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Gary Frost, as new NAMB v.p., to lead Strategic Focus Cities

LAS VEGAS (BP)–Gary Frost, a former Southern Baptist Convention vice president and pastor of Rising Star Baptist Church in Youngstown, Ohio, was elected unanimously by North American Mission Board trustees May 9 to serve as vice president for the agency’s strategic partnerships group.

The position gives Frost administrative oversight of NAMB’s Strategic Focus Cities initiative, which directs volunteers and other resources toward evangelism and church planting efforts in the nation’s largest metropolitan areas.

Agency trustees also elected a new slate of officers and learned that 31 new missionaries were recently appointed or approved, joining more than 5,000 missionaries across the United States and Canada.

Elected as chairman for the coming year was Ken Alford, pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla. The first vice chairman is Terry Fox of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Wichita, Kan., and elected as second vice chairman was Barry Holcomb, pastor of Bluff Springs Baptist Church in Ashford, Ala.

The meeting followed a three-day event in Las Vegas designed to allow trustees to participate in and learn more about Southern Baptist mission efforts. Las Vegas and Boston are the focus this year of Strategic Focus Cities outreach efforts.

In addition to the emphasis on cities, Frost’s group also includes teams that coordinate associational strategy and work with state conventions in coordinating strategy and funding for cooperative missions efforts.

NAMB President Robert E. Reccord said Frost’s 18 years of ministry and leadership in Youngstown made him an ideal candidate for the position.

“Gary is a man who has not just talked about ministering in the city, with all of its challenges, but has done it — and done it with great success,” he said. ” He is a man of character, competency and compassion. He is a man who would greatly benefit any ministry team, and I’m glad he chose this one.

“In addition, I believe it is a real strength that Gary is African American and helps NAMB reflect the growing diversity reflected in our society,” Reccord said. “His experience at the national, state and associational levels also greatly complements his strength at the local church level and wonderfully reflects what NAMB is all about.”

Frost said after the meeting that while the decision to leave Rising Star Baptist Church in Youngstown was difficult, he believes God has given him a series of unique experiences that have led to the call to work with NAMB.

“This opportunity to have a role in reaching the cities for Christ is the opportunity of a lifetime,” he said. “I can’t imagine anything more challenging or yet more possibly fulfilling in terms of doing ministry for the Lord.”

NAMB’s strategic partnerships group — formerly the strategic cities strategies group — was previously led by Phil Roberts, who was elected president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., in January. An administrative restructuring coinciding with Frost’s election added the additional responsibilities of associational strategy and strategic coordination.

Frost — whose family was profiled in the March issue of Home Life magazine — attended high school in Youngstown and was an all-state and all-conference quarterback in high school and college. He is a graduate of Mount Union College, Central Bible College and Ashland Theological Seminary, where he received a master’s degree in pastoral psychology.

At Rising Star, Frost led a group of evangelical leaders in launching multiple strategies to help reshape Youngstown economically, socially and morally. Among the successful efforts have been Eagle Heights Academy, the largest charter school in Ohio; Jubilee Homes, which has provided affordable housing to low-income families; and Grace Place, which provides healthcare and counseling services to those unable to access other alternatives.

Frost and his wife of 25 years, Lynette, also have served as community models for the importance of Christian families taking in children in need of foster care. The Frosts have fostered 48 children in their home over the years and adopted one. They now have five children: Leslie, Daniel, Timothy, Jonathan and Benjamin.

In other business by NAMB trustees, the agency’s Chaplains Commission reported that it had endorsed 16 new chaplains the day before and updated endorsements for 71 chaplains, for a total of 87 endorsements. On the recommendation of the Chaplain’s Commission, the board also approved rescinding an amendment to the “Endorsement Manual for Chaplains and Counselors in Ministry” added when the manual was adopted in February.

The rescinded policy had expanded the existing policy against chaplains participating in or promoting glossalalia (speaking in tongues) to include “other charismatic manifestations.” John Yarbrough, NAMB’s vice president for evangelization, said the phrase was removed because it was ambiguous and redundant. The manual already contained an article dealing with “practices outside biblical and Southern Baptist practices of worship,” he said.

Trustees also heard a report from Reccord in which he gave an update on the agency’s achievements in a number of areas. Among the highlights:

— The Nehemiah Project, a partnership with Southern Baptist seminaries for training and mentoring church planters, is well ahead of its initial goals. Last year 150 short-term and 61 long-term church-planter interns were deployed. “Our seminaries tell us it is one of the finest pieces of cooperation in missions they have ever seen,” Reccord said.

— Reccord previewed the storyboard for a new television commercial under development as part of the “Changed Lives, Caring People” series introduced last summer. The commercial shares how a woman discovered a relationship with Christ through involvement in a Southern Baptist church. He also previewed one of a series of television spots being made available for church planters to air in the communities they are trying to reach, as well as two commercials produced as part of the “Family News” series. Many of NAMB’s television spots are available through Church Advertising Resources, www.namb.net/ads.

— George Garner, of Flagler, Colo., has been appointed the agency’s first national missionary to help coordinate “town and country” church planting. Reccord affirmed that despite NAMB’s emphasis on cities, about 35-40 percent of new church plants occur in smaller towns and rural areas. “It is not either/or, it is both/and,” he said.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: GARY FROST.

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  • James Dotson