SBC Life Articles

Partners in Purpose

"When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'" – Matt. 9:36-38, NIV

Only as Christians take seriously the Great Commission can we reach those in North America who have not received Christ. Many of them have never heard the gospel or have not understood it. We must be on mission individually and collectively, using our God-given skills and abilities to serve Him by sharing His message of salvation with all people. While God has created us to be different, He has enabled us to be unified in our Christian commitment to make His Word and love known to all.

The urgency to unite as partners for the purpose of sharing the gospel is undeniable. In a world characterized by change and uncertainty, we must be proactive in seeking and embracing opportunities to proclaim God's love. Through its missionary force of both career and volunteer missions personnel, the North American Mission Board is reaching thousands upon thousands of people, reaping the harvest God has prepared. But the needs continue to grow.

We are partners in purpose, and we must be united in a plan for evangelism and church planting. We will help reap the great harvest that abounds in North America through prayer support, giving to North American mission efforts through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, and commitment to service as volunteers or career missionaries.

Southern Baptists are structured to be on mission together. We pool our resources through the Cooperative Program and missions offerings, creating a dynamic synergy that makes our efforts on all levels stronger than they could ever be if we worked alone. Through the North American Mission Board, Southern Baptists are affirming God's call in the lives of our missionaries, sending them out strategically to share His message, and supporting them through our prayers and financial gifts.



NAMB Facts

Most North American Mission Board (NAMB) missions personnel are jointly funded with state Baptist conventions and receive support from the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. The 2003 goal is $53 million — 100 percent of which will directly support missionaries and their ministries.

NAMB's primary responsibility is to assist Southern Baptist churches in reaching the United States, Canada, and U.S. territories with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The agency provides assistance to churches, associations, and state conventions in church planting and evangelism, including soul-winning training, interfaith witness, and church and community ministries. Five key priorities of NAMB include impacting major cities, growing ethnic congregations, evangelizing students, mobilizing volunteers for missions, and reaching Canada.

More than 5,000 missionaries, 2,500 chaplains (serving in military, institutions such as prisons and hospitals, and in corporate settings), and thousands of mission volunteers (e.g., World Changers, Mission Service Corps missionaries) are seeking to reach the estimated 220 million unbelievers in the United States and Canada.

Southern Baptists have a goal of starting 2,300 churches in 2003. Mission pastors serve English-speaking and language churches in rural and urban settings. Southern Baptists in North America worship in 217 languages among 112 language groups in more than 7,000 ethnic congregations.

Church and community ministries such as Alternatives for Life, Baptist center work, week day ministries, and immigration and hunger ministries, results in more than 17,000 professions of faith each year.

The Strategic Focus Cities (SFC) for 2003-2005 are Miami and New York City. Through SFC efforts, which began in 1998, the cities of Chicago, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Boston, Seattle, and Philadelphia have been sites of concentrated and intentional evangelism efforts. Through these efforts in the first four cities more than 30,000 professions of faith have been recorded; more than 23,000 volunteers have participated in evangelistic events, and 174 churches have been planted. Worship attendance has substantially increased in each of the first four cities as well. Statistics for the 2002 cities of Seattle and Philadelphia will be available in early 2003.

All six Southern Baptist seminaries and the Canadian Southern Baptist Theological Seminary have Nehemiah Project professors in place. Because of this partnership to mobilize new church planters, almost 550 church-planter interns have been appointed to serve in summer, semester, and full-time capacities.

More than 23,000 youth and adults participated in eighty-seven World Changers projects, leading more than 1,300 people to make decisions for Christ in 2002. More than 1,700 were appointed to summer semester missions.

More than 20,000 people are trained in Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. In partnership with Baptist state conventions, more than 1 million meals are served annually to victims of disasters.

In 1999, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering was a little over $43.5 million ($43,549,861). That was a record offering, but then in 2000, the offering increased an amazing 11 percent ($4.9 million) to almost $48.5 million. In 2001, despite a troubled economy and higher unemployment, the offering, while dropping three-tenths of one percent from the previous record year, sustained its 11 percent growth over the 1999 offering at $48,320,018. The year 2002 saw another record-breaking offering of $49.2 million.

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