INDIANAPOLIS—North American Mission Board leaders announced to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting their 2020 vision: a complete gospel sweep of North America during the next 12 years.
“Our goal is to have every believer sharing and have every person hearing by the year 2020,” NAMB President Geoff Hammond said.
To that end, Hammond unveiled a new nationwide evangelism initiative during NAMB’s report at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting June 10 aimed at helping Christians get the gospel to their neighbors.
The GPS—God’s Plan for Sharing—initiative will work in rural or urban areas to reach North America for Christ, he explained.
“God positions us every day with opportunities to share the gospel with people who need to hear,” Hammond said, noting that God “also helps us get to our destination,” which is seeing the lost come into a relationship with Christ.
GPS has four “mileposts” for churches—praying, engaging, sowing and harvesting.
“We must sow down North America with the gospel in order to reap a harvest,” he said. “We want believers networking … and every church celebrating every salvation response.”
To help with this, NAMB is releasing radio, television and print ads for churches to use in their communities to show them that Southern Baptists “don’t just talk about sharing hope—we reach out our hands to those in need.”
The ads, which feature compassionate responses to AIDS and disaster victims and the hungry, are available in four languages—English, Spanish, Korean and Chinese.
Noting an increased ethnic diversity on the continent, “North America is truly a missions field,” Hammond said. “In order to reach North America, we need to understand who lives in our missions field.”
To do that, NAMB maintains a people-group focus, and NAMB officials are researching who North Americans are, where they live and what is their worldview.
Emerging mision fields
Missionaries then go to them to jumpstart the spread of the gospel—missionaries like Drew and Pam Crabtree, who are oil-field missionaries.
With the price of gas skyrocketing, drilling rigs are popping up all over the West, and the Crabtrees have dedicated themselves to reaching the men living and working there.
“There has been a boom in exploration of natural gas and oil, and Southern Baptists are seizing this opportunity,” Hammond said.
During the report, messengers also heard from missionary Dick May, a church planter in Boston, and Lamar Duke, a missionary in Pittsburgh who says he keeps going because “our Lord invited me to write redemptive history with him, and I can’t quit.”
That’s the spirit Hammond challenged other Southern Baptists to embrace.
“We are calling on Southern Baptists to pray and give to North American missions like never before. Live with urgency and seize every divine moment.”
Facts & figures
Even with 2007 reports showing 150,000 long- and short-term missionaries and a record $59,463,281 Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, more missions workers are needed, Hammond reported.
As NAMB focuses on three major points—sharing Christ, starting churches and sending missionaries—“we are pushing back the darkness in the United States, Canada and the territories.”
“I believe the North American Mission Board is the premiere missions agency for reaching North America for Christ in 21st century.”