Learn more about the milestones of Southern Baptist missions in North America.
A Brief History of Southern Baptist Missions in North America
Baptists have, historically, partnered for the sake of mission and the Great Commission. They do so out of a zeal to see people reached for the gospel, recognizing that local churches can do more by cooperating together than any one church can do on its own.
Newly formed Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) meeting at First Baptist Church, Augusta, Georgia, establishes the Board of Domestic Missions to be based in Marion, Alabama.
First Southern Baptist involvement in chaplaincy begins at the University of Virginia.
The Board of Domestic Missions becomes the Home Mission Board (HMB) of the SBC.
HMB relocates to Atlanta, Georgia.
Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) is established as an auxiliary to the SBC. Annie Armstrong becomes the first corresponding secretary, rallying Baptist women to engage in domestic missions.
The first home mission offering is taken by WMU during a “Week of Self-denial for Home Missions,” raising more than $5,000.
HMB approves first loan of $300 from a newly established church loan fund of $4,000.
The Laymen’s Missionary Movement begins, which becomes the catalyst for the creation of the Brotherhood Commission.
The Laymen’s Missionary Movement calls for a “Brotherhood” to be founded in each Southern Baptist church.
HMB benefits from the Cooperative Program, established as the primary channel for supporting missions and ministries of the SBC.
Southern Baptists involved in the Laymen’s Missionary Movement create the Baptist Brotherhood of the South.
The HMB incurs a $2.5 million debt during the Great Depression and missionary forces plunge from 1,600 to 106.
The annual missions offering taken to benefit home missions is named in honor of Annie Armstrong.
SBC creates a Radio Committee to explore using radio in broadcasting “the Baptist message.”
“The Baptist Hour” radio program launches and is broadcast for 13 weeks in 11 states. SBC begins endorsement of chaplains.
Student summer missions, one of HMB’s first volunteer endeavors, begins with 11 summer missionaries.
The Radio Committee is designated an agency of the SBC and renamed Radio Commission to be located in Atlanta, Georgia.
SBC requests Radio Commission to serve as central agency in producing audio-visual materials.
Baptist Brotherhood of the South becomes the Brotherhood Commission of the SBC, with offices in Memphis, Tennessee.
Radio Commission expands into television.
The Royal Ambassador movement, which had been sponsored and promoted by WMU since its birth as an organization, is moved from WMU to the Brotherhood Commission. Radio Commission changes name to Radio and Television Commission (RTVC) and moves to Fort Worth, Texas.
Work with ethnic/language-culture groups becomes HMB’s largest program in budget and number of missionaries.
The HMB appoints the first US-2 missionaries (college graduates who volunteer for two years of missionary service).
Texas Baptist Men respond to victims of Hurricane Beulah in the Rio Grande Valley. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is born.
“Jot” series begins. Distributed by the RTVC, this syndicated four and one-half minute insert on local children’s programs seeks to teach children moral and ethical lessons.
“Powerline” launches as a major radio thrust to reach teenagers through top 40 music. “Country Crossroads,” a country and western music radio program, also launches.
Mission Service Corps is created to coordinate and promote self-funded missionary volunteers.
The HMB supports more than 3,000 missionaries.
The RTVC enters the satellite communications arena and expands its television ministry through the launch of American Christian Television System (ACTS), a cable television network. The Brotherhood Commission begins coordination of disaster relief ministry with state Baptist conventions.
The Brotherhood Commission starts a youth coed missions project called “World Changers,” to involve youth in missions.
RTVC acquires FamilyNet television network to meet the demand for quality, family program service for broadcast TV stations.
The HMB celebrates its 150th anniversary and moves to new office building in Alpharetta, Georgia.
As part of the Covenant for a New Century, the SBC creates the North American Mission Board (NAMB), which combines the HMB, RTVC and Brotherhood Commission. The new board is based in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, coordinated nationally by NAMB, has its greatest response to date as a result of Hurricane Katrina. From August 2005 through March 2006, disaster relief volunteers serve 14.5 million meals and collectively give 1.5 million hours toward relief efforts.
NAMB introduces God’s Plan for Sharing (GPS) at the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana. The 10-year evangelism initiative, to be launched in 2010, urges Southern Baptists to fulfill the challenge of “Every Believer Sharing, Every Person Hearing, by 2020.”
Meeting in Orlando, Florida, in June, Southern Baptist Convention messengers ask NAMB to focus more resources on church planting. In September, NAMB trustees elect Kevin Ezell as NAMB president.
The Send Network strategy of evangelistic church planting and church planter development launches with five focus regions and 32 Send Cities, specifically aligned to address unique opportunities and challenges across the continent.
In a landmark event for Southern Baptist missions, 13,000 people gathered at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee., for the Send Conference—a two-day event encouraging each Christian to live life on mission.
At the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, Send Relief—a compassion ministry focusing on bringing help with lasting hope—launches with four initiatives: hunger relief, international learning centers, fire prevention and mobile medical/dental care.
The launch of Who’s Your One, an evangelism effort that encourages believers to focus on reaching one lost friend or family member, was well received, with thousands upon thousands of church members personally committing to personal evangelism.
NAMB and the International Mission Board announced a collaboration to bring Southern Baptist compassion ministry efforts under one umbrella: Send Relief. Now, Southern Baptists have a single pathway to utilize when serving through and donating to national and international compassion ministry.