ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–The North American Mission Board has added new national leaders coordinating church planting among Hispanics, African Americans and — in a new area to receive full-time attention — people living in multi-housing developments.
Chris McNairy serves as national missionary for multi-housing; Bobby Sena serves on NAMB staff as national Hispanic specialist; and Ken Weathersby is the national African American specialist.
Dennis Mitchell, director of the multiplication team of NAMB’s church planting group, said the new leadership emphasizes NAMB’s commitment to placing strong strategists to help facilitate a church multiplication movement among Southern Baptist churches in the United States, Canada and U.S. territories. Today, he said, only about 4 percent of the 41,000 Southern Baptist churches are involved in church planting.
“If we’re going to reach America … we’ve got to help more churches catch a kingdom-expanding, church-planting vision. Selection of these three gifted, experienced church-planting practitioners will significantly enhance NAMB’s ability to achieve this objective,” Mitchell said.
The new role of a church planting national missionary for multi-housing reflects NAMB’s expanded commitment to helping churches, associations and state conventions reach people living in apartment complexes, condominiums, manufactured housing and other types of multi-housing communities, Mitchell said. That commitment goes beyond the Bible studies and other ministries that often remain extensions of existing churches, he added.
“With an estimated 90 percent of the 100 million people in the United States and Canada living in these communities not attending church on a regular basis, we have no choice but to reach them and seek to lead them into active involvement in a New Testament church in their own community,” he said.
“For years, Southern Baptists have emphasized multi-housing ministries, but this is the first time we have had an individual specifically tasked at leading the efforts to facilitate church planting in multi-housing communities,” Mitchell said.
McNairy until recently served as African American missions leader for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Previously he served as pastor and church staff member in Memphis, Tenn., and St. Louis. He is a graduate of Washington University, with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public policy.
The position of African American specialist was expanded with the calling of Ken Weathersby to include working with recent immigrants representing 48 people groups of African descent now living in the United States. The position previously was held by Robert Wilson, who recently became pastor of a congregation in Atlanta.
Since 1998 Weathersby has been a NAMB missionary, serving as Nehemiah Project director and church planting professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
Previously Weathersby was state evangelism director for the Tennessee Baptist Convention; a NAMB missionary in Tennessee; and pastor of churches in Baton Rouge, La., and Cincinnati. He is a graduate of Mississippi College, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Miss., where he received a doctor of ministry degree.
Sena transferred from national Hispanic field staff for NAMB’s church planting group, where he had served since 1997. He replaces Moises Rodriguez, who recently became pastor of a congregation in Fort Worth, Texas.
Previously, Sena served as a staff member and missionary for the former Home Mission Board (now NAMB); staff member of the Baptist General Convention of Texas; field representative for the American Bible Society; and pastor of churches in Atlanta and Dallas. He is a graduate of Wayland Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: MCNAIRY, SENA, WEATHERSBY.