As 2015 rolls in, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) reflects upon a year that included an increasing emphasis on helping Southern Baptists develop evangelistic conversations, the kickoff of its Send North America Experience Tour, and the launch of a new book designed to help believers see that “every life on mission matters.”
NAMB introduces 3 Circles ‘Gospel conversation’ guide
Kevin Ezell urged attendees of the 2014 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Baltimore to make gospel conversations a regular part of their lives. To help Southern Baptists do that, Ezell introduced a new tool, called 3 Circles, that makes it easy to do so with simple resources typically at their disposal, such as a pen and a napkin. Ezell also reported to Southern Baptists on the progress of Send North America, including the adding of 1,105 Southern Baptist congregations in 2013.
Boston kickoff for NAMB’s Send North America Tour
Photo by Susan Whitley/NAMB
Participants of the Boston Send North America Experience tour stop join in a time of directed prayer. Aaron Coe, North American Mission Board vice president for mobilization and marketing, led the gathering, made up of many Bostonians, and scores of people from around the northeast, to pray for the city, its leaders and for Jesus to be known in the region.
More than 1,100 people attended the first Send North America Experience Tour stop in Boston. The tour debuted in the historic Tremont Temple Baptist Church, which has hosted some of the most significant preachers of the past 200 years, including D.L. Moody, Billy Sunday and Billy Graham. The tour, which includes stops in a variety of cities throughout North America, leads up to next summer’s Send North America Conference, which organizers say could be among the largest missions gatherings in the history of North America. The event will be held in Nashville, Tenn., Aug. 3-4, 2015.
SBC leaders, missionaries pray for gospel advancement
On Oct. 2, Southern Baptist leaders and missionaries throughout the world came together through a webcast to pray for gospel advancement. Participants gathered at 10:02 a.m. to pray in the spirit of Luke 10:2 and Jesus’ command to “pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
Send North America Luncheon participants ‘tour’ Baltimore, discover the story of ‘their town’
More than 3,000 Southern Baptist leaders participated in a virtual tour of Baltimore during the Send North America Luncheon at the annual Southern Baptist Convention last June. The luncheon introduced Southern Baptists to a 200-year story of how God has moved in the city. Participants were also urged during the luncheon to look beyond Baltimore to a similar story of God at work in their own towns and cities. The luncheon previewed a Send North America Experience Tour that kicked off in September and will conclude with the Send North America Conference.
Pastor task force addresses declining baptism rates
In May a pastor task force, first convened by NAMB in 2013, announced a series of recommendations designed to turn around declining baptism rates among Southern Baptist churches. The recommendations touched on a variety of issues but mostly revolved around an urgent call for spiritual renewal along with an increased commitment to personal evangelism and discipleship. NAMB convened the task force after the 2012 Annual Church Profile showed a decrease in baptisms of 5.52 percent, confirming a two-decade downward decline.
Michigan flooding, other opportunities, draw disaster relief volunteers
In August Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers served homeowners impacted by Michigan floods. NAMB/SBDR coordinator Eddie Blackmon said the Michigan flood damaged more homes than any other incident during his 15 years serving in Disaster Relief roles. Southern Baptists also responded to historic fires and a mudslide in Washington State, tornadoes in Arkansas and Oklahoma and played an integral part of a baptism in Colorado.
Pastors use 3 Circles tool to share gospel, train members
Less than two months after NAMB launched its new 3 Circles tool, designed to help Southern Baptists share their faith using just a pen and a piece of paper, pastors throughout the convention were integrating it into sermons and using it to share Christ on local and international mission fields. By the end of 2014, NAMB had distributed more than 1 million copies of the 3 Circles: Life Conversation Guide and 25,000 downloads of the Life On Mission smartphone apps that both teach people to use the 3 Circles method.
Busy mother of four discovers how God can use her in everyday life
Atlanta-area mom Stephanie Copenhaver started a four-week Bible study to reach her fifth-grade son’s friends with the gospel. By the end of the study 30 kids had been introduced to the biblical stories of the Good Samaritan, the Armor of God, biblical values and Jesus. Copenhaver’s expression of a life on mission for Jesus exemplified NAMB’s effort to help Southern Baptists embrace the truth that “every life on mission matters” through a new book, called “Life On Mission.”
Hispanic church plants overcome generational challenge
With the United States’ Hispanic population expected to double by 2060, churches like Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Okla., have been turning to church planting to reach this growing ethnic group. To help in this effort, NAMB worked with Baptist leaders throughout North America to create a map showing where new Hispanic churches are needed. Similar maps have been developed for Chinese and Korean people groups.
Prayer cards connecting churches and chaplains
California pastor Mark Standridge used NAMB chaplain prayer cards during a children’s sermon to highlight heroes around the world who are sharing God’s Word with those serving on the U.S. military front lines. As he did so, he highlighted one particular heroic father in an unforgettable way. NAMB sent a 50-card pack of chaplain prayer cards to every Southern Baptist church in May. Extra packs of prayer cards are still available for free by ordering at nambstore.com.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Story submitted by North American Mission Board staff.)