by Kevin Ezell
What an encouragement it was this summer to see thousands of Southern Baptists attend the Send North America Conference to learn more about how all of us can make an impact for Christ, no matter where He has placed us. A few hundred were pastors and church planters, but most were church members. These are the “everyday” missionaries who will make a huge difference for the gospel if large numbers of them start to actively share their faith.
I know every pastor wants to see more of his people step into action like this. First, because it is obedient to the Great Commission command for every Christian. But secondly, pastors know that until believers bring their faith alive by sharing it, they will not fully experience the abundant life that Jesus talked about in John 10:10.
Pastors are NAMB’s number one customer. Our strategies are church-centered and designed to point people back to the local church and make it stronger. We want to help every church and every individual take their next missional step.
Some are already active and outwardly focused. These are the churches that can consider becoming a sending church responsible for overseeing a church plant. Others can join with fellow churches as a supporting church and find ways to actively come along side young plants that need prayer, volunteers, encouragement and other tangible support.
But some churches are just beginning. For them, it might be easier to reach out across town and introduce their members to evangelism and outreach one step at a time. Our new Send Relief ministry will be a great fit for those churches. When it launches in June 2016, Send Relief will include several different types of compassion ministries that will allow believers to represent Christ as they meet physical and emotional needs.
Send Relief will include hunger and poverty ministry, orphan care and adoption, medical and dental projects, inner-city construction and support for military families and first responders. There will be others as well, but just in these few I have mentioned there are dozens and dozens of needs in every community that can be met by believers who are willing to give their time and be the hands and feet of Christ.
We want to make it easier for pastors as they encourage members to take new steps of faith and take Jesus outside the walls of the church. To help move them out of the pews and into action. This is not just an effort to get churches more involved with NAMB. There are some outstanding local, state and international ministries that have been developed by our partners and we will be holding up the best of those and pointing churches toward them.
To get started, visit namb.net and click Send Me. You will find many opportunities there for churches and individuals. We will add more as Send Relief launches.
Every church and every Christian can live life on mission. We are here to help pastors lead the way. Think of how our churches, our nation and our world will be transformed if we all embrace this call.
Kevin Ezell is president of the North American Mission Board.