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'Send North America' is NAMB's message

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)--The North American Mission Board's overarching strategic initiative, "Send North America," will be the heart of its message during the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix.

NAMB will commission about 20 missionaries, including church planters and chaplains, during the Tuesday session of the annual meeting following its report to messengers.

Kevin Ezell, the mission board's president, will explain his Send North America vision during a Pastors' Conference luncheon at noon June 13 in Room 120 C/D of the Phoenix Convention Center. The luncheon for pastors, church staff and other leaders also will feature Ed Stetzer of LifeWay Christian Resources and worship leader Chris Mills. Seating is limited, and tickets are available at for $7 each.

With its Send North America church planting strategy, Ezell has said NAMB intends to change the conversation on church planting throughout the Southern Baptist Convention.

"We plan to use this year's annual meeting to send a message to SBC pastors and messengers that our overarching focus is on church planting," Ezell said.

Ezell also will speak at the annual SBC Chaplains' Luncheon slated for June 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Room 124 of the convention center. Reservations are required.

"It will be an honor for me to speak to chaplains representing the military, prisons, hospitals, companies and public safety," Ezell said. "These chaplains, all endorsed by the North American Mission Board, are special people who minister in some of the most dangerous and difficult situations in the world."


This year's chaplains' luncheon will recognize Maj. Gen. Douglas Carver, who is retiring this year as U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains. Based at the Pentagon, Carver is the first Southern Baptist chaplain to be promoted to the office for active duty in more than 50 years.

Also debuting June 13 will be NAMB's Send North America Experience in the exhibit hall. The 40-foot by 50-foot exhibit will feature church planting missionaries from each of NAMB's new five regions positioned among cityscapes depicting each region. Visitors will experience what life is like in the regions and hear directly from missionaries serving in those locations.

"We want messengers to come to the exhibit, experience the North American mission fields and volunteer to be mobilized to be part of Send North America," said Aaron Coe, vice president for NAMB's mobilization group. "Folks will be able to hear in person from our church planting missionaries, who will share about the challenges, rewards and celebrations of church planting and how SBC churches can be more personally involved."

Ezell's annual NAMB report is slated for 4:50 p.m. June 14 on the convention floor, to be followed by the missionary commissioning service.


The second annual Bivocational and Small Church Luncheon for bivocational and small church pastors is scheduled for noon June 15 in Room 226 A/B/C of the convention center.

Crossover 2011 in Phoenix will take place Saturday, June 11, marking its 23rd year as the key evangelistic outreach event prior to the SBC annual meeting. Hundreds of volunteers from area churches will work at more than 70 Crossover ministry venues.

As a cooperative effort among the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention, five Baptist associations in the Phoenix/Tucson corridor and the North American Mission Board, this year's Crossover is unique in its efforts to directly impact and strengthen new churches in the five associations.

"We're excited about getting our churches into the streets and sharing the Gospel with our community," said Jerry Martin, associational missionary for the Valley Rim Baptist Association.

Steve Bass, executive director of the Arizona convention, said, "We are so delighted that our SBC family is coming out. Our people had a great experience in 2003, and they're absolutely looking forward to this year. I think all up and down the line we are grateful for Southern Baptists who come and help engage the harvest field."


Crossover events will be designed to showcase new church plants and reintroduce older churches to their neighborhoods and will include block parties, prayerwalking, intentional community evangelism projects and acts of kindness.

Among the multiethnic Crossover events will be evangelistic outreach and block parties hosted by 16 of Arizona's 23 Hispanic churches, kicking off June 5 with a Hispanic rally of local churches and ending with the annual Hispanic Celebration service at 6 p.m. June 12 at Phoenix's Central High School.

Mickey Noah writes for the North American Mission Board.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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