It was a historic day for Southern Baptists Nov. 5 when Bob Reccord was inaugurated as the first president of the North American Mission Board. More than 700 people and a number of guest speakers joined together at Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta to commend and encourage Reccord as he leads Southern Baptists' coordinated efforts at reaching their own continent with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Reccord admits it is a God-sized task, making him dependent on our Lord and the prayers of all Southern Baptists. "Please pray for me," he told the crowd. "I am the most inadequate of anyone to be in the role and only God can help us do what needs to be done."
He also asked for "the grace to fail. Some decisions I make will be wrong, but if we are going to make a difference in North America for Jesus Christ, we must find out what doesn't work in order to implement what does work."
The North American Mission Board was formed last June as part of the Southern Baptist Convention's restructuring, assuming a majority of the ministry assignments of the former Home Mission Board, Radio and Television Commission and Brotherhood Commission. Its main offices are in Alpharetta, Ga., with satellite offices at the former RTVC headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.
Reccord told of how he has heard a familiar plea from Southern Baptists as he has traveled the United States and Canada: "Come help us."
"By God's grace we're going to help. … Whatever it takes to reach North America for Christ, the North American Mission Board will do."
Others offered advice and encouragement as Reccord faces the challenges ahead.
Ed Young, senior pastor of Second Baptist Church, Houston and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, urged Reccord to take time to dream the dream of reaching the U.S. and Canada for Christ.
"Get above the bureaucracy," he said. "Shuffling papers, handing out reports, and going to time-wasting meetings are not important ways for you to spend your time."
Young also encouraged the new president to be 'Johnny One Note.' "I want Bob Reccord to be the most boring man in the SBC because every time we talk to him all he wants to talk about is winning people to Jesus and starting new churches. Nothing else is worth your time." Evangelism and church starting are the two primary tasks of the new mission agency.
"If you will model godly leadership," Young said, "Brother, we'll be right there by your side with all the power God will give us," Young said.
Charles Fuller, NAMB chairman and senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Roanoke, Va., offered the prayer of dedication and commitment, which included not only Reccord and his family but all NAMB trustees and staff members present. Reccord insisted on inclusion of the "NAMB family" in the dedication because of his emphasis on teamwork.
The inauguration and a banquet preceding the service included remarks from more than a dozen denominational leaders. Program participants included the heads of four SBC entities: Mark Coppenger, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board; Dellanna O'Brien, executive director/treasurer of Woman's Missionary Union; and Morris Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the SBC Executive Committee.
Chapman stressed the importance of all SBC agencies, including NAMB, assisting churches in their God-ordained mission. "Dr. Reccord, we rejoice that God has brought you here to lead us in that. You are a visionary leader, a surrendered servant, a caring father and husband, and a compassionate soul-winner with a passion for souls," Chapman said. "All Southern Baptists are praying for you and rejoice with you in this special time."
Gary Frost, senior pastor of Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church, Youngstown, Ohio, delineated challenges Reccord will face in the future including the challenge of fidelity. "We must be faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We can't gimmick people into the Kingdom. We've got to give them the Truth which is the Gospel," Frost said.
Also participating in the service were two state executive directors: Fermin Whittaker, California Southern Baptist Convention; and, Carlisle Driggers, South Carolina Baptist Convention. Driggers was also a member of the implementation Task Force which organized the new agency.
Roswell Street's senior pastor Nelson Price welcomed attendees, and SBC Executive Committee chairman James Merritt, pastor of First Baptist Church, Snellville, Ga., brought the evening's benediction.
Reccord's Vital Statistics
September 21, 1951
1972 to Cheryl Ann
Christy and Bryan, college students, and Ashley, high school
• Post Grad Regent College, Oxford, England
• D.Min and M.Div, Southwestern Seminary
• BA, Indiana University
Through Campus Crusade at I.U.
• FBC, Norfolk, Va.
• Bell Shoals, Brandon, Fl.
• Carmel, Charlotte, N.C.
• Director of Leadership Training for E.E.
• Vice President, Chemecto, Warren, Mi.
• Home Mission Board
• When Life is the Pits
• Market Share Ministries
• Personal Priorities: Jesus Christ, Family, Ministry
Soul-winning and excellence
NAMB: Just the Facts
June 19, 1997
To assist SBC churches in reaching the U.S. and Canada for Christ
Partners with forty-one state Baptist conventions/fellowships in supporting nearly 5,000 missionaries in the U.S., its territories, and Canada.
$111 million primarily from the SBC Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.
Evangelism and Church Starting
Major Cities, Ethnics, Students, and Volunteers
• 2,500 SBC-endorsed chaplains
• 82,000 mission volunteers
• Mission education resources
• Disaster relief response
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