NAMB’s 2022 highlights church planting gains, compassion ministry expansion

By Brandon Elrod

ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Southern Baptists and the North American Mission Board (NAMB) had a record-setting church planting year in 2022 as Send Network entered its next phase of ministry during Vance Pitman’s first year as president of NAMB’s church planting arm.

NAMB announced in May 2022 that the total number of churches planted in 2021 increased for the second consecutive year as Southern Baptists added 1,018 new congregations: 735 church plants, 201 affiliations and 82 new campuses. Church plant numbers grew by 25 percent from the previous year.

A record-setting 216 church planting missionaries attended Send Network’s Orientation on Nov. 1-3 at the North American Mission Board (NAMB) in Alpharetta, Ga. The previous record was set during the March 2022 Orientation. NAMB photo

Send Relief, the compassion ministry arm for Southern Baptists, also hosted more than 4,800 volunteers in several cities across North America during the Serve Tour. Through hundreds of projects coordinated with Send Relief by Southern Baptist state conventions, associations and churches, more than 17,000 people were served and 363 people made professions of faith in Christ.

For the fifth time in six years, Southern Baptists set a new record high for gifts to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® by donating $68.9 million to support the efforts of missionaries throughout North America.

Along with these highlights, NAMB also facilitated ministry around the world through chaplaincy, supported evangelistic efforts across North America and supported church replanting efforts.

Volunteers with the Send Relief Serve Tour in Dayton, Ohio, measure and cut lumber for a construction project that built homes for vulnerable children and families. Send Relief photo

Send Network

In addition to the rise in total number of Southern Baptist church plants in 2022, Send Network’s orientation for new church planting missionaries set consecutive records during its spring and fall sessions as a total 381 missionaries were trained and equipped for their church planting journey during orientation.

Pitman officially began serving as Send Network’s president in March of this year, and in the fall, Send Network announced a new set of values, new leadership and the launch of the Send Network Español website. These changes will fuel Southern Baptist church planting efforts across North America as Send Network churches plant churches “everywhere for everyone” in the coming years.

Top row, left to right: Vance Pitman, Travis Ogle, Felix Cabrera. Bottom row, left to right: Matt Carter, Michael Crawford, Bryan Loritts. Send Network graphic

GuideStone Financial Services partnered with NAMB to provide retirement plans and insurance to Send Network church planters as they enter the mission field and launch their churches.

NAMB and several different Southern Baptist state conventions—like California, North Carolina, Nevada and Arkansas, among others—announced the launch of Send Network state partnerships in 2022. NAMB works with state conventions regardless of whether there is an official Send Network agreement in place, but these agreements open the door for Send Network’s resources, training, coaching and care to be more readily available to church planting missionaries.

Send Relief

Through Send Relief, NAMB partners with the International Mission Board (IMB) provide compassion ministry and relief work in North America and throughout the world.

Russia invaded Ukraine in early 2022, and Southern Baptists immediately started working to support refugees through giving, organizing mission trips and supporting Baptist relief efforts in Eastern Europe as Send Relief supported dozens of projects for people fleeing the war.

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers often travel around the world to bring hope and healing in the aftermath of disaster and in times of crisis like the war in Ukraine. Send Relief photo

A pair of hurricanes, Fiona and Ian, spurred responses from Southern Baptists in 2022. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) volunteers served hundreds of thousands of meals, completed hundreds of recovery jobs and saw dozens of people come to Christ following Hurricane Ian’s landfall in Florida. Send Relief also supported SBDR volunteers as they ministered to survivors of intense flooding in Kentucky.

Send Relief held the grand opening for its ministry center in Puerto Rico that hosts mission teams as they serve the island. Then, in cooperation with Texas Baptists, Send Relief also launched a ministry center in Laredo, Texas that helps to connect churches to ministry opportunities at the U.S.-Mexico border.

For more information about Send Relief’s activity in 2022, read more in a forthcoming story.

Evangelism

Every aspect of NAMB’s ministry centers on the spread of the gospel, but NAMB’s evangelism team strives to assist Southern Baptists by hosting training events, providing evangelism resources and encouraging pastors.

Ahead of the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention in Anaheim, Calif., NAMB and the California Southern Baptist Convention worked with local churches and associations to host evangelistic outreach events across the city through Crossover Anaheim. The event drew more than 570 volunteers and witnessed 547 people profess faith in Christ.

Hundreds of churches utilized Who’s Your One to equip their churches to pray for and share the gospel with lost friends, family members and neighbors.

Some of the more than 200 collegiate and youth leaders who gathered at the North American Mission Board (NAMB) April 19-20 for a collegiate and youth leader coaching network event. The gathering was a culmination of several weeks of training that had taken place through online meetings. NAMB photo

NAMB’s national next gen director, Shane Pruitt, and national collegiate director, Paul Worcester, hosted training cohorts for youth and collegiate student leaders throughout the year. Through preaching, teaching and training events across the nation, Pruitt has focused on reminding youth and collegiate leaders that the gospel is vital in reaching the next generation.

Through retreats designed to provide respite and encouragement for pastors and their wives, more than 1,800 pastors and wives attended Pastor Wellness Retreats in 2022 and announced a new name for the retreats—Refresh—heading into 2023.

Chaplaincy

As signs of the impending conflict between Russia and Ukraine grew in early 2022 Southern Baptist military chaplains began making preparations to serve members of the Armed Services and their families. Chaplains found different ways to serve in Eastern Europe while the U.S. avoided direct conflict with Russia.

Chaplain Christopher Davis baptizes a recent convert to Christianity during a chapel ceremony in Poland. Members of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division deployed to provide extra support to North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies ahead of Russia’s impending invasion of Ukraine in early 2022. Photo provided by Christopher Davis

Southern Baptist chaplains serve in a variety of areas outside of the military, from disaster relief to correctional facilities to public safety, and NAMB’s chaplaincy team held its largest training event for chaplains—more than 500 attended—for sessions that focused on evangelism.

Then, as a sign of the excellence of Southern Baptist chaplains, Chaplain Pat Hash was inducted into the Army Ranger Hall of Fame in 2022.

Replant, Resources and the SBC Annual Meeting

The work of NAMB’s Replant continued throughout 2022. National director for Replant, Mark Clifton, has a heart for rural church ministry, which led to launch The Rural Pastor Podcast. The Replant team hosted a number of training events centered on church replanting, culminating in NAMB’s annual Replant Summit where they named their 2022 Replanter of the Year.

Matthew Clough, lead pastor of Fellowship West in Bonner Springs, Kan., was recognized as Replanter of the Year by the North American Mission Board (NAMB). Clough and his wife Meghan received the award from NAMB senior director of Replant Mark Clifton during NAMB’s annual Replant Summit held Aug. 29-30 in Alpharetta, Ga. NAMB photo by Katie Beth Rogers

Under the leadership of Trevin Wax, NAMB’s resources team launched a number of new podcasts designed to serve pastors and their wives. Christine Hoover’s new podcast caters specifically to pastor’s wives. Wax’s Reconstructing Faith podcast seeks to resource Christian leaders for conversation and action that spurs the Church to Christlikeness as she faces scandal and the turbulent winds of culture.

NAMB’s presentation and report to the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Anaheim, Calif., highlighted partnerships designed for gospel advancement across North America. To honor and encourage pastors, NAMB also hosted its annual Send Luncheon, shared a young lady’s powerful gospel story that went viral and surprised a pastor’s widow with resources to help her and her family continue serving.


Published December 14, 2022

Brandon Elrod

Brandon Elrod writes for the North American Mission Board.