By Kevin Ezell
Recently I wrote about NAMB’s church-centric approach to church planting, evangelism and raising up the next generation of missionaries and leaders. In short—NAMB exists to serve churches, not the other way around. That’s why Jesus established the Church and what He empowered it to do—go into all the world and make disciples.
The local church does not need to be empowered by a denomination or a missions entity—it’s already empowered by someone much more authoritative and important—Jesus.
One of the great strengths of Southern Baptists is our cooperation in missions efforts. Our joining of arms in mission endeavors has allowed us to deploy one of the largest missionary forces in the world today. But that strength can become a weakness if our churches delegate all of the front-line missions and evangelism efforts to national or state entities while they simply send offering dollars.
Every church must stay engaged on the frontlines of ministry first because it is a command from Jesus, but secondly because it is the only way we have a chance of reaching North America—and ultimately the world—for Christ.
We will not reach North America for Christ if Southern Baptists only work through NAMB-coordinated church planting and evangelism efforts. It is not and never will be enough.
Instead, we need each church in obedience to God and led by the Holy Spirit to embrace its role in the Great Commission task we’ve been given. Every church needs to play a hands-on role in reaching its surrounding community. Every church needs to somehow support and engage in the church planting process. We want to support you and hear about your efforts, but you certainly don’t need our permission.
Prayer, planning and a deliberate approach are needed, but most of us need a lot more action and a lot less deliberation when it comes to taking Christ to the world around us. We should be wise, but let’s stop wasting time.
Right now Southern Baptists are blessed with thousands of church planters who are leaving behind the familiar and starting new ministries in cities that desperately a Gospel presence. Hundreds of them don’t even have a sending church. If we really have 45,000 SBC churches then it is shameful that any of our church planters would have to go it alone, without a sending church. Every church can do something—pray, send a mission team, write encouraging notes, provide financial or other support.
We need 15,000 new churches by 2020 if we are to stop losing ground and start catching up with North America’s population growth. But we won’t see that kind of activity unless we understand and start to act upon the fact that every SBC church is empowered to fulfill the Great Commission and it is also entrusted to do so.
To get started, please visit us at https://www.namb.net/mobilize-me1/
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.