The North America Mission Board helps pastors and churches more effectively engage the mission field in the United States, Canada and beyond.
Since 2011 we have seen an increasing number of churches and individuals become more directly involved in church planting and other missions efforts through our Send North America strategy. This effort revolves around the priority of planting new evangelistic churches —especially in the unreached and underserved areas such as large cities and regions outside the South.
In the last 100 years Southern Baptists—and evangelicals in general—have lost significant ground in the church-to-population ratio. This is true especially in regions outside the South in North America and in and around large cities where more than 81 percent of the population lives.
To help Southern Baptists close this gap, NAMB has identified 32 “Send Cities" that are receiving intense church planting efforts. These cities have vast influence in their regions and beyond. By reaching them, we will also reach outlying regions and many ethnic groups.
Our Send City Missionary in each Send city is there to recruit church planters and help local Southern Baptists develop a plan for reaching the city. He also assists churches and individuals from outside the city who want to partner in efforts to reach the city. Each city missionary can be reached by emailing [name of the city]@namb.net—i.e. Denver@namb.net
Beyond our cities, Church Planting Catalysts (CPC) are responsible for catalyzing the planting of churches throughout North America. Each is to help bring about the planting of four churches annually. Our goal is to one day have a CPC in place for every 1 million people in a state or province (states with less than 1 million population still get at least one CPC).
In an average year 1,000 churches disappear from the SBC database. Many of those churches are closing their doors forever. Because of this, we have also prioritized our church revitalization efforts in order to help existing churches become healthier. Our legacy church planting initiative is launching new churches from buildings that once housed SBC churches that have died, bringing new spiritual life and keeping property in the SBC family.
Our missionary “Farm System” is working to discover, develop and deploy tomorrow’s missionary force. We must have more missionaries if we are to start new churches at the needed pace of 15,000 every 10 years .
In 2014 we sent more than $41 million to state conventions to fund missionaries and support evangelistic church planting, evangelism and church revitalization ministries in their states.
It is a privilege to serve Southern Baptists as we push back lostness. Our prayer is that more churches and individuals will respond to this call. There are encouraging signs of progress within this report, but we must maintain urgency in our efforts to share Christ with those who need Him.
Establishment of New Congregations
Ministry Statement: Assisting churches in planting healthy, multiplying, evangelistic Southern Baptist churches in the United States and Canada.
In 2014, partners reported 985 church plants, identified as such by the assigning of an SBC ID number for the church during the reporting year. Of the 985 plants reported, 579 (about 59%) are reported as non-Anglo. Church to population in 2013 was one SBC congregation for every 6,282 people. In Canada the ratio was one Canadian National Baptist Convention (CNBC) congregation for every 112,115 people. NAMB is working with its partners to see 15,000 churches added to the SBC during the period 2012-2022.
Beginning in 2010 we started tracking SBC church plants more closely and started collecting more data. Each year, we track these churches to see how they are progressing. In 2010, Southern Baptist churches planted a total of 943 new churches. Each of those churches have an SBC ID number which allows us to track them year to year as they report through the Annual Church Profile (ACP). Here are some key indicators from the 2013 ACP, the last full year of reporting that is available, for our Class of 2010 churches.
Survival rate: Of the 943 churches Southern Baptists planted in 2010, 80 percent—757—are still in the SBC database.
Membership: Those 2010 church plants that reported via ACP saw a membership gain of 7 percent in 2013 over 2012. This is while membership across all SBC churches declined .86 percent.
Attendance: Worship attendance is also growing among church plants. There was a 17 percent increase in 2012 compared to 2011. At the same time, across all SBC churches, worship attendance fell 2 percent.
Baptisms: Planting evangelistic churches is the best way to reach people for Christ. The Class of 2010 reported 3,392 baptisms. Among all SBC churches there is a ratio of one baptism for every 51 members. For the class of 2010 it’s 1:13.
