When I came to the North American Mission Board it was with a vision to do
whatever it takes to reach the hearts and minds of people in the United States
and Canada with the only message that can ultimately bring hope and
NAMB is committed to assisting churches in fulfilling the
Great Commission in this generation. Simply put, our business is to communicate
the Greatest Message ever told and to equip Christians and churches to fulfill
the Greatest Mission ever given. In collaboration with associations and state
conventions, NAMB is focused on taking Christ to North America.
To be successful in fulfilling the daunting mission we have been called to
carry, I am convinced we must give priority attention to five key areas.
Together, the words making up these priorities spell SERVE. This mission will
require every Southern Baptist and every church to embrace Jesus command to go
and make disciples. And it will require Southern Baptists to forge new
partnerships and work in new ways as we remain firmly rooted in the biblical
foundations and rock-solid doctrine so essential to our effectiveness and
Strategic Focus CitiesThe size and diversity of North
Americas growing cities in some ways make ministry more challenging, but if we
strategically take Southern Baptist resources to these places of such lostness
and such opportunity, I am convinced we will see God change hearts as never
In Phoenix as many churches were planted in one year of intentional focus as
in the previous 10. In 80 percent of the SBC churches in Phoenix average
attendance grew 20 percent, missions giving grew 21 percent and baptisms grew
In Las Vegas 14 new healthy churches were planted and 80 percent of the
churches had Vacation Bible School with overwhelming results. A major media
campaign linking the local churches to the response had wonderful
In Boston 15 new churches were planted and a focused media campaign was
implemented. Dr. Jack Graham, pastor of Dallas Prestonwood Baptist Church, was
even able to speak to all the runners prior to the Boston Marathon.
Ethnic CongregationsGod is truly bringing the world to our
doorstep in North America. A visit to the grocery store in most cities is like
taking a trip through the foods and cultures of the world. Some are new
citizens, others long-term visitors. All bring hopes of opportunities and
prosperity that might be impossible in the land they left behind.
To most effectively reach the diverse cultural collage that is 21st century
North America, Christians must approach people in ways in which they can
connect and feel at home. With that in mind, NAMB is leading an effort with
Southern Baptist partnersLifeWay Christian Resources, Womans Missionary Union
and the International Mission Boardto provide the top 12 resources needed to
plant Southern Baptist churches for 20 language groups by 2003.
We want to make it easier for every citizen to find a Southern Baptist
church where they can feel at home no matter what their ethnic or cultural
heritage. We are already making progress. In the last five years more than half
of the new church plants in North America were African-American or ethnic
congregations with 58 percent in 2001. Building on that progress will help us
reach more people for Christ than ever before.
Reaching CanadaThe warm relationship between the United
States and Canada means more than ever in a day of increasing world instability
and uncertainty. But Christians in the U.S. would be serving our friends to the
north poorly if we settle for this comfortable friendship and dont reach out to
address the enormous spiritual challenges Canada faces.
Today only 163 Southern Baptist churches serve the entire nation of 31
million people. Canada is experiencing the same cultural diversity as the U.S.
and desperately needs new congregations to reach new populations.
From its beginning, NAMB made Canada a priority. We established a North
American Church Planting Center in Canadas Southern Baptist seminary. World
Changers and summer missionaries have traveled to Canada to serve alongside
full-time missionaries who are punching holes into spiritual darkness. One of
our newest missionaries, Mark Clifton, is dedicated to a national church
planting strategy in Canada.
VolunteersWe are thrilled with the thousands of volunteers
who have such an enormous impact for Christ in North America each year. To walk
with them and serve next to them has been one of the highlights of my service
at NAMB. These volunteers, from Southern Baptist churches throughout the United
States and Canada, are the heroes of disaster relief outreach and church
construction as well as the leaders of many Southern Baptist ministries that
take place in hospitals, prisons, college campuses, resort areas and many
But we need more. I thank God for every pastor and missionary we have, but,
alone, they cant come close to meeting the needs that exist in our society
today. Many of our efforts at NAMB are built around spurring more Southern
Baptists and their churches into action. Our Volunteer Mobilization Center
helped to mobilize 17,000 volunteers in 2001, and 42,000 volunteers are
projected for mobilization in 2002. Our Evangelism Response Center has
harnessed technology to facilitate hundreds of trained volunteers to counsel
inquirers who call 1-800-JESUS-2000 during media campaigns, strategic focus
cities emphases and other evangelistic events. Similar ministries via the
Internet allow volunteer counselors to share the life-changing knowledge of
Christ from the convenience of their own homes.
Through the ministry of World Changers more than 20,000 young people are
taking a week out of their summer vacations to rebuild substandard housing and
share Christ. In the summer of 2001 they saw 1,600 professions of faith.
This year is the 25th anniversary of Mission Service Corps. During these 25
years we have seen more than 6,400 MSC volunteer missionaries sacrificially
give their time to spread the gospel. Many serve full time and raise their own
support. Others have already finished their first careers and use their
retirement years serving through MSC. And of course there are thousands of
volunteers who impact their communities by serving through their local
The volunteer mindset at NAMB includes encouraging laypeople to share Christ
in the real world where they live. On
mission, NAMBs flagship magazine, equips Christians to be on mission in their daily traffic pattern of
life. Subscriptions have grown from zero in 1999 to 85,000 copies going to
individual subscribers and churches in 2001.
Evangelizing StudentsResearch shows that as people grow
older, their likelihood of accepting Christ as Savior diminishes greatly. In
fact, if a person does not come to a faith in Christ before or during the teen
years, it is statistically impropable that he or she will.
Those trends bring an added urgency to the importance of focusing specific
efforts on reaching students for Christ. Doing so is also a smart way to ensure
that the leaders of tomorrowin our churches, schools, government, media and
industrywill carry with them the knowledge of Christ and the biblical
principles by which He taught us to live.
NAMB has helped establish Campus Revolution to facilitate student-led and
student-sponsored prayer and evangelism clubs on every junior high and senior
high campus in America.
The effort was launched in the fall of 2000 and by 2001 had a presence in
more than 4,000 campuses seeing an excess of 5,000 students commit their lives
to Christ monthly. It has been our fastest growing student strategy in the
The Campus Missionary strategy helps local churches commission teens with
the specific task of reaching their peers at junior high and high school
Go!, NAMBs magazine for
students, encourages and equips readers to have an impact for their faith.
Growing from zero in 2000 to a circulation of 65,000, Go! helps students walk the talk and be
on mission on their campuses and
in their lifestyles.
Another way students are preparing for sharing their faith is through
Challengers, an on mission
accountability group for boys. There are 2,500 Challengers groups now training
for mission service.
The issues we face as we seek to take Christ to North America are
staggering. Our societys values, the stability of our families, the soul of our
nations, the future of our world, all hang in the balance.
Every church is needed to do its part in becoming a World Mission Center
based on Acts 1:8impacting its own Jerusalem, its Judea, its Samaria and the
far reaches of the world.
And time is of the essence. With the tensions of our world escalating, the
window of opportunity may be diminishing.
When it comes to obediently taking the message of Christ to our city, state,
continent and world. the questions become: If not us, who?
If not now, when?
Bob Reccord is president of the North American Mission Board,
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC