Record Annie Offering, 10,000+ new church milestone top NAMB’s 2023 highlights

By Brandon Elrod

ALPHARETTA, Ga. – The North American Mission Board (NAMB) spent 2023 serving Southern Baptists in their efforts to reach North America with the gospel through church planting, compassion ministry, evangelism and chaplaincy.

In 2023, NAMB celebrated a milestone in church planting—more than 10,000 new churches started since 2010—and a record-setting total of $70.2 million given to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® (AAEO).

“If we make the Great Commission the top priority, our best years of ministry are ahead of us,” said NAMB president Kevin Ezell. “As Southern Baptists, we’ve faced challenges within our family of churches and dealt with external pressures from our secularizing culture. We continue to focus on Christ and His mission through it all, proclaiming the gospel and participating in God’s mission to build His kingdom in North America and around the world.”

The 200 hundred church planting missionaries who attended Send Network Orientation on March 20 – 22, 2023 paused to take a photo outside of the North American Mission Board building in Alpharetta, Ga. NAMB photo

Send Network – Church Planting

Every year, NAMB tabulates the number of churches Southern Baptists planted the previous year. In 2023, NAMB noted that the class of 2022 church plants—639 new churches—pushed the total of churches Southern Baptists have planted since 2010 beyond the 10,000 mark.

“We could not be more grateful for the way our churches have rallied around the mission of church planting in recent years,” Vance Pitman said following the announcement. Pitman serves as president of Send Network, NAMB’s church planting arm. “As we join in God’s mission to reach the nations, churches are engaging communities with the gospel, making disciples and seeing churches planted as a result.”

Each of Send Network’s orientations for new planters—one in March, the other in November—brought 200 or more missionaries to the event for a total of 402 church planters. Those in attendance represented Send Network’s ethnic and geographic diversity as they seek to start new churches in dozens of different U.S. states and Canadian provinces, both in small towns and in major urban centers. They were represented by hundreds of sending churches.

Send Network church planting missionary Justin McKay baptizes a new believer during The Local Church’s first anniversary service. Planted in Arvada, Colo., a suburb of Denver, The Local Church has seen great fruit in its first year as 21 people have made decisions for Christ. The Local Church photo

Throughout 2023, Send Network hosted five Gatherings for church planting missionaries and their wives throughout the U.S. and in Canada, totaling nearly 2,000 planters and wives in attendance.

During 2023, Send Network unveiled its new Mobilization Pathway, which is designed to help churches discover how to take their next missional step in church planting.

Send Network also launched a program in cooperation with the International Mission Board to send church planters around the world to learn from international missionaries and catch a vision for engaging the nations through their church plant.

Send Relief – Compassion Ministry

Send Relief came alongside state conventions, local associations and churches to meet needs and share the gospel in their communities through the Send Relief Serve Tour. In North America, Send Relief rallied these various ministry partners in Louisiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Alabama and Pennsylvania. In total, the Serve Tour served more than 19,000 people with 3,881 volunteers, which generated more than 4,400 gospel conversations.

Send Relief set up a shower trailer for those who are homeless during its Serve Tour event in Philadelphia on Sept. 15-16. Volunteers were able to engage people in need and share the eternal hope of the gospel. BRN photo

Maui endured unprecedented devastation as the town of Lahaina suffered one of the worst wildfires in U.S. history as it destroyed nearly the entire town and killed 100 people. This year was also an active year for tornadoes, and a major hurricane, Idalia, brought extreme storm surge to Florida’s Gulf Coast before romping across Georgia and the Carolinas.

All in all, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) served more than 630,000 volunteer work hours, prepared more than 1 million meals, worked on nearly 5,300 hundred homes and witnessed 8,561 professions of faith by responding to these natural disasters and other crises in 2023.

For more details about Send Relief’s ministry in North America and around the globe, see a this year in review story.


NAMB’s evangelism team released a new resource, the NAMB Evangelism Kit, designed to help churches create and foster a culture of evangelism in their congregations. The first kits a church or pastor orders are free. By November more than 10,000 kits had been distributed.

In cooperation with Louisiana Baptists, local associations in and around New Orleans and local churches, NAMB helped Southern Baptists host a successful Crossover outreach event in June as 336 people surrendered their lives to Christ as Southern Baptists engaged the city with the gospel.

Members of Iglesia Bautista El Buen Pastor in Metairie, La., hosted a block party for their community that included a gospel presentation during the Serve Tour + Crossover in New Orleans. They invited people in the community through Facebook, letting those who had needs reach out to the church. More than 40 people requested help, and 10 made professions of faith when pastor Gonzalo Rodriguez (blue shirt) shared the gospel. NAMB photo

Through additional evangelism funds made available to state conventions, dozens of evangelistic events and emphases focused on reaching the next generation with the gospel. NAMB also hosted a multiethnic evangelism training event attended by more than 120 pastors, associational leaders and state convention staff, representing 45 different language or affinity groups in the SBC.

Southern Baptists also rallied to recognize Baptism Sunday and Student Baptism Sunday, and 2022 data released in 2023 showed a second straight increase in baptisms across the SBC , though the numbers have yet to rebound from pre-COVID levels.

The Evangelism team also hosted six Refresh Retreats across North America for 1,100 pastors and wives from 35 different states. The retreats helped them recharge and receive encouragement and training to lead their churches well.


Chaplains play a key role in the advancement of the gospel. Their role often enables them to go into places that pastors and other ministry leaders might not have access to for the sake of providing spiritual and pastoral care.

This year, Southern Baptist chaplains served in the aftermath of tragic crises, like the school shooting in Nashville, and ministered to the loved ones of deceased soldiers. They served on military bases in North America and around the world through gospel ministry.

NAMB hosted an evangelism training event for more than 365 chaplains at Ridgecrest Conference Center. The training included chaplains from around the world and those who serve in a variety of different spaces, ranging from the military to public safety to disaster relief. In June, NAMB held an event to honor chaplains at the World War II Museum in New Orleans.

Southern Baptist chaplains pose for a photo during an October 23-25 training event at Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina. More than 365 chaplains and spouses attended the conference, which was one of two regional training events NAMB held in 2023 for SBC chaplains. NAMB photo

Leadership, Replanting and Resources

Early in 2023, NAMB announced the addition of Ken Whitten to lead the pastoral leadership team at NAMB. Whitten has come alongside pastors to care for them and assist in their leadership development. The NAMB Leadership Institute continues to be a source of encouragement for young pastors, and Whitten worked with NAMB’s resource team to produce a toolkit for pastors.

NAMB’s Replant team continued their work of helping to revitalize and replant dying churches. They named Ryan Durham, a pastor in Nebraska, as Replanter of the Year in 2023. The team hosted several events designed to support pastors in the difficult work of replanting across North America.

The research and resource development team produced podcasts highlighting the ministry of a church planter facing a terminal cancer diagnosis.

Published December 15, 2023

Brandon Elrod

Brandon Elrod writes for the North American Mission Board.