Category Archives for SBC Issues

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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The New NAMB: Part 2 Is It Working? Analyzing our Baptism Results

April 19, 2017
Dr. Will McRaney
Founder, The Church
Strengthening Network

At the 2016 SBC Annual Meeting, when Dr. Kevin Ezell presented a report from the North American Mission Board entitled It’s Working, he was referring to the implementation of NAMB’s new strategy over the past six years. However, his version of the storyline does not match the facts.

Is It Working? The answer to this question is a resounding “no” in light of the evangelistic results actually reported by SBC churches and church plants. While this is certainly not the kind of news anyone wishes to hear, the data nevertheless supports such a conclusion, which may explain why certain facts were either missing or misused in Dr. Ezell’s report. Baptisms per church have declined 18.7% during Ezell’s six-year tenure.

This essay is the second part of a series entitled The New NAMB—Is It Working? In the first part, the questions asked and answered by Dr. Ezell in his report were exposed as weaker questions than the better questions we are asking and answering in this series. Today’s “better question” is this one: How are Southern Baptists doing in evangelism as seen in baptism reports and in correlating comparisons under the New NAMB?

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