The New NAMB: 7 Years Sure Goes By Fast!

I’ve never visited Alpharetta, Georgia, the home of the former North American Mission Board and the newly reinvented NAMB.  However, it appears that there must be some glitch in the time-space continuum that causes not only months, but years, to accelerate at an astronomical rate.  How else to explain how 90 days turned into two weeks or, more recently, how seven years suddenly became 10 months.

There must be some logical explanation for the time warp that the new NAMB appears to be stuck in.  When Dr. Kevin Ezell was elected President of the new North American Mission Board, he told Dr. Ed Stetzer that he would take the first three months on the job to get the lay of the land:

I know there are a lot of expectations, but I want to take the first 90 days and just listen. (Stetzer interview with Ezell here)

In less than two weeks as President of the new NAMB, Dr. Ezell started making significant changes.  You know what they say about time and having fun?  As departments were consolidated and long-time employees “who were already thinking about retirement” were offered incentives to retire early, President Ezell announced — prior to the end of his listening tour — that even more radical changes were on the way

“There is going to be considerable change,” Ezell said. “A lot of the changes will not be directed to competency of people because we are going to be doing some things so drastically different. What does that look like specifically, I don’t know yet. But we are working on that as fast as we can.”

Even as Dr. Ezell hedged on what the drastic changes were going to look like, he knew before the end of 90 days that the changes would be so radical that he likened the “changes coming to NAMB to a company that had been making washing machines and now will be making cars.”

One does not need to be the engineer on the Star Ship Enterprise to figure out that the speed at which the new NAMB appears to be traveling will result not just in a bumpy ride, but could well cause the disintegration of the Convention as we know it. 

That the leadership at the new NAMB has moved so quickly to completely rebuild a new vehicle whose seats will be filled with nearly 100% church planters — everyone else will either be booted off the bus entirely or relegated to sit in a few seats in the back of the bus — should come as no surprise, even though the GCRTF’s Final Report called for 

“at least 50% of the ministry efforts of our North American Mission Board be given to assist churches in planting healthy, multiplying and faithful Baptist congregations in the United States and Canada.”  (GCRTF Final Report, page 10)

I know that “at least 50%” could mean more than half.  But, no one can credibly argue that “at least 50%” means that church planting should receive upwards of 80-90% of NAMB funding.  I have heard from reliable sources that this is exactly what NAMB’s understanding and implementation of the 50% number will be in reality.  For the leaders of the new NAMB to so stretch the meaning of that phrase much beyond 60% for church planting would not only violate the spirit, intent, and language of the Final Report, but it would also strain credulity.

However, if the new NAMB’s leadership — Dr. Ezell and the Board of Trustees — are willing to disregard the 50% mark for church planting, then they are apparently even more willing to completely re-interpret what the number seven means.

On February 9, 2011, the Trustees of the new NAMB voted to implement sweeping changes to one of Southern Baptists’ two missions sending agencies.  NAMB President Kevin Ezell described the changes:

“This is a massive overhaul,” Ezell said. “We believe it’s going to be an historic overhaul.”

While no one that I know of has argued against bringing needed changes to NAMB, there has been much concern over the scope and the timing of the proposed changes, particularly in light of the GCR Final Report and Recommendations relating to strategic partnership agreements between NAMB and the various Baptist State Conventions.  After Cooperative Program money is forwarded to the SBC from the various State Conventions, NAMB — a recipient of CP funds — returns a portion of the money to the States to help pay for jointly funded missionaries.

The GCRTF, in their Final Report, said this about the existing cooperative agreements and future strategic partnership agreements:

Nevertheless, we are convinced that the Cooperative Agreements must be replaced with a more appropriate structure and pattern of cooperation. Thus, we call for the leadership of the North American Mission Board to budget for a national strategy that will mobilize Southern Baptists in a great effort to reach North America with the Gospel and plant thriving, reproducing churches. We encourage NAMB to set a goal of phasing out all Cooperative Agreements within seven years (emphasis added), and to establish a new pattern of strategic partnership with the state conventions that will penetrate lostness and ensure greater responsiveness to the Southern Baptist Convention and greater effectiveness for NAMB in the appointment of missionary personnel and church planters. (GCRTF Final Report, page 11)

  Also at the NAMB Trustees’ Meeting in February, Dr. Ezell

indicated NAMB hopes to have new integrated strategic partnership agreements signed with each state convention by the end of March.

