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Trustees affirm NAMB's 'crucial' role as agency


JACKSON, Miss. (BP) — Trustees of the North American Mission Board unanimously approved a resolution describing the entity as “crucial to the weaving together of Southern Baptist partners to fulfill the Great Commission.” Trustees took the action during their regularly scheduled May 19-20 meeting in Jackson, Miss.

Carol Pipes/NAMB

Chaplain (Capt.) Kent Coffey, right, serves as battalion chaplain for the Division Special Troops Battalion, 1 Calvary Division from Fort Hood, Texas, serving at Camp Liberty in Baghdad, Iraq. NAMB has 3,048 chaplains serving around the world. While they are endorsed by the agency, they are not commissioned as funded missionaries. Chaplains’ salaries are provided by the entities which hire them as employees.

The trustees said they believe “that the North American Mission Board is an efficient and effective Southern Baptist entity that takes seriously the good stewardship of the Cooperative Program and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering dollars entrusted to us by Southern Baptists.”

The statement of affirmation came three weeks after board chairman Tim Patterson, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., was quoted in the Florida Baptist Witness as supporting a “singular world missions agency” for Southern Baptists. Before the trustees’ May 20 sessions, Patterson said he did not intend to speak on the board’s behalf and he apologized for the way the information was shared.

Confirming his full support for the resolution, Patterson introduced NAMB’s president, Geoff Hammond, stating: “I affirm the leadership of Dr. Hammond who for the past two years has led NAMB with a steady, efficient, and effective hand. He has consistently sounded the clarion call that North America is a mission field. And he has done all this with a Christ-like attitude that I have had the privilege to witness firsthand.”

The meeting took place as the denomination-wide conversation about SBC President Johnny Hunt’s Great Commission Resurgence declaration continued to unfold. Hammond, in his president’s address to the trustees, called for a North American Great Commission Task Force. Hammond told trustees the task force would seriously study the actions and activities that will impact this continent for Christ in more effective ways.

In addition to adopting the resolution of support, trustees unanimously re-elected Patterson for a second year as board chairman, as well as Tim Dowdy, pastor of Eagles Landing Baptist Church in McDonough, as first vice chairman, and Mike Palmer, pastor of Salmon Valley Baptist Church in Salmon, Idaho, as second vice chairman.

Carlos Ferrer, NAMB’s chief financial officer, reported that Cooperative Program dollars received by the entity are down 3.7 percent compared to budget. In light of the difficult financial times many Southern Baptists are experiencing, “that is a big ‘Praise the Lord,’” Ferrer said. NAMB is continuing to hold to a 10 percent reduction in spending enacted by Hammond at the beginning of the year.

Also during the meeting:

· Trustees heard that NAMB’s number of endorsed chaplains now totals 3,078. In the first quarter of 2009, Southern Baptist chaplains reported 8,615 gospel presentations and 1,972 professions of faith.

· The evangelization subcommittee reported that 315,000 households were touched with the gospel during the recent GPS (God’s Plan for Sharing) pilots that took place in Philadelphia, Stone Mountain, Lubbock, Texas, and Riverside, Calif. “Can you imagine what is going to happen when GPS launches continent-wide in 2010?” Stan Gilcash, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Watertown, N.Y., and chairman of the evangelization committee, asked trustees.

· The trustees’ financial services committee reported that NAMB’s outside auditors gave the entity high marks in its annual audit.