America for Christ Offering

Consider making a generous gift!

Introduction

Dear Mission Partner,

Thanks to your America for Christ (AFC) Offering contributions, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) ministers to families who have lost homes to floods, to children living lives of limitation in poverty, to seminarians preparing to devote their lives to sharing the Good News, and many more. We have been answering God’s call to heal broken families and communities—as well as cultivate strong Christian leaders and equip passionate disciples—since 1832.

The world’s needs today are as great as they were close to two centuries ago. We are extending our ministry by awarding grants to mission partners across the United States and Puerto Rico—partners who are also doing the work of empowering Christian leaders, nurturing disciples and intercultural awareness, and transforming congregations and communities with the healing power of God’s love.

By contributing to the AFC Offering, you increase our capacity to fulfill the biblical mandate in Matthew 22:39: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

In 2019, ABHMS awarded more than $300,000 to ministries carried out by our mission partners. These are just a few examples of the impact our partners are making across our mission field:

In the Cultivating Leaders and Discipleship categories, $8,400 was awarded to the Los Angeles-based Innovative Space for Asian American Christianity (ISAAC) to help fund its “Imagining A More Equal Pulpit” initiative, including a Gender Summit that addressed the challenges faced by women of color in ministry.

In the Healing and Transforming Communities category, $115,000 included support to Heart Reach Neighborhood Ministries, Campbell, Ohio, for the purchase of mattresses above and beyond the 104 already delivered to prevent children and teens from sleeping on the floors, couches and piles of clothing in its three housing developments.

In the Intercultural Ministries category, $15,300 included support to Iglesia Bautista Betesda, Indianapolis, Ind., and its “Walking With the Immigrant” project, which has helped 60 families, including a family that senior pastor the Rev. Jaime Flores and a church brother accompanied to immigration court in Miami, Fla.

On behalf of ABHMS, thank you for your past generous support of our transformational mission. Our ministries—along with the ministries of our mission partners—are making a difference in the lives of so many individuals and families. With your help, we can bring God’s healing touch to so many more.

May we count on your generosity once again?


 With gratitude,
 Dr. Jeffrey Haggray
 Executive Director, ABHMS

A Biblical Reflection: On Being a Good Neighbor

I was born and raised in the city of New York in the borough of Brooklyn—a rather large community filled with neighborhoods. While some of the neighborhoods were diverse, the majority of them were populated by people of similar ethnicities. The intriguing factor was that each neighborhood was representative of people that expressed great value in what we call “being a good neighbor.” This value was exhibited by sharing goods, caring for those that required health assistance, encouraging and motivating young people, protecting individuals from harm and participating in social justice issues.

It is most interesting to note that a person’s neighborhood values often spilled over to other existing neighborhoods in the manner in which we were taught. For us, while there was a separation of neighborhoods, the act of being a good neighbor and hospitality was the premier action any time and in any place. these actions were not new but a carryover from the cultures that most people in the community had brought with them from their place of origin.

The act of being a good neighbor and practicing hospitality is not new. The Harper Bible Dictionary states: “In the ancient Near East, hospitality was the process of ‘receiving’ outsiders and changing them from strangers to guests.” Hospitality, thus, differed from entertaining family and friends. Strangers were not to be entirely ignored—or worse, either physically or socially neglected.

Being a good neighbor is important for healthy living. While some may be struggling with the concept of who is our neighbor, Jesus helps us in the parable of the Good Samaritan, wherein Jesus asks, “Which of these three men was neighbor to the victim?” That question can be interpreted as “To whom can I be a neighbor?” The response is one that emphasizes that “neighbor” has nothing to do with geography, citizenship or race. As followers of Jesus Christ, wherever people need us, there we can be neighbors and, like Jesus Christ, show mercy. Jesus taught that the love of our neighbor must transcend all-natural or human boundaries, such as race, nationality, religion, and economic or educational status.

