America for Christ Offering
Consider making a generous gift!
Dear Mission Partner,
For American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS), equipping disciples entails supporting and enabling highly motivated Christian disciple-makers who are delivering the Good News of Jesus Christ and producing life-saving and life-giving change in individuals and congregations across the United States and Puerto Rico.
The theme for the America for Christ (AFC) Offering 2018 is “Equipping Disciples,” informed by this biblical text: “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, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13, NRSV).
ABHMS works to broaden our understanding of what it means to follow Jesus in word and deed for the 21st century, and to nurture discipleship by expanding our network of highly motivated change-agents who share the Good News and impact the world with God’s love. In this way, we encourage authentic Christian discipleship in which the fullness of the Gospel—in its personal and social implications—are manifested in individuals living Jesus’ message, involved in their communities and carrying out God’s call in their lives.
As you contribute to AFC, you enable ABHMS to provide high-quality Christian resources and encouragement to our network of disciple-makers, thereby improving their effectiveness in equipping other Christians. Our Equipping Disciples team facilitates virtual communities and networks of American Baptists engaged in discipleship for mutual support and enrichment.
Additional resources offered by the team support church transformation, evangelism, Workshops for Church Life and Leadership, the Discipleship & Christian Education Guide and The Christian Citizen magazine. Discipleship materials are available from Judson Press, ABHMS’ publishing ministry, on topics ranging from Christian living, Christian education, church leadership and Bible study to preaching, pastoral ministry and Baptist heritage.
Please give generously to the America for Christ Offering 2018.
With gratitude for your generosity,
Dr. Jeffrey Haggray
Executive Director, ABHMS
American Baptist Churches USA
Equipping Disciples: A Biblical Reflection
“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, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13, NRSV).
By the Rev. Dr. Robin Stoops, Executive Minister, ABC of Nebraska
Having the right equipment is normally a priority when getting ready to begin a new hobby or sport. Often, I enjoy the accumulating more than I do the activity. We, in the church, may be guilty of the same as we spend hours of our time learning and training for the work to which God has called us and less time engaged in the mission. In our theme text, we see clearly the writer has a different understanding. The gifts are given with a purpose and mission. Action is assumed, described with the focus on the expected outcome of building up the church.
Paul reveals that these gifts to the church have been provided through Christ himself. The gifts are not specifically defined; the assumption is that the church will recognize the gifts as they were practiced by the equippers. The listing of the gifts overlap. They are not meant to be all-inclusive. They describe the basics of what the church needs to be as the mature body of Christ. The focus here is not the gifts themselves or even those who are to equip, but instead the fuller purpose of the building up of the body of Christ.
The gifts have been given to equip the saints. Every believer has been qualified to receive the equipment. No person has been left out. The equipping is to be put into action. Everyone has been set apart to participate in the work God is doing in our neighborhoods. The work of ministry is found in the action of God’s movement in and around us. The equipping is to build us up to be mature disciples living the unity of our faith. When the church is strong—not in earthly power or influence but in recognizing the strength of Christ’s presence—we are able to mature and, in that maturity, impact the community in which we live. This maturing leads us to living life differently. The visual of this process is the church growing together in unity, moving as one in sync with the Son of God. It is illustrated for us in seeing Jesus on the cross, a vivid picture of this unity. Jesus so mature—so full of love—moves to redeem the world by a selfless act in the face of persecution.
The text reminds us that we are not to be satisfied with a portion of Christ’s love and grace, only enough for us. Instead, our call is to the full measure—one that includes those we love as well as those we may count as enemies. Discipleship is the maturing of our faith, drawing us to move from merely an intellectual understanding of mission to making room in our lives for the presence of Jesus Christ to become visible to the world. We participate in God’s mission in our everyday lives when we live out being the hands and feet of Christ. It includes sharing the Bible story, caring for those in need and acting justly in the places we live, work and study.
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Recomendations for a Successful Offering
- Review all the enclosed materials. Then visit the website at www.abhms.org and click on the “America for Christ” block to access all America for Christ (AFC) videos and downloadable resources. If you need printed materials, please call 1-800-458-3766 to speak with a Judson Press customer-service representative.
- Set a celebrative goal. Place the enclosed goal chart 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.
- Incorporate “Mission Moments” into worship. Each Sunday for a month, take five minutes during worship to hold a Mission Moment. Moments can include showing the AFC video, reading an insert or allowing testimony from individuals that have gone on a domestic mission trip or participated in any other kind of volunteer ministry.
- Invite a speaker to your church. Please complete the speaker-request form included in the AFC packet, visit the website and download the form, or call the Mission Advancement office at 1-800-222-3872, x2028.
- Involve the children and youth. Ask the children and youth to help pick up the offering during worship and distribute 2018 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.
- Have fun. Design an AFC Offering 2018 bulletin board. Include materials from the offering packet. Allow the children and youth to add to the board additional art that conveys the idea of growing in Christ.
