Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, recently stated, “NAMB’s goal is to work with its partners to see more churches and individuals involved directly in church planting. Research from NAMB puts the estimate of non-Christians in North America at more than 259 million. The Southern Baptist church-to-population ratio is 1: 6,194. The Canadian Baptist church-to-population ratio is 1: 115,040. These sobering numbers keep church planting at the center of NAMB’s mission focus and priority.”
As we look at the daunting reality of our current state in North America and pressure that comes with being an everyday missionary, we must have a healthy perspective on what joining God in His mission really looks like.
Growing up I spent a lot of time around construction sites. While I loved all the machinery and the thrill of watching the building process, mostly I wanted to be there because I got to be with my father. My dad was a master carpenter who was well respected among those in and around our community. His attention to detail was bar none and his drive to get the job done right was remarkable. In time, I became a “glorified gofer,” which meant I retrieved whatever the crew needed (nails, level, 2x4s, water, etc.). I didn’t mind that so much, but really I hoped for the opportunity to have my own hammer and join the crew.
I’ll never forget the day when I was around twelve years old and my dad brought together the whole construction crew and presented me with my first hammer. He announced that I was now part of the actual crew. I felt like I’d just been knighted, southern style.
“Well, don’t just stand there,” my dad said. “Get to work.” Everyone laughed, and I knelt on the floor to start nailing down the subflooring—the base before you install the finely finished floors—as all the other crew stood back to watch this kid take his first official “I’m on the crew” swing of the hammer.
I aligned the nail and took a swing.
I bruised the floor.
Second swing, contact. But the contact I was hoping to be the nail was intercepted by my thumb. Now my thumb was pulsating and quickly turning blue. And my face was quickly turning red.
My third swing bent the nail. Now I found myself tapping on both sides of the nail in an effort to straighten the “S” shaped nailed I had just created. By this point I was so nervous, I wanted to walk off the job.
But then my dad came over and covered my small hand with his large hand.
“We can do this, son.”
And next thing I knew, bam-bam-bam—the first nail was down. Bam-bam-bam. The second nail was down. Nail after nail was going down.
I thought, Check me out, fellas. I’m a carpenter. It just took me a minute. No big deal. I’m a natural. And then I feel the pressure of my dad’s hand still on top of mine. He was doing the work; he was doing the heavy lifting. He was making it happen.
“We can do this,” he told me again.
God speaks a similar idea to us even now. It is His mission.
It is His work, and God Himself extends to us the great invitation of getting to go to work with our Dad.
At NAMB we believe that there is nothing more fulfilling than abandoning your own mission and joining the everyday mission of God and we want to do whatever it takes to see every church on mission. We want this vision to be in every fiber of what we do and you can even see the “moved to action” displayed even in our new look.
We are aggressively working to help connect our network of churches to its next missional opportunity. We are here to serve the church and help grow the number of opportunities to serve missionally.
For some churches it will be to truly engage their own community for the first time in a long time while for others it will be to reproduce themselves and plant a church as a sending church. No matter where we are – there is a next step in our mission.
The invitation and love of our Father should move us to action.
Published October 13, 2015