North America is awash with people who are lost at sea, grasping for
spiritual life, says Bob Reccord, president of the North American Mission Board
(NAMB). Theyve grabbed at pleasure. Theyve grabbed at possessions. Theyve
grabbed at prestige. Theyve grabbed at empty spirituality. As Christians we
have a Savior, and we must extend that lifeline to non-Christians.
There are 5,154 Southern Baptist missionaries serving in the United States
and Canada. With more than 200 million people who dont know Christ, each
missionary would have to reach almost 40,000 people. Fortunately, they are not
The mission to reconcile the world to Christ belongs to every believer, not
just career missionaries who devote their lives to it, says Nate Adams, vice
president of Mobilization and Media, NAMB. Indeed, without every Christian
determining to do his or her part in evangelizing the world, the task will
The need right here on our own continent is so great that every Christian
must do his or her part to spread the gospel message, says David Clark, vice
president of Broadcast Communications.
Their are 5,154 Southern Baptist missionaries serving in the
U.S. and Canada. With 224 million people who dont know Christ, each missionary
would have to reach almost 40,000 people.
But research shows that most Christians arent sharing their faith on a
regular basis. In an end-of-the-year report in December 2001, researcher George
Barna noted that just four out of ten Baptists shared their faith once or more
in the past year.
Many Christians who would be willing to die for their faith for some reason
arent sharing it with someone else, adds Adams. We need to help Christians
discover the ways God has shaped them for telling others about Him.
Four out of 10 Baptists shared their faith once in
The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few. God is calling ordinary
people to the mission field. Although their numbers are small compared to total
church membership, a growing number of Southern Baptists are embracing the
challenge of a gospel message disseminated by everyone, including laypeople who
recognize that the Great Commission applies to them as well as to pastors,
evangelists and missionaries. They are mobilizing for a variety of missionary
endeavors short-term, long-term, and most important, more Southern Baptists are
developing a lifestyle that holds them accountable to being on mission all the time.
Mobilizing through mediaWith the goal of awakening
all Christians to the role they can play in evangelism, NAMB has developed an
array of resources and utilized a variety of media to communicate the message
On mission, NAMBs flagship
magazine, is designed to give a practical, hands-on approach to becoming an
on mission Christian. Readers find
articles that help them better understand todays culture, creative ways to
share their faith in their own community and throughout the continent, as well
as stories about missionaries and other on mission Christians.
Go! is a new magazine for
Christian teens using upbeat articles and a contemporary design to encourage
students to impact their world for Christ.
E-ssentials, a bi-monthly video
series, incorporates a short series of man-on-the-street interviews with longer
segments focusing on a particular issue facing our society. E-ssentials can be
used in a worship service or classroom setting to inform Christians about what
others are doing to reach the world for Christ and motivate viewers to share
Monthly Bulletin Inserts, offered free to churches, inform and inspire
toward mission activity.
These and other resources are available along with more than 250 other
products that support mission education organizations. To request a catalog or
place an order call 800-448-8032.
Students change their worldKnown as the Mosaic
Generation, todays students are searching for anything and everything to fill
their lives. This generation was motivated to make a difference in the world
before the September 11 terrorist attacks added an even greater sense of
urgency to their need to contribute.
photo by Ken Touchton
NAMB sees students as an invaluable asset to Gods kingdom. One of the most
successful strategies for mobilizing these young Christians is World Changers,
a short-term mission experience for middle school, high school and college
World Changers puts students in hands-on missions experiences. Through
construction and renovation work, participants help needy residents in
low-income neighborhoods. World Changers Community Projects add another element
of ministry through projects such as organizing food and clothing closets,
childrens clubs, street witnessing, sports camps and much more. All the
projects are geared toward serving others and sharing Christ.
From a simple beginning in 1990, World Changers has grown from 137
participants the first year to more than 20,000 last year. In 12 years, more
than 100,000 students have sought to change the world, one home at a time.
