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New NAMB magazine emphasizes developing ‘on mission’ Christians

SALT LAKE CITY (BP)–Are you an “on mission” Christian?
That’s the question the North American Mission Board asks Southern Baptists to consider in the premiere issue of the agency’s flagship publication. On Mission magazine, published bimonthly and initially free to all who request it, made its debut during the June 9 report of NAMB to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Salt Lake City.
The concept of being “on mission” with God in the evangelization of North America dominates the premiere issue and the magazine’s overall purpose, but the concept also lies at the core of a corresponding new emphasis throughout the agency, according to Nate Adams, vice president of the mobilization and mission education group. Adams said the focus came out of a realization that NAMB’s evangelization goals cannot be accomplished solely by missionaries, ministers or even mission volunteers. Estimates place the number of Christians regularly leading people to Christ as low as 2 percent, he said, and that is where leaders determined the greatest need lies. “We felt NAMB’s flagship (publication) needed to be not just a reporting mechanism about missionary activity, but an enabling, empowering tool to activate people who aren’t currently seeing people come to Christ in their lives,” Adams said. The magazine’s subtitle states it succinctly, “Helping You Share Christ in the Real World.”
“The magazine is designed to awaken people to God’s mission so they can find their link to that mission,” he said. In the magazine’s cover focus article, “Spiritual Heartcheck: Are You an On-Mission Christian?” Adams described his own transformation which took place a few years ago. After 30 years of active leadership in the church, he writes, “this incredible experience of leading people to Christ was one I had rarely experienced. Now I was experiencing it every month or two.” In his case, it was involvement in helping start a new church that began opening opportunities for leading people to Christ. Such experiences, he said, “have become ‘addictive’ to me. I need more of them. “I’ve started seeing people differently. I intuitively approach others looking for clues to whether they know God personally or not, and when they indicate they don’t, I just as intuitively start speculating about which barriers may have hindered them from truly hearing the gospel. And I really, really want to help remove those barriers,” Adams said. The magazine is planned to help others catch the addiction, with an emphasis on encouraging readers find their “personalized path to being on mission,” as Adams puts it in his article.
At the end of every issue is a feature, “My Mission,” in which individuals share what has worked for them.
“What we hope to do is come alongside people, not just as the experts but as co-strugglers in this area,” said Mike Ebert, NAMB’s director of publishing. Practical ideas and resources also will be offered in a complementary Internet site (www.onmission.com), he said. The work of missionaries will be included, but not as the primary focus, Adams said. Much of the news about the various areas of NAMB’s work is already contained in a number of other publications that already are distributed to churches and interested individuals, he said. Among those are Evangelism Today, On Site (volunteer mobilization), Church Planting Today and studentz.com
Among those materials, for example, is a separate free missionary calendar advertised through the magazine. It is a format that NAMB leaders believe will be more useful for those who use it, while allowing the magazine to be more effective in awakening such interests in others. Advertising for other resources is used throughout the magazine to encourage readers to become involved on a deeper level, Adams said. The emphasis of being an on-mission Christian also is reflected in a name change for an area of NAMB’s work closely tied to the magazine. Missions education as of June 1 is now known as mission education. “The dropping of that little ‘s’ in ‘missions’ may seem small, but it is a large paradigm shift in the types of materials, events and strategies at the North American Mission Board,” President Bob Reccord told SBC messengers during the agency’s June 9 report to the convention. “It means mission is something we do as we go, not something we merely go to do.” On Mission magazine initially will be mailed to churches and individuals who subscribed to one of the primary magazines of the three agencies that formed NAMB last year and anyone else who requests a subscription. Eventually, subscribers will be asked to sign a card indicating their desire to continue receiving the magazine. Pastors are being asked for their help in identifying those who are most likely to benefit. To subscribe to On Mission magazine, call 1-800-233-1123.

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  • James Dotson