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FIRST-PERSON: ‘Whatever it takes’ to reach nations

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and Cooperative Program fund the presence and missions outreach of nearly 5,000 Southern Baptist personnel internationally. Gifts to the Lottie Moon offering are received through local Southern Baptist churches or online at imb.org/offering, where there are resources to promote the offering. This year’s goal is $175 million.

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)– Our commitment to reach the peoples of the world with the Gospel unites us as Southern Baptists like nothing else. Our history shows we take Jesus’ Great Commission seriously, as we’ve planted the Gospel in fruitful and harsh soils around the globe for 168 years.

Even today as I visit churches throughout our convention I see that passion displayed in many Southern Baptists who are completely committed to fulfilling the Great Commission.

Yet with 6,000 people groups worldwide with little or no access to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and billions who have never responded to Him in faith, we still have much work to do. It’s clear that to finish the mission Jesus gave us, we can’t settle for business as usual in North America. With Southern Baptists in a period of declining baptisms and church membership, we must take a long, hard look at how those realities have shaped our missional potential in the 21st century.

The task before us now is too big — and far too important — for us not to go ‘all in’ to complete it. The reality of billions around the world headed for a Christ-less eternity requires that we do whatever it takes to reach the nations. We’re preparing church planters to become more globally minded SBC partners. Each church planter NAMB partners with commits to give to the Cooperative Program and other Great

Commission causes — like the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

We’re also providing funds for church planters to take vision trips with the International Mission Board to see for themselves the needs among unreached people groups (UPGs) throughout the world. This partnership is already impacting Southern Baptist church planting efforts in North America and throughout the world. One Toronto church planter recently returned from a trip among a UPG in Africa. No city outside of Africa has more people from that UPG than Toronto. The NAMB and IMB church planters are working together to see how they can help one another in their ministries through this partnership.

When it comes to reaching the nations, we’re all in at NAMB. I appreciate IMB’s Lottie Moon theme “Totally His.” It’s consistent with one of our core values at NAMB — “Whatever It Takes.” Anyone who walks into our building in Alpharetta, Ga., sees that phrase on a huge sign over our door. We’re committed to doing whatever it takes to reach North America because we’re committed to doing whatever it takes to reach the world.
Kevin Ezell is president of the North American Mission Board.

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  • Kevin Ezell