Might I ask, “March of what year?”  March of 2011?  Now, I’m no math whiz or Federation engineer (although my last name is Scott), but when did a seven year phase-out become a 10 month phase-out and phase-in?  Oh, wait.  That’s right.  Ten months is “within” seven years.  How could I have missed that.  There’s just one slight problem with that math — the Progress Report of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, issued on February 22, 2010, originally called for a four year phase-out:

Our vision is that the North American Mission Board is to free at least 25% of the cooperative budgets annually in order to penetrate the lostness of North America more effectively.  Each partner will be considered individually, rather than collectively.  Therefore, at the end of these four years, the North American Board will be completely free from these present agreements.  It is understood that state conventions will manage their budgets accordingly. (GCRTF Progress Report, pages 21-22)

Dr. Ezell must not have a clue as to how the State Conventions work.  Most Executive Boards, such as the one I serve on for the Baptist Convention of New Mexico, meet quarterly.  Our next meeting will be the third week in April.  It would be impossible for the BCNM to sign a new strategic partnership agreement by the end of this March, even if we wanted to.

In all likelihood, what should have been a seven year phase-out has been accelerated to the original four year time frame, in violation of the intent, spirit, language, and “legislative history” of the GCR Final Report and Recommendations.  If I didn’t know any better, I would think that the leadership at the new NAMB was intentionally trying to put State Conventions between a rock and a hard place if not out of business altogether.

What draconian cuts will State Conventions like the BCNM be faced with, even in year one of a supposed seven four year phase-out?  What jointly funded missionaries will NAMB no longer fund because they don’t plant churches?  Will our Collegiate leader have to be let go?  What about our Student and Children’s leaders, both jointly funded between NAMB and the BCNM?

Perhaps as the new strategic partnership agreements are rolled out, State Conventions will come to understand — perhaps the hard way — that they will have to “manage their budgets accordingly.”  Truer words could not have been written.

Our church has generously contributed to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.  Those missionaries include some of the finest men and women that I have known, both here in the Land of Enchantment and around this great country.  They are about fulfilling the Great Commission — which is not just church planting, but so much more. 

It saddens me to think that this year may be the last year that our church forwards 100% of the Easter Offering to the new NAMB.  If funding for non-church planting missionaries is cut beginning in 2012, then I will ask our Budget and Finance Committee and our Missions Development Committee to “manage our church budget accordingly.” 

After all, the GCR tells us that the local church is both primary and central in the life of the SBC.  In other words, the buck stops at the local church.  Besides, we can give to our local association and the BCNM and call it “Great Commission Giving.”  Something tells me that if the new NAMB doesn’t figure a way out of the time-space continuum, that the next seven years will fly by — just not in the way that they envisioned or hoped! 


28 comments for “The New NAMB: 7 Years Sure Goes By Fast!

  1. March 30, 2011 at 10:50 AM


    Dr. Ezell is a megachurch pastor and megachurch pastors operate in an autocratic mode. That is what we are seeing, a megachurch pastor doing what megachurch pastors do.

    You are correct in that megachurch pastors don’t understand the workings of the state conventions. Most of them are not involved in state conventions because they do not need state conventions. That’s why the GCR committee, which consisted of mostly megachurch pastors, had to backup and be educated about how state conventions work. Even Johnny Hunt didn’t know that when he went to his first EC meeting as SBC Prez he would not preside over it. He had charts and all kinds of handouts ready because he thought he would be running the meeting.

    As you indicated, I, too, will be recommending that my church reevaluate our giving to the current NAMB, just as Dr. Ezell did with his church about the former NAMB.

    Good post.


    • March 30, 2011 at 10:59 AM


      Thanks for the kind word. I think you are exactly correct about the mentality of most (although not all) megachurch pastors. As you pointed out, if Dr. Ezell and Highview can cut their giving to the old NAMB, then churches like ours can certainly redirect or cut funding to the new NAMB. I was so close to ending my post with “hoisted on their own petard,” but did not. But, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Hope you are doing well. God bless,


  2. Max
    March 30, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    Howell –

    As noted in your previous posting re: the new NAMB “bus”, the current church-planting agenda appears to be all about planting “New Calvinist” reformed theology churches which plant more reformed theology churches, etc. NAMB church plants will largely be accomplished with a new breed of young, restless and reformed SBC pastors of the Acts 29 sort who are standing in line to benefit from NAMB funds … while evangelism and other NAMB activities pay the price of budget reductions. Dr. Ezell is simply proving his theological allegiance and moving full-speed ahead while the window is open … before certain folks on the bus stand up and yell “this bus is going the wrong way … I want off and taking my Annie Armstrong offering with me!” Local churches don’t yet have a clue to NAMB objectives under its current leadership.


