Penetrating lostness drives NAMB's plans at SBC

NEW ORLEANS (BP) -- The North American Mission Board is seeking to show Southern Baptists how to be involved in penetrating lostness across North America, as NAMB plans for the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting in New Orleans in June.

During the SBC Pastors' Conference on Monday, June 18, a crowd of 3,000 is expected to attend NAMB's Send North America luncheon from noon-1 p.m. in Hall F at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

Speakers for the luncheon -- themed "Building Vision and Celebrating Missions in North America" -- will include Kevin Ezell, NAMB president, and Aaron Coe, vice president of mobilization for NAMB.

In addition to Pastors' Conference attendees, other special invitees will include SBC church leaders representing churches from throughout North America who will be honored for their congregation's 2011 Annie Armstrong Easter Offering; SBC-endorsed chaplains; bivocational pastors; church planters; state executive directors; and state directors of missions and evangelism.

"We're excited about the Send North America luncheon because it's going to give us an opportunity to celebrate those who are involved in penetrating lostness in North America -- church planters, missionaries, sending churches and those who give to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering," Coe said. "A special highlight will be recognition of all bivocational pastors, who we think are the iron men of the SBC."

Online registration for the banquet-style luncheon is now open, with tickets priced at $10 each. To register, visit snaluncheon.com. Credit cards will be accepted until June 18, when cash only will be required.

Also slated for Monday, June 18, will be "Avance Hispano," a conference for Hispanic pastors and leaders to celebrate Hispanic ministries, beginning at 9 a.m. in convention center rooms 213 and 218. The conference, including a luncheon (rooms 220-221), is jointly sponsored by NAMB, LifeWay Christian Resources and the International Mission Board.

Speakers at the Hispanic conference will include Josh del Risco of NAMB church mobilization and Robert Amaya, a Hispanic Southern Baptist pastor who starred in the film "Courageous."

Also debuting June 18 will be NAMB's 40-by-60-foot Send North America exhibit, which will depict Southern Baptist efforts to penetrate lostness through evangelistic church planting and local church evangelism in the major cities throughout North America. NAMB church planters and staff will be on hand to answer questions and mobilize individuals and churches to help reach North America with the Gospel. A separate NAMB exhibit will showcase Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, volunteers and equipment. Adjacent to its exhibit, NAMB is sponsoring "The Many Faces of the SBC," featuring the role of the SBC's 27 ethnic fellowships and networks.

For urban church planters, NAMB is sponsoring a "Rebuild Urban Church Initiative Rally" on Tuesday, June 19, from 6-8 p.m. in convention center rooms 218-219. Several urban church planting experts will speak to urban church planting practitioners. A free two-hour concert featuring several Reach Records Christian rap artists will follow on Wednesday night, from 7-9:30 p.m., in the Conference Auditorium on level 2 of the convention center. For more information, visit therebuildinitiative.org.

During the SBC annual meeting itself -- on Wednesday, June 20 at 4:55 p.m. -- Ezell will present NAMB's official annual report and presentation on the convention floor. Earlier that day, Ezell will also speak at a NAMB luncheon, from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., for 200 SBC bivocational pastors and their wives in rooms 255-257 of the convention center. For more information, email rgilder@tnbaptistconvention.org.

On Saturday, June 16, the New Orleans Baptist Association -- with support from 35 New Orleans Baptist churches, the Louisiana Baptist Convention and NAMB -- will coordinate Crossover, an evangelistic outreach encompassing the greater New Orleans area.

Crossover 2012 leaders are anticipating 1,500 Baptist volunteers who will share the Gospel via a variety of means -- including prayerwalking, block parties, door-to-door evangelism and servant evangelism. An experienced Intentional Community Evangelism (ICE) team -- some from outside Louisiana -- also will reach out to inner-city New Orleans with the Gospel during the week leading up to Crossover.

Southern Baptists in New Orleans plan to start four new churches in 2012, with two of those launched during Crossover and the SBC annual meeting, according to Jack Hunter, executive director of the New Orleans Baptist Association.

"Our churches are becoming well-trained in evangelism and will lead the way in reaching our communities through Crossover events," Hunter said. "Our leaders want to create a culture of evangelism in the association, and Crossover -- followed closely by other outreach events in succeeding weeks -- will help do that.

"It's a good time to be Baptist in New Orleans," said Hunter, a lifetime resident of the Crescent City. "Our prayer is that the cross of Christ would be lifted up across the greater New Orleans area to the end that many souls would be saved and that the church would be increased and that our faith community would have an increased culture of evangelism."

For more information on Crossover 2012, visit joinnoba.com/crossover.


Mickey Noah writes for the North American Mission Board.

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