- Record and celebrate your progress. Use a Sunday in March to THANK the church and the home mission team as well as to provide an update and offer a celebratory prayer.
- Complete the AFC evaluation form.
What is the national goal?
American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) is promoting the America for Christ (AFC) Offering 2018, which seeks to raise $1,250,000 to support American Baptist mission and ministry across the United States and Puerto Rico.
What is the theme?
The theme for the AFC Offering 2018 is “Equipping Disciples” based on this Scripture: “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, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13, NRSV).
How long can the offering be promoted?
The AFC promotional window is January through March.
What is the vision of ABHMS?
ABHMS has a vision of a better world—one transformed by the healing power of the Gospel and by passionate American Baptist leaders and disciples who are creating and building ministries that meet human needs.
What is the distribution of the total AFC Offering 2018?
The offering is distributed in three parts:
• 29% supports regional ministries (ABHMS is the only mission board to share its offering with American Baptist Churches USA regions);
• 59% supports the ministries of ABHMS; and
• 12% supports the offering’s promotional and deputation costs.
To whom do I ask a question about the AFC Offering 2018?
Contact personnel in ABHMS’ Mission Advancement office:
• Leda Carter, Administrative Assistant, 1-800-222-3872, x2028
• The Rev. Dr. Eddie Cruz, Director, 1-800-222-3872 x2423
Where do I find the electronic versions of AFC 2018 materials to download?
Visit www.abhms.org and click on the “America for Christ” block, which will direct you to the AFC 2018 site for downloadable items and the opportunity to show the video directly from the Internet.
How do I get more AFC 2018 materials?
Call Judson Press at 1-800-4JUDSON (1-800-458-3766) to speak with a customer-service representative.
Speaker Request Form
Choose the option which works best for you:
- Fill out the 2018 Speaker Request Form online
- Print a PDF of the 2018 Speaker Request Form to return via U.S. Mail, Fax or email.
Home Mission Speakers
*Please note that many of the speakers listed are ordained ministers.
• Laura Alden
• Fela Barrueto*
• Rothangliani Chhangte*
• Eddie Cruz*
• Vickie Goff
• Jeffrey Haggray*
• Brenda Halliburton*
• Lisa Harris*
• Rebecca Irwin-Diehl*
• Jeff Johnson*
• Florence Li*
• Kristina Moeller*
• Patricia Murphy*
• Jamaal Nelson*
• Salvador Orellana*
• Curtis Ramsey-Lucas
• Sarah Strosahl-Kagi*
• Marilyn Turner-Triplett*
• Casey Williams*
The following America for Christ (AFC) promotion items are available for download and/or from Judson Press:
- AFC 2018 Mini-Poster is available in English (PDF) and Spanish (PDF), item #AF181 (English only).
- AFC 2018 Leader’s Guide is available in English (PDF), item #AF182, and in Spanish (PDF), item #AF182S.
- AFC 2018 Leader’s Guide Congregational Letter is available in English (WORD) and in Spanish (WORD) – download only.
- Bulletin inserts in English (PDF), item #AF183 and Spanish (PDF), item #AF183S.
- Offering envelopes, item #AF184.
- Coin boxes, item #AF185.
- Evaluation form (PDF), item #AF186 (also included in your AFC leader’s packet).
- DVD with inspirational stories of home mission, item #AF187.
- The goal chart in English (PDF), item #AF188.
Make your America for Christ (AFC) Offering campaign a success by ordering offering materials from Judson Press Customer Service at 1-800-4JUDSON (1-800-458-3766)
Recursos en Español
Los siguientes América para Cristo (AFC) artículos de promoción están disponibles para su descarga y / o de Judson Press:
- AFC 2018 Mini-Poster está disponible en Inglés (PDF) y español (PDF), artículo #AF181 (Sólo Inglés).
- Guía de la AFC 2018 del líder está disponible en Inglés (PDF), artículo #AF182, y en español (PDF), artículo #AF182S.
- Guía Congregacional Carta AFC 2018 del líder está disponible en Inglés (WORD) y en español (WORD) – descarga solamente.
- Inserciones de anuncios en Inglés (PDF), artículo #AF183 y español (PDF), artículo #AF183S.
- Los sobres de ofrenda, artículo #AF184.
- Bandejas para monedas, artículo #AF185.
- Formulario de evaluación (PDF), artículo #AF186 (también incluido en el paquete de su líder AFC).
- DVD con historias inspiradoras de la misión a casa, artículo #AF187.
- El gráfico de objetivos en Inglés (PDF, artículo #AF188 .
Haga de su campaña de la Ofrenda América Para Cristo (APC) un éxito haciendo su pedido de materiales a través de Judson Press en el 1-800-4JUDSON (1-800-458-3766)
You can connect with ABHMS’ Mission Advancement office by contacting:
Leda Carter, Administrative Assistant, 1.800.222.3872, x2028
The Rev. Dr. Eddie Cruz, Director, 1.800.222.3872, x2423