Category Archives for Evangelism

The New NAMB: Part 5 Is It Working? Financial Stewardship

April 27, 2017
Dr. Will McRaney
Founder, The Church
Strengthening Network

Southern Baptists invest and entrust $375 million annually to national and international causes, both through Cooperative Program channels and directly through our two primary mission offerings, the Lottie Moon Offering for international missions and the Annie Armstrong Offering for North American missions. Since NAMB leaders alone steward over $400 million in assets and a $120 million annual budget, the office of the President of NAMB carries enormous trust and should possess the utmost integrity.

It stands to reason that an examination of the stewarding of the staggering financial resources entrusted to NAMB would not only be acceptable, but would be welcomed. Most assuredly, the generous gifts are resourcing missionaries and helping to advance the gospel. Yet, a closer look is merited just as in a family budget, as a matter of accountability to determine if the resources are helping to accomplish the objectives and values of Southern Baptist givers. These givers, many of them on a fixed income in our 30,000 bedrock churches of 200 or less, have every expectation that those in charge of setting direction and providing oversight are using their resources wisely. These same bedrock churches give 41% of all CP dollars.

I am not suggesting personal or corporate misuse of resources for personal financial gain. However, the facts reveal that SBC resources have been parlayed and misused to secure favors for Dr. Ezell and organizational compliance or silence for NAMB. The facts reveal that Dr. Ezell used SBC entrusted financial resources to threaten a state convention staff, mission and their Executive Director. The facts reveal that NAMB has reprioritized funds to church planting at the expense of national and state evangelism staff while baptisms are declining at alarming rates.

This essay is the fifth part of a series entitled The New NAMB—Is It Working? Throughout this series, we are exposing the questions being asked by NAMB as weaker questions than the better questions we are asking. Today’s “better question” is this one: Have the financial and human resources entrusted to NAMB been wisely and appropriately stewarded?

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The New NAMB: Part 4 Is It Working? Essential Partnership Humpty Dumpty

April 25, 2017
Dr. Will McRaney
Founder, The Church
Strengthening Network

For decades, the Southern Baptist ecosystem of missions support has been the envy of other networks and denominations. However, it is in danger of crumbling down like the walls of Jericho. Sounds rumbling from the earth indicate this crumbling has already begun. The nationalization of our missions efforts with inappropriate tactics has violated and damaged trust, goodwill, and cooperation. We are dismantling the essential fibers of our SBC missions efforts. Like Humpty Dumpty, they will be hard to put back together again.

Current Southern Baptists inherited walls we did not build with our hands, but we have stewarded what was entrusted to us. Our walls were built by previous generations of faithful mission givers. While we inherited great resources, like kings of old, we cannot trust alone in the strength of our walls to remain, but must connect to God and walk humbly before the Creator and Sustainer of all. We must also as one body be rightly connected to our differing parts: local, state and national. As we face increasing hardships, our cooperation at all three levels is essential if we are going to strengthen our witness. A cord of three strands is stronger than a cord of only one strand. 

This essay is the fourth part of a series entitled The New NAMB—Is It Working? Throughout this series, we are exposing the questions being asked by NAMB as weaker questions than the better questions we are asking. Today’s “better question” is this one: Under the New NAMB, have essential partnerships and the spirit of cooperation been enhanced or damaged? 

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The New NAMB: Part 3 Is It Working? Our Church Planting Emphasis

April 22, 2017
Dr. Will McRaney
Founder, The Church
Strengthening Network

When it comes to Southern Baptist church planting, strategic matters cannot be addressed in soundbites or 140-character Tweets. One must first gain a wider and deeper understanding of the issues. I began my exploration in a PhD seminar on the History of SBC Evangelism in 1989 at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. I had the privilege of reviewing the dusty SBC Annuals and tracing SBC church planting from its earliest roots to determine its impact upon evangelism.

In 2010, Southern Baptists went “all-in” with church planting as our sole evangelism focus. This approach radically impacted NAMB, State Conventions, Associations, and practically everything and everyone engaged in SBC evangelism. 

This essay is the third part of a series entitled The New NAMB—Is It Working? Throughout this series, we are exposing the questions being asked by NAMB as weaker questions than the better questions we are asking. Today’s “better question” is this one: What are the numbers and types of church plants and what are the evangelistic results of these plants?

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