Asking NAMB to Disclose Church Planting Partners

Dr. Rick Patrick | Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church of Sylacauga, AL

Dear NAMB Trustees,

As the pastor of a Southern Baptist Church happy to partner with NAMB in the planting of new Southern Baptist churches, let me thank you for all that you are doing for His Kingdom. I assure you the request I am making in this correspondence stems from a profound sense of gospel stewardship and an unwavering belief that those churches who participate through the North American Mission Board in planting new churches deserve to receive a complete disclosure of any and all information deemed helpful in understanding our mutual work.

Specifically, I am writing to request a clear and transparent report regarding the identity of every single cosponsoring church or organization with whom we are partnering in our church planting efforts at NAMB. In one form or another, this request has been made on the floor of the Southern Baptist Convention at least a few times. The typical answer, which is frankly unsatisfactory and non-responsive to the specific question, is that “NAMB plants Southern Baptist Churches who affirm the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and give through the Cooperative Program.” Well, of course we do. So much is given. We expect nothing less. I am asking for something more.

My question concerns the nature and extent of the gospel partnerships in which we may be engaging. It is no secret that organizations like Acts 29 and PLNTD, among others, have organized networks of churches practicing a form of theological discrimination in their church planting. Specifically, they will only plant Calvinistic churches.

As we Southern Baptists who are soteriologically inclusive join forces with groups who are soteriologically exclusive, I grow concerned that our partnership is intrinsically out of balance in favor of organizations that frankly would disqualify me as a church planting pastor simply due to my theology—even though I am well within the boundaries of the BFM2K and even though my church gives faithfully through the Cooperative Program.

Suppose NAMB is facilitating and equipping 500 new church plants in 2014. A simple report format, with information provided by each church plant to NAMB as a requirement for support, might look something like this:

1. The Fellowship at Parkertown: NAMB, Union Baptist Association, FBC Parkertown.
2. Grace Church: NAMB, Melody Baptist Association, FBC Wilsonville, Acts 29.
3. FBC Tinytown: NAMB, Harper Baptist Association, Big City Baptist Church.

I realize this information may not be readily available, which is partly the point—I believe it should be. Southern Baptist Churches who support NAMB financially deserve to receive information when it is requested of them. My hope and prayer is that you will honor this request and disclose such matters that I, along with many others, deem to be relevant and appropriate as we consider our mutual work in the gospel.