In some sense, as humans in this current generation, we have lost our sense of practicing what it means to be a good neighbor. The whole world would be a better place if there was a resurgence of the act of and focus on being good neighbors. We must recognize that each person has value and holds the potential for great contributions to this world. Many of the troubling circumstances that we are confronted within our society would improve if people of faith drew together as neighbors and gave life to its meaning. It is a truth that people of good character have an inner strength that, when shared through love of the other, will serve to help those who are struggling to survive the social and economic issues of our times.

We have an opportunity to be good neighbors and make a valuable impact on the present and future human condition. Jesus says, “Go and do thou likewise.” Let each of us accept this as our marching orders and seize each opportunity to do so.

Dr. Clifford I. Johnson
President, Board of Directors
American Baptist Home Mission Societies

Promoting the AFC Offering 2020 in your Church
  1. Gather a team or task force for the America for Christ (AFC) 2020 home mission offering.
  2. Determine a three-month schedule for promotions.
  3. Review the enclosed materials. then visit abhms.org/afc to access the AFC video and other downloadable resources. If you need more printed materials, please call 610.768.2413 to speak with the Development office.
  4. Set a goal to assist American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) in raising $1,000,000 that supports home mission throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Use the goal chart enclosed in this packet, and place in a prominent, high-traffic location that will encourage giving. Gather an AFC offering prayer team and meet once weekly before worship for five minutes of prayer.
  5. Meet with the pastor and/or church’s leadership team to share the promotions schedule.
  6. Incorporate “Mission Moments” into worship. Each Sunday for a month, take three to five minutes during worship to present a Mission Moment, which can include showing the AFC video, reading an insert or allowing testimony from individuals who have volunteered for a home mission team or participated in any other kind of training or workshop.
  7. Invite a home mission staff member as a speaker to your church. Please visit abhms.org/afc to download the speaker-request form, or call the Development office at 610.768.2413.
  8. Involve the children and youth during a Mission Moment. Ask the children and youth to help pick up the offering during worship and distribute AFC bulletin inserts. While inserts can be included in the bulletin, you may, instead, want to highlight them during the Mission Moment, allowing the youth to distribute them to the congregation. Coin boxes previously placed at the front of the church should be picked up immediately following the Mission Moment.
  9. Have fun. Design an AFC Offering 2020 bulletin board. Include materials from the offering packet. allow the children and youth to add to the board additional art that conveys ideas from the “love thy Neighbor” theme.
  10. Record and celebrate your progress. Use a Sunday in March to hold a celebration and to THANK the  congregation for their generous support and for meeting the goal!
  11.  Complete the AFC evaluation form and return it to ABHMS.
Clip Art

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Resources
Obtain physical copies of promotional materials by calling American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ office of Mission Advancement at 610.768.2413
FAQ's
What is the national goal?
American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) is promoting the America for Christ (AFC) Offering 2020, which seeks to raise $1,000,000 to support American Baptist mission and ministry across the United States and Puerto Rico.
What is the AFC 2020 theme?
The theme for the AFC 2020 Offering is “Love Thy Neighbor” based on Matthew 22:39: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
How can I support AFC 2020?
You can give during the congregational offering Sunday at your church, or you can give an individual gift online by visiting abhms.org/afcnow. Also, consider encouraging your congregation’s Mission Committee to include an America for Christ Offering contribution in its annual budget.
How is my gift making a difference?
Your generous AFC gifts support our missionconnecting our partners to cultivate leaders and equip disciples who bring healing and transformation to communities across our nation and Puerto Rico. Your contributions share God’s love by:
  • Cultivating Leaders — Strong leaders advance the mission of faith communities.
  • Equipping Disciples — Broadening the understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
  • Healing Communities — We believe the power of Christian love can—and will—change the world.
How is the AFC offering used?
The offering is distributed in three parts:
  • 59% supports the ministries of ABHMS;
  • 12% supports the offering’s promotional and deputation costs; and
  • 29% supports regional ministries (ABHMS is the only mission board to share its offering with American Baptist Churches USA regions).
Whom do I contact for more materials or if I have a general question?
Contact personnel in ABHMS’ Development office:
  • Kim Wilkins, Development Coordinator, 610.768.2413
  • Vincent Dent, Chief Development Officer, 610.768.2420