Alabama Baptists continue to put heart, resources behind AAEO

Alabama Baptists continue to put heart, resources behind AAEO

By Grace Thornton
The Alabama Baptist

Just one more.

That’s what Pastor Ryan Whitley says CrossPoint Church, Trussville, is all about. Ask any CrossPoint member, and he or she will tell you that the church “exists to glorify God by reaching just one more to become a fully devoted follower of Jesus,” Whitley said.

That vision is what led more than 500 CrossPoint members to participate in missions in 2017. They dug wells. They built buildings. They taught Vacation Bible School.

And as they participated more, they gave more, all in an effort to reach just one more, Whitley said. The church was Alabama’s highest giver to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering (AAEO) in 2017, donating more than $164,000.

Strong givers

Their focus and generosity is a good example of how Alabama Baptists have put their heart and resources behind the offering for decades, said Candace McIntosh, executive director of Alabama Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU).

“Alabama Baptists are a faithful people who understand God’s heart for the lost and the need to be about His work,” she said. “I think because of this Alabama Baptists have been stronger givers through our missions offerings including the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. They understand the need not only to go into all the world but to support His work here in North America through our prayers, through giving and through sharing the gospel.”

The AAEO — which goes to fund missions efforts in the United States, Canada and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa — was named in Armstrong’s honor in 1934.

Armstrong, the first corresponding secretary (executive director) of national WMU, developed a heart for missions while growing up in Baltimore, Maryland. She later helped plant churches there, and she reached out to people living in poverty and battling addictions.

Today, every penny of the offering named after her goes to further her life’s passion — sharing the gospel through church plants and compassion ministries.

The offering, combined with funds given through the Cooperative Program, funds more than 5,000 North American Mission Board (NAMB) missionaries and more than 3,800 chaplains who serve in places where the gospel is often not welcome.

It’s a big task they face — 269 million people in North America are living without a relationship with Jesus.

But Jay Wolf, pastor of First Baptist Church, Montgomery, called the missions offering the “vital financial fuel to propel God’s missions work in North America.”

“Jesus told us to start our witnessing efforts in our Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, which is equivalent to sharing the love and light of Christ in Alabama, in the Southeast and in the United States,” said Wolf, whose church was the second highest giver in the state to the AAEO offering in 2017, donating more than $162,000. “Our partners at NAMB do a tremendous job in coordinating church planting in areas that have a minimal gospel witness. We believe that the Annie Armstrong offering is being used by the Lord to make a tremendous earthly and eternal difference.”

First, Montgomery, stays plugged in to that mission by telling the stories of church planters on a regular basis. In addition to giving to the offering, the church supports 16 church planters ranging from Miami, Florida, to Anchorage, Alaska.

“We connected with these missions entrepreneurs because they were on the NAMB team,” Wolf said. “We tell the story of these church planters and how God is using their efforts to build His kingdom.”

That puts a face on missions for the people of First, Montgomery, he said. “Our people pray sincerely, go readily and give generously to further this Christ-honoring work of sharing the gospel with our neighbors in North America.”

Put a face on missions

Church leaders across Alabama can put a face on missions for their congregations by using the video stories available on the website.

You can access video stories like that of Travis and Jenna Whittaker, who have baptized more than 50 people at their church plant in Detroit, or of Heiden and Neena Ratner, who have baptized more than 30 people at their Las Vegas-area church and started two new church plants.

You also can find information about resources from offering envelopes to promotional posters and sermon outlines on the website.

For more information or resources to help your church promote the AAEO, visit