NAMB presentation highlights bivocational pastors, chaplainscomment (0)
June 28, 2012
Last year at the 2011 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting in Phoenix, Matt Mowrey took the stage as a testimony to God’s work in Norwich, Conn., through North American Mission Board (NAMB) missionary Shaun Pillay.
This year Southern Baptists saw a video of Mowrey’s dad who, shortly after watching last year’s presentation, became one of Norwich’s newest believers. Recently, Mowrey’s grandmother also accepted Christ.
During this year’s NAMB report and presentation, NAMB President Kevin Ezell highlighted the importance of ongoing and sustainable efforts, like those in Norwich, in penetrating lostness in North America. “We’re not planting churches that will make a difference for a week or a month or a year,” Ezell told messengers. “We’re planting churches that will continue to reach people year after year after year.”
To highlight the need for more churches in North America, Ezell offered a historical glimpse into the SBC’s nearly two centuries. “When we started back in 1845, we started churches at a great pace. By 1900 there was one church for every 3,800 people,” Ezell said. “Today there are two different North Americas — one very well churched and one that’s not.”
Some Southern states have one SBC congregation for every 1,400 people, but in Canada there is one church for every 117,000 people, he said. With a goal of seeing a net gain of 5,000 additional SBC congregations by 2022 and with losing an average of 890 churches annually, at least 13,500 new churches will be needed in the next 10 years.
Another focus is bivocational pastors. Ezell said they are the Iron Men of the SBC. NAMB will provide educational and resourcing opportunities for them and encourage would-be pastors to pursue a profession as they pursue ministry.
In the most moving and dramatic portion of the presentation, SBC messengers viewed the story of Army Chaplain (Capt.) Jared Vineyard. Prior to becoming a chaplain, Vineyard’s unit was attacked by a suicide bomber while on a tour of duty in Iraq in 2004. Eight members of his unit were killed. The rest — including Vineyard — were injured. The experience ultimately led Vineyard toward chaplaincy service. At the close of the video, Doug Carver, a retired two-star Army major general and executive director of NAMB’s chaplaincy team, introduced Vineyard and his wife, Amanda, to SBC messengers who welcomed him with a sustained standing ovation.