JACKSON, Miss. — Trustees of the North American Mission Board (NAMB) unanimously approved a resolution describing the entity as “crucial to the weaving together of Southern Baptist partners to fulfill the Great Commission.” Trustees took the action during their regularly scheduled May 19-20 meeting in Jackson, Miss.
The trustees said they believe “that the North American Mission Board is an efficient and effective Southern Baptist entity that takes seriously the good stewardship of the Cooperative Program and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering dollars entrusted to us by Southern Baptists.” (See the full trustee statement below).
The statement of affirmation came three weeks after board chairman Tim Patterson, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., was quoted in the Florida Baptist Witness as supporting a “singular world missions agency” for Southern Baptists. Before the trustees’ May 20 sessions, Patterson said he did not intend to speak on the board’s behalf and he apologized for the way the information was shared.
Confirming his full support for the resolution, Patterson introduced NAMB’s president, Geoff Hammond, stating: “I affirm the leadership of Dr. Hammond who for the past two years has led NAMB with a steady, efficient and effective hand. He has consistently sounded the clarion call that North America is a mission field. And he has done all this with a Christ-like attitude that I have had the privilege to witness firsthand.”
The meeting took place as the denomination-wide conversation about SBC President Johnny Hunt’s Great Commission Resurgence declaration continued to unfold. Hammond, in his president’s address to the trustees, called for a North American Great Commission Task Force. Hammond told trustees the task force would seriously study the actions and activities that will impact this continent for Christ in more effective ways.
“I believe we are in greater need of a missions force in North America today than at any time in our history,” Hammond told trustees. “We need a Great Commission Refocus that will bring a great emphasis to this mission field.”
“This board is absolutely vital to the weaving together of Southern Baptists in the cooperative missions effort. This cooperative effort is not just about funding. It’s about doing missions together and it’s not about one church saying, ‘I can do it without any partners.’“
In addition to adopting the resolution of support, trustees unanimously re-elected Patterson for a second year as chairman of the board, as well as Tim Dowdy, pastor of Eagles Landing Baptist Church in McDonough, Ga., as first vice chairman, and Mike Palmer, pastor of Salmon Valley Baptist Church in Salmon, Idaho, as second vice chairman.
Carlos Ferrer, NAMB’s chief financial officer, reported that Cooperative Program dollars received by the entity are down 3.7 percent compared to budget. In light of the difficult financial times many Southern Baptists are experiencing, “that is a big praise the Lord,” Ferrer said. NAMB is continuing to hold to a 10 percent reduction in spending enacted by Hammond at the beginning of the year.
Also during the meeting:
- Trustees heard that NAMB’s number of endorsed chaplains now totals 3,078. In the first quarter of 2009, Southern Baptist chaplains reported 8,615 gospel presentations and 1,972 professions of faith.
- The evangelization subcommittee reported that 315,000 households were touched with the gospel during the recent GPS (God’s Plan for Sharing) pilots that took place in Philadelphia, Stone Mountain, Ga., Lubbock, Texas, and Riverside, Calif. “Can you imagine what is going to happen when GPS launches continent-wide in 2010,” Stan Gilcash, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Watertown, N.Y., and chairman of the evangelization committee asked trustees.
- The trustees’ financial services committee reported that NAMB’s outside auditors gave the entity high marks in its annual audit.
- The board recognized 10 trustees whose service ends in June.
Hammond ended the meeting with a tribute to Southern Baptists who serve as chaplains in the military. About 100 currently are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Trustees previewed a video that will be shown at the Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville, Ky., spotlighting the ministry of Chaplain Major Daniel Middlebrooks, who ministers in the hospital emergency room at Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq.
“Chaplain Middlebrooks says in this video that the only way he can lead soldiers is to lead them to the cross,” Hammond said. “Everything we do in North America that is about the Great Commission must lead people to the cross.”
Text of trustee statement
“Trustees of the North American Mission Board are committed to fulfilling the task entrusted to us to assist Southern Baptists in reaching North America and its people groups with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“We believe that the North American Mission Board is crucial to the weaving together of Southern Baptist partners to fulfill the Great Commission.
“As trustees, we are unified in support of our president, Dr. Geoff Hammond, who is providing exemplary, unique leadership and vision as Southern Baptists embrace the challenges of the ever changing and diverse mission field of North America.
“With prayer and thanksgiving, trustees fully support the Great Commission focus of God’s Plan for Sharing with the goal of every believer sharing, every person hearing by the year 2020.
“We believe that together with the staff of the North American Mission Board, more than 5600 missionaries, 3077 endorsed chaplains, and the volunteer missionary force of more than a quarter of a million Southern Baptists, we are poised to make the greatest impact for the Great Commission.
“And trustees believe that the North American Mission Board is an efficient and effective Southern Baptist entity that takes seriously the good stewardship of the Cooperative Program and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering dollars entrusted to us by Southern Baptists.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Reported by North American Mission Board’s communications office.)