HOUSTON – Harry Barber was on a mission to bring missions back to his church.
“I really want to see our church get out and get linked to another church in another city that needs our help,” said Barber, a longtime missionary who knows firsthand the power of helping a local church partner with, and serve, other churches across North America.
Thus, Barber, a member of Baker Road Baptist Church in Baytown, Texas, spent some time at the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) exhibit during the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Houston.
Now part of a small church with little knowledge of missions and church planting, Barber wasn’t sure where to start. His visit to the NAMB exhibit, however, got him moving in the right direction.
Photo by Susan Whitley/NAMB
Minnesota church planter Travis Hart talks with Southern Baptist Convention messengers Paige Burns, left, and Peggy Burns at the North American Mission Board exhibit in Houston.
“Coming here and talking to these guys about what’s going on through Send North America is going to help us get connected and see what we can do,” Barber said in reference to the church planters, city coordinators and regional mobilizers at the booth from the five regions in NAMB’s Send North America strategy.
The exhibit featured cityscapes representing each of the regions as well as video information on the specific need for new church plants and partners in each of the 32 cities at the core of NAMB’s strategy to help reach key cities and regions with the greatest spiritual lostness and the smallest number of Southern Baptist churches. Visitors wishing to get involved in reaching one of the cities were given the opportunity to complete a “Mobilize Me” card, sharing their interest in a specific city with NAMB staff who will then follow up with them to connect them to planters and mission opportunities.
After talking through the mobilization process with Maryland church planter Brad O’Brien, a mobilizer in the exhibit, Barber ultimately opted to receive information on connecting the Baytown church to serve in New Orleans.
“We’re really excited to see guys like Harry take the steps to mobilize his church to begin partnering with our brothers and sisters in New Orleans,” O’Brien said. “We represent different cities and regions, but we’re all serving under the same banner with the same goal – to see churches planted and lives changed through Christ.”
As increasing numbers of established churches partner with new church plants, NAMB’s goal is that every church plant will have a sending church.
“We’re here to have intentional conversations, share our stories and get more people in the field,” Minnesota area planter Travis Hart said. “We need more people and more partners to serve in cities like ours where Christ is desperately needed. That’s how we’ll reach North America.”
Churches and individuals interested in getting involved in missions and church planting through Send North America can visit namb.net/mobilize-me.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Sara Shelton writes for the North American Mission Board.)