These students are not only refurbishing houses, they are reconstructing
Getting students outside church walls, out of their comfort zones and into
an environment where they work with other students from throughout the country
often initiates an inner change that helps them to realize the significance of
making a contribution to the cause. Demonstrating Christs love, student
volunteers are involved in projects such as repairing roofs and building
porches for the less fortunate, feeding the hungry and sharing Christ with
Changing the world begins with changing the lives of participants during the
mission trip. Each day volunteers experience what its like to be the hands,
feet and voice of Christ in a hurting world. Students growing up in
contemporary North America are often hungry for substance, and are finding that
reaching out to the unloved, the unfortunate and the forgotten, has a way of
satisfying the human soul.
This generation of students has been called out, and they are responding to
Gods mission in His world, says John Bailey, manager of Student Volunteer
Another way students are being mobilized is through Student Mission Groups.
Through this program NAMB links church groups with a missionary in the United
States or Canada based on the ministry needs in the area and the resources of
the youth group. Youth groups with strong drama teams or musical groups are a
perfect fit for missionaries working in resort areas. Missionaries in pioneer
areas need groups who are comfortable doing door-to-door survey work. Still
other missionaries need groups who are able and willing to lead childrens
ministries such as backyard Bible schools and Big-A clubs. Missionaries all
over North America rely on Student Mission Groups to help with their
ministries, especially during the summer months.
Two other programs that pair students with missionaries are Sojourners and
Innovators. Sojourners are high school students who have completed their junior
year and can serve four to ten weeks in the summer. Innovators are students who
have completed their freshman year of college and support themselves with a
secular job while working with a missionary for a summer. Sojourners and
Innovators serve in a variety of ministries including childrens programs,
campground services, beach reach, creative arts, personal evangelism and many
Olivia Quimette served last summer with missionary Steve Hughes at Yosemite
National Park. When she wasnt hiking with campers or helping with worship
services, Quimette was serving as a lifeguard for Yosemite National Park. Her
passion for sharing Christ and her admiration of Gods handiwork in nature are
what brought her to Yosemite.
Working one-on-one with missionaries is a special blessing to these students
and a huge help to the local missionary. The Innovators who come to Yosemite
are a major part of our ministry here, says Steve Hughes, director of Yosemite
They live and work with hundreds of young adults who come to Yosemite for a
summer job. Their sole purpose is to be Jesus to those they meet and to be
intentional about developing relationships with nonbelievers in order to share
Christ with them.
Another option for college students includes summer and semester missions.
This is for students who want to commit to four to 10 weeks of missionary
service during the summer, fall or spring semesters. Student missionaries work
either individually or with a team in the areas of church planting and
Adult volunteer MobilzationStudents are making great
strides in reaching North America for Christ, but they cant do it alone. In
order for Southern Baptists to help bridge the gap between non-Christians and
God, it will take young and old alike. Adult volunteers are turning out in
record numbers to experience missions firsthand. Opportunities abound for
adults to share the love of Christ across North America.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers responded within hours of the
attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon by serving 628,000 hot
More than 24,000 Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are ready to
respond to any crisis situation. Trained by state conventions with specific
skills like meal preparation or communications, disaster relief workers
mobilize in the event of a crisis, which uniquely positions them to tell the
story of Christ. As they meet people on what is often the worst day of their
lives, Disaster Relief volunteers open the door to ministry that extends far
beyond immediate help in the wake of a disasterit includes talking about Christ
and their eternal salvation.
In 2001 Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers responded to flooding in
West Virginia, Louisiana and Texas. They also responded within hours of the
attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon by serving 628,000 hot meals
for relief workers and those affected by the attacks.
There have been very few times in our nations history that an event impacted
everyone the way 9/11 did, and Southern Baptists made a difference just by
being there in the aftermath, says Mickey Caison, manager of Adult Volunteer
Mobilization. The chaplains, feeding unit teams, childcare teams and the
cleanup teams all presented physical help, love, words of encouragement and the
gospel of Jesus. These actions gave hope to many recipients.
photo by Michael Keza
Disaster Relief units are on hand to provide meals, childcare and
communications assistance at the moment disaster strikes. Also, a large bank of
volunteers assures that Southern Baptists are there to help with long-term
recovery when needed.
Campers On mission (COM)
provides opportunities for Christians who love camping and love the Lord to
combine the two and minister in a unique and special way. These on mission
Christians share the love of Christ everywhere they gofrom the NASCAR racetrack
to the county fair to the rest stops in between. Youll find them doing backyard
Bible studies, leading campground worship services, distributing Bibles at
truck stops and clowning around at parades.
