ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) — North American Mission Board (NAMB) trustees met May 20-21 at NAMB’s building in Alpharetta, Ga., highlighting their visit with a Monday night dinner honoring Southern Baptist chaplains and the faithfulness with which they carry out their ministry.
“We love our missionaries and chaplains,” Ezell said. “I am grateful for the sacrifices you make and how you take the Gospel to those who need it.”
Chaplains serving in the military, law enforcement, health care and marketplace ministry were on hand for the celebration. Doug Carver, executive director of chaplaincy and a retired major general from the U.S. Army, led attendees in a time of worship. After the dinner, Ezell asked trustees to gather around the chaplains for prayer.
Tuesday morning (May 21) in their full board meeting, trustees received reports from committees and took action on various resolutions:
— Trustees approved a $124 million fiscal year 2020 operating budget.
— Matt Smith, chief financial officer at NAMB, reported to trustees that NAMB’s year-to-date revenue outpaced budget by 2.6 percent and expenses have run 6.7 percent under budget. Since Easter fell three weeks later this year than in 2018, revenue from the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering is expected to lag slightly behind until later this summer.
— In their annual election of officers, NAMB trustees re-elected Eric Thomas, pastor of First Baptist Church, Norfolk, Va., as second vice chairman; Danny de Armas, senior associate pastor of First Baptist Church in Orlando, Fla., was re-elected vice chairman; and Danny Wood, pastor of Shades Mountain Church in Birmingham, Ala., was re-elected chairman.
— Ezell recognized two trustees who are completing their terms of service. David Parks, a member of Porter Memorial Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky., and Randall Spurgeon, pastor of Ansted Baptist Church in Ansted, W.Va., are both completing their terms in June.
In his report to trustees, Ezell shared about the May 19 building dedication at First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas. NAMB funded construction of new worship and education buildings for the church after a Sunday morning attack by a gunman killed 26 and injured 20 worshippers at the small church on Nov. 5, 2017. See related Baptist Press story.
“It’s amazing how often our attention transitions when the news media leaves,” Ezell said. “I am just thankful for how you and Southern Baptists have come alongside in a way to take care of people. We are family. It is because of the Cooperative Program that we are able to come alongside churches like this.”
Previewing what he will share with messengers at June’s Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, Ezell said the success of church planting is having an impact across the SBC.
“Outside the South,” Ezell said, “27 percent of all Southern Baptist congregations were started since 2010. Across the SBC — including the South — 11 percent of all the churches we have today were started since 2010.”
Looking at baptisms, Ezell said, a NAMB analysis of 2017 SBC data found that 18 percent of all baptisms reported by Southern Baptists in the U.S. came from churches started since 2010. In Canada, Ezell said, 71 percent of all baptisms among Canadian Baptists came from churches started since 2010.
“So often people don’t equate baptisms with church planting,” Ezell said. “The reason we plant churches everywhere for everyone is so we can reach people everywhere. I am so grateful for these numbers.”
Ezell said NAMB had the resources to help plant 50 more churches tomorrow if the qualified planters were available but that he won’t compromise to get there.
“We will not sacrifice quality for quantity,” Ezell said. “We will do quality churches and plant with every quality planter we have. We can’t produce a quality plant without a quality planter.”
In closing his remarks, Ezell told trustees, “We have so much to celebrate and that could not happen without you. Thank you for the way you serve and the sacrifice you make to do that.”
NAMB’s Board of Trustees are next scheduled to meet Oct. 7-9 in San Francisco.