Updated July 17
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–The North American Mission Board has appointed David Meacham to the newly created position of senior strategist for associations. Prior to his new appointment, Meacham served as NAMB’s senior strategist for church planting.
In naming Meacham to the new position, NAMB President Geoff Hammond stated his commitment to ensure greater thinking from Baptist associations throughout the mission board and a higher visibility of associations and their mission efforts.
“I believe associations are an important part of Southern Baptist cooperative missions,” said Hammond, himself a former associational director of missions in northwest Arkansas. “And it remains one of the ministry assignments given to NAMB by the Southern Baptist Convention.”
The appointment of Meacham to the newly created job reflects not only Hammond’s associational experience but follows a NAMB-initiated “think tank” meeting in April during which NAMB/associational relations was discussed and redefined. The session was attended by NAMB representatives, associational missionaries, several state executive directors and state directors of missions.
With the attendees representing a cross-section of younger, older, metro and rural elements of the Southern Baptist Convention, the entire day was spent praying, visioning and planning in an open dialogue on how NAMB and the associations could better team together to reach North America for Christ.
Hammond said with Meacham in the new post, associations will have a higher profile as NAMB assists Southern Baptists in their task of fulfilling the Great Commission in the United States, Canada and their territories via NAMB’s strategy of sharing Christ, starting churches and sending missionaries in cooperation with its Acts 1:8 partners -– state conventions, local associations and churches.
“Every one of NAMB’s Acts 1:8 partners plays a vital role in fulfilling the Great Commission on this continent,” Hammond said. “And that’s why NAMB is ensuring that providing support to all 1,200 Southern Baptist associations continues to have a high priority.”
Hammond called Meacham a “bridge-builder who can forge relationships across generations which could lead to more effective partnerships for the evangelization of North America.”
Russell Cook, director of missions for Pottawatomie-Lincoln Baptist Association in Oklahoma and immediate past president of the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Directors of Missions (SBCADOM), called Hammond’s decision “something that has been needed. I think this is a very good thing. I know Geoff well enough to know he has a heart for associations, so his decision doesn’t surprise me.”
Echoing Cook, Sid Hopkins, an associational director of missions with the Gwinnett Metro Baptist Association in Georgia and national chairman of the Network of Baptist Associations (NOBA), said, “I’m very excited about an excellent decision by NAMB leadership. This sends a great message that the North American Mission Board takes associations very seriously and wants to work hand-in-hand to get out the Gospel.
“I appreciate David’s knowledge and expertise,” Hopkins added. “Also, having interacted personally with David, I appreciate his heart to serve associations as we work in partnership to provide ongoing training and resources for the local church.”
Meacham said he is looking forward to assisting associations in the areas of evangelism, church planting and missions, especially with the added challenge of NAMB’s recently announced national evangelism initiative, “GPS – God’s Plan for Sharing.”
Meacham, a director of missions in Las Vegas from 1981-92, said, “I am really motivated to use my calling, experience and passion to help Baptist associations assist the local church to fulfill the Great Commission. Being on the cutting edge of the Great Commission is the most exciting thing I know. I believe there are some great days ahead for associations and ADOMs.”
Meacham also led Southern Baptist statewide efforts in Nevada from 1992-2001 as executive director of the Nevada Baptist Convention. He came to NAMB in 2007 from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he served as director of the Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Health and professor of church planting.
Van Kicklighter, formerly team leader of NAMB’s church planting group’s field services team, has been named interim senior strategist of the church planting group. Kicklighter also has served as the Illinois Baptist State Association’s associate executive director and as the Missouri Baptist Convention’s church planting leader.
Brandon Pickett is team leader of communications for the North American Mission Board.