MBC, NAMB agree to Send strategy
By MBC Pathway Staff
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (BP) – Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Director John Yeats signed an agreement with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) May 21 that clarifies church-planting lanes of responsibility for both organizations – and, in effect, makes Missouri what NAMB describes as a Send Network state (SN Missouri).
In the SN Missouri strategy, NAMB deploys church planters and also provides assessment, training and funding to plant new churches across the state.
This enables NAMB to do what it does best, said Rick Hedger, director of Multiplying Churches for the MBC.
“The church-planting strategy NAMB employs is very effective,” Hedger said. “Their assessment is one of the best for church planters. Their training is outstanding. And their funding, along with caring for the church planter, is well developed.”
So, what becomes of the MBC’s church-planting strategists? “With NAMB as our partner, we are freed to discover, develop and deploy multi-ethnic and underserved demographic congregations,” Hedger said.
“Our goal is to develop a pipeline of pastors and churches that reach the unreached who have come into Missouri from all over the world, and the underserved people groups who live in our state and counties. The mission field is coming to us, and our partnership with NAMB enables us to work together to accomplish more in transforming lives and communities with the Gospel.”
Months ago, Yeats challenged Hedger with a “what if” question: What if the MBC were to turn over all planter-based church planting to NAMB so the state convention could release its own strategists to find and serve pockets of people who have limited access to Bible studies and evangelical churches?
The challenge came on the heels of a meeting with other state convention executive directors and NAMB President Kevin Ezell. During the meeting, Yeats and Ezell talked about ways to make this new strategy an opportunity in Missouri.
“As a part of NAMB’s commitment to working with the MBC, NAMB continues its annual funding grant to the MBC, but the shared focus of those funds is on youth evangelism/discipleship, with another portion earmarked for church-planting efforts,” Yeats said. “Our missionaries will use these funds with local churches and associations to develop a robust ‘churches-starting-churches’ strategy.”
After much prayer and many meetings, phone calls and emails, NAMB and the MBC reached a strategic agreement. Yeats describes the joint strategy as NAMB and the MBC running the same race in parallel lanes, with each organization running on its unique strengths.
Lifeway helps student pastors and parents launch faith-filled graduates
By Carol Pipes/Lifeway
NASHVILLE (BP) – A quick scroll through Facebook and you’ll find photos of fresh, young faces mugging for the camera dressed in caps and gowns, tassels flowing. It’s graduation season.
Graduation is a rite of passage, and churches across the country are celebrating with special recognition Sundays and commissioning services as they launch teens from their student ministries into adulthood.
This is also a great time for churches to celebrate the unique partnership between student pastors and parents, says Ben Trueblood, director of Lifeway Students and author of Within Reach: The Power of Small Changes in Keeping Students Connected.
“Student pastors recognize that parents are the most influential people in students’ lives,” says Trueblood. “Student ministers indirectly influence the spiritual health of students by investing in their parents.”
Trueblood says the parent/student pastor partnership has always been important, but as student pastors adapted their ministries during the pandemic many realized they needed to take a more intentional focus on ministry to parents.
The pandemic revealed that for most student ministries, a ministry to parents consisted primarily of feeding them information – calendars, sign up info, release forms, here’s what’s going on in the ministry, says Trueblood. “These things are good but fall painfully short of equipping parents to be a spiritual influence in the lives of their teenagers.”
One way Lifeway has come alongside the church in this emphasis is through a resource called Parent Partner (lifeway.com/parentpartner). This is a monthly subscription resource that helps student pastors equip parents of the next generation of college bound students to be spiritual influencers in their lives.
“This resource is simple to use, powerfully impactful, and we hear great feedback from student pastors who use it in their ministry,” Trueblood says.
“One of the many ways Lifeway looks to the future is by staying connected to the rising generation,” says Lifeway President and CEO Ben Mandrell. “Today’s students will become our missionaries, Bible study teachers, seminary professors, and pastors of tomorrow. One of our main priorities is to come alongside churches, pastors and parents to help them disciple students as they develop a heart for Jesus and build a firm foundation for their faith.”