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NAMB names executive v.p., cooperation guidelines

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–In their first meeting since formation last June, trustees of the North American Mission Board on Nov. 5 hired an executive vice president, adopted guidelines for cooperation with non-Baptist entities, approved 16 new missionaries, and adopted the agency’s first full year budget.
Randy D. Singer, a trial lawyer and business consultant from Chesapeake, Va., was named as executive vice president of the new missions agency. In the post, Singer will assume much of the day-to-day operational responsibilities presently performed by NAMB president Bob Reccord.
Singer is a partner and leads the litigation section of the law firm of Willcox & Savage. He also serves on the firm’s executive committee which oversees its strategic planning, budgeting and operations. Singer has consulted with clients on strategic planning issues and has extensive experience in legal issues facing pastors, churches and other Christian groups.
Trustees unanimously elected Singer, who will begin his new responsibilities after the first of the year.
Trustees also approved “Guidelines for Interdenominational Cooperation” that affirm agreement on essential theological truths as a foundation for any cooperation with non-Southern Baptist groups.
Acknowledging NAMB’s commitment to several key statements on biblical inerrancy and theology, the document states cooperation in evangelism and missions will be done “only with groups who are self-described as evangelical: that is they adhere to a conversionist theology that all people must be born again by faith in Christ alone in order to enter the Kingdom of God; and that they uphold the Bible alone as the source of God’s truth, and that salvation is by faith alone due to God’s grace alone having Christ alone as its object.”
A motion to change the nature of the statement from guidelines to policy was rejected by a large margin.
Also adopted was an $111.6 million 1998 budget. Created five months ago, NAMB has been operating on a partial year, transitional budget. The new budget anticipates 30 percent of agency revenues from the SBC Cooperative Program, 38 percent from the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, 9 percent from both church loans and product sales, 6 percent from prior year’s revenue and 8 percent from other sources.
Reccord expressed appreciation for Southern Baptists’ strong support of the Cooperative Program. He told trustees, “Because of your churches and thousands of SBC churches like yours, we have received an additional $2 million from the Cooperative Program. This is wonderful news and support from our convention.”
Likewise, Earnest Kelley, NAMB chief financial officer, announced the agency has received in the first 10 months of the year an amount equal to the annual projected revenue from the 1997 Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. “As the Annie Offering continues to come in, we praise God for the faithfulness and stewardship of God’s people,” Kelley said. “We are anticipating another record offering.”
Responding to a trustee’s question, Kelley and Reccord both re-affirmed that all receipts from the national offering, which most SBC churches conduct in the Spring, will continue to go directly to the mission field to support nearly 5,000 Southern Baptist missionaries and their work.
Reccord also reported progress on development of the agency’s strategic plan, and distributed a draft which he asked trustees to keep confidential because it is a “work in progress.” Trustees were invited to review the document and send comments to Reccord or Charles Fuller, board chairman.
Reccord explained the plan will include NAMB’s mission and vision statements and delineation of its core values. He said any suggested changes in wording of the mission statement would need to be submitted to the Southern Baptist Convention for approval.
Fuller informed the board he had conducted an investigation of charges by the editor of a state Baptist newspaper that NAMB trustee Bill Streich had pressured Home Mission Board and NAMB employees not to attend Reconciliation ’97, a controversial ecumenical meeting held last August in Coventry, England.
Mark Wingfield, editor of Kentucky’s Western Recorder, in an Aug. 19, editorial charged that Streich, an attorney from Wichita Falls, Texas, “bullied and scared” employees out of participating in the meeting.
However, Fuller told trustees, “There is no evidence Bill approached anyone in an attempt to circumvent the action of this board,” Fuller stated. “He has strong convictions and was opposed to HMB or NAMB support of the conference, and he has a right to express that. But the implication that he had attempted to pressure employees questions his integrity. There was no effort to apply pressure to any employees.”
Reccord requested trustees to pray for a Dec. 11 NAMB banquet to be held at the United Nations in New York City for U.N. ambassadors, their families and staff members. U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich will welcome the delegations, and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee will be the keynote speaker, Reccord announced. “We can touch the world through its most powerful leaders if we can reach them for Christ,” he said.
According to Reccord, NAMB has also reinstated a gift of $150 for each year of service for retiring missionaries which was suspended earlier in the year. “Nobody is more important than those serving on the field. They will again be so honored,” Reccord said.
Four retiring employees were honored at the meeting, all of whom were employees of the former Home Mission Board. They were: Huey Perry, chaplaincy manager, with 20 years of service; Joe Gatlin, conference and facilities manager, with 24 years service; Wilson Matthews, director of employee benefits with the HMB and most recently assigned to a special project with NAMB, with 18 years service; and Bette Baker-Simmons, a leadership enlistment and training team secretary with nine years service. Ginny Winstead, an administrative secretary in information services who had been with the HMB for 25 years, was recognized but was unable to attend.
In other business, trustees:
— Approved the endorsement of 19 new chaplains, bringing the total number of Southern Baptist chaplains serving across the country and around the world to 2,739.
— Adopted unanimously a motion commending Reccord for his leadership during the transition period for the new agency.

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  • Martin King