Can you remember the last time you wrote a hand-written letter? With the advent of email, texts, tweets, and instant messages many of us have lost the art of slowing down and writing a note.
In 1893, Annie Armstrong wrote over 18,000 letters on the behalf of the missionaries of the Southern Baptist Convention. Annie loved the world with the passion of our Lord. Her love for people expressed itself in her “whatever it takes” attitude of getting the word out.
The focus of Southern Baptists across our land has been called to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions. The national goal stands at $70 million. The “Whatever It Takes” theme of this year’s offering challenges one and all to do their very best to get the good news of Jesus to North America.
This week my dad and I made a pilgrimage to Phoenix to participate in the annual rite of spring—“Major League Baseball Spring Training.” When we arrived at our first game an afternoon contest between the American League defending champion Texas Rangers and the Milwaukee Brewers I felt like a wide-eyed kid going to his first ballgame.
One of the first things that caught my attention was how far the faithful had traveled to see the favorite team. Having living in Milwaukee, I knew it was another world from Phoenix, yet the Brew crew fans filled the stands and rocked the stadium when the Brewers took the lead for good. It felt like being in Milwaukee all over again.
The following afternoon we followed the Rangers to an afternoon contest at Hohokam stadium the spring home of the Chicago Cubs. I felt like I had been transported to Chicago’s Wrigley Field. The Cub fans swallowed us up in their midst with their Midwestern accents, and thirst for beer.
The next afternoon, we traveled to Goodyear Park the home of the Cleveland Indians to watch the ballgame between the Indians and the San Francisco Giants. When we found our seats behind home plate Giant fans engulfed us and I had the strange sensation that I was sitting at AT&T Park on the Pacific coast line. In the course of three afternoons we witnessed the spring rite of baseball and we transported to three different worlds.
North America stands as a land of contrasts. The people of North America create an amazing tapestry of beauty and wonder. To reach North America with the gospel will take all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people.
The mission strategy emerging from the leadership of the North American Mission Board revolves around and centers on church planting. To make this dream reality we all need to pray for God to called and equip church planters for the task. We need healthy churches will to sponsor these new works. We desperately need the winds of the Spirit to blow afresh over our land. Indeed, we need a “whatever it takes” attitude to win the day.