Armstrong offering aids MBC service
JEFFERSON CITY – Like so many college students, Jeff Carson discovered his passion after he had declared his major. As a student at the University of Missouri, he studied secondary math education, but his heart was not in teaching.
Although he grew up in a Christian home and was saved at an early age, it wasn’t until his time at the Mizzou Baptist Student Union that God “really got a hold of my heart,” he said. “That’s where He gave me the passion to know Him and help others know Him.”
It’s also the place God gave him his passion for collegiate ministry.
“College is such a formative time in people’s lives,” Carson said. “In those four or five or however many years, students make a lot of decisions about who they are, who they’re going to be, who they’re going to run with, what they think about God and His place in their lives. That’s a lot to take on when you’re away from your home and family.”
It should not come as surprise, but four years after graduation, Carson isn’t teaching 11th grade trigonometry. He is a US/C2 missionary, which stands for a two-year missionary to the United States or Canada funded through the North American Mission Board (NAMB).
He began his appointment working with the student ministry team at the Missouri Baptist Building in 2005, and has had his term extended by a year. Working with Matt Kearns, the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) student ministry director, and Lyle Witcher, the student evangelism specialist, Carson is the mind behind the planning of youth leader training events. He works to build relationships between collegiate and youth leaders and the MBC and is a vital part of Super Summer twice each year. Last summer, he helped lead a team of Missouri high school students on a mission trip to El Salvador.
Carson and his wife, Angela, are just two of 263 NAMB-appointed missionaries in Missouri. They range from evangelism specialists and church and family missionaries like the Carsons to raceway chaplains, from church planters to members of the Civil Air Patrol. Twenty-three of those missionaries, including the Carsons, work with and through the MBC. Those 263, along with more than 4,750 other missionaries in North America, rely on the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for the lion’s share of their support.
The nationwide goal for 2008’s offering is $61 million. The MBC’s goal is $2 million.
“The Annie Armstrong offering is important to me personally because without it I wouldn’t be here and be a part of this ministry,” he said. “I’m able to focus all my time and attention on ministering to college students and I don’t have to go out and raise support or have another job to pay the bills. I really appreciate Southern Baptists across the nation and Missouri for giving faithfully.”
The Carsons’ appointments end in 2008. After that, they’re depending on the Lord’s leadership for guidance.
“Angela’s and my hearts are in collegiate ministry,” he said. “I don’t really know what that’s going to look like. Regardless of the location or whatever sort of job I end up with, we want to be involved in some sort of collegiate ministry.”