By Kevin Ezell
I love visiting with pastors and local churches. But often when I do a pastor will tell me, “Let me know if there is anything we can do for NAMB.” I appreciate the spirit behind that offer, but it is exactly opposite of how I view NAMB. The way I see it, NAMB exists to serve churches and to assist churches in their ministry.
Jesus built His church and left it with the charge of taking the Gospel to the entire world. So that means the best church planting entity is the local church. The best missionary sending entity is the local church. The best entity to proclaim Christ to the surrounding world is the local church.
With that in mind, here is the church-centric approach we have created for our primary areas of focus:
- Church planting — Send North America depends on local churches taking hands-on involvement in church planting. We have created the infrastructure to help churches that are already planting increase their capacity and plant in more places. We also want to help them find ways to help other churches get started in church planting. We have developed standards, tools and a process to help churches assess and evaluate church planters. We want more churches to oversee church planters—not a national entity hundreds or thousands of miles away with thousands of other missionaries.
- Developing tomorrow’s missionaries — The missionaries and pastors of the future are sitting in your worship centers and student ministries today. Our Farm System gives them the opportunity to serve as student missionaries, church planting interns or church planter apprentices. In each of these roles, we want these missionaries to get the best ministry experience they can and most often that means serving in the local church. We are always looking for strong churches where Farm System missionaries can serve and train on the front lines of ministry.
- Evangelism ministries — We operate on the premise that all evangelism efforts should be connected back to the local church. Sometimes that might be a church plant. Often times it will be an established church. Evangelism that exists independent of the local church has a big potential to leave new believers without fellowship or discipleship. That’s why we have worked hard to re-shape our evangelism ministries so they stay tightly woven into what local churches are doing.
In addition to these core functions, we have started other ministries solely to serve the local church: Pastor for Pastors provides resources and encouragement to help pastors grow stronger in their faith, their marriages and their ministries; Church Growth and Revitalization works with our partners to strengthen established churches and re-launch those on the verge of closing; Flourish gives ministers wives encouragement and practical help as they serve family and church.
If we aren’t already partnering to help your church reach North America, I hope you will give us the opportunity.
Visit http://www.namb.net/mobilize-me and click on your area of interest.
Dr. Kevin Ezell serves as the President of the North American Mission Board, providing strategic vision, direction, and leadership as NAMB works to reach North America through evangelism and church planting.