Giving: The Class of 2010 continues to increase its giving—including to the Cooperative Program, Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong—each year. Total missions giving for those churches that reported was $3.3 million.
There are more than 3,900 churches involved in our Send North America strategy as active partners and 1,880 are connected with a ministry location or church planter.
The NAMB Missionary Farm System is designed to help Southern Baptists discover, develop and deploy the next generation of church planting missionaries. In 2014 the Farm System included the following: Students — 1,726; Church Planter Interns — 272; Church Planter Apprentices — 105.
NAMB continues to work with convention, associations, and churches to deploy church planters, including streamlining the assessment process to get planters on the field more quickly. Through NAMB’s MyMobilizeMe process, churches, associations, and state conventions are able to easily provide a missionary request and NAMB works to match prospective candidates with the request.
NAMB continues to emphasize church revitalization. We partnered with state Baptist conventions in 2014 to conduct several church revitalizations conferences with total attendance of more than 4,000 and more events scheduled for 2015. Our Legacy Church Planting initiative is also designed to start new congregations at locations where former churches have died.
Ministry Statement: Assisting churches in the ministries of evangelism and making disciples.
NAMB presented a new tool for Southern Baptist churches called 3 Circles: Life Conversation Guide. This tool is designed to assist pastors in training their congregations in personal evangelism by beginning gospel conversations. Since its debut at the 2014 Southern Baptist Convention, 1 million print copies were ordered by Southern Baptist pastors and have been approximately 28,000 downloads of the app to mobile devices. NAMB has received consistent positive feedback from pastors, congregations, and other individuals using this resource in tremendous ways to share the gospel across North America. In cooperation with LifeWay in November 2014, NAMB introduced a Life on Mission five-week Bible study for pastors to train small groups to practically and intentionally share the gospel. On January 1, 2015 NAMB will introduce the Spanish translation of 3 Circles (3 Circulos: Guia Para Conversar Sobre La Vida ) available free to pastors for six months.
NAMB assisted churches to discover, develop and deploy their members in a local mission engagement strategy called LoveLoud. NAMB accomplished this effort through several methods: NAMB created and began populating a LoveLoud Best Practices Directory, began taking churches through an online cohort learning opportunity, established 3 LoveLoud Training Centers, consulted with local churches to assess their specific contexts to help them develop a strategy to engage in those opportunities, and led multiple conferences and workshops concerning local mission engagement.
NAMB challenged Southern Baptists pastors and local churches to take part in the Engage24 evangelism initiative, a field-generated strategy that emerged from SBC collegiate ministries. Based on the strategy, individuals form Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCMs), three SBC seminaries and local churches from around North America set aside October 14, 2014 to share the gospel individually with at least one person in their sphere of influence.
NAMB collaborated with multiplying collegiate ministers nationally to create the College Collective website (www.collegiatecollective.com ) designed to resource and equip college leaders in evangelism, disciple making and church planting. Content on the site (including blogs, resources, podcasts and videos) comes from collegiate church and ministry practitioners from across North America who are effectively reaching students and mobilizing them for ministry and church planting.
Our Evangelism Group launched a two-year GPS: God’s Plan for Sharing campaign, “Serving Across North America.” NAMB assisted Baptist partners as they connected churches to this ministry evangelism emphasis by providing networks and resources churches utilized to reach their communities for Christ.
Our Evangelism Group also convened the Pastors’ Task Force on Evangelistic Impact and Declining Baptisms to study the issue of declining baptism rates in the SBC. The task force made several recommendations in its final report.
Appointment and Support of Missionaries
Ministry Assignment: Assisting churches by appointing, supporting and assuring accountability for missionaries serving in the United States and Canada.
NAMB supports 5,611 missionaries in multiple categories. More than 3,600 Southern Baptist chaplains serve in the U.S. military, in state and federal prisons, hospice, hospitals, disaster relief, volunteers and many other settings around the world. NAMB endorses chaplains on behalf of Southern Baptists and helps train and encourages them as they share Christ every day, and have the opportunity to disciple
those that already know Him.
