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7/3/97 Missions roles, qualifications at NAMB recapped by agency rep

RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)–“Our home missionary force is vital to the advancement of front-line missions,” Randy Wood, missionary personnel associate with the North American Mission Board, told participants at the Jericho missions conference July 21-27 at Ridgecrest (N.C.) Baptist Conference Center.
Wood outlined the different types of mission service opportunities available through NAMB as well as qualifications for appointment.
NAMB is the new Southern Baptist Convention agency formed in June in a merger of the former Home Mission Board, Brotherhood Commission and Radio and Television Commission under the SBC’s “Covenant for a New Century” restructuring.
“Nearly 75 percent of North American missionaries are involved in church planting,” Wood said. “That includes Anglo, African American and language churches and church-type missions that are started and supported by Southern Baptist missionaries.”
Anyone interested in becoming a church planter should be “catalytic, visionary and able to take initiative,” Wood said. Other requirements include college and seminary degrees and two years of experience. A church-planter apprentice program is available for college and seminary students who do not meet the two-year experience requirement.
Being an associational missionary is another mission option. “Associational missionaries work through local associations, identifying needs and seeking resources for strengthening Southern Baptist work across North America,” Wood said. Most associational missionaries are appointed by state conventions, but NAMB does appoint some in new convention areas, he said.
Missionaries also can be appointed in the area of evangelism, Wood said, noting, “This is not your typical itinerant evangelist. Evangelism missionaries work with associations and state conventions to equip others to share the gospel of Christ.”
Concerning positions in ministry evangelism, Wood said, “This area used to be known as church and community ministries. Ministry evangelism missionaries work in Baptist centers and weekday ministries to provide clothing, food and literacy training. They help the poor, the hungry, substance abusers, juveniles and the elderly.”
The special ministries area includes missionaries in resort/leisure settings, on college campuses and in ministry to internationals. “This is a very creative ministry area,” Wood said. “Missionaries in these settings have to be flexible and innovative.”
While requirements may vary within program areas, there are general qualifications for missionaries appointed under the North American Mission Board. Each applicant must have:
1) a genuine conversion experience and call to missions.
2) two years’ experience in field of service.
3) completed degrees from an accredited college, with an accredited seminary degree preferred.
4) good physical and emotional health.
5) a history of effective handling of personal finances.
6) a belief statement in agreement with the SBC’s Baptist Faith and Message.
7) training and experience in witnessing for Christ. Continuing Witness Training (CWT) is preferred.
Some program areas require a seminary degree. If a candidate is married, his/her spouse must have two years of college and will be evaluated on their conversion experience, call to missions and their belief statement.
“Our appointment process is different from the International Mission Board,” Wood said. “State conventions, associations and local churches are autonomous. We depend on cooperative agreements to select and appoint home missionaries.”
The North American Mission Board accepts applicants, and local associations and state conventions additionally participate in the missionary selection process. NAMB also assists in finding positions in an applicant’s desired area of service.
“To become a North American missionary takes a willingness to share the gospel with people in the United States and Canada,” Wood said. “If you have a genuine call from God to be involved in missions in North America, call our office. We’ll get you started.”

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  • Lynne Jones