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IMB, NAMB setting strategies for U.S., Canadacomment (0)

July 14, 2011

Recently planted seeds of a new partnership between Southern Baptists’ two mission boards are already beginning to sprout.

Previously, the International Mission Board (IMB) and North American Mission Board (NAMB) carefully observed the geographical separation between their two ministry assignments.

But national borders no longer define the task of missions in a globalized world marked by the rapid migrations of people groups in need of the gospel.

Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting in Phoenix gave final approval to ministry assignment changes for both boards emerging from “Great Commission Resurgence” recommendations adopted at the 2010 SBC annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. One of the assignment changes directs the IMB to “provide specialized, defined and agreed upon assistance to the North American Mission Board in assisting churches to reach unreached and underserved people groups within the United States and Canada.”

NAMB and IMB mobilization leaders met while in Phoenix to discuss some of the directions that cooperation will take in the days ahead. Plans coming into focus include:

• joint ethnographic mapping of the top 100 North American cities.

• creation of a unified information database to help identify unengaged, unreached people groups in North America and provide resources to reach them.

• multiple training opportunities to help churches and individuals plant churches among unreached groups.

“We’re recognizing the diaspora of peoples and the globalization of the world, and we’re seeking the unreached and least-reached peoples wherever they are on the globe, including North America,” said Ken Winter, IMB vice president for church and partner services.

“What the convention in Orlando recommended, the convention in Phoenix has now approved — and we’re moving forward with it.

“We’re beyond the ‘Can we do this?’ stage. Now we’re identifying the strategies to assist the churches,” Winter said.

The urban face of North America in particular is changing as the world rushes toward the United States and Canada.

According to current mission research, 584 unengaged, unreached people groups can be found in North America, many of which live in urban areas.

These groups have less than 2 percent evangelical Christians among them, and no evangelical church or group has a viable plan to present the gospel to them in ways they can understand and respond to it.  (BP)

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