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Al Gilbert leaves Calvary for NAMB post
From staff and wire reports
August 12, 2011
5 MIN READ TIME

Al Gilbert leaves Calvary for NAMB post

Al Gilbert leaves Calvary for NAMB post
From staff and wire reports
August 12, 2011

Al

Gilbert announced today that he is leaving Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, which he has

led as senior pastor since 2002.

“Calvary is a special

place and it has been a great honor to serve God with you,” Gilbert said in a

letter to church members. “You have loved and encouraged us and will always

have a special place in our hearts. This has been a very difficult decision for

us, but we have seen God’s hand opening a door for ministry.”

Gilbert will

start at the North American Mission Board (NAMB) in mid-September as executive

director of Love Loud, the ministry evangelism arm of NAMB.

Gilbert

explained to his church members that his wife’s parents have been in declining

health. KK’s mom fell and broke a hip before Thanksgiving 2010, and she has

been in Atlanta a great deal

since the incident.

“We

have continuously cried out to God for wisdom and direction,” he wrote. “While

praying over how to meet KK’s parents’ needs, I realized God is leading us to a

place where KK can care for her parents and I can continue to influence the

people of God to be on mission.”

Al Gilbert will start in mid-September as NAMB’s executive

director of Love Loud.

Gilbert

compared his new assignment to a similar ministry at Calvary. Love Winston-Salem is a year-round attempt to partner with schools, recreation centers and Christian ministries. He said there will be an emphasis

throughout all regions to find ways to reach neglected neighborhoods with

evangelism, compassion and missions.

NAMB’s

Executive Committee approved Gilbert Aug. 9, and the Board of Directors was

informed via email today. Gilbert met with the church’s staff and deacons

before mailing a letter to church members.

Calvary’s deacons already have started the

process to find the church’s next spiritual leader. Gilbert said an update

would be given at the church’s Aug. 31 multi-campus celebration.

Currently

Gilbert is on his second term on the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Executive

Committee. Before coming to Calvary, Gilbert

served as special assistant to the president of the International Mission

Board.

Gilbert,

a Georgia native, has

led Calvary to be a top

giver to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. In the last four years Calvary, along with Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, have

collectively given $4 million to the offering.

A

recent Baptist Press story reported that Calvary gave $513,679

last year.

“For

over 40 years, we’ve been sending short-term teams to the field,” said Steve Hardy,

associate missions pastor at Calvary. “As our

folks go to the field, they see the effects that Lottie Moon giving has in the

ability of our missionaries to do what they’re called to do. When our people

give, they know why they’re giving. They see the direct results of it.”

That

missions mindset is what attracted attention to Gilbert for this position.

“Al Gilbert brings high energy and real passion for taking the gospel to the

world,” said Larry Wynn, NAMB vice president for evangelism and leadership

development. “He is a leader in SBC life and a

practitioner of loving people to faith in Christ.”

Wynn

said it was Gilbert’s intentional approach to ministry evangelism that

convinced him and NAMB president Kevin Ezell that Gilbert was the obvious

choice to give direction to Love Loud.

“When

I came to NAMB, Kevin and I started talking about ministry evangelism. The SBC had conducted

a Love Loud initiative, and we thought through what that might look like as an

expansion of ministry evangelism,” said Wynn. “You know you can do ministry,

and then you can do ministry evangelism. Southern Baptists are good at building

bridges, but we don’t always bring the gospel across the bridge. We want to

make sure we are offering hope with the help. Meeting people’s needs in life

events like crises medical situations, crises pregnancy, or adoption opens the

door, but when we offer help in those situations we also need to share hope in

Christ. We need to make sure we do both.

“We

started looking for a practitioner who could help lead Love Loud, and Al was a

natural choice. He has been a pastor, a church planter, a leader in the SBC, and served

with the International Mission Board. He was the perfect fit for us to lead the

team that Kevin has put together. His leadership of Love Loud, both in

evangelistic church plants and with growing the ministry evangelism efforts of

existing churches, will bring true vitality to the work.”

Love

Loud will include many areas of ministry those familiar with evangelism efforts

through NAMB would recognize including medical and dental work, crisis

pregnancy, hunger, and Campers On Mission, among others. Love Loud will also

embrace new work including adoption and foster care ministries.

“As

we dream into the future we may see God lead us into other areas of ministry

evangelism,” said Wynn. “This is certainly not an exhaustive list. For

instance, you may see elements of Love Loud as part of Crossover efforts,

particularly in a city like New Orleans that still has so many needs. You will

also see elements of Love Loud in our church planting efforts. The thought is

not original with me, but church planting is not just about growing a church,

it is about loving a city. Love Loud will help church plants and existing churches

connect with their cities. It would be fair to say that Love Loud is an

expansion of ministry evangelism. We will look to do more than we have ever

done in helping churches love people to Jesus.”

The

Gilberts have four children and 11 grandchildren.