There are many more opportunities for adult volunteers to be involved in the
task of taking Christ to North America. Visit www.volunteers.namb.net for more
information about volunteer opportunities.
Raising up on mission
ChristiansWhere will tomorrows on mission Christians come from? NAMB is
seeking to increase the reserves of on
mission volunteers by raising up children to be on missionon mission kids become on mission adults. Through Royal Ambassadors
(RAs) and Challengers, boys in grades one through 12 learn about Southern
Baptist mission efforts and how they can be involved in cooperative missions.
RAs also involves boys in the spiritual process of developing an on mission lifestyle using mission games,
Bible verse memory and mission action projects. They also learn about
missionaries who are serving God all over the world. RA activities allow these
boys to take part in missions, creating a base for future mission
Challengers is an on mission
accountability group for teenage guys. Their purpose is to challenge
non-Christians to follow Jesus and challenge other Christians to share their
faith. In this particular time of life when young men are being pulled in
different directions by their peers, Challengers seeks to encourage
accountability in small focused groups.
Mission-educated Christians, in general, prove to be more effective at
sharing their faith because theyve learned how to apply mission skills in their
personal lives. If mission values are instilled at an early age and children
experience firsthand the power of God working through them, those experiences
make lasting impressions, often planting the seeds for growth into full-time
mission service. Kids, who might have grown up classifying missions as an
optional church activity, learn the vital role they play as individuals and
their personal responsibility for sharing Christ.
Baptist Men on mission is for
those aged 18 and older who want to be better prepared for impacting their
world for Christ. They become a group of lay missionaries helping the church to
live out its mission in its community and around the world, says Sean Taylor,
strategist for adult mission education at NAMB.
One of the main emphases of Baptist Men On mission is to encourage men to develop
mentoring relationships with young men and boys in on mission lifestyles. Boys today need
strong positive influences on their lives and, most important, someone who
models a Christian lifestyle.
Baptist Men On mission also can
enable your church to identify and develop strategies for sharing the gospel
with unreached people and extending its outreach to the world. Baptist Men
On mission challenges churches to
commission a lay- missionary force to build relationships and make an impact on
their community. When men become on
mission, they commit to learn and apply skills that make them more
effective in reaching their families, their neighborhoods, their workplaces and
their world, adds Taylor.
A will and a way to goWhile an estimated 280,000
Southern Baptists already spend three days to a week yearly involved in mission
projects away from home, an upcoming campaign featuring a million-man goal
promises to spike mobilization. The campaign strives to involve one million
evangelical volunteers in short-term mission projects somewhere away from their
homes in 2003, says Jim Burton, director of NAMBs volunteer mobilization team.
But how will Southern Baptists meet that goal when volunteers are scattered all
across North America? Right now the prospects of meeting that goal seem
especially promising because mobilizing for missions has never been easier.
NAMB has implemented a new information delivery system to assist volunteers
in matching up with mission projects all across the United States and Canada.
Updated every 30 days, the Web-based Volunteer Mobilization Information System
(VMIS) facilitates short-term volunteerism in the SBC by putting descriptions
of all projects on-line. Project originators, state conventions and
associations looking for volunteers can describe their needs, and volunteers
looking to serve can zero in on projects that interest them.
We know that mobilizing Christians is essential in reaching our world for
Christ, adds Burton. And we have to make volunteering as accessible as
possible. The VMIS will allow a Raleigh youth group with an interest in
international missions to be paired up with a missionary in Seattle who needs
people to come for a week in the summer and do backyard Bible clubs in the
citys international community. Volunteers who are skilled in construction will
find listings of churches that need help with building a new facility.
There are a variety of ways that Christians can be involved in spreading the
gospel across North America. It is NAMBs priority to equip and enable
Christians to discover all the ways they can answer Gods call to make His name
known among all people.
We want to introduce as many people as possible to the spiritual
transformation process that changes regular Christians into on mission Christians, says Nate Adams, of
NAMBs Mobilization and Media group. As more people discover the personal
mission God has given them, the task of reaching North America for Christ
starts to seem a little more possible.
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC