seas to parts unknown. Today, it means walking down the street to your neighbor's house! The world has come to our cities and states, and it's our job as believers to offer them a hand of friendship and the way of everlasting life through the life and love of Jesus.

All Things Big and Small

When I think of missions, my first thought is a big trip taken overseas. I think of going to Africa or Asia, eating strange new foods, forging new relationships and working hard, and meeting the needs of people who have never heard of Jesus.

Then I look around me and realize there are people right outside my front door who have never heard of Jesus. I realize that anywhere I am is a missions field if I’ll just let God use me as a missionary.

It’s hard to remember that we are called to be missionaries as soon as we accept Jesus into our hearts. It’s hard to be intentional about sharing His love with others as we go about our sometimes mundane day-to-day tasks.

We don’t have to pack a giant backpack and head to Africa in order to be missionaries. In fact, there are over 269 million lost people in North America, so we need to consider taking off our giant backpacks and reaching out to our many neighbors who are lost.

If you’re wondering how you can help all of those lost people, start with prayer. Prayer is powerful and intentional and miraculous. You are doing amazing things when you pray.

Day 8 - Together for the Kingdom

Day 8 Week of Prayer

When Philip preached in Samaria, crowds of people saw God’s power and believed in Jesus. Lives were changed because Philip was obedient. Later in Acts 8, Philip had a divine encounter with an Ethiopian eunuch and another life was changed because of Philip’s obedience to God’s call to go.

Like millions of people across North America, the eunuch had knowledge of the Scripture but no understanding. When Philip explained the good news of Jesus, the eunuch believed and was baptized. He returned to his homeland full of joy, the bearer of a life-changing message.

Imagine what will happen when Southern Baptists across North America—everyday people like you and me—obey the call to pray, give, and go. When we work together and embrace the missionary call to bear that same life-changing message of the gospel to communities and cities across North America, lives are changed and joy results.

Day 7 - Dan and Amanda Coleman

Day 7 Week of Prayers

Augusta, Maine

At community events in Augusta, Maine, the green shirts of Kennebec Community Church draw attention, exactly the reaction Dan and Amanda Coleman want.

“When someone sees the green shirt, they know it is us,” said Amanda. “They see us out there loving on people and taking our mission seriously.”

In their role as North American Mission Board church-planting catalysts, the Colemans have helped their congregation grow from 70 members to more than 900 by establishing a presence in the community and consistently showing up to meet needs. People sometimes refer to Kennebec as “the church who is always doing free stuff for kids,” but the result of that outreach is a thriving ministry to families with children and teens.

Reaching the lost in Maine is not an easy task. In national surveys, Maine consistently ranks as one of the least religious states in the United States. Few people in the state grew up attending church and most have no knowledge of the gospel or Jesus, Amanda said. In Augusta, that sad statistic is changing one family at a time.

Day 6 - Kelly and Brandi Parrish

Day 6 Week of Prayer

Fort Collins, Colorado

The beauty of the Rocky Mountains inspires awe and reverence, but few in northern Colorado know the Creator responsible for the majesty. Church planters Kelly and Brandi Parrish hope to introduce them.

“People in Colorado are highly connected to nature, but they don’t know Jesus,” said Kelly, who pastors Living Rock Church in Fort Collins, located about an hour north of Denver. Home to Colorado State University, Fort Collins is the fourth fastest-  growing community in Colorado. The tech industry draws workers from all over the United States and Asia. The people are highly educated, well off financially, and very independent.

“Tolerance is big,” said Kelly. “The mind-set is ‘You believe what you want to believe; I’ll believe what I want to believe.’ Rarely will people bring up God.”

Jacob and Jessica Dahl

Week of Prayer Day 5

Ellensburg, Washington

When they encounter college students who are cynical about church, North American Mission Board church planters Jacob and Jessica Dahl are not surprised. In fact, they see themselves in those students.

Jessica spent her first two years of college at Washington State University (WSU) believing a career in journalism was her future. An engineering major, Jacob was just as determined to pursue financial and career success. Both surrendered to the Lord during their college years and found authentic Christian community at Resonate Church, a gathering that launched in 2007 with the goal of reaching college students for Christ.

The Dahls met in 2009, graduated soon after, and joined Resonate Church as interns. Both had the idea that God could have a year or two of their lives before they entered the professional world.

“Neither of us saw this as long term,” Jessica said. “We were still telling God, ‘You can have some of our lives, but not all of it.’ ”

Kim and Ron Carr

Week of Prayer Day 4

Jacksonville, Florida

The large refugee population of Jacksonville, Florida, creates a high demand for English as a second language (ESL) programs. The International Learning Center (ILC) led by NAMB Send Relief–ILC national director Kim Carr meets that need daily by investing in the lives of those displaced from their home countries by poverty, war, and persecution.

Carr and her husband, Ron, founded the ministry in 2000, and they officially opened the ILC in 2003. Since then, they have enrolled over 5000 ESL learners representing 108 countries. Often, ILC students have worked as professionals in their home countries yet find few job opportunities in the United States. To help this situation, ILC programs focus on English language acquisition, reading, workplace skills, citizenship classes, and youth tutoring. The ILC’s focus on family is important.

Garth and Patty Leno

Week of Prayer Day 3

Windsor, Ontario

We Love Windsor is an annual three-day event in Windsor, Ontario. Last year, members of The Gathering stood near the warehouse where the church meets and distributed water and soft drinks at one of the busiest intersections in the city. The simple act of kindness is just one of the ways Garth and Patty Leno, church planters with the North American Mission Board, and their church, The Gathering Windsor, seek to engage the largely unchurched population of Ontario’s 10th largest city.

“We try to take advantage of existing opportunities and create some of our own,” said Garth Leno, pastor of The Gathering Windsor. “Every chance we get, we throw a party.”

The Gathering’s first birthday barbecue in May 2015 was an especially popular event, drawing a packed house of 350 people. The celebration included testimonies, baptisms, and afterward, carnival games and food. The first birthday party was so successful, the church did it again in 2016 and attracted an even larger crowd.


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