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Multiplying partnerships goal of new missions coordinator

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–A former missionary to Kenya will help Southern Baptists multiply partnerships with places where missionary evangelism and church planting are sorely needed.
Sam Turner, an associate director in the International Mission Board’s volunteers in missions department, has been selected to serve as partnership development coordinator for the IMB and the North American Mission Board.
Turner, an Arkansas native who served 23 years as an IMB missionary in Kenya, will work with Baptist state convention leaders to identify places in North America or overseas that need missions assistance and then share the list of such places with Baptist associations interested in forging missions partnerships.
Turner will be succeeded in the volunteers department by Clinton “Sonny” Sweatman, who served as an evangelist in eastern and southern Africa for 12 years prior to becoming director of the World A Resource Center at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, N.C., in 1998. In his new role, Sweatman will coordinate volunteer projects in Africa and the Middle East.
The effort marks a major step forward in the development of missions partnerships, said Bob Franklin, NAMB’s associational strategy team leader.
“This is the first systematic effort to identify places that want partnerships and help them find each other,” he said. “It’s an approach that emphasizes the association’s role in developing a God-given vision for missions and will result in more churches being involved in kingdom work.”
As Southern Baptists have developed partnership missions, they have discovered that not only is the receiver enriched but the sender as well, Turner said.
“Partnership can let you be more effective in missions outreach because it puts you together with someone who knows the language, culture and context of the place God has sent you,” he said. “It’s not a foster-parent ministry but a ‘paraclete’ ministry where you go alongside and share in the kingdom work.”
The new project involves surveying associations to find out which ones want partnerships, training associational leaders in strategy development and coordinating with state convention and partnership missions leaders, Franklin said.
“Our goal is to see every association partnering with a mission site somewhere in the world,” he said.