Record Annie Offering, Johnny Hunt and Send Puerto Rico top NAMB 2018 news

By NAMB Staff

ALPHARETTA, Ga.—In 2018 Southern Baptists stepped up to help thousands of disaster survivors who endured devastating hurricanes, fires and floods. They also came alongside a church in Texas to help them rebuild after a tragedy that shocked the world. The North American Mission Board (NAMB) had the privilege of partnering with Southern Baptist churches to minister in these and many other ways. Here is a look at some of the highlights from 2018.

Annie Offering surpasses $60 million for the first time

For the second straight year, Southern Baptists set a record high for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® by breaking the $60 million mark for the first time. North American Mission Board (NAMB) president Kevin Ezell shared the final tally of at $61.1 million in October and thanked Southern Baptists for their faithful and sacrificial giving.

Send Puerto Rico emphasis unveiled

In February, NAMB revealed Send Puerto Rico as a new major area of ministry emphasis. More focus and resources have been designated for church planting and compassion ministry on the island.

A new Send Relief Ministry Center will be housed in Puerto Rico as well. Felix Cabrera, second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, also announced his plans to move to the island to start a church and catalyze church planting efforts.

FBC Sutherland Springs restoration

Pastor Frank Pomeroy and his wife Sherri break ground for First Baptist Sutherland Springs’s new church building. NAMB photo by Andrew Pearle.

Following the tragic attack that took the lives of 26 people at First Baptist Church Sutherland Springs, NAMB promised to guarantee the funds needed for a new church building. On behalf of Southern Baptists, NAMB came alongside the church so they could continue ministering to their community.

Hunt and Law to lead evangelism and pastoral Leadership team

Johnny Hunt, right, longtime pastor of First Baptist Woodstock, Ga., with North American Mission Board president Kevin Ezell, left. NAMB photo by Hayley Catt.

Johnny Hunt, longtime pastor of First Baptist Church Woodstock, Georgia and executive pastor, Jim Law, will serve, respectively, as senior vice president and executive director of NAMB’s new evangelism and pastoral leadership group. Together, Hunt and Law will lead a strategy to promote evangelism among Southern Baptist churches, provide resources and equip pastors to lead their congregations to become more evangelistically active.

Dhati Lewis named Send Network VP

Dhati Lewis succeeded Jeff Christopherson as the vice president of the Send Network after Christopherson transitioned to a new role. Lewis planted Blueprint Church in one of Atlanta’s urban centers, focusing his ministry on discipleship and engaging the Great Commission.

Undivided resource aids reconciliation in churches

“Undivided: Your Church and Racial Reconciliation” is a free resource from NAMB designed to help pastors and churches bridge the racial divide in their communities. The study acts as an aid for churches that see the need to engage difficult conversations during the process of racial reconciliation.

SBDR: Two major hurricanes strike the Southeast, fires in the West

Vice President Mike Pence and Fla. Gov. Rick Scott meet with Florida Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) volunteers on site at Hiland Park Baptist Church in Panama City, Fla. Volunteer teams with SBDR set up a feeding and recovery site at Hiland Park following Hurricane Michael, which hit the Florida Panhandle on Oct. 10. NAMB photo by Sara Brockmann.

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) experienced another busy hurricane season as Florence and Michael battered the Carolinas, Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Volunteers with SBDR also responded to one of the worst wildfires ever to affect California.

In total, SBDR provided more than 2.2 million meals, assisted more than 6,900 homeowners and witnessed at least 549 professions of faith in response to disasters.

Missionaries, pastors are NAMB’s focus for SBC 2018

At the SBC Annual Meeting in Dallas, NAMB partnered with local Southern Baptists for Crossover Dallas evangelistic events that resulted in more than 4,220 salvations. NAMB’s presentation celebrated the work of missionaries and described new mission opportunities for churches. During its Send Luncheon, NAMB thanked and encouraged pastors for their efforts to serve their churches and communities.

Backpacks lead to gospel conversations

Send Relief underscored the value a backpack can bring to evangelism by hosting distribution events at its Ministry Centers in New Orleans and Clarkston, Ga. Churches were encouraged to use backpacks to minister to the needs in their communities and open doors for starting gospel conversations.

Appalachia Ministry Center packs more than 100,000 meals

During a one-day, special meal-packing event, volunteers serving at Send Relief’s Appalachia Ministry Center packed 172,384 meals over a span of six hours. Those meals were served to families in need throughout the Appalachian region.

SBC Army chaplain cleared of discrimination charges

The U.S. Army dropped its investigation against Southern Baptist chaplain Jerry Scott Squires after a discrimination complaint was filed against him. His commander ruled that Squires had acted in accordance with Army policy.

Army base sees revival as hundreds come to faith

At Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, chaplains witnessed a major revival among soldiers that spanned several months. More than 1,400 came to faith in Christ, and hundreds are attending regular chapel services.

Composed by the communications staff of the North American Mission Board.

Published December 14, 2018