The International Mission Board (IMB) and the North American Mission Board (NAMB) will work together to combine compassion ministry efforts in North America and abroad under the umbrella of Send Relief. Ronnie Floyd, president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee (EC) announced the new working relationship during a plenary session of the EC in Nashville Tuesday, Feb. 18.
“Today I want to announce to you a formal relationship between the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board for the purpose of compassion ministry,” Floyd said.
“Southern Baptists are always at their best anytime we can cooperate together for the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Floyd made the announcement alongside IMB President Paul Chitwood and NAMB President Kevin Ezell. The group also shared that a new president of Send Relief, who will report to both Chitwood and Ezell, will be named in the coming weeks.
“Southern Baptists are privileged to carry the love and compassion of our Lord to people in need across North America and around the world,” Chitwood said before the announcement. “So many who are blessed seek ways to be a blessing to others. Together, under the Send Relief banner, we will help stretch your generous gifts to help more people.”
Send Relief’s website will soon provide a single point of contact that will give an initial starting point to pastors and churches looking to support or participate in the Southern Baptist compassion ministries that take place in North America or around the world.
“Both entities working together will make it easier for Southern Baptists to get involved in meeting needs so that lives can be changed through the power of the gospel,” Ezell said prior to the EC meeting. “I’m excited about how this will multiply Southern Baptist compassion ministry efforts and build a simple on-ramp for pastors and churches who want to be involved in the great work Southern Baptists are doing in North America and around the world.”
The effort is effective immediately. Specific resources and more information will be provided soon. Send Relief was chosen as the name for this work between IMB and NAMB because Southern Baptists have developed a familiarity with the compassion ministry and crisis response efforts of Send Relief since it was launched by NAMB in 2016.
The IMB and NAMB joint efforts under the Send Relief banner do not apply to each entity’s broader ministry assignments. Both IMB and NAMB remain independent entities doing the work that Southern Baptists have come to know so well.
In a press conference following the announcement to the EC, Chitwood addressed the effect the move will have on Baptist Global Response, the global relief organization that partners with Southern Baptists.
“Baptist Global Response has been a tremendous partner for the IMB,” Chitwood said. “What we would see moving forward is that this becomes the one channel, the one avenue for giving.
“We do think that Southern Baptists have been very generous in their work with Baptist Global Response, and they’ve been a strategic partner to us. But in talking with the leadership of Baptist Global Response, including their board, what we’ve found is that they were 100% on board with this idea, with this partnership because they understood the opportunity here to see more resources used in Southern Baptist work, and that’s what Baptist Global Response has been about.”
Send Relief will continue to support the efforts of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) in North America, and international responses will continue to utilize SBDR partners.
“We can do so much more together than we can ever do alone,” Chitwood said. “I pray God will use this effort to expand the compassionate reach of Southern Baptists. I pray that unity will pervade our work, and that people will see love acted out in tangible ways that change their lives. Most importantly, I pray we will see the gospel reach even more people who otherwise might never hear how much the Lord loves them.”
Watch videos announcing the launch and describing the initiative:
(EDITOR’S NOTE – This article was compiled by the communications teams at the International Mission Board and the North American Board. Baptist Press staff contributed to this article.)