America for Christ Offering

Consider making a generous gift!

Thanks to America for Christ (AFC) Offering contributions, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) supported communities distressed by the devastation of COVID-19 last year, as the pandemic swept our country and Puerto Rico. We also helped families who lost homes to floods, wildfires and storms, along with children living on the edge because of poverty, and seminarians preparing to devote their lives to sharing the Good News. These are just a few of the ways we minister to those in need; there are many more. 

Please help us continue to bring healing and hope to communities, families, children and Jesus’ disciples in 2021 by supporting this year’s America for Christ Offering.

Mission Moments:

Listen to this testimonial of transformation made possible by the America for Christ Offering; Share with your congregation.

Listen To Lauren’s Story

Lauren Williams
Recipient, Daniel E. Weiss Scholarship Recipient

Catch Up On Corey’s Story

Corey Hughes
Program Director,
Camp Arrah Wanna

Watch Rev. Aline’s Story

Rev. Aline Sylva
Creature Kind

Take a Look at Tony’s Story

Tony Gapastione
BraveMaker

Tune In to Pastor Reed’s Story

Pastor Reed Webster
Cedar Hills Baptist Church

Listen to Rev. Melanie’s Story

Rev. Melanie Mar Chow
Asian American Christian Fellowship

Downloadable Leader’s Guide Resources :

Obtain physical copies of promotional materials by calling American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ office of Development (610.768.2413)

More Resources:

Introduction

Dear Mission Partner,

Thanks to your America for Christ (AFC) Offering contributions, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) supported communities distressed by the devastation of COVID-19 last year, as the pandemic swept our country and Puerto Rico. We helped families who lost homes to floods, wildfires and storms, along with children living on the edge because of poverty, and seminarians preparing to devote their lives to sharing the Good News. These are just a few of the ways we minister to those in need; there are 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. By awarding grants to mission partners also doing the work of healing broken families and communities with the healing power of God’s love, we increase the numbers of those in need who receive support across the United States and Puerto Rico, at the same time increasing the impact of your AFC gifts.

So, when you contribute to AFC, you increase our capacity to fulfill the biblical mandate in Ephesians 4:11-13: “Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service.”

Our America for Christ Offering 2021 campaign—“For the Purpose of Equipping Saints,” based on Ephesians 4:11-13—focuses on our discipleship and leadership empowerment ministries, which nurture the faithful followers who find their call and life’s work as the hands and feet of Christ.

ABHMS’ Discipleship Ministries sends more than 5,000 Discipleship and Christian Education Guides to regions, churches and individuals annually and provides 62 Church Life and Leadership workshops in English, Spanish, French and Karen, available for download at abhms.org. On average, more than 1,000 Bible studies—ranging in subjects from stewardship and eco-justice to children in poverty—are distributed each year, and, in 2019, several hundred American Baptists attended discipleship workshops addressing the church’s viability in these changing times.

Our Leadership Empowerment work in 2019 broadened a three-year Lilly Endowment grant focused on fostering clergy financial literacy, health and wholeness. More than 35 ministry partners and ABHMS staff were trained to integrate a related toolkit—adaptable for native populations, speakers of languages other than English and people living with disabilities—into a variety of congregational and community ministries.

Chaplaincy, Pastoral Counseling and Specialized Ministries developed a three-phase plan to strengthen connections of its ministry professionals as they combat denominational isolation.

And a two-year integrative program for missional entrepreneurs, Co-Creators Incubator, was launched last year. The inaugural cohort fostered a spirit of collegiality and collaboration among six entrepreneurs creating innovative ministries in the name of Jesus, while providing resources to enhance their ministries. Each received a $3,000 seed grant, hands-on training at two summits in King of Prussia, Pa., mentorship from an interdisciplinary team and monthly virtual meetings with experts to help their ventures flourish and grow.

On behalf of American Baptist Home Mission Societies, 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

Like many other children around the nation, my 8-year-old daughter is attending second grade virtually this fall because of the global pandemic. While this presents many challenges for her and for me, one upside is that I get a more thorough understanding of the gifts of her teacher and classmates, as I eavesdrop on their instructional interactions.

