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TRUSTEES: Church planting to be focus of new NAMB mission statement

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–To simplify and re-focus its ministry assignments — as directed by the Southern Baptist Convention last summer in Orlando — North American Mission Board trustees adopted a six-item mission statement during their May 11 meeting in Alpharetta, Ga.

The new mission statement reflects NAMB’s priority shift to church planting.

“The North American Mission Board exists to work with churches, associations and state conventions in mobilizing Southern Baptists as a missional force to impact North America with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through evangelism and church planting…,” the trustee-approved revised ministry mission statement reads.

The new statement — consolidating NAMB’s former ministry assignments from nine to six — cites the six primary areas of work the missions entity will employ to accomplish its Great Commission-driven strategy:

— assist churches in planting healthy, multiplying, evangelistic SBC churches in the United States and Canada

— assist churches in the ministries of evangelism and making disciples

— assist churches by appointing, supporting and assuring accountability for missionaries serving in the U.S. and Canada

— assist churches by providing missions education and coordinating volunteer missions opportunities for church members

— assist churches by providing leadership development

— assist churches in relief ministries to victims of disaster and other people in need.

Leadership development is an addition to NAMB’s mission statement. Ezell announced that responsibility for NAMB’s evolving leadership development area will be placed under Larry Wynn, the board’s vice president for evangelism.

“We will give new focus to revitalizing churches, encouraging pastors and developing a leadership network,” Ezell said. “And we want to establish relationships with existing and ongoing ministries who also do leadership. We want to come up with a best-practices program.”

The proposed mission statement supersedes an earlier one adopted in 1995 and will go to the SBC Executive Committee for consideration at its June meeting. If approved by EC members, the statement will be voted on by SBC messengers at the June 14-15 annual meeting in Phoenix.

“We are excited about completing the infrastructure to launch our ‘Send North America’ strategy,” NAMB President Kevin Ezell told the trustees. “These are exciting days. We’ve made a lot of progress since Los Angeles,” Ezell said, referring to his initial meeting as president with the NAMB board last October.

Trustees voted to re-elect Tim Dowdy, pastor of Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough, Ga., as chairman for a second term. Dowdy has served on the board since 2004. Also re-elected to second terms were Doug Dieterly, an attorney from Lakeville, Ind., as first vice chairman, and Ric Camp, pastor of Sonrise Baptist Church in Mobile, Ala., as second vice chairman.

In other business, trustees approved Ezell’s nomination of Steve Bass as vice president of NAMB’s West Region. Bass, 54, had been serving as state missionary for the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention since 1996.

Ezell also announced the appointments of Stan Albright as NAMB’s national director for associations and Micah Millican as director of church planter relations at the missions entity in Alpharetta, both effective June 1.

Ezell also announced that NAMB cooperative strategies team leader Walter Mickels has been named as associate vice president for the South Region states of Georgia, Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Carlos Ferrer, NAMB vice president and chief financial officer, in his financial report, said Cooperative Program revenue was down $24,000 compared to budget, while receipts from the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions so far are $56,000 higher than projected. Ferrer said NAMB’s total year-to-date revenues of $29.9 million were down by $615,000, or 2 percent, and that all NAMB teams are operating under budget.

“We’re thankful to God for where we are now,” Ferrer told the trustees. “These numbers are really, really good with the economy the way it is.”

Other trustee committee reports reflected that NAMB currently has 4,875 missionaries and 3,524 endorsed chaplains. The trustees’ church finance committee reported that NAMB had a total of $134.4 million in outstanding loans (428) to churches on its books as of April 30. In line with NAMB’s stepped-up priority of planting more churches, the committee announced a new program under which it will make $15 million available for new church planting-related loans.

Ezell said NAMB also is revamping its ministry evangelism effort — also to be under the oversight of Wynn — which will be rolled out at the next trustee meeting in October.

“We want a presence of ministry evangelism in every major ‘send’ city, including foster care, adoptions, crisis pregnancy and disaster relief. We also want to do a better job of making these ministries known.”
Mickey Noah writes for the North American Mission Board.

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  • Mickey Noah