The North American Mission Board will launch Send Relief, its new compassion ministry, during Monday’s Send Luncheon held at noon at Saint Louis’s Edwards Jones Dome, during the SBC Pastors’ Conference. Luncheon attendees will hear stories of how churches throughout North America are meeting real needs as they engage their communities with the Gospel. NAMB will seek to equip other churches for effective ministry evangelism.
The free luncheon is available to everyone, but tickets are required. To obtain a free ticket for the event, visit www.namb.net/sendluncheon.
As a prelude to launching Send Relief, NAMB will feature a number of ministry opportunities the week prior to the SBC. These efforts will highlight the kinds of compassion ministries Southern Baptists can be equipped to carry out in their own communities and across North America through Send Relief.
For example, Send Relief will partner with First Baptist Church of Ferguson, Missouri, to give away Backpacks of Hope and host a carnival for Ferguson children. Southern Baptist volunteers, in partnership with the American Red Cross, will also go door-to-door to install free smoke detectors for Ferguson residents.
Ferguson made national news in August of 2014 when Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager, was shot and killed by a white police officer. The shooting launched racial unrest in Ferguson and throughout the nation.
Send Relief will also operate a mobile medical clinic and a mobile dental clinic to help Saint Louis residents in need of those services. The two mobile clinics are in the process of being built and will be debuted the week prior to the convention.
The clinics will be fitted with state-of-the-art equipment and can be utilized by medical and dental professionals as part of outreach and service events for under-served communities.
The units will be part of NAMB’s ongoing Send Relief ministry and will also be available to churches, associations, state conventions, and other Southern Baptist entities that want to use them as part of their own ministry events.
“We want to help every church member be on mission with God in their community,” said David Melber, NAMB’s vice president for Send Relief. “We recognize that not everyone will be a church planter or a pastor. We have medical professionals and dental professionals in our churches. This will be an outlet not only for them as an outreach activity but, in a more expanded view, these will give churches an opening to do other outreach projects in the community.”
The two units will be parked outside of the America’s Center, the SBC annual meeting location in Saint Louis, during the convention.
Southern Baptists in attendance will be able to tour the clinics and learn more about their capabilities. Both units are high tech and fully functional. They will provide everything medical professionals need to do basic healthcare and dental care in a mobile setting. The dental clinic will include an X-ray machine and two dental operatory rooms. The medical clinic will include two exam rooms, a bathroom, a waiting room, and an intake area.
“We hope Southern Baptists can walk away from the convention this year knowing that there is a very attainable ministry that they can be involved with that will help them engage with and reach their community,” said Melber. “We also hope Southern Baptists will see that NAMB can come alongside them and provide resources that can help them do ministry they might not be able to do on their own.”
NAMB trustees approved the establishment of Send Relief during their October 2015 meeting in Salt Lake City. The mobile clinics have been built with funds trustees authorized during the meeting to start the new initiative.
Melber hopes God uses the two clinics to take the Gospel to people who wouldn’t have entered a local church building otherwise. He also hopes Southern Baptist church members with medical backgrounds will realize they can use their gifts to be on mission in their own communities.
“We’re asking Southern Baptists to pray that these clinics will be a testimony for the sake of the Gospel, and that people would come to know the Lord through this effort,” Melber said.