LOS ANGELES (BP)—Kevin Ezell, attending his inaugural North American Mission Board trustee meeting as NAMB’s new president Oct. 20 in Los Angeles, noted that while “we’re thankful for what NAMB has achieved in the past, it’s now time to do more. We must do more because the lostness of America demands it.”
Ezell reaffirmed that NAMB’s role is to assist Southern Baptist churches. “Our goal is to do what churches cannot do—not to duplicate the work of churches. We’re not penetrating lostness. Our intent has been there, our hearts are in the right place, but the results are not there.”
Ezell said he wants to bring focus and to narrow the credibility gap between NAMB and younger SBC ministers. Ezell said he believes NAMB’s credibility gap is highest among young ministers.
“We’re going to narrow that gap, narrow our focus so we can achieve the objectives the Lord has put before us and that the SBC has commissioned us to accomplish. To do that, we’re going through every area , meticulously examining everything we do to be more effective.”
Ezell said NAMB’s passion will be penetrating lostnesss in North America by making Jesus known; its focus will be mobilizing Southern Baptists for evangelism that results in church planting; and NAMB’s support system will be the Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.
“We’re bringing the silos down within NAMB. We’ll still have many groups, but all with one purpose: working together to build a true team,” Ezell said.
Acknowledging that Annie Armstrong offering and Cooperative Program giving have not kept pace with inflation, and the recent economic downturn has made the decline more pronounced, Ezell pledged to make the most of every resource given.
“We will do the best for every dollar Baptists send us,” he said. “We will give them a compelling vision in order to urge them to give. But money alone will not drive it. The passions of people will drive it.”
Ezell emphasized the need for the mission board to shift its priorities.
“The Northeast, Canada and the West are more unreached than the Southeast and Midwest,” he said. Using a college football metaphor, Ezell said, “[W]e’re doing greater in the SEC [Southeastern Conference] and ACC [Atlantic Coast Conference] than in any other parts of the country. But we’re not reaching the rest of the United States. We’re going to re-focus and shift priorities and resources, but still not disregard needs in other areas.”
In Florida, for instance, Ezell said the Sunshine State has 18 million people, and “great needs exist in South Florida where the world is coming to us. Florida has fewer churches than Tennessee or Kentucky, but that doesn’t mean we’ll stop planting churches in Tennessee and Kentucky. But we do have to focus on the major cities where the populations are greatest.”
Ezell told the trustees he has undertaken a four-step process: re-focus NAMB; build a strategy; develop the staff necessary to execute the strategy; and implement the strategy.
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