Rick, Eddie, and I attended a two-day training last week at the North American Mission Board in Alpharetta, Georgia. The training was timely and informative. Our beloved Southern Baptist Convention is in a time of change and transition. NAMB continues to make adjustments in their strategy. The International Mission Board is in the process of reducing personnel over the next few months. I appeal for us to pray for these Southern Baptist entities and their leaders.
It’s worth noting that the message of our national convention isn’t changing. Our mission remains to engage the nations with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived a sinless life; He died a sacrificial death; He was buried in a borrowed tomb; He experienced a glorious resurrection; He ascended back the Father; and Jesus is coming again. Southern Baptists are convictional about and committed to the person of Jesus Christ.
Let me offer you a snapshot of statements that we heard during the two-day training.
- “In order to reach North America, churches must be engaged in the mission.”
- “Every Southern Baptist Convention church needs to be involved in church planting.”
- “Only about 5% of Southern Baptist Convention churches are involved in NAMB’s church planting process.”
- “In all denominations, 4,000 churches are planted every year, and 3,500 churches close their doors each year.”
- “602 Southern Baptist Convention churches average over 1,000 people in weekly worship attendance.“
- “You don’t plant churches because you can afford it. You plant churches because you want to be obedient to God’s call and leadership.”
- “NAMB’s goal is to plant churches, not plant planters. If a church planter doesn’t make it, the church plant continues (moves forward).”
- “80-85 percent of people in North American live in major cities.”
- Out of 50,000 SBC churches, only 639 are classified as “Sending Churches” in NAMB’s church planting process.”
I realize the quotes were spoken in a particular context. Nevertheless, I hope you can sense the burden and passion behind the statements. God has called every New Testament church to be engaged in the mission of reaching cities and nations (individuals and people groups) with the gospel. A faithful church is an outward-focused church. I’m grateful that God is using our church to make a kingdom difference in our city and around the world.
What about next steps from our NAMB training? My plan is to meet with the church’s Missions Committee and discuss the training event them. We’ll keep you posted as the Lord leads us in the coming days.
I’m thankful to see Sunday School classrooms and the sanctuary filling up on Sundays. Thanks you for your faithfulness and for inviting other people to join you on Sunday mornings.
Blessed to Pastor an Outward-Focused Church,