ALPHARETTA, Ga. —Many churches and individuals lived their lives on mission in 2016, and the North American Mission Board has released a list of the year’s highlights, spotlighting those who gave, served, loved their neighbors and shared the hope of Christ.
Send Relief launches in Ferguson, Mo., builds momentum
As a primary partner in the launch of the NAMB’s Send Relief initiative, a metro St. Louis church reintroduced itself on a Saturday in June to a couple thousand of its neighbors—a day that coincided with Crossover evangelism efforts in St. Louis. From that first event, which included the debut of mobile medical and dental clinics, Send Relief has continued to expand opportunities for churches to enhance their mercy ministries and reach people within the shadow of their steeples.
Annie Armstrong Offering second highest ever
The nearly $59 million given to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions in 2016 ranks second highest in the offering’s history. Southern Baptists gave $58,860,553 in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 to the offering named for missionary, and visionary missions advocate, Annie Armstrong. The offering amount was second only to the $59,463,281 given in 2007.
’It’s working,’ Ezell says of strategy and direction
Addressing Southern Baptist messengers during their annual meeting in St. Louis, NAMB President Kevin Ezell asked “Is it working?” Ezell’s question referred to the overall strategy and direction of the mission board.
“NAMB’s primary reason for existence is to help Southern Baptists reach North America for Christ,” Ezell said June 15. “That is the mission that runs through everything that we do.” Ezell thanked messengers for faithfully giving through the Cooperative Program and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. He answered his question with a resounding, “Yes.”
Church plant “Class of 2015” already impacting communities
Throughout North America, hundreds of new churches planted in 2015 are taking root and are already making a difference in their communities. “We celebrate the birth of each one of these new churches and the pastors who are planting them,” Ezell said. “Church planting is challenging work, and we are sending planters to start churches in difficult places.”
NAMB launches evangelism blog
NAMB launched a blog to bring attention to “evergreen” principles that are working in some of the most evangelistic Southern Baptist churches in North America. Church leaders can find content on a variety of topics including developing an evangelistic culture, encouraging your people to bring guests, engaging your community through service and strategic thinking.
NAMB planter assessment increases likelihood of success
Scott Kearney, who participated in a NAMB church planting assessment in Boston in October 2016, said the assessment helped him and his wife, and noted that church planters’ wives often miss out on training and input as they prepare for a new stage of ministry.
NAMB hosts replant conference
More than 175 Southern Baptists interested in the work of replanting struggling churches convened for the first-ever National Replanting Gathering prior to the 2016 SBC annual meeting. Sponsored by NAMB, the gathering connected those engaged in the replanting process with one another, as well as to encourage and train them.
Engage 24 champions evangelism
NAMB hosted three Engage 24 workshops in 2016, with the theme, “Evangelism Leadership for the Pastor.” Featured speakers like Steve Gaines, Ronnie Floyd, Ted Traylor, Tim Dowdy, Hal Seed and James Merritt.
Merritt, senior pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga., professed during the final session, “The gospel is exactly the power we need. It’s what we believe in. We must be pastors who will share it.”
SBDR aids survivors of 2016 disasters
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers answered the call to aid thousands in crisis as natural disasters from severe flooding in West Virginia and Louisiana, devastating destruction from Hurricane Matthew, lead-filled water in Flint, Mich., and burning Canadian and Tennessee wildfires filled 2016 with a great need for help. And Southern Baptists continue to be recognized for the selfless service. (BP)