SBC Life Articles

NAMB: Assisting Southern Baptists in Church Starting and Evangelism

The North American Mission Board was created in 1997 when the resources of three former SBC agencies – the Home Mission Board, the Radio and Television Commission, and the Brotherhood Commission – were combined. The primary responsibility of NAMB is to assist Southern Baptist churches in reaching the United States, its territories, and Canada with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Nearly 5,000 North American missions personnel, most of whom are jointly appointed with state Baptist conventions, receive support from the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.

Two Major Thrusts

The Offering supports NAMB's two major thrusts: evangelism and church planting. An estimated 200 million people in the United States and Canada do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The agency provides assistance to churches, associations, and state conventions in soul-winning training, interfaith witness, and church and community ministries, which include alternatives to abortion ministries and special evangelistic events.

Southern Baptists are starting 1,500 new churches every year, more than any other faith group. Yet, we still fail to keep pace with population growth. NAMB provides resources and strategies for establishing churches and missions among all ethnic and language groups in the United States and Canada.

Four Priorities

Dr. Robert E. (Bob) Reccord, president of NAMB, has pledged the agency will use every appropriate means, including the most powerful technologies, to place special emphasis on four priorities:

o Impacting Major Cities

o Growing Ethnic Congregations

o Evangelizing Students

o Mobilizing Volunteers for Missions

You can lead your church to pray for, learn about, and give to the support of the staff and missionaries carrying on this work in all fifty states, U.S. territories, and the nation of Canada.



The Ministry of NAMB Missionaries

The North American Mission Board's nearly 5,000 missionaries in the United States and Canada are appointed to a variety of mission tasks. The largest number are starting new Southern Baptist churches, about 1,500 new missions each year. Mission pastors serve English-speaking and language churches in rural and urban settings. Southern Baptists in North America worship in 110 languages every week in more than 7,000 ethnic SBC congregations.

Other NAMB missionaries share the gospel message by ministering to people's needs in church and community settings, including senior adults, nonreaders, non-English-speaking people, substance abusers, families, people in the criminal justice system, homeless people, disabled people, migrant workers, and even vacationers.

A number of missionaries serve Southern Baptist associations as associational missionaries or other mission staff, and many NAMB missionaries are volunteers who have served more than two years and provide a majority of their own funding, although they receive some NAMB support.

Although not classified as missionaries, Southern Baptist endorsed chaplains minister in many of the same ways in the military, institutions such as prisons and hospitals, and in business and industry. There are more than 3,000 SBC chaplains.

NAMB's mission efforts are also supported by more than 100,000 mission volunteers each year. More than 13,000 students participated in mission youth groups this past summer and led more than 2,200 people to Christ. Additionally, 11,000 volunteers participated in World Changers, which ministers to needy residents by restoring their homes. Through World Changers projects, hundreds of people made professions of faith.



Taking the Message of Peace to the U.N.
by Lynne Jones

Four people placed their faith in Christ as Lord and Savior at an open house hosted by the North American Mission Board at the United Nations Dec. 17, according to Phil Roberts, director of interfaith witness evangelism for the Southern Baptist Convention agency.

"Even though the U.N. is in turmoil because of the events in Iraq, there were still more than 100 people here at the open house," Roberts said. "We're very pleased with the response."

The reception was built on the theme, "God's Gift to the World," and was designed to celebrate the birth of Christ as a witness to the U.N. community. Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga., led the Bible study focused on John 3:16 and extended an invitation.

The United Nations ministry is not new to NAMB, but it is new to the interfaith witness evangelism office. Roberts and his staff assumed responsibility for the ministry this summer and are moving to be more "intentionally evangelistic."

"It is clear to me there is not a more strategic ministry in the world," Roberts said. "We can touch every country through the ambassadors from the 185 member nations."

Bruce Schmidt, an International Mission Board missionary to Uganda, has been on furlough since late August and has served under contract with NAMB to help build the ministry. Schmidt and his family returned to Uganda in January.

"It's a microcosm of the planet right here in Manhattan," Schmidt said. "We lead Bible studies each week for members of the U.N. community, which includes more than 10,000 people."

Schmidt said he is encouraged by those who have come to know the Lord as Savior as well as those who are able to strengthen their faith through the ministry.

The opportunities to evangelize the world, meanwhile, are tremendous, he agreed. "For example, we were able to send twenty-five New Testaments into a closed country through a diplomatic pouch with an ambassador who wanted to start a Bible study in his office back home," Schmidt said.

"With world peace the goal of the United Nations, we focus on sharing the gospel," Schmidt added. "How can they have peace without knowing the Prince of Peace?"



NAMB Fast Facts

o Formed in 1997 with more than 150-year tradition

o Offices near Atlanta and in Ft. Worth

o Focus: Evangelism and Church Starting

o 200 million unbelievers in U.S. & Canada

o 4,866 Missionaries

o More than 3,000 SBC-endorsed Chaplains

o 100,000 Mission Volunteers

o Produces five weekly radio programs on 2,500 stations reaching three million adults per week, and television programming on two networks

o 1,500 new church starts per year

o 7,000 ethnic congregations



1999 Season of North American Missions

North American Mission Study
February 21-24

Week of Prayer
March 7-14

North American Missions Day in Sunday School
March 14

Annie Armstrong Easter Offering
National Goal: $45 million
Challenge Goal: $50 million

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