    • March 30, 2011 at 11:05 AM


      Thanks for your insight. I think that most Southern Baptists are already off the new NAMB church planting bus. The only thing that might perhaps help the new NAMB leadership see that the bus is headed in the wrong direction with far too many seats filled by church planters (of the Acts 29 type) is for churches like mine to do what chuches like Ezell’s did with the old NAMB — redirect our money away from the new NAMB, including both CP and Annie Armstrong. I don’t mind a church planting emphasis, although I am concerned that most of the new church planters will be in the “young, restless, and reformed” mold. I do mind when 80-90% of the funds are designated for church planting and when other evangelism and discipleship ministries (Collegiate, Student, Children’s, etc.) are drastically cut. This year’s Annie Armstrong Easter Offering could be the last one before the bottom falls out. And, I don’t look for the megachurches and new church plants to pull up the slack. Thanks again for stopping by. God bless,


      • Max
        March 30, 2011 at 12:18 PM

        Howell –

        In reference to your comment “I think that most Southern Baptists are already off the new NAMB church planting bus”, I’m not sure that I agree with that completely. Most Southern Baptists can be found worshiping in smaller (not mega) churches of the sort that an earlier commenter, Les Puryear, represents. Such church members are not educated in SBC “politics” and willingly give to evangelism and mission efforts trusting that their funds are used to advance the Great Commission of gospel preaching and equipping of disciples. These same folks would stand up and shout if they knew that their hard-earned CP and Annie Armstrong monies were destined for Acts 29-type ministries.

        Unless small church pastors are educating their membership about the SBC and state convention leadership agendas in this direction, most SBC churches are innocently, and indirectly, supporting NAMB “programs” that they might otherwise oppose. Thus, NAMB leadership is moving quickly before the communication grapevine exposes them. I don’t normally recommend that such things be debated at church business meetings, but in this case folks in the pew need a good dose of education before they open their wallets. (Debating is not preaching the Gospel … perhaps someday we will get back to the latter)

        Let me be clear, I am not opposed to new church plants nor current faithful home missionaries planting new works in North America – Praise God for their work! I am opposed to the encouragement and financial support of the “New Calvinist” movement within SBC ranks and believe that the multitude of Southern Baptists would agree with me. NAMB new church plants will primarily target the young generation of 20s-30s who are missing in many of our churches … but with a message, methodology, and missiology that do not conform to traditional Baptist beliefs. I see that clearly unfolding in new SBC church plants in my area by mega-church pastors with a reformed leaning. NAMB church planting funds will be directed to plants which will tap the energy of young reformed pastors to effect the desired SBC theological transition of the next generation.


        • March 30, 2011 at 1:53 PM


          Sorry that I wasn’t as clear as I could have been about who’s off the new NAMB church planting bus. I think a majority of Southern Baptists think exactly like you are saying. I would agree with most everything that you have said as well. I don’t necessarily have a problem supporting some church planters who happen to be more Reformed in their theology, but I do have a problem with what seems to be the Acts 29 direction that we are headed with the new NAMB.

          I usually reference the North American Mission Board as “the new NAMB.” When I say most Southern Baptists are already off the bus at the new NAMB, what I mean is that most Southern Baptists like yourself have been kicked off the bus to make room for almost exclusively church planters. This was not a decision that you or I would make, but the leadership at the new NAMB has decided that it is to be some glorified church planting network. As you say, I do not have a problem with NAMB supporting new church plants. What I object to is the radical reorganization of NAMB which basically says that anything that is not church planting is not worthy of Great Commission funding. When you begin to cut Collegiate, Student, Children’s and other ministries simply because they do not plant churches, then there is a major disconnect. Perhaps it will take the silent majority within the SBC to vote with their voices and their funding to get the new NAMB’s attention. Hope that helps clarify what I meant. Thanks and God bless,


  3. March 30, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    Let’s be fair here.

    I haven’t read what these new strategic partnership agreements are like. Have you? If you are afraid that this is the seven year phase out compressed into a few months, I might have fears that the new NAMB is merely foisting a new nomenclature on us – Cooperative Agreements now renamed Strategic Partnership Agreements. Let’s see a budget, how much, and where the money will go.

