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By Mike Ebert
ALPHARETTA, Ga. –
Austin Coleman doesn’t have to think long when asked how a summer in New York
City as a North American Mission Board student missionary impacted him.
“It changed the
direction of my life,” the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary student says.
Coleman was part
of a group of students who served last summer with NAMB’s Generation Send–a
10-week internship designed to immerse young people in ministry, missions and
church planting in an urban context.
“It opened my
eyes,” Coleman said. “I have felt a call to church planting for years, but not
until I got to New York did I sense an urgency to that.”
This year, NAMB
is celebrating the large number of young people who want to serve as student
missionaries. The student missionary program has seen explosive growth since
NAMB gave the program a top-to-bottom redesign in 2012.
In 2010 NAMB
placed about 600 student missionaries on the field. By 2012—the year NAMB
redesigned the role—that number had grown to more than 1,100. In 2013 more than
1,200 students participated. So far this year 2,000 students have been approved
has been remarkable,” said NAMB president Kevin Ezell. “It is so encouraging to
see so many students who want to serve. But the challenge is our funds are
finite, and we have reached our maximum budget for 2014.”
NAMB planned and
budgeted for 2,000 student missionaries for 2014, and all of those budgeted
spots have been filled. NAMB will begin considering new applications at the
beginning of its fiscal year in October.
The redesigned student
missionary role makes it more purposeful and geared toward training students
for future ministry service. Student missionaries are now directly connected
with NAMB’s Send North America strategy, which emphasizes church planting in,
or near, large cities.
missionaries are part of NAMB’s “Farm System,” which is designed to discover,
develop and deploy the next generation of Southern Baptist missionaries and
church leaders. To support its goal of helping Southern Baptists start 15,000
new churches over a 10-year period, NAMB is increasing efforts to recruit for
the Farm System.
“We need 1,500
new church planters each year, and many of them will have to come through the
Farm System,” Ezell said. “We want tomorrow’s missionaries to be the best we’ve
ever put on the field. That means we need to recruit the best, and they need to
be well trained and equipped.
missionaries are the beginning point of our process. If we can’t expand these
numbers it will put a lid on the number of church planters who will be
available to meet the goal of 15,000 new churches in 10 years,” Ezell said.
NAMB is able to
deploy student missionaries because of the sacrificial gifts Southern Baptists
give to the Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering®.
NAMB can send an additional 1,000 student missionaries for every $2.5 million more
given to the Annie Armstrong offering.
To learn more
about NAMB’s student missionary role, visit http://www.namb.net/mobilize-me.
Mike Ebert writes for the North American Mission
Date Created: 4/23/2014 1:02:33 PM
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering®© Copyright 2014 North American Mission Board, SBC