Sometimes these interactions are hilarious, like the Monday when I heard her classmate complain about the unfairness of having five days during the week and only two days for the weekend. At other times, their conversations alert me to matters more poignant than funny. Last week, I heard the teacher explaining a math lesson on place value with the following words: “Even if your classmate is in another room, they’re still a member of this class.” It is so clear to second graders: Belonging isn’t geographically bound.

Questions of belonging and geography were among the most salient matters for the early Christian community. In that instance, members were not in different rooms or even in different homes; they were in different countries and of different nationalities, language and cultural groups, and ethnicities. Yet God had made these disparate and disconnected people one holy community, one people and one body, through the grace and love of Jesus Christ exemplified in the cross. The letter to the Ephesians proclaims this cosmic reality, challenging the church then and now to live up to its meaning and to walk worthy of this high calling.

Further, Ephesians declares that the Creator of the cosmos, the Giver of life itself, has brought us redemption and has given us belonging in the body of Christ. And within that body, the Giver has placed particular charisms embodied in apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers, who equip the saints for the work of ministry and acts of service that build up the body, so that the community can be whole and growing. Ultimately, when the body of Christ functions as it ought, every part of the body nurtures and nourishes every other part. All of us—whatever kind of cell we are, in whatever part of the body we reside—build up and grow up until we reach the full measure of Christ’s maturity.

Throughout the New Testament, we learn that the earliest Christian congregations expressed their connectedness and community by means of mutual aid. The local church assisted individuals in need and so built the connection. Scattered congregations in one region assisted congregations in crisis in other regions and so strengthened the sense that there is one universal church, one body in Christ.

Through our gifts today, in a time of crisis and division, we, too, exhibit this core value. Mirroring the grace of the One who has called us to live lives filled with gratitude, we extend generosity and love in material and tangible ways to signify the common spiritual bond we enjoy. We incarnate the proclamation that we are one. We are in different rooms but no less a part of the same household—members, indeed, of the same body.

The Rev. Dr. Leslie D. Callahan is pastor of St. Paul’s Baptist Church, Philadelphia.

Promoting the AFC Offering 2021 in your Church
  1. Gather a team or task force for the America for Christ (AFC) 2021 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 conact Kim Wilkins at [email protected] or 610.768.2413. The videos will be available at abhms.org after Jan. 1, 2021.
  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. The updates can include showing the AFC videos, 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. The videos will be available at abhms.org after Jan. 1, 2021.
  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 children and youth during a Mission Moment. Ask them 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.
  9. Have fun. Design an AFC Offering 2021 bulletin board. Include materials from the offering packet. Allow the children and youth to add art that conveys ideas from the “For the Purpose of Equipping Saints” 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 (pages 11-12) and return it to American Baptist Home Mission Societies.

Clip Art

For individual images, click the image above and when the full resolution version loads, right-click and select “Save Image as.”

FAQs

What is the national goal?

American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) is promoting the America for Christ (AFC) Offering 2021, 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 2021 theme?

The theme for the AFC 2021 Offering is “For the Purpose of Equipping Saints,” based on Ephesians 4:11-13: “The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry.”

How can I support AFC 2021?

You can give during the congregational offering Sunday at your church, or you can give an individual gift online by visiting abhms.org/AFC now. 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 mission—connecting our partners to cultivate leaders and equip disciples who bring healing and transformation to communities acrossour 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
  • Monique Sadler-Taylor, Director of the Annual Fund and Major Gifts, 610.768.2410

Where do I find the electronic versions of AFC 2021 materials to download?

Visit abhms.org/AFC for downloadable items and the opportunity to show the videos directly from the Internet (available after Jan. 1, 2021).

Mission Moments:

America for Christ Offering Videos

The online videos can be used during a “Mission Moment” in worship or in a small group setting to illustrate how America for Christ Offering contributions impact and transform lives across America and Puerto Rico. Go to abhms.org/AFC to download the videos (available after Jan. 1, 2021).

Evaluation form:

Your comments are taken seriously as we plan for succeeding years. Feedback is appreciated!

Please Note

The America for Christ Offering coin box was not produced for the 2021 offering as a cost-saving measure. If the coin box has been an important part of your Offering promotion, please be sure to indicate that on the evaluation form, so we can take that into consideration as we plan next year’s resources.