Frequently Asked Questions

Send North America

Send North America is the North American Mission Board’s strategy for moving churches and individuals into all regions of North America to lead people to faith in Jesus Christ and start new churches.

Q: What is Send North America? 

A:This evangelistic church planting strategy of the North American Mission Board is designed to:
  • Mobilize churches, church planters and other missionaries to penetrate lostness and connect unchurched people with a local congregation.
  • Equip church planters and sending churches for evangelistic church planting.
  • Plant churches within defined regions, people groups and large population centers (cities) within those regions to maximize efforts to penetrate lostness and create a ripple effect that will move from the cities to rural areas.
 

Q: Why an emphasis on church planting specifically?  

A: Statistics show that new churches grow faster and reach and baptize more people than established churches. That doesn’t mean that we neglect established churches, though. It does mean that we strengthen them and encourage them to be actively engaged in church starting.

Q: Why do we need more churches? 

A: NAMB research has estimated that there are 259 million people who are without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. To reach them, we must be engaged in evangelistic church planting. As we see people become followers of Christ, it is essential to connect them to a growing, healthy body of believers to be discipled.

Q: Why a regional approach?  

A: The primary purpose of a regional approach is so NAMB can be more responsive to the differences in each area across North America. The national strategy implemented through a regional approach helps identify the unique needs for evangelistic church planting within each region, taking into account such factors as cost of living, geographical challenges, and spiritual realities. The regions are: Northeast, South, Midwest, West and Canada. States were placed in specific regions in consultation with the executive leaders of the state conventions.

Q: How is the regional approach led?  

A: Each NAMB regional vice president works with advisory groups in the region to accomplish goals and objectives. Currently, NAMB has three regional vice presidents: One in the West, another in the Midwest and one who works in both Canada and the Northeast. Leaders from each state Baptist convention within a specific region will give input and voice in assisting the NAMB VP as he steers resources to each area. This model helps us keep a consistent strategy across North America, but allow us to implement it in a way that’s best on a local level. Ultimately, NAMB hopes more local churches will be starting churches in their own areas, as well as across North America.

Q: Why focus on cities?  

A: One word sums up any of the world’s great cities: influence. D.L. Moody seemed to acknowledge that when he said, "Water runs downhill, and the highest hills are the great cities. If we can stir them we shall stir the whole country." He understood that the great cities are the mouthpiece of any nation and the place where culture is created. Unfortunately, as many have relocated to the cities to “make it,” one group has retreated: the church. Since World War II the church has withdrawn and, by default, lost much of her influence in the world. If the gospel of Jesus is going to spread around the world in the 21st century, the great cities will be its launching pad. As the city is reached, that influence will spread from churches ministering in the shadow of the tallest skyscraper to those reaching out to the rural areas. Initially, NAMB identfied 25 cities (population centers) to focus on throughout the regions. NAMB will add others as we move forward, and indeed have added five more to that number in the last year. Each will be identified by the moniker “Send [City Name].” NAMB’s work will not be limited to these cities, but we are acknowledging that Southern Baptists must return to our great cities if we are to truly impact lostness in North America.

Q: Will rural areas be ignored? 

A: No. NAMB will bring leadership resources to churches in rural areas. NAMB-funded Church Planter Catalyst missionaries will continue working with churches in rural areas. We especially want to bring assistance to bivocational pastors, many of whom serve in rural areas. We also believe what happens in our major cities influences all of North America and ultimately the world.

Q: Will churches still be started in the South? 

A: New churches are needed everywhere. NAMB wants to focus the majority of resources to the greatest areas of lostness. NAMB activity in the South will continue, with missionaries in every state. Where Southern Baptists are already strongest, NAMB expects existing churches will take the lead in starting new churches and meeting ministry needs. We hope to serve as catalysts and encouragers for as much of that activity as possible.

Q: How will NAMB help facilitate church planting?  

A: Fewer than 4 percent of SBC churches are engaged in church planting as a primary sponsor (accepting responsibility for direct financial support in partnership with other churches). Our goal is to increase that to 10 percent. We will seek to partner with churches that are already planting churches, asking them to mentor other churches that want to plant churches. If a church is not able to be involved as a primary sponsor, we will work with it to assess the readiness and health for church planting, and encourage active participation and partnership in planting churches at an appropriate level.

Q: How will NAMB help fund church planting among under-reached and underserved areas?  

A: At the SBC in Orlando in 2010, messengers asked NAMB to direct more resources to the under-reached and underserved areas of North America. Currently, about 80 percent of the money NAMB sends to states is sent outside the 16 Southern states. We’re now working very closely with state leaders to shift a greater portion of that to under-reached and underserved areas.

Q: How will NAMB help a church that wants to participate in Send North America?  

A: Evangelistic church planting requires healthy sending churches. To that end, we have an assessment process to identify those healthy churches who ask to be part of Send North America. We will help churches and pastors to participate in church planting by providing leadership materials to assist them to engage in a higher level of church planting. The leadership development part of our strategy includes equipping help and support for churches of all sizes.

Q: What if my church cannot be a “sponsor church”?  

A: "Sending" churches that partner with NAMB have a broad range of participation options, up to and including starting a church themselves. Smaller churches can participate in clusters with other churches. All are encouraged to send mission teams, volunteers and other resources to directly help and partner with church planters on the mission field.

Q: Is the role of evangelism diminished with the increased emphasis on church planting?  

A: Not at all. Evangelism is part of everything NAMB does. We do want every evangelism effort to be a tool to connect people to a local church.

Q: Is NAMB still supporting the GPS (God’s Plan for Sharing) National Evangelism Initiative?  

A: Yes. God’s Plan for Sharing continues. It is one of the ways we fulfill our Send North America strategy. All 42 state conventions are partnering with NAMB to accomplish GPS efforts.

Q: Is it true that NAMB-funded Directors of Missions (now called Church Planting Catalyst missionaries) are being asked to focus exclusively on church planting? 

A: NAMB funds about 250 church planting catalyst missionaries who were previously identifed as Associational Directors of Missions (DOMs). This year (2012), their job descriptions changed to include a greater emphasis on church planting. They still work very closely with their local churches to resource them. In some cases, as DOM vacancies occur, smaller associations might be consolidated with others in order to operate more efficiently. A more complete FAQ on the role of DOMs can be found at www.namb.net/faq.

Q: How will NAMB measure its success in church planting? 

A: For measurement purposes, NAMB will look at and focus on the quality of church planters and church plants rather than the quantity.

Q: Will a church plant be required to support the Cooperative Program?  

A: Any church planted through NAMB's Send North America strategy will be a Cooperative Program (CP) participant and any sending church will be as well. Churches participating at lesser commitment levels will not have such a requirement, but our hope is that churches who have backed away from CP will be encouraged by our new focus and increase their giving.

Q: Will a church plant be required to agree with the Baptist Faith and Message?  

A: Yes. There will be an expectation that a church plant with will minister in a manner consistent with the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

Q: How does NAMB work with state conventions related to funding mission work within the states? 

A: NAMB is beginning the process of transitioning more money to states outside the South. We are working very closely with state leaders to shift a greater portion of funds to under-reached and underserved areas of North America.

Q: What are the identified regions?  

A: Regions, along with some statistics, are noted below:

Northeast 

  • States/Territories:
    • Connecticut
    • Delaware
    • District of Columbia
    • Maine
    • Maryland
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • New Jersey
    • New York
    • Pennsylvania
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    • Puerto Rico
    • Virgin Islands
  • Initial Cities:
    • New York
    • Washington
    • Baltimore
    • Boston
    • Philadelphia
    • Pittsburgh
  • 80.8 million population (2010)
  • 82% lostness (estimated)
  • SBC Congregations:  1,797
  • Ratio of population to congregations: 1:45,003
 

West 

  • States/Territories:
    • Alaska
    • Arizona
    • American Samoa
    • California
    • Colorado
    • Hawaii
    • Guam
    • Idaho
    • Montana
    • Nevada
    • New Mexico
    • Oregon
    • Utah
    • Washington
    • Wyoming
  • Initial Cities:
    • Los Angeles
    • San Francisco/Palo Alto
    • Seattle
    • Portland
    • San Diego
    • Las Vegas
    • Salt Lake City
    • Phoenix
    • Denver
  • 71.9 million population (2010)
  • 87% lostness (estimated)
  • SBC Congregations:  4,491
  • Ratio of population to congregations: 1:16,020
 

Midwest 

  • States:
    • Illinois
    • Indiana
    • Iowa
    • Kansas
    • Michigan
    • Minnesota
    • Missouri
    • Nebraska
    • North Dakota
    • Ohio
    • South Dakota
    • West Virginia
    • Wisconsin
  • Initial Cities:
    • Chicago
    • Indianapolis
    • St. Louis
    • Cleveland
    • Minnesota/St. Paul
    • Detroit
  • 68.7 million population (2010)
  • 75% lostness (estimated)
  • SBC Congregations:  5,320
  • Ratio of population to congregations: 1:12,929
 

