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Welch, Chapman thank Reccord, voice optimism for future

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–The North American Mission Board may now be in transition, but Southern Baptists mustn’t waver in their commitment to reach the continent for Christ, SBC President Bobby Welch said April 17 after the resignation of NAMB President Bob Reccord.

“As NAMB’s first president, Dr. Reccord assumed a Herculean task in the launch of that new and expanded entity,” Welch said of NAMB’s 1997 launch as part of the SBC’s “Covenant for a New Century” restructuring.

“I and my wife will make our Annie Armstrong Offering this year the biggest and best ever,” Welch said of Southern Baptists’ yearly gifts to support NAMB’s work via 5,300 missionaries across the United States and Canada.

“I personally am urging all Southern Baptists and their churches to now demonstrate their best support ever for NAMB’s missionaries and ministries!” Welch continued in a statement released to Baptist Press. “That can best be done by our gifts to not only Annie Armstrong but, of course, the Cooperative Program as well,” he said, referencing the CP channel through which Southern Baptists, through their churches, also support SBC causes and the work of their state conventions.

“NAMB’s future is critical to world change for the cause of Christ and lost souls,” Welch noted in his statement. “The SBC has never needed NAMB to do its best like now. NAMB now demands seasoned, experienced, trusted, focused leadership like never before to double its primary focus upon evangelism and new church starts.”

Morris H. Chapman, president of the SBC’s Executive Committee, said in a statement to Baptist Press:

“Bob Reccord is a friend, colleague and brother in Christ. I will miss working with him as president of the North American Mission Board. He is both a visionary leader and gifted communicator, and I’m convinced he will have a significant and fulfilling ministry in the Lord’s service for many years to come.

“Bob has been faithful to follow the Lord’s leadership through his life and, no doubt, will continue to do so. I have every confidence that God will open doors of opportunity for Bob to maximize his tremendous talents for the sake of God’s Kingdom.

“Fortunately, the work of the Southern Baptist Convention in general and the North American Mission Board in particular will go forward because it is greater than one man,” Chapman said. “That work of showing and sharing the love of Christ will advance through NAMB missionaries and faithful Southern Baptists. I never cease to be amazed how God continues to bless Southern Baptists in reaching people with His Gospel.

“In some respects, I have also been encouraged by the whole process,” Chapman said. “Questions were asked by Southern Baptists. Inquiries were made by the trustees of NAMB. Accountability was required of the leadership. Action was taken by the leadership that was ultimately in the best interests of NAMB and of the Southern Baptists Convention. This experience, as painful as it may have been, demonstrates once again that we can be confident in the ministries made possible through the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists’ lifeline of support for cooperative missions. I commend Dr. Reccord and the trustees for honoring Christ in the way they worked through this process.”

Chapman concluded by stating, “… we pray for Bob and his wife, Cheryl, as they seek God’s guidance for the future. We also prayerfully anticipate that God will raise up His man for this particular time in the life of the North American Mission Board. I ask all Southern Baptists to begin praying that God’s choice will be so clear and definitive to the trustee search committee that His perfect will shall be unmistakable. The very soul of America is at stake.”

Welch, in his statement to Baptist Press, also said, “The trustees of NAMB and their chairman, pastor Barry Holcomb, have done and are doing an extraordinary job responding in a very timely and trustworthy manner to the challenges pressed upon them in the recent months. All of the ministries, personnel, trustees and the search committee deserve our prayers and very best support.”

Welch added his commendation to Reccord for his leadership as NAMB’s first president, noting, “One reflection of his innovative and creative guidance led to the coordination of the state conventions’ disaster relief ministries. That resulted in an unprecedented and nationally recognized help to our world and nation as well as the pastors and people of the Southern Baptist Convention. Such leadership also explored and test a number of contemporary opportunities for reaching out to the lost world with the Gospel.”

Now, Welch said, “Dr. Reccord’s resignation signals the next great step and stage for the relatively new NAMB.”

Reccord was senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Norfolk, Va., from 1992 until his selection as NAMB’s president. Earlier he had served as senior pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla., and co-pastor of Carmel Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C. He also is a former director of leadership training for Evangelism Explosion International.

NAMB primarily was formed in 1997 in the SBC restructuring’s merger of the former Home Mission Board, Radio and Television Commission and Brotherhood Commission.

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