Trustees celebrate offering gain, church planters

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By Adam Miller 

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell expressed thanks and gratitude to Southern Baptists whose giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® increased 1.9 percent in 2012. The gain, Ezell said, will translate into greater effectiveness in reaching North America for Christ.

Ezell reported the offering results to NAMB’s Board of Trustees who met Feb. 5-6 in San Diego. The offering totaled $57.2 million in 2012 and marked the second year in a row for an increase.

“It’s a humbling thing every day that we get to do what we do because of the sacrificial giving of Southern Baptists,” said Ezell. “Their heart for missions is unmatched.”

Trustees approved Gary Frost as vice president of NAMB’s Midwest Region and of Prayer and Spiritual Awakening. Frost comes from New York City where he pastors Evergreen Baptist Church. (See “Frost to lead NAMB Midwest Region, prayer initiatives.”) Steve Davis, who previously served as vice president of NAMB’s Midwest region now serves as vice president, South Region.

The meeting took place in San Diego to allow trustees time with NAMB church planting missionaries and see their work first-hand during a tour the day before their public meeting. San Diego is one of 30 Send Cities–part of NAMB’s Send North America strategy. Send North America connects local, established churches with church plants.

NAMB West Region vice president Steve Bass told trustees how important their visit was to church planters and to Southern Baptists.

“What you’re doing in three hours this morning is important,” said Bass. “But what you did yesterday is so important. These planters will not soon forget. I think you’re going to find out that you have some God-called and very sharp church planters who are proud to be a part of the Southern Baptist family.”

Church planter Ben Pilgreen opened the session sharing a devotion from Ecclesiastes. Although only 2 years old and located in the heart of San Francisco, Epic Church gave more than $40,000 to missions in 2012. Epic is already on track to give more than $67,000 in 2013.

New evangelism leader, chaplaincy gains

Other highlights of the meeting included:

  • Trustees approved Al Gilbert as vice president of Evangelism. He will continue to serve as Executive Director of LoveLoud, NAMB’s ministry evangelism initiative. Gilbert reported on NAMB’s Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief activities as well as preparations for Crossover 2013, which will take place in Houston leading up to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.
  • NAMB Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Mission Support, Carlos Ferrer, reported that NAMB is in the “strongest position financially” as it has been in his 20 years of service.
  • Trustees heard a report from NAMB’s chaplaincy committee, which noted that in the last quarter of 2012, Southern Baptist chaplain ministry resulted in 97,200 gospel presentations, 22,047 professions of faith and 4,413 baptisms. All three categories saw gains over the previous year.

15,000 new churches, thousands of missionaries

In his address to trustees, Ezell again sounded a call for 15,000 new churches in the next 10 years so that Southern Baptists can begin to make gains on the SBC church-to-population deficit that developed over the last century. He also noted that NAMB is partnering with state Baptist conventions to help revitalize churches that are plateaued, declining or near death.

If 15,000 churches are to be started in the next decade, Ezell said thousands of new missionaries will be needed. NAMB’s missionary “Farm System” is designed to intentionally discover new missionaries, develop them for service and deploy them to the field.

“We’re raising a generation of young missionaries who are bold and absolutely believe in missions and absolutely believe in church planting. They are intent on penetrating lostness,” said Ezell.

Concluding his remarks, Ezell challenged trustees and all Southern Baptists to adopt the Luke 10:2 prayer practice. At 10:02 (a.m. or p.m.) each day, Ezell asked that Southern Baptists pray to the Lord of the harvest to send more workers into the field.

“We’re in desperate need and these are desperate times,” he said. “God has allowed us to focus and we need to make the most of it.” Ezell then led trustees in a prayer for current missionaries and the future missionaries God will be raising up for the North American Mission field.

Adam Miller is a writer for the North American Mission Board. 

Date Created: 2/7/2013 5:17:24 PM

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