Annie Armstrong Easter Offering

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.

James and Natarsha Roberson

Week of Prayer - Day 2

Brooklyn, New York

The Bridge Church in Brooklyn, New York, has incredible diversity and creative talent, which means every day brings new challenges for NAMB church planters James and Natarsha Roberson.

“In this city, people have all types of belief and all types of lifestyles,” said James, pastor of The Bridge Church. “The goal can’t be to just gather a bunch of people who are going to come on Sunday and be in the building. We had to embrace that some will take 7–10 years to come to faith.”

The city presents an interesting ministry environment, and The Bridge Church reflects that. About 75 percent of the church’s 125 or so attendees are single adults in their mid-20s, a comfortable demographic for James, whose background includes many years in college ministry. Most are natives of Brooklyn but grandchildren of immigrants, so ethnically they identify closely with Caribbean, Latino, and Anglo communities that came to America with a strong faith foundation. The problem is that many of their grandparents’ churches worship in their native language rather than English.

A Plentiful Harvest

Week of Prayer Day 1

In Acts 8, we find Philip proclaiming Christ to the lost people of Samaria—a place full of evil. The crowds listened to Philip’s words “with one accord,” and the Holy Spirit broke through the darkness. People were delivered from unclean spirits. They were healed from illness. Even Simon the magician turned to Jesus and was baptized, though there are questions about his sincerity. The Spirit of God swept through Samaria, and Scripture says there was “great joy in that city.” It was a victory for Christ and His kingdom.

The vast missions field of North America is just as dark as long-ago Samaria. Terrible violence and sexual perversion are regular topics on the news. Broken relationships and poverty fragment families. Long the voice of hope in our communities, churches are losing their influence. Approximately 75 percent of Southern Baptist churches in America are plateaued or declining. Many are closing. On average, 17 Southern Baptist churches shut their doors for good every Sunday, leaving underserved and unreached neighborhoods in cities across North America.

How can we respond? Prayer should be at the top of our list.

Engaging, Cultivating, and Investing

theme for 2017 annie armstong easter offering

Reaching the Unchurched in North America

By Carrie Brown McWhorter

The word cooperation suggests an attitude of unity, a sense of harmony and teamwork. “Together for His Kingdom,” this year’s theme for the Week of Prayer for North American Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, emphasizes the cooperative mission of Southern Baptists to pray for missionaries, give to support their work, and go to further the gospel.

The North American Mission Board (NAMB) estimates 259 million people in the United States and Canada do not have a personal relationship with Jesus. Researchers are finding a growing spiritual apathy among the unchurched. A June 2016 study by LifeWay Research found that few think about what happens after they die and only a third of respondents said they would go to a worship service, even if invited by a friend.

If the unchurched are willing to visit a service, there might not be a church trying to reach them. According to NAMB, only one Southern Baptist congregation exists for every 6,828 people in North America.

Teaching Preschoolers to Help Others and to Give

child on bike

During the months of March and April, Southern Baptists will focus on giving to North American missions through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. We will focus on praying for North American missions during the Week of Prayer, March 5–12. For Mission Friends®, our March unit will serve as the North American Mission Study.

Our focus on North American missions provides a natural opportunity for Mission Friends leaders to teach preschoolers that we are never too young to be on mission with God! Two resources that can deepen your preschoolers’ understanding of the missional lifestyle are I Can Give  and I Can Do It! 

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