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NAMB chairman responds to GCR proposals

REVISED February 26.

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–The chairman of the North American Mission Board trustees has expressed excitement and encouragement about the progress report issued Monday, Feb. 22, by the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force.

Tim Patterson, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., emphasized he was not speaking on behalf of NAMB’s board of trustees but as someone who has been familiar with the GCR process and has addressed the task force on occasion to provide input about Great Commission priorities for North America.

Following Monday’s GCRTF report to the SBC Executive Committee, Patterson and other NAMB leaders met Tuesday with GCRTF chairman Ronnie Floyd, pastor of First Baptist Church in Springdale, Ark., and SBC President Johnny Hunt, who appointed the task force during the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Louisville, Ky., last June.

“They walked us through the vision for this and how it would empower NAMB to carry out the Great Commission in North America in a much more effective way,” Patterson said. “They really want NAMB to be the lead voice for Southern Baptist church planting, evangelism and missionary strategies in the United States and Canada.”

Patterson said NAMB’s trustees will begin familiarizing themselves with the GCRTF recommendations right away.

“We’re going to start looking at these things. I will share with our trustees how I see this vision unfolding and the particulars the GCR leaders shared at the recent Executive Committee meeting in Nashville. I will encourage them to prayerfully consider how NAMB — as the lead entity in North America for evangelism, church planting and leadership development — can implement these recommendations in a timely manner.”

Patterson said the task force has left the particulars for implementation to NAMB’s trustees.

Patterson said even though the GCR Task Force has called for a graduated end to cooperative budgets as they now exist with state conventions, NAMB will still work under cooperative agreements and will still work with state conventions as highly valued partners.

“The states will absolutely take on a greater role than ever before,” Patterson said. “Their responsibilities will increase as NAMB becomes much more of a facilitator than a program provider.”

The GCRTF recommendations come at a time when NAMB trustees have appointed a search committee for a new president of the mission board. Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., reported to trustees at their mid-February meeting that the search committee had held off on finalizing a list of candidates until the GCR Task Force’s direction became more clearly known.

Patterson said, “We’ll be looking for a leader who will fully and completely embrace the changes that appear to be on the horizon and will be able to lead us in a way that reflects his unity with the vision NAMB’s board of trustees share.”

NAMB leaders already have been meeting with leaders of the International Mission Board to discuss working together more closely in reaching specific people groups in North America. That process will continue in light of the GCR Task Force proposal that IMB be authorized to do such work in North America.

“We won’t be in competition to reach people groups in North America,” Patterson said. “We’ll be working in partnership.”

God’s Plan for Sharing (GPS), the 10-year evangelism initiative spearheaded by NAMB, will remain a top priority for the SBC entity as it moves toward the GCR Task Force-recommended transformation, Patterson said.

“Everything about GPS will be enhanced by these recommendations and it will undergird and support all of this. They dovetail together beautifully.”
Mike Ebert is the North American Mission Board’s team leader for communications.

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