Our missionary assessment process has been improved in order to provide a more holistic approach to assessing a missionary candidate. This results in placement of missionaries who are better matched for their ministry assignment. In the field, church planters are supervised by Church Planting Catalysts who hold planters accountable to goals and standards and provide any needed assistance.
Our Farm System provides training and job-related experience to student missionaries, church planting interns and church planting apprentices. This process results in church planters who are more experienced, better trained and ready for the real-life challenges that come with church planting.
In order to better train and educate missionaries, we are developing a more comprehensive orientation process for missionaries that will begin in late 2015.
As NAMB works with its partners to push back lostness in North America, a key element to accomplish that task must be that we have the right personnel in the right positions and places. NAMB’s missionaries and chaplains are excellent examples of people committed to being obedient to Christ in all things so that more will come to know Him. While strategically deployed, our missionaries are also highly accountable, giving Southern Baptists confidence that they are good stewards of the all resources provided to them in their work.
The list below shows the approved categories of missionaries.
- Church Planter
- Church Planter Apprentice
- Church Planting Intern
- Church Planting Team Member
- Church Planting Catalyst
- Student Missionary
- Evangelism Catalyst
- Collegiate—University Missionary
- Convention Director of Evangelism (non-South conventions only)
- Convention Director of Missions or Convention Church Planting Director (non-South conventions only)
- Convention/Local LoveLoud Missionary (non-South conventions only)
- Mission Support Specialist
- Send City Missionary
Methods of Funding Missionaries
- Some missionaries are fully funded through and by NAMB, meaning 100 percent the missionary’s approved funding (whatever that may be based on their category) is from NAMB. These personnel may be national or regional missionaries, student missionaries, apprentices, interns, or even state convention missionaries who are fully funded for the state convention by NAMB.
- Some missionaries are jointly funded through and by both NAMB and state convention partners. The ratio of funding varies per state convention and is outlined in an agreement between NAMB and the state convention. Many church plants/planters are jointly funded through money set aside as Church Planting Funds (CPF) in the cooperative budget with each convention. The amount of funding each church planting missionary receives is ratio-based. The amount varies depending on the strategy of a convention, age of the plant, the trajectory of the plant, the plant’s location, and the amount of other funding sources available to the plant (sponsoring church, association, state convention, etc.).
- Some missionaries are self-funded (also known as Mission Service Corps [MSC]-funded). Although these missionaries raise their own funding, they are approved/appointed and are held accountable through and by NAMB.
- Some SBC church planters are not part of the above funding models but are in NAMB’s Church Planter Support Network. NAMB provides various kinds of support through this network. In the past that has included a $1,000 contribution to the planter’s Guidestone retirement account; a $1,000 technology allowance for the purchase of a computer or other hardware; LOGOS Bible software; gift cards for planter or spouse for Birthdays, Christmas and special occasions such as Valentine’s Day; books; fellowship time with family and fellow church planters located in their city.
Missions and Missions Education
Ministry Assignment: Assisting churches by providing missions education and coordinating volunteer missions opportunities for church members.
NAMB is actively working with more than 3,900 SBC churches to connect with missions opportunities in North America. This includes the launch of a comprehensive suite of evangelism/discipleship tools including the Life On Mission book and Bible study and the 3 Circles: life Conversation Guide
Additionally NAMB is conducting Send North America Experience Tour stops that will reach approximately 40,000 people educating them on mission strategy.
NAMB provides missionary mobilizers on all six SBC seminary campuses and on Baptist college campuses, at LifeWay camps and works in cooperation with the International Mission Board, LifeWay, the Woman’s Missionary Union and other Baptist entities to provide mission education support.