South 

  • States:
    • Alabama
    • Arkansas
    • Florida
    • Georgia
    • Kentucky
    • Louisiana
    • Mississippi
    • North Carolina
    • Oklahoma
    • South Carolina
    • Tennessee
    • Texas
    • Virginia
  • Initial Cities:
    • Atlanta
    • Miami
    • New Orleans
  • 105.4 million population (2010)
  • 64% lostness (estimated)
  • SBC Congregations:  38,549
  • Ratio of population to congregations: 1:2,735
 

Canada 

  • 10 Provinces
    • Alberta
    • British Columbia
    • Manitoba
    • New Brunswick
    • Newfoundland and Labrador
    • Nova Scotia
    • Ontario
    • Prince Edward Island
    • Quebec
    • Saskatchewan
  • 3 Territories
    • Northwest Territories
    • Yukon Territory
    • Nunavut Territory
  • Initial Cities:
    • Toronto
    • Montreal
    • Vancouver
  • 34.1 million population (2010)
  • 75% lostness (estimated)
  • Canadian National Baptist Convention Churches: 291
  • Ratio of CNBC population to congregations: 1:117,212
  • Majority of population lives within 300 miles of Canadian/US border
  • 80% live in defined urban areas
  • Languages      
    • English 58.8%
    • French 21.6%
    • Other 19.6%
 

 

Role of NAMB-Funded Associational Directors of Missions

Nearly 900 missionaries serve as directors of missions (DOMs) throughout the United States. Approximately 250 of those receive some or all of their funding from NAMB. Beginning in January, 2012 we will be changing the job expectations of NAMB-funded DOMs to better reflect our Send North America strategy. We have created an overview of expectations and distributed it to NAMB-funded DOMs.

Q: What is the current role of the associational director of missions (ADOM)?  

A: A DOM’s mission is to strengthen, encourage, and assist pastors and member churches in kingdom work and connect these churches in the work of spreading the gospel through local, national and international mission opportunities and planting new churches.

Q: Why is NAMB changing the title of the ADOM to “church planting catalyst,” and how is the current role changing?  

A: The new role will better reflect NAMB’s new focus – evangelistic church planting, within NAMB’s key strategy of Send North America. While the church planting catalyst will still have mobilization and equipping responsibilities, the title will now reflect the primary function of the role. 
 

Q: Do these changes apply to all DOMs? 

A: These changes only apply to DOMs who receive all or partial funding from NAMB. There are nearly 900 missionaries who serve as DOMs throughout the United States. Approximately 250 of those receive some or all of their funding from NAMB.

Q: When do these changes take effect? 

A: January 2012.

Q: When will the new DOM job description be finished and what will it include? 

A: While a handout titled “DOM Expectation Overview” was given out at the Associational Directors of Missions/Church Planting Forum meeting in late February to DOMs in attendance, it was not intended as a detailed job description. We hope to finalize the description by fall 2011. The job description of church planting catalysts will include:
  • Mobilizing existing churches to engage in evangelistic church planting;
  • Encouraging churches to engage in evangelistic activity;
  • Encouraging and cultivating a pastor/leader skill set among pastors in the associations;
  • Personal involvement in planting a church and/or be a member of a church plant. This requirement is optional.
 

Q: Will DOMs still serve local churches? 

A: Despite a greater emphasis on church planting, serving local, existing churches will continue to be a significant part of the DOM’s responsibilities.
 

Q: How can you measure a DOM’s effectiveness based on how many people local churches are baptizing, especially since a DOM doesn’t baptize anyone? 

A: To a certain extent, the number of overall baptisms Southern Baptists perform within a given year reflects on NAMB’s performance as well. Even though NAMB missionaries may not actually do baptisms, it is expected that if we do a good job helping Southern Baptists start more churches and equip existing churches, we will see more baptisms. Still, we realize this is just one measurement and doesn’t give a complete picture of a DOM’s performance.

Q: What will happen to DOMs who don’t have the skills to fulfill these new responsibilities?

A: The new job descriptions take effect January 1, 2012, but DOMs have the entire year of 2012 to transition their ministries to become more consistent with the new expectations. NAMB will provide needed training and equipping for DOMs making this transition.

Q: Is NAMB laying off some DOMs and eliminating some associations? 

A: DOMs who choose to fulfill these new responsibilities will continue to be funded by NAMB. As retirements and vacancies occur, NAMB will work with state and association partners to look at associations with small numbers of churches and determine if consolidation would be a better long-term strategy.

 

Partnership with WMU on Royal Ambassadors and Challengers

North American Mission Board (NAMB) leaders announced March 2, 2011, plans to explore a partnership with WMU® for day-to-day operations of the Royal Ambassadors® and Challengers missions education organizations.

Q: What is Royal Ambassadors?

A: Royal Ambassadors (RAs) is a Bible-centered, church-based, Southern Baptist missions education organization for boys in grades 1 - 6.

Q: What is Challengers?

A: Challengers is a youth missions education organization for young men in grades 7 - 12.

Q: What is WMU?

A: Founded in 1888, WMU is an auxiliary to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) with the main purpose of WMU of educating and involving all ages in the cause of the cause of Christian missions.  Visit www.wmu.com for more information.

Q: Why are RAs and Challengers going to WMU?

A: WMU began RAs in 1908. It was transferred to Brotherhood Commission in the 1950s and became part of NAMB’s assignment in 1997. NAMB has worked in partnership with WMU since then to benefit both the RA and Girls in Action® (GA®) organizations. We believe having one source to coordinate both of these organizations – providing synergy of planning and leading and central communication to churches – will be a win/win for both organizations, ensuring their rich legacies of instilling missions in young boys and girls will continue for generations to come.

With the approval of NAMB’s new strategy and structure, NAMB staff, leadership, and national WMU all believe it is in the best interest for the future viability of the RA organization to be housed with an entity which has a strong history with – and focus upon – missions education. By returning to its birthplace, RAs will be given the opportunity to flourish in an environment with full marketing and promotional support. This announcement follows NAMB’s recent organizational restructuring made to support the entity’s “Send North America” strategy to assist Southern Baptists in reaching North America through mobilizing and equipping churches and missionaries for evangelistic church planting.

“We believe missions education is a key part of equipping churches for reaching North America—and the world—for Christ,” said Kevin Ezell, NAMB’s president. “This partnership means churches will continue to receive top-quality material, and it allows us to utilize WMU’s expertise and singular focus in this area.”

Wanda Lee, national WMU executive director/treasurer, noted, “RAs was born out of our heart and our soul. We gave it lovingly to the Brotherhood Commission. Now we welcome them back and pledge our support and partnership with both missions boards to continue the work as best we 

Q: How does this change impact churches?

A: The change will be positive in that it will help churches become more effective in providing and championing missions education for children and youth.  Missions education leaders will have one source for securing needed materials, and curriculum will be coordinated related to topics, themes, and missionaries profiled.

Q: Will WMU continue to provide RA and Challengers materials in their current form?

A: WMU will do everything it can to preserve the integrity of the materials. However, some changes will be necessary. WMU will evaluate everything from formats to delivery to pricing, soliciting input from stakeholders before changes are made. The goal is to coordinate RA and GA curriculum as much as possible.

Q: Will RA groups meeting in churches now be led by women?

A: RAs is designed to be led by men who will use the opportunity not only to educate boys about missions but also to mentor them. If a church is unable to secure a male leader, then a woman could certainly lead an RA group.

Q: How will national WMU relate to state offices?

A: National WMU will provide curriculum and programming support for RA and Challenger organizations in churches. National WMU will relate to each state according to that state’s structure.

Q: How does this affect NAMB staff members in Missions Education?

A: The Convention Relations and Mission Education Team at NAMB will continue to give oversight to NAMB’s missions education assignment. However, as NAMB has a strong desire to see missions education infused into as many areas of its work as possible, missions education staff have been placed across the spectrum of communications in the Communications Group. This allows for greater influence and opportunity for missions education thinking to penetrate the planning and implementation of communication strategies throughout the entity.

Q: Is NAMB giving up its assignment for SBC missions education?

A: No. NAMB has nine ministry assignments from the SBC. One of those is “Assist churches by involving their members in missions and missions education.” It requires action from the SBC to change NAMB’s ministry assignments. Unless such action takes place, NAMB will continue fulfilling each of its assignments. We recognize WMU’s strength and expertise is missions education, and we believe a stronger partnership with WMU will be mutually beneficial for all Southern Baptists as we engage all ages in the spectrum of missions education learning and action.

Q: What will happen to other components of Missions Education? 

A: Missions education will continue to be a priority of NAMB through the Convention Relations and Mission Education Team. You will see continued support for Drop-in Missions Education (DIME), Baptist Men, Church Renewal and other initiatives that support and promote the new direction for NAMB and complement the work of WMU.

Q: When will the transition be completed?

A: It is anticipated that WMU will produce material in time for the September 2012 launch of a new curriculum year for RAs and Challengers. A resource catalog will be available next Spring (2012) that includes RA and Challengers’ materials, and these materials will be added to the WMU Web store as soon as we move forward with the transition. In addition, annual information about RA and Challengers will be included in the WMU Year Book. 

