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By Tobin Perry
ALPHARETTA, Ga. – For the first time Southern Baptists are
only a few Web clicks from seeing the local SBC church planting plans for North
America’s largest, most influential and least-churched cities.
The North American Mission Board has posted digital maps
highlighting current and planned church plants for 17 of its 30 Send North
America cities. The maps are available at namb.net/cities. Maps for the
remaining cities will be posted as they are completed.
The online maps come from NAMB president Kevin Ezell’s
long-standing desire to show Southern Baptists specific “dots on a map” where
new churches are needed in the Send North America cities.
“If a church wants to get involved in a specific city, you
don’t have to wonder where the needs are,” Ezell said. “This is a very tangible
way to see the needs and also the huge impact adding these churches will have
on these cities.”
The online maps show the locations of current church plants
with red dots and the location of future plants with blue dots. The future
church planting locations are where the city’s local strategy team has
identified a need for new church plants but has no church planter to serve
there. When a user clicks on a current or future church plant, they’ll find its
address and primary ethnicity.
Users can zoom out to get a big-picture view of the city’s
church planting needs or zoom in to take a look at the actual neighborhoods
near current and future church plants. Also, by using Google Street View
technology available on the maps, users can get street-level view of the area and
do a virtual prayerwalk around the neighborhood.
Shane Critser, NAMB’s team leader for church mobilization, says
churches can use the maps to get a look at areas where they want to get
involved before visiting. He also hopes churches will use the maps to guide
them as they pray for the cities. For prospective church planters, the
street-level views can allow them to narrow down possibilities in a variety of
cities without ever leaving their homes.
“It’s like a virtual vision trip,” Critser said. “You’re not
going to taste and feel it like if you were really there. But you get the
visual and can see just how big the need is in the community.”
Critser says local strategy teams of pastors, church
planters and associational and state Southern Baptist leaders developed each of
the maps by determining where and what kind of churches needed to be planted in
their cities in order to penetrate the city’s lostness.
“We didn’t ask the local strategy teams to tell us how many
churches they could plant,” Critser said. “We asked them, ‘How many churches
should we plant?’ Those are two different questions. The first focuses on
resources and asks them to come up with a plan based on that. We wanted them to
look at the lostness and how many churches they had and decide how many
churches they needed to penetrate the city’s lostness.”
Churches wishing to become involved in a specific Send City
can send an email using that city’s name, followed by @namb.net (i.e. email@example.com) or visit namb.net,
click “Mobilize Me” and indicate interest in a specific city
Tobin Perry writes for
the North American Mission Board.
Date Created: 3/15/2013 11:46:40 AM
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering®© Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC