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NAMB-BSSB announce ‘new day’ in agencies’ relationship

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Two of Southern Baptists’ largest agencies have reached what their respective presidents termed historic agreement to work cooperatively, with the first effort being a joint task force to make Bible study more evangelistic.
The executive staff of the North American Mission Board and the Baptist Sunday School Board met eight hours Aug. 5 at NAMB offices in Alpharetta, Ga., to “talk about how we can capitalize on the resources of our two agencies and serve churches cooperatively, rather than duplicate services or even compete,” said Bob Reccord, NAMB’s new president.
Reccord told Baptist Press he invited James T. Draper Jr., BSSB president, and his executive staff to meet with him and NAMB’s new leadership team on Reccord’s first full day at the new mission agency because “our agency alone cannot reach North America for Christ. We’ve invited the Sunday School Board to cooperate with us in helping our churches, associations and state conventions evangelize and congregationalize the United States and Canada. I am thrilled they have responded so enthusiastically.”
Draper said the meeting signaled a “new day” in SBC agency relationships. “I am very excited about the commitments our agencies have made to cooperate and complement each other, rather than to compete. We’re in this thing together,” Draper said.
He said the new relationship is a direct result of the Southern Baptist Convention’s “Covenant for a New Century” restructuring which promised increased effectiveness and efficiency. “That’s exactly what Southern Baptists will see from this type of joint strategic planning. It’s wonderful,” Draper said.
Attending the meeting with Draper were the BSSB’s executive vice president, Ted Warren, and Gene Mims, vice president of the church growth group. NAMB staff who participated were Mike Day, vice president of strategic planning; Richard Harris, vice president of church planting; and Ernest Kelley, business services vice president.
The two presidents said they anticipate executive-level staff to meet at least twice annually to identify areas where their agencies share vision, strategy and objectives while staff-level task forces will focus on strategic projects and tasks.
The first joint task force will develop ways to equip Bible study leaders and participants in effective soul-winning.
“We’ve been struggling at the Sunday School Board with the apparent loss of zeal for soul-winning and evangelism in many of our Sunday schools,” Draper explained. “In fact, our staff was in the process of evaluating the need for new materials, but we want to ensure they would be in harmony with NAMB’s evangelism strategy.”
Reccord said, “Sunday school is one of the greatest evangelism tools. We’re delighted the greatest publishing house in the world, the Baptist Sunday School Board, has committed to work with us in evangelizing North America for Christ,” Reccord said.
Serving on the task force will be Day, Harris and NAMB’s director of direct evangelism when that position is filled, along with Mims and Bill Taylor, director of the BSSB’s Bible teaching-reaching division.
In 1995, the BSSB forged a relationship with the SBC International Mission Board to incorporate more missions-related resources into Sunday school literature and to foster greater hands-on volunteer missions involvement by BSSB employees.

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  • Martin King