NAMB hosts state execs' strategy session

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)--Executive directors from 37 state Baptist conventions discussed strategy and direction as well as plans for the upcoming "God's Plan for Sharing" (GPS) evangelism initiative, Sept. 17-18 at the North American Mission Board in Alpharetta, Ga.

NAMB's acting interim president, Richard Harris, told the state leaders "our goal is to be a good partner" as he pledged cooperation with the states' evangelistic efforts.

"Cooperation is more than dollars," Harris said. "It's collaborative strategy development. It's training and implementation."

Harris outlined three essentials for a healthy organization -- communication, coordination and cooperation -- and pledged NAMB's commitment to each.

"Most of you have probably been part of a church over the years that had times when it hit bumps in the road," he said. "But when you did, you didn't close your doors -- you moved forward and kept ministering.

"NAMB has hit some bumps in the road but we are not closing our doors," Harris said. "We are moving forward with the mission we've been given to help you and our churches reach North America for Christ."

With GPS as NAMB's lead emphasis in 2010, Harris told the state executives that funding will be finalized by NAMB's board of trustees in October. Following 2010 funding approval, Harris said NAMB's leadership is working on funding plan outlines for 2011-2015 and then a plan for funding that will take GPS through 2020, its final year.

State leaders struck a positive note about GPS and their partnership with NAMB.

Bill Mackey, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, said Kentucky Baptists are fully behind the evangelism initiative. "Our staff is more unified and energized than at maybe any time in my 12-year tenure," Mackey said.

"We've had over 1 million orders for bags for door-to-door distribution of materials already. We expect to have 1.3 million ordered," Mackey said of Kentucky Baptists plan to reach each of the state's homes during their "Find it Here" evangelistic initiative next spring.

Rick Lance, executive director for the Alabama State Board of Missions, said he sees "a greater affirmation of our partnership with NAMB than ever before."

"We already have the great majority of our 75 associations committed to GPS," Lance said. "In 2010, 'Across Alabama' [Alabama's version of GPS] will be the focus of our entire state convention."

In addition to church-led prayerwalking and door-to-door evangelism efforts in local communities, NAMB will be funding $1.2 million in television and other media buys in 2010. Many state conventions will add their own dollars to push the media outreach even further.

Also at the meeting, state executives discussed strategies for reaching younger generations with the Gospel and keeping them involved in church, while NAMB senior strategist Harry Lewis introduced NAMB's new cities initiative.

NAMB also recognized the ministry of Rex "Peck" Lindsay, who is retiring after nearly 40 years with the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists -- 32 as executive director.

"Peck and his wife Sue have dedicated their lives to serving Southern Baptists in Kansas and Nebraska," Harris said.

"Thank you for being who you are," he told the Lindsays. "You have provided a legacy of devoted service and commitment that has shaped the lives of Southern Baptists in Kansas and Nebraska and throughout our convention in the years to come."

Lindsay thanked Harris and his fellow state executives. "There were many challenges when I first took this role," Lindsay said. "The Home Mission Board [NAMB's predecessor] was there to help us each step of the way."


Mike Ebert is the North American Mission Board's communications team leader.

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