By Josie Rabbitt Bingham
DALLAS—A new North American Mission Board (NAMB) exhibit featured a banner linking NAMB with its compassion ministry arm, Send Relief, at the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC)’s annual meeting. Theirs was the only banner to cross over the Exhibit Hall’s red carpet walkway at this year’s convention in Dallas, Texas.
So why this design?
“The overall theme is sending hope,” said NAMB director of events, Lee Cunningham. “We highlighted the five Send Relief focus areas and encouraged people to two calls to action: writing notes for church planters and recording a Gospel Conversation (GC) Challenge video. The exhibit design was made to bring these two things together across NAMB and Send Relief.”
On the NAMB side of their exhibit, missionaries and leaders who serve throughout North America connected pastors and churches to their next opportunity to lead and live on mission. There were opportunities for attendees to share their latest gospel conversations by recording it at the NAMB exhibit as part of the GC Challenge at gcchallenge.com—an evangelism initiative for pastors and their churches. Postcards were also placed for attendees to write encouraging messages to church planting missionaries.
Sending Hope t-shirts were given out to attendees who recorded a GC Challenge video or filled out postcards.
“The postcards were a brilliant idea,” said International Mission Board (IMB) missionary, Rebecca Carson. “I was given a bunch to take home to my church family so we may fill them out. Whoever thought of this idea was really smart. As a missionary, I need all the prayer I can get, so it was cool to see that fellow missionaries will soon be receiving notes and cards from people praying for and thinking of them.”
A military chaplain recorded his gospel conversation with a woman in the Army Reserves who struggles with her identity and purpose.
“We’ve had over a hundred gospel conversations shared on video this week,” said Jackson Harris, videographer at NAMB. “Many came and were just so excited to share what they’d experienced lately. We also had hundreds of people fill out postcards with prayers that we will now mail to the planters and pastors. It was busy but really great.”
On the Send Relief side of the exhibit, attendees saw what compassion ministries in their church could look like.
With compelling photos ranging from disaster response in Puerto Rico and Texas to women being rescued from human trafficking, attendees saw what Send Relief does in North America and learned how their churches can be part of it. The primary purpose of the Send Relief side of the exhibit was to raise awareness of the five focus areas of Send Relief and give attendees the opportunity to sign-up to receive more information for next steps.
“Most of the people who came to our side of the exhibit asked about foster care,” said Greg Teffertiller, marketing director of Send Relief. “Specifically, they asked about how to develop support systems within their churches and communities to grow foster care awareness and support systems for those involved.
“It’s an important issue and one of the many facets of Send Relief. We were glad so many people were curious as to what mercy ministries they could bring back to their churches and communities. Many had knowledge of the issues but needed next steps for solving the issues. Send Relief is equipped to help them do that.”
Send Relief missionary, Lorna Bius, was present, giving advice and sharing stories of her life on the mission field.
“I have been telling people what I was told years ago, ‘You need a coalition of the willing to start a mercy ministry,’” she said. “A coalition of the willing is a group of people pumped about an issue and dedicated to making an issue nonexistent through support, time, resources and love. First you find those people, then you build the ministry—that was my advice and the point of many of my life’s stories I shared at the exhibit.”
The NAMB and Send Relief exhibits opened at 8 a.m. on June 10 in the Exhibit Hall.
“We always look forward to visiting with pastors and church members at our exhibit each year,” NAMB president Kevin Ezell said. “This was a great opportunity for us to share how we can help them take the hope of the Gospel to their community and beyond.”
Many of NAMB’s leaders participated in conversations on the Cooperative Program (CP) platform’s stage during the annual meeting’s three days. The CP platform was located between the NAMB and the International Mission Board (IMB) exhibits.
Josie Rabbitt Bingham writes for the North American Mission Board.
Published June 13, 2018