A Web-based volunteer missions opportunities system has been designed for church planters, churches, associations, state conventions and other partners to post volunteer needs and partnership opportunities. This system allows volunteers to search for opportunities using an interactive map of North America and respond directly to those making the requests. It also provides automated email reminders during the preparation period and coordination and communication tools for the team leaders.
Crossover: 2014 involved 36 Baltimore-area Baptist churches that joined arms with nearly 2,000 volunteers from 18 states and Canada to serve the Baltimore community and share Christ with its residents during Crossover. The event preceded the beginning of the 2014 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting taking place June 10-11 in the city. This Crossover involved a record number of seminary students—from the SBC seminaries—in evangelism training and engagement throughout Baltimore. Captivate Christian Church, a Southern Baptist church plant, hosted Community Day in Patterson Park drawing some 8,000 neighbors and netting 1,700 new perspective families for the church.
The Evangelism Response Center (ERC) enlisted Covenant Churches, trained Telephone and Internet Encouragers and equipped Regional Facilitators who helped ERC to recruit and train the necessary volunteers to receive over 24,000 calls in 2014. The ERC supports and partners with all NAMB ministries including GPS, Send North America new church planters, Disaster Relief and LoveLoud, as well as Broadman & Holman Publishing, SBC, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, SBC media ministries, six SBC seminaries, 42 state conventions and hundreds of local SBC churches.
We work closely with and resource Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) in their mission education efforts and in 2014 we produced the “Send North America Activity Book” for children which educates them about the need for more churches and missionaries in North America and how Southern Baptist missions work.
In September we released Life On Mission a book designed to help every Christian live in a more missional way. We produced a Life On Mission Bible study with Lifeway Christian Resources that can be used in Sunday school and in other small group settings.
Ministry Statement: Assisting churches by providing leadership development.
In 2014 NAMB launched the sendnetwork.com resource site for church planters and pastors. This site includes blog posts, book downloads, videos and other resources designed to educate and train pastors and church planters.
NAMB continues to provide scholarships for bi-vocational pastors who need assistance with seminary education.
NAMB continues to partner with and provide funding for Timothy Barnabus ministries, a pastor mentorship ministry of Johnny Hunt. Our funding helps make this resource available to pastors and their wives who would otherwise not be able to afford it. Our funding also allows Timothy Barnabus events to take place in areas throughout North America that otherwise would not be possible.
NAMB established Pastor Roundtable events to provide pastoral leadership development.
Our Flourish.me web site provides resources, encouragement and inspiration for ministry wives.
We are funding and partnering with Focus on the Family to provide a resource line for SBC pastors in crisis. The number is 1-844-PASTOR1.
Ministry Statement: Assisting churches in relief ministries to victims of disaster and other people in need.
During 2014 NAMB’s Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Team worked in partnership with 42 state conventions and multiple associations to meet the needs of disaster survivors in 43 different states; worked with both Texas convention partners to minister to the needs of unaccompanied minors crossing the US/Mexico border; worked with state convention partners to minister to families affected by school shootings in four different states and continued to provide leadership to long-term recovery/rebuilding projects such as Superstorm Sandy Rebuild.
NAMB’s LoveLoud ministry is connecting networks of churches that are seeking to meet significant human need while sharing Christ. Particularly, LoveLoud assisted churches in engaging with several categories of meeting significant human need: Individuals suffering from mental health challenges, refugees, prisoner reentry efforts as well as the families of incarcerated individuals, mentoring neglected children and food distribution. For example, through our Global Hunger Relief efforts, NAMB partnered with Migrant Ministries—Feeding Those Who Feed Us in California to feed more than 60,000 meals to migrants, and had over 900 professions of faith.
NAMB continues to facilitate partnerships with the Mississippi River Ministry and the Appalachian Regional Ministry. Hundreds of volunteers are involved, through these partnerships in meeting significant human need throughout the year. For example, 23,808 Christmas Backpacks were collected through LoveLoud partnerships with churches in the South Region and delivered to churches and ministry sites across Appalachia.
The 2014 Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Activity Report follows: