By Mike Ebert
SAN FRANCISCO — North American Mission Board trustees gathered for their annual fall meeting Oct. 7-8 with much to celebrate as Ronnie Floyd, president of the SBC Executive Committee, announced to the group that Southern Baptists had given $62.2 million to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® in 2019. It marked an all-time high for the offering and the third consecutive year to break a record.
“We are so very, very grateful for that,” NAMB president Kevin Ezell told trustees the day after the announcement. “Please, every time you talk to a pastor, let them know how grateful we are. The church planting missionaries who were with us last night were very grateful for how we are investing in them, and I told them that is only possible because of the Annie Armstrong offering.”
During the North American Mission Board (NAMB) fall trustee meeting in San Francisco, Kevin Ezell, NAMB president, recognized the third straight year of a record-breaking Annie Armstrong Easter Offering®. Ezell also provided updates related to NAMB’s vision and goals for the upcoming year in the area of church planting and evangelism. NAMB photo by Greg Schneider.
Monday afternoon, Oct. 7, trustees spent time visiting with several area church planting missionaries who benefit from the Annie offering. They shared stories of success and challenge. Many more joined trustees later that evening for a dinner celebrating all God is doing in the region.
Johnny Hunt, NAMB’s senior vice president of evangelism and leadership, addressed trustees during their plenary meeting, Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 8. He has been leading the Who’s Your One evangelism tour, which launched in August, as a way to mobilize pastors and church members for evangelism. Already the tour has made four stops with three more scheduled for this year and 12 scheduled for early 2020.
“One of the things we are finding out,” Hunt told trustees, “is that we are where we are as Southern Baptists because of the lack of intentionality. Unless I am very intentional about sharing the gospel, I won’t.”
Johnny Hunt, NAMB’s senior vice president of evangelism and leadership, addressed trustees during their plenary meeting, Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 8. He has been leading the Who’s Your One evangelism tour, which launched in August, as a way to mobilize pastors and church members for evangelism. NAMB photo by Greg Schneider.
Hunt called attention to the unsettling drop in baptisms among children and students. He said the average Southern Baptist pastor today accepted Christ at age nine, yet baptisms among children and students are at an all-time low in our churches.
“Everything rises or falls on leadership,” Hunt said. “So, we are praying God will give us a greater open door with the pastors so we can reach more people for Christ.”
The executive board of the North American Mission Board (NAMB) trustees—chairman Danny Wood, pastor of Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., (left), first vice chairman Danny de Armas, senior associate pastor of Orlando First Baptist church (middle) and second vice chairman Eric Thomas, senior pastor of First Baptist Norfolk, Va., (right)—help to lead the full board of trustees. Wood serves to facilitate the full meeting. NAMB photo by Greg Schneider.
In other business during their full board meeting that afternoon, Matt Smith, NAMB’s chief financial officer, reported to trustees that preliminary end of fiscal year reporting shows that revenue outpaced budget and spending came in 4.7 percent below budget.
In his formal remarks to trustees, Ezell shared the priority for NAMB to “stay in its lane.”
“We have made a lot of important changes these last few years,” Ezell said. “The important thing now is to maintain our focus and not get distracted.”
North American Mission Board (NAMB) trustees gathered for their annual fall meeting Oct. 7-8 with much to celebrate. Trustees recognized the record Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® announcement, heard great reports from committee leaders and had the opportunity to meet church planting missionaries in San Francisco. NAMB photo by Greg Schneider.
Repeating remarks he made at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in June of this year, Ezell told trustees that Southern Baptists need to be planting at least 1,200 new churches a year. There are not enough qualified church planter candidates to meet that goal, though, so NAMB is focusing on seeing 750 church plants this year. Then, another 450 new SBC churches are expected to be added—400 through churches newly affiliating with the SBC and 50 through established churches launching new campuses. All will be tracked and reported separately.
Tanya York, a North American Mission Board (NAMB) trustee and member of Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort, Ky., started off the trustees fall board meeting with a devotional based on Jesus’s feeding of the multitudes. NAMB photo by Greg Schneider.
Ezell, who in September marked nine years of service as NAMB’s president, told trustees, “I have never been more excited about the future of the SBC and never more excited about where we are at the North American Mission Board. But we can’t stay where we are because we have much, much more to do. We are looking expectantly toward the future.”
Mike Ebert is executive director for public relations at the North American Mission Board.