Q: How can I keep updated on the transition?

A: Visit www.namb.net/missioned for the latest information.

 

Partnership with LifeWay on World Changers and PowerPlant

The North American Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources on Feb. 24, 2010, jointly announced a new partnership under which LifeWay will assume day-to-day operations of World Changers and PowerPlant -- NAMB’s long-time student mobilization initiatives. The shift is scheduled for completion in time for 2012 projects.

Q: What is World Changers?  

A: World Changers is a pre-packaged mission experience for students managed by the North American Mission Board. Originally under the auspices of the Brotherhood Commission, the ministry moved to NAMB in 1997 and celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2010. World Changers provides students and adults with opportunities to meet the physical and spiritual needs of others, most often by replacing roofs and tackling other repairs. Volunteers donate a week of their summer working in conjunction with cities, churches and community agencies to provide renovations at no charge to low-income homeowners.

Q: What is PowerPlant?  

A: Through the pre-packaged PowerPlant mission experience, students gain real-world experience in church planting and evangelism. Participants learn church planting principles and evangelism skills each morning, then have a chance to engage personally through assigned ministry team activities in the afternoon and evening.

Q: Why is coordination of World Changers and PowerPlant missions experience moving to LifeWay?  

A: This is a strategic move in order to free World Changers and PowerPlant to grow and NAMB to reorient its emphasis on church planting. World Changers and PowerPlant will build on LifeWay’s existing student mobilization efforts through Centrifuge and M-fuge, offering students more proactive, “hands-on” mission experiences to share the gospel and participate in church planting. Combining the two SBC entities’ ministries not only will give students in the SBC’s 48,000 churches more choice, but it will also eliminate redundancies, and increase efficiencies and economies of scale – especially in the areas of registration, marketing, summer staff recruiting and warehousing of materials.

Q: In what ways will NAMB be involved in this new partnership? 

A: NAMB will remain involved as we plan for World Changers to be a key component in our new “Send North America” strategy to mobilize churches and individuals for evangelistic church planting. NAMB will retain ownership of the World Changers and PowerPlant brands and related website domains.

Q: Will any changes affect this year’s projects? 

A: Changes will not impact this year’s project. They will proceed as planned. This year, World Changers will mobilize 21,000 student and adult volunteers to work in 85 cities on 96 projects across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. New project locations include Los Angeles, Gautier, La., and McComb, Miss. PowerPlant projects are scheduled in 24 cities across the United States and in Vancouver and Winnipeg, Manitoba, between June 13 and July 30. First-time PowerPlant cities will be Boston, Washington, D.C., and Winnipeg. Registration for 2011 World Changers and PowerPlant projects is still under way. The World Changers website is www.world-changers.net, and the PowerPlant website is www.power-plant.net.

Q: To what extent did economics drive this decision?  

A: Some have said that World Changers and PowerPlant have lost millions of dollars over the years. That is simply not true. As we eliminate redundancies and increase efficiencies, we will see cost savings. However, the decision was strategic based on NAMB and LifeWay’s direction and expertise. Since 1998, when World Changers projects were first coordinated through NAMB, millions of dollars in registration fees were channeled back to NAMB. In addition, 2.14 million in offering dollars given by World Changers and PowerPlant participants benefited missions work such as church planting and urban evangelism. While these contributions have been celebrated, the intangible investment NAMB has made in young people and their leaders, helping to develop them into on Great Commission-minded Christians is truly priceless.

Q: As NAMB’s new focus is mobilizing churches to plant churches? Why is PowerPlant and World Changers not part of that?  

A: While administrative roles will be housed at LifeWay, project participants will be engaged in helping accomplish NAMB’s “Send North America” strategy to mobilize churches and individuals for evangelistic church planting.

Q: How will this affect NAMB’s current student volunteer mobilization staff? 

A: Several NAMB employees who are team members with the World Changers/PowerPlant teams will have the opportunity to relocate to LifeWay's offices in Nashville. NAMB national missionaries who are part of the World Changers/PowerPlant team will also have the opportunity to become LifeWay employees but will not have to relocate to Nashville.

Q: What is the transition timeline? When will we know projects planned for 2012 and how will we register?  

A: Those details are being worked out in the transition, and they will be communicated through a variety of channels to churches as soon as possible. The transition will be finalized and in place before registration begins for the 2012 projects. Keep up to date with the latest at www.world-changers.net and www.power-plant.net.

Date Created: 3/17/2011 5:27:54 PM

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