ALPHARETTA, Ga. – The North American Mission Board (NAMB) wants more Southern Baptist Convention church plants to engage unreached people groups around the globe. To do that, the entity has set aside $1 million to help church planters.
“We want every Southern Baptist church plant to have a heartbeat for penetrating lostness here in North America and all over the world,” NAMB President Kevin Ezell said. “Not only will this build a vision for global missions involvement, our hope is that it will increase the offering base for the IMB and international missions.”
The new initiative will provide up to $1,500 per church plant to purchase plane tickets for a planter and a spouse or another team member to take a vision trip to minister to an unreached people group. Church planters taking part in this effort will need to complete the appropriate training with the International Mission Board (IMB).
NAMB trustees approved funding for the initiative during their Oct. 10 meeting in Chicago. Underspends from NAMB’s budget that closed out Sept. 30 are being used to cover the cost.
According to the IMB, there are approximately 570 unreached people groups (UPG) within the United States and Canada, as well as more than 6,400 UPGs in others parts of the globe. The IMB defines a people group as unreached if the number of evangelical Christians is less than 2 percent of its total population.
“IMB and NAMB are working diligently to create relationships that expand the Kingdom, both in the U.S. and around the world,” IMB President Tom Elliff said. “As IMB personnel minister in North America, while on stateside assignment or with special agreement from NAMB, they are encouraged to bring their experience in cross-cultural church planting to NAMB’s table. Now, with the announcement that NAMB will be supporting church planters on an IMB vision trip, our joint determination to carry the gospel to the whole world becomes even more evident. I praise God for this Kingdom-minded expression.”
Church planters must be a part of NAMB’s Send North America Support Network to receive the vision trip funding. To register with the network, visit www.namb.net/cpprofile. Church planters who already are part of the network should contact the IMB at (800) 999-3113 and identify themselves as part of the Send North America Support Network to begin the process of adopting an unreached people group.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tobin Perry is a writer with the North American Mission Board.)