News Articles

NAMB prepares for task ahead with 3 days prayer & fasting

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)??”God has worked this NAMB employee over. He said to me that having an experience with him is not enough for what he has planned,” Henry Blackaby confessed following three days of prayer and fasting at the North American Mission Board.
“I believe we are on the edge of one of the greatest workings of God,” Blackaby told colleagues at Southern Baptists’ new domestic mission agency Sept. 11. “Whenever he is about to do a mighty work, God calls his people to prepare themselves and stand before him. That is what we have done this week, and I must tell you, he has done a number on my heart.”
Blackaby, NAMB’s special assistant for prayer and spiritual awakening, was one of 350 agency employees who spent Sept. 9?11 away from telephones, meetings and the normal business of denominational service. The retreat avoided standard messages related to leadership and team?building, focusing instead on repentance, prayer and worship.
John Avant told staff at NAMB’s Alpharetta, Ga., offices, “I have never heard of one of our agencies stopping everything for three days to focus solely on worship and prayer. … We’ve spent plenty of time on programs and work but not a lot of time on our knees. It blesses my heart.”
Avant, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Ga., spoke to NAMB staff about the 1995 revival which began at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church, Brownwood, Texas, while he served as pastor.
He told NAMB employees God wants to send revival to North America, but asked, “Are we ready to be used should he see fit to use us? … Is NAMB ready if God pours out his Spirit on this continent?” Avant encouraged NAMB staff to “walk in brokenness ?? pride will kill what God wants you to do and it blinds us to its own effects … . Be reconciled and a reconciler … . Don’t’ be sidetracked by opposition … and, realize what is at stake ?? the eternity of people in the U.S. and Canada.”
In a keynote message, Reccord compared the prophet Isaiah with Israel’s King Uzziah and rhetorically asked staff, “Are you a person God uses or a person who uses God?”
“A person whom God uses is focused on God,” Reccord explained, “… and strives to know him. Is the work of the board around you killing the work of the Lord within you? Are you more concerned about the pull of work than God’s presence in your life?” Reccord asked. “We must be tuned in to God’s voice. We must have something fresh to say to God’s churches.
“Nothing scares me more than knowing that with the immense talent he has assembled here, we might leave God out. … But he says, ‘I am not asking you to do anything ?? just spend time with me and I will do it through you,'” Reccord said.
Agency employees in both locations prayed by name for every NAMB trustee, missionary, long?term volunteer and SBC?endorsed chaplain and wrote personal notes of encouragement to each, mailing more than 8,000 cards. Staff also walked throughout the buildings praying for every fellow employee by name and ministry.
During the three days, speakers addressed areas of special focus for the new agency including family, reaching ethnics, the cities, students and Canada.
In one of the more passionate messages, Herb Brisbane encouraged NAMB and the Southern Baptist Convention to move from paternalism to partnership. “We must intentionally think about people of color and how to include them in our planning. People (in the churches) say when we come to them, the deal is already done,” he said. “They want to be our partners in planning. Everyone should share in the decision?making process.”
Brisbane, manager of NAMB’s multi?cultural consultant for church evangelism, told staff, “It’s a new day and we must break down barriers that have separated us.”
Led by an impassioned plea from Blackaby, staff also spent considerable time praying for mission work in Canada, an assignment moved from the International Mission Board to NAMB as part of the SBC’s recent restructuring. Blackaby said he has prayed for his native Canada 53 years.
“Most people are not aware that Canada is one of the most pagan countries in the world. The United Nations has even removed it from the list of Christian nations,” Blackaby explained. “It’s not that they have rejected Christ ?? most have never heard.
“Maybe now is the time revival fires will break out across Canada. When he will do it, I do not know. That he will do it, I am sure.”
NAMB employees were so moved by Blackaby’s passion for Canada they took up an offering to be sent to one of the 120 Southern Baptist churches there.
Staff also were cautioned to not allow their work, especially denominational service, to take priority over their family. “We must each come to the point where we admit, I am not God’s silver bullet solution to every problem,” Jerry Pipes told fellow staffers.
“We must plan for our family to be a priority,” said Pipes, who serves as NAMB’s manager of family evangelism. “And, priority is spelled t?i?m?e.” Following Pipes message, employees wrote letters to family members expressing love and appreciation.
Summarizing the three?day retreat, Reccord told staff, “Part of the future of the North American Mission Board is that we will spend a significant amount of time on our knees as we have done this week.”

    About the Author

  • Martin King