By David Johnson, executive director, Arizona Southern Baptist Convention –
Arizona Southern Baptists went beyond all expectations in giving to missions in 2018! Giving to the Cooperative Program and every mission offering increased last year. AZSBC churches gave $3,387,420.62 to missions through the Cooperative Program in 2018, which is an increase of $154,524.99 over the previous year. That represents a 5 percent increase in one year!
Giving to the Arizona Mission Offering also increased dramatically in 2018 to $208,556.61, thanks in part to a special one-time gift from one of our churches, but even without that gift, the offering still took in $2,659.73 more than 2017. Arizona Southern Baptists also expressed their love for international missions in 2018 giving $880,948.22 to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. That is an increase of $134,199.66 over 2017. The Annie Armstrong Offering for missions in North America was also up by $16,475.91 over the year before, totaling $461,631.66 in 2018.
These numbers cannot begin to reflect the impact this generosity makes across our state, around our country, and beyond our borders. These gifts will result in churches being planted, missionaries being sent, pastors being prepared, and people being reached with the good news of Jesus Christ all over the planet. It is powerful when God’s people are united in giving sacrificially to His Kingdom work. That is the essence of cooperation.
I am reminded of what the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:12-13, “For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the proof provided by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedient confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone” (CSB).
Because of the generous giving of Arizona Southern Baptists, people all over the world will be giving thanks to God and glorifying Him when they hear the gospel, go to a new church in their neighborhood, are ministered to in a time of crisis, or are able to attend seminary.
Giving is not a substitute for going, but it is essential to the accomplishment of our mission. In some ways, giving is simply a way to participate in God’s kingdom work beyond what you can do yourself. In that sense, it is another way to go. Arizona Southern Baptists have multiplied that many times over by giving so generously to these mission causes. Only in eternity will we be able to see the full effect of what we give. Way to go, Arizona Southern Baptists!