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WRAP-UP: ’07 giving, evangelism initiative update, highlight NAMB trustee meeting

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–The North American Mission Board trustee meeting Feb. 6 ended the way it began, celebrating how God has used Southern Baptists through their gifts to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.

NAMB President Geoff Hammond, commenting on 2007 giving that topped $59.4 million, exceeding the year’s goal by more than $2 million, told the trustees, “Never forget that it’s the generosity of Southern Baptists in the pews — who are praying for missions and who believe in what the North American Mission Board is doing — who allow us to do what we do to reach this incredible mission field for Christ.”

The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering’s 2008 goal is $61 million.

NAMB trustees heard an evangelism report noting that out of the 336.3 million souls in North America, 251 million, or three out of four, are lost. NAMB’s church planting group shared with trustees its emphasis of focusing on 372 urban centers in North America as well as the people groups living within them. The report also emphasized that the urban emphasis is alongside continued rural evangelism through a people group strategy.

Hammond told trustees that NAMB is working closely with SBC President Frank Page and state and local partners in developing a national evangelism initiative to be introduced at this June’s Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Indianapolis.

The trustees also heard how NAMB must focus on multiculturalism because in the United States 101 million residents, or one in three, represent a minority. Four states — Hawaii, New Mexico, California and Texas, along with Washington, D.C. — have “minority majorities.”

NAMB chaplaincy team leader Keith Travis reported 40 new chaplains were named and endorsed last year, bringing the total number to nearly 2,800. These chaplains serve in the military, law enforcement, corporations and health institutions.

Travis added that Southern Baptist chaplains who reported their numbers were responsible for some 10,000 professions of faith during 2007.

NAMB trustees heard a firsthand report on Iraq from third-year Chaplain (Capt.) Neal Hicks, now stationed at Fort Benning in Columbus, Ga. During his duty in Iraq, Hicks was chaplain to 930 soldiers in the “Arc of Death” region of central Iraq. He lost six soldiers he personally knew during his tour of duty.

“I believe it’s our responsibility to take the Word of God where soldiers are serving,” Hicks said. Before his time of service in the Army is over, he estimated that he will minister to some 34,000 soldiers.

“You talk about Acts 1:8 — military chaplaincy accomplishes that strategic plan for Jesus Christ,” Hicks said. “Over a million soldiers have cycled through Iraq and each one has encountered some kind of chaplain. The Word of God is spoken to them and then they return everywhere throughout the United States.

“The chaplains the military needs come from NAMB. We appreciate your support,” said Hicks, who was given a standing ovation.

In addition to the 2,800 chaplains, NAMB and its partners deployed 3,235 funded missionaries, 2,036 Missionary Service Corps missionaries and 1,476 student missionaries in 2007. Hammond said more than 155,000 Southern Baptists are involved in NAMB ministries, including missionaries, chaplains and 146,000 mobilized missions volunteers.

NAMB’s partnership mobilization committee reported that the board’s World Changers, Power Plant, Campers on Mission and Families on Mission ministries are seeing significant increases in registrations so far in 2008. Also, some 16,000 Southern Baptists have volunteered as part of Operation NOAH Rebuild (New Orleans Area Homes Rebuild) in New Orleans to provide housing for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

In his address to trustees, Hammond also spotlighted two videos recently produced by NAMB, one highlighting the work of Southern Baptist volunteers in New Orleans and the other, February’s “Monthly Missionary Focus,” featuring campus missionary Brenda Crim, who serves in Alaska. Both videos are available for viewing or download at NAMB’s website, www.namb.net.
Released by the North American Mission Board’s communications team.

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