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3,000 attend NAMB commissioning
Mickey Noah, Baptist Press
March 31, 2010
6 MIN READ TIME

3,000 attend NAMB commissioning

3,000 attend NAMB commissioning
Mickey Noah, Baptist Press
March 31, 2010

WOODSTOCK, Ga. — Before

3,000 people at First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga. — one of the largest

crowds to ever witness a North American Mission Board (NAMB) missionary

commissioning service — NAMB introduced 79 new missionaries and 16 new

chaplains March 28.

The new missionaries and chaplains represented 24 states, two Canadian

provinces and 23 state Baptist conventions. South Carolina alone accounted for

11 missionaries commissioned during the two-hour service.

Photo by John Swain

Steve and Nellene Carter of Lincolnton, N.C., were commissioned as Missionary Service Corps (MSC) missionaries for Vermont and New Hampshire at NAMB ceremonies on March 28. To be based in Barre, Vt., the Carters will leave their North Carolina home to spend six months of the year in Vermont to encourage pastors and to serve as “church strengtheners.” They will serve 35 churches in the Green Mountain Baptist Association serving Vermont and two churches in New Hampshire.

Steve and Nellene Carter of Lincolnton, N.C., were commissioned as Missionary

Service Corps (MSC) missionaries for Vermont and New Hampshire. To be based in

Barre, Vt., the Carters will leave their North Carolina home to spend six

months of the year in Vermont to encourage pastors and to serve as “church

strengtheners” to the 35 congregations in the Green Mountain Baptist Association

serving Vermont and two churches in New Hampshire.

The Carters are both retired from earlier careers — Nellene as a banker and

Steve as a manager for a nuclear plant for 27 years.

“We have been to Vermont on short-term mission trips for the last six summers,”

Carter said. “During those summers, we developed a heart for Vermont because it’s

the least evangelized state in the nation.”

The couple is part of Macedonia Baptist Church in Lincolnton.

One newly commissioned Army chaplain, Capt. Jared Vineyard, will be deployed to

Afghanistan later this summer, leaving behind his expectant wife Amanda, son

Jacob and daughter Kate at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Vineyard will serve as a chaplain

in the “Band of Brothers” battalion of the 101st Airborne Division, also known

as the “Screaming Eagles.”

As one of seven battalion chaplains, the 30-year-old Vineyard will be pastor to

900 soldiers, part of a 4,000-soldier brigade deploying to Afghanistan in late

August.

“The Army says these are your soldiers, and you become a pastor to these 900

men, most of whom are lost,” Vineyard said. “We call it a ministry of presence.

When they go out in the field to train, I go out in the field with them.”

The commissioning at First Baptist Woodstock was especially sweet for Charlie

and Cindy Minney, who called it “phenomenal” to be commissioned at the same

Atlanta-area church where he served 11 years prior to his new assignment as an

associational missionary in the Coalfields Baptist Association in Logan, W.Va.

“To be here back at home with the First Baptist Woodstock family, and to have

them send us off like this, I can’t explain it in words,” Minney said.

In his

new post, Minney will work with church planters to start new churches, with

existing churches to accomplish specific goals, and with the associational team

to develop a mission strategy for the Coalfields region.

Bill and Monaca Brisbin and Rick and Sharon Bradley, all of South Lebanon,

Ohio, were all commissioned as Mission Service Corps missionaries who work with

ministries at First Baptist Church, South Lebanon.

The Brisbins, for instance, have led the “Bread Basket” food ministry for the

last 18 months, providing 120 families each week with bread products and

emergency food boxes.

Johnny Hunt, First Baptist Woodstock’s senior pastor and president of the

Southern Baptist Convention, welcomed the missionaries, their families and

friends, NAMB staff and others to the church for the commissioning.

“What a joy to support our NAMB missionaries, and for our own people to see

that ordinary, common people of every age — senior adults, young couples, single

women, single guys — all reflect the example of what we teach.”

Richard Harris, interim president of NAMB in Alpharetta, Ga., challenged the

new missionaries and chaplains to be driven by one simple thing: “the call of

Almighty God on your life. Never leave it, never lose it, never doubt it. You

will need that during the hard days to encourage you and keep you going.”

Harris told the missionaries that God will hold them “accountable for two

things — equipping every church member to be a reproducing follower of Christ

and sharing the Good News with every person in your Jerusalem and in your

sphere of influence.”

“Some SBC churches have forgotten these two things, when you consider that 25

percent of churches baptized nobody last year. More than 61 percent of our

churches baptized five or less; 79 percent baptized 10 or less; and only 251 of

our bigger churches baptized 100 or more. I’m proud to say that First Baptist

Woodstock was one of those,” Harris said.

Harris dismissed the notion that most Baptists don’t have the gift of

evangelism.

“There’s no such thing as the gift of evangelism in the Bible,” he said. “Show

me where it talks about the gift of evangelism. Ephesians talks about the

office of evangelist. But every believer — missionary, chaplain, pastor, church

member and Sunday School member — is responsible for bringing people to faith

in Christ. If you’re not fishing, you’re not following.”

Harris said three out of every four people — whether in rural areas or urban

areas, where 83 percent of North Americans live — need Christ.

“Lostness” is especially pervasive in Canada, where Harris said that out of the

nation’s 34 million people, only 5 percent have a personal relationship with

Jesus Christ.

Thirty-five Canadian cities with populations of more than 35,000

have no evangelistic witness. Six million French Canadians represent the

largest of 587 unreached people groups in North America, Harris noted.

Also participating in the commissioning service were J. Robert White, executive

director of the Georgia Baptist Convention, and Kay Miller, national president

of Woman’s Missionary Union.

In all, more than 5,300 missionaries serve with the North American Mission

Board, most of them through partnerships with state Baptist conventions. In

addition to the missionaries, NAMB is the endorsing entity for more than 3,400

Southern Baptist chaplains in military, hospital, professional, corporate,

public safety and institutional settings.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Noah is a writer for the North American Mission Board.)