ALPHARETTA, Ga. – “We have to plant more churches,” North American Mission Board (NAMB) President Kevin Ezell emphasized to NAMB trustees during their May 14-15 meeting in Alpharetta, Ga.
“The Book of Acts makes it very clear that this work never ends,” Ezell said. “We have a lot of work to do, and in 10 years my hope and my goal would be to stand here and say we have to plant more churches.”
Highlighting ministry areas within NAMB’s overarching Send North America strategy, Ezell reiterated that the mission board’s purpose is to mobilize Southern Baptist churches to penetrate lostness in North America. Send North America is NAMB’s church planting and evangelism strategy prioritizing Southern Baptist missions efforts on those areas of North America with the greatest spiritual lostness and the smallest number of Southern Baptist churches.
Photo by John Swain/NAMB
Gary Frost, NAMB vice president for the Midwest Region, speaks to trustees about the importance of prayer as a foundation to NAMB’s efforts. “People are in darkness and while we need all these strategies, I believe the thing lacking is the power of prayer,” said Frost, emphasizing NAMB’s TenTwo prayer initiative. “You can’t penetrate darkness with good ideas.” NAMB’s board of trustees met May 14-15 in Alpharetta, Ga.
“We want to start a movement not an emphasis. Not a program,” Ezell said. “And the thing about a movement is you can’t control it. You set it free. You don’t try to hold on to it. Let’s stop holding on to things and let a movement of God take place.”
Mobilization & evangelism
Aaron Coe, NAMB’s vice president for mobilization and equipping, reported that 2,544 churches have been mobilized for missions engagement in the last two years and nearly 800 of those are directly connected to a church plant. Coe highlighted two upcoming events that will give Southern Baptists an opportunity to engage with the North American Mission field.
NAMB will host a free luncheon for pastors at the upcoming Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference on Monday, June 10. More information is available at www.snaluncheon.com. NAMB’s Send North America conference July 29-30 will provide churches another opportunity to connect with the North American mission field. For information, visit www.sendconference.com.
Al Gilbert, NAMB’s vice president for evangelism, reported that NAMB is actively involved in preparation for Crossover, the evangelistic outreach preceding the SBC annual meeting in Houston. “We are doing Crossover this year like never before,” Gilbert said. “We’ll be a part of Crossover Saturday with 20-plus block parties and everything else going on with Loving Houston,” a long-term outreach by the Union Baptist Association there.
Gilbert also highlighted NAMB’s ongoing Bible distribution efforts to Southern Baptist churches (gps2020.net) as well as the launch of a new volunteer opportunities website (namb.net/volunteer-opportunities).
Carlos Ferrer, NAMB’s chief financial officer, reported to trustees that giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering is 3.7 percent above budget for the year while Cooperative Program allocations are 1.5 percent below budget.
Emphasizing the need for prayer, Ezell introduced NAMB’s vice president for the Midwest Region, Gary Frost, who spoke to trustees about NAMB’s upcoming prayer focus.
“People are in darkness and while we need all these strategies, I believe the thing lacking is the power of prayer,” Frost said. “You can’t penetrate darkness with good ideas.”
Frost shared NAMB’s plans to emphasize the TenTwo Prayer Initiative at the upcoming SBC annual meeting as well as a convention-wide prayer focus on Oct. 2.
In other business, trustees:
re-elected their current officers for the coming year: chairman, Doug Dieterly, executive pastor of Plymouth Baptist Church in Plymouth, Ind.; vice chairman, Ric Camp, pastor of Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Trussville, Ala.; and second vice chairman, Chuck Herring, pastor of Collierville First Baptist Church in Collierville, Tenn.
recognized five members whose terms will end in June: Randall Ingram of Alabama (2010-13); Donna Medcalf of South Carolina (2009-13); Michael Palmer of Idaho (2005-13); Richard Pudliner of Pennsylvania (2007-13); and Robert Roberts of Florida (2006-13).
authorized the purchase of missionary transitional housing locations in Atlanta, Las Vegas and Herriman, Utah, with the goal of acquiring properties in 12 of the 32 Send North America cities.
Closing the meeting, trustee chair Doug Dieterly echoed Frost’s comments about prayer.
“It seems to be human nature that when things are tough it drives us to our knees,” Dieterly said. “But when things are exciting and going well, it’s easy to forget about the importance of prayer. We need to stay committed to praying for each other.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Adam Miller writes for the North American Mission Board.)