ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- With many Southern Baptist churches focusing on North American missions during the month of March, North American Mission Board staff made nearly 8,000 personal contacts with Southern Baptists to express appreciation for continued partnership.

All of NAMB's Alpharetta staff spent March 12 making phone calls, writing letters and note cards and sending personal emails to Southern Baptists. Throughout the day staff members expressed appreciation to churches for their partnership through giving through the Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and their efforts to reach their communities with the Gospel.

Regional NAMB staff also participated in the effort from their various locations.

"We are so grateful for our pastors and churches," NAMB President Kevin Ezell said. "This was a great chance to personally thank a lot of them and to let them know we are here to serve."

Darlene McDaniel called the day "one of the best I have had in my 13 years at NAMB." A highlight, she said, was her conversation with Alabama pastor Larry Inman.

"We have pastors in our churches who are just waiting for someone to call and tell them, 'We know what you're doing and we appreciate what you're doing.' Pastors don't get that for the most part," McDaniel said.

Inman spoke of his church's growing enthusiasm for reaching the international community of Huntsville, Ala. The enthusiasm had led two years ago to the church changing its name to All Nations Church. McDaniel told the pastor about NAMB staff members whose roles are centered on helping churches reach international communities. She also mentioned tracks at NAMB's upcoming Send North America Conference in Dallas for those interested in reaching ethnic groups.

"You don't know how happy it makes me feel that NAMB is on board with what we're doing," Inman told McDaniel.

Of the 8,000 contacts, NAMB staff had conversations with more 1,300 church leaders. Many had the opportunity to pray for those they called as well.

NAMB videographer Scott Blair spoke to a church that has been through recent struggles and dwindling membership. Blair prayed with the person he called and let her know about NAMB's church revitalization ministry.

Many NAMB staff members expressed the desire to have another similar opportunity at a later date.

"As I thanked the people I talked with, many thanked me as well for what I'm doing," said Matt Smith, a senior accountant at NAMB. "It was great to hear that from them and to hear the partnership between us, knowing they're out on the front lines and we're supporting them and they're supporting us."

Tobin Perry writes for the North American Mission Board. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

Copyright (c) 2013 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net