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Send conference among NAMB highlights

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) — The North American Mission Board reflects on a year of stories regarding its new outreach emphasis to the under-reached, under-served areas of North America — and efforts to encourage every Southern Baptist church to be more involved in introducing North Americans to Jesus Christ.

The following stories are among the year’s highlights for NAMB:

Send Conference connects churches to vast mission field
More than 4,200 church planters, pastors and church leaders flooded the hallways of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, for NAMB’s second Send North America Conference. The July 29-30 gathering was marked by masses of participants praying in response to speakers, hundreds of connections between churches and church planters, and individuals seizing their moments to penetrate lostness in North America. Many attendees expressed the belief they were witnessing momentum building toward a movement to reach the continent.

NAMB sends evangelism-themed Bibles to every Southern Baptist church
Every Southern Baptist and Canadian National Baptist church in North America received a case of New Testaments from NAMB in the spring of 2013. The “Find It Here” New Testaments are part of NAMB’s God’s Plan for Sharing: GPS initiative to encourage “Every Believer Sharing, Every Person Hearing” by 2020.

Baptist relief workers ‘stand alongside’ Moore residents
Hundreds of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers helped survivors after a devastating tornado struck Moore, Okla. in May. More than 40 SBDR volunteer chaplains engaged in the response. Oklahoma SBDR mobile kitchens prepared more than 35,000 meals in just over a week, and more than 160 recovery and cleanup jobs have been completed.

Send North America luncheon draws 3,500
Using dots on a timeline, the North American Mission Board showcased significant moments in Southern Baptist history during the Send North America luncheon June 12 at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Houston. With precision video mapping and a combination of digital and physical presentation, NAMB challenged the 3,500 guests to recognize that their next steps are crucial to reaching North America for Christ.

On spring break, students clean up Sandy debris
Hundreds of college students in teams that came from states across the nation took part in the SBC Collegiate Spring Break’s recovery response to Staten Island in March. The project was coordinated by the NAMB to help Hurricane Sandy survivors begin the process of recovering and rebuilding their homes. The college students served alongside dozens of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers.

Cities’ church planting maps posted by NAMB
Southern Baptists can access new online church planting maps for North America’s largest, most influential and least-churched cities. NAMB has posted digital maps highlighting current and planned church plants for the cities that are part of its Send North America outreach. The online maps show the locations of current church plants with red dots and the locations of future plants with blue dots. The maps are available at namb.net/cities.

New funding model lets NAMB shift money to non-South regions
NAMB president Kevin Ezell, in his Oct. 9 address to trustees, announced a new funding model between NAMB and South Region state conventions. The grant system is simpler, leaves more spending decisions to the states and will no longer include personnel. The shift allows NAMB to double church planting funds in 2015 in states such as Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, invest $1 million over four years for new churches in the I-29 corridor between the Dakotas and Kansas City, and provide an additional 15 church planting catalysts throughout North America.

NAMB calls Southern Baptists to TenTwo prayer emphasis
In October NAMB encouraged SBC churches to set aside Oct. 2 — 10/2 — as a special day of prayer to ask God to send more workers into the harvest fields of North America and the world. But this is not a once a year event. The hope is that each individual and church will consider making Luke 10:2 a daily prayer.

NAMB guidelines for military chaplains updated to address same-sex unions
The North American Mission Board issued new guidelines for Southern Baptist military chaplains in light of the U.S. military’s recognition of same-sex marriage. The guidelines reiterate Southern Baptist doctrine and the expectation that SBC chaplains will not participate in or attend wedding ceremonies for gay members of the military.

Decline in SBC baptisms being studied by pastors’ task force
NAMB convened a national Pastors’ Task Force on Evangelistic Impact and Declining Baptisms to address the continued decrease in baptisms among Southern Baptist churches. The group’s first meeting was Sept. 18 in Nashville.
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