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N.C. leaders glad about RA partnership
BR staff, BSC Communications and wire reports
March 03, 2011
5 MIN READ TIME

N.C. leaders glad about RA partnership

N.C. leaders glad about RA partnership
BR staff, BSC Communications and wire reports
March 03, 2011

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — North American Mission Board (NAMB) leaders

announced March 2 they plan to partner with Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) for

day-to-day operations of the Royal Ambassadors (RA) missions education

organization for boys in grades one through six.

The announcement follows NAMB’s recent organizational restructuring made to

support the entity’s “Send North America” strategy to assist Southern Baptists

in reaching North America through mobilizing and equipping churches and

missionaries for evangelistic church planting.

A statement from Ruby Fulbright, executive

director/treasurer of WMU-NC, expressed excitement over working with North

Carolina Baptist Men with the RAs.

“The women of WMU and especially of WMU-NC, have long

cherished the obligation and privilege of educating boys and girls in missions

involvement, support and learning,” said Fulbright.

The first RA chapter (Carey Newton Chapter) was begun at

First Baptist Church in Goldsboro.

“We believe missions education is a key part of equipping

churches for reaching North America — and the world — for Christ,” said Kevin

Ezell, NAMB’s president. “This partnership means churches will continue to

receive top-quality material and it allows us to utilize WMU’s expertise and

singular focus in this area.”

For more than a century, Southern Baptist boys have developed lifelong friendships through Royal Ambassadors, as they’ve learned what it means to become an on-mission Christian.

NAMB will maintain its missions education ministry assignment, will continue to

operate its Baptist Men’s ministry work and will maintain close ties with the

development of Royal Ambassadors curriculum.

Wanda Lee, national executive director and treasurer of WMU (Woman’s Missionary

Union), noted that RAs began with WMU.

“RAs was born out of our heart and our soul,” Lee said. “We gave it lovingly to

the (SBC’s former) Brotherhood Commission. Now we welcome them back and pledge

our support and partnership with both mission boards to continue the work as

best we can.”

By 1918, Southern Baptists had established 1,200 chapters. In 1957,

responsibilities for RAs transferred to the Brotherhood Commission, which in

1997 became part of the newly formed North American Mission Board.

Richard Brunson, N.C. Baptist Men executive director-treasurer,

said he and his staff are also looking forward to National WMU producing

missions education materials for RAs and Challengers groups.

“Because of the excellence WMU has shown in missions

education materials, we feel this will greatly strengthen existing RA and

Challengers programs in our North Carolina churches,” he said. “This will make

it much easier for churches to start or strengthen RAs and GAs because they

will have coordinated missions curriculum and emphasis.”

In addition to a more coordinated missions emphasis, the

transition allows churches to order all their children and youth missions

education materials from a single source. Brunson said N.C. Baptist Men will

continue offering all the statewide RAs and Challengers events, projects,

trainings and camps they now provide.

“North Carolina is one of the top states in the nation in

Royal Ambassadors and Challengers programs with many dedicated leaders. N.C.

Baptist Men, as we are called upon by churches to coordinate activities with

both state and national WMU, is glad to work together for the purpose of

missions education,” Brunson said. We have a very good relationship with WMU

and we anticipate this giving us even more opportunities to work together to

provide North Carolina churches with the best missions education possible for

their children and youth.”

NAMB shared the intent to partner with WMU at the annual

Missions Education Roundtable meeting, March 1-2 at NAMB’s office building in

Alpharetta, Ga. Missions education coordinators from 28 Baptist state

conventions attended the sessions and had opportunity to discuss the planned

partnership. Lee and other WMU staff members from Birmingham, Ala., were on

hand to answer questions and discuss the transition.

Specifics of the partnership — which will also include the Challengers program

for teenage boys — have yet to be determined.

“The idea for this partnership came from our desire for RAs and Challengers to

flourish,” said Mike Ebert, NAMB vice president of communications. “We looked

across the state line in Alabama and saw some friends who can do it very well

and are very well equipped to do it.”

NAMB and WMU are working toward finalizing the partnership and related

transitions in time for the September 2012 curriculum delivery.

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