    When I realized that part of my Annie Armstrong offering goes for a bewildering array of Deep South causes cobbled together when NAMB and state executives get together, I was a bit nonplussed. I give Ezell credit, not blame, for moving quickly on this.

    Reformed? Let’s see the standards for church plants and planters.

    And, is anyone arguing for the kind of NAMB that had 275 employees in the sparkling Alpharetta headquarters building?

    I give Ezell credit for moving quickly. NAMB couldn’t keep going like they were. Where they will end up, how much credibility they will regain (or lose) is still an open question.

    • March 30, 2011 at 1:40 PM


      I have not laid my eyes on the new strategic partnership agreement yet. However, I would not have used nearly as strong of language if I did no have a reasonably good idea of what at least one new strategic partnership agreement contains and the process by which it was arrived at. Apart from that, I cannot comment. But, after next month’s Executive Board Meeting of the BCNM, I will report all that I am able to report (i.e., what is not revealed in executive session). While you may not blame Ezell for moving rapidly, the quickness of the phase-out/phase-in of Cooperative Agreements/Strategic Partnerships appears to be in violation of the intent, spirit, and language of the GCR Final Report. I’m not surprised that this is the case. I am merely pointing it out. If they continue to move in the direction that they are going, I predict that they will lose more credibiltiy than they will gain. But, as you say, that is an open question. Next year’s Annie Armstrong Easter Offering may give us a clue. Hope you are doing well. God bless,


    • Max
      March 31, 2011 at 10:31 AM


      “Reformed? Let’s see the standards for church plants and planters.”

      A recent posting on the Baptist 21 website “Hope for NAMB” provides some insight on what appears to be taking shape in regard to partnering with reformed church planting networks (

      In the opening paragraph of this piece and associated links, Open Door Baptist Church via its church planting network is promoted as a “Model GCR Church”. Certain Open Door plants are affiliated with Acts 29. It should also be noted that Baptist 21 largely exists to encourage and support a new generation of young 21st-century pastors, with church plants on their mind. B21 organizers, invited workshop speakers, and workshop attendees are primarily young, restless and reformed.

      In a quote from the cited article “he (Dr. Ezell) said that what we are doing at Open Door through our North American Church Planting Foundation will serve as a model for church planting within the cooperative program. This comment really encouraged me, not just because it came from our NAMB president, but for first time I felt that our approach to planting churches via a network rather than directly through a local association and state convention was acceptable”.

      A wise old pastor once said that discernment is primarily a matter of keen observation – opening eyes and ears to what is going on around you. I think Dr. Ezell has provided us in the B21 piece some discernment into what he has in mind for NAMB church plants and planters. While the strategic partnership recipe may include other ingredients , a reformed focus appears to be included in the mix.


  4. March 30, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    You have a ‘pretty good idea…’ of what’s in it but you can’t say what’s in it? That’s part of the problem, Howell. It’s the same line I have gotten with the present Cooperative Agreements: “No, you cannot see one…” My state will say how much total and a general description of where the money goes, but no line item accounting.

    This isn’t the way to do business. If Kevin Ezell brings anything new besides strategic upheaval and major budget shifts, I hope it is openness and transparency.

    • March 30, 2011 at 3:34 PM


      Without revealing more than I am at liberty to reveal, let’s just say that I haven’t seen the new strategic partnership agreement yet. That doesn’t mean that I won’t see it; I just haven’t had the opportunity to review it. As to the openness and transparency, if Dr. Ezell uses the same process that he thus far has used, including with the new strategic partnership agreements, I am not optimistic. I wish I could say more at this point, but I am not able to. Even though you don’t know me personally, I’ll just have to ask you to trust me when I say that there are major problems with how at least one of the new strategic partnership agreements has been handled by the new NAMB. Thanks,


  5. April 1, 2011 at 9:19 AM

    Great post and most likely dead on about the direction of our “new and improved NAMB.” I had a local pastor give a pretty wise piece of observation. If there are as many YRR types coming out of our seminaries as the books,magazine articles and entity heads would have us to believe then there will be a problem for them in finding places of employment in our grassroots, mainstream, “traditional” SBC churches. Your average, contributing and committed Southern Baptist church is unwilling to accept and downright opposed to the theology and methodology that these YRRs have been taught and adopted in our seminaries. So, the YRRs have paid the money for the education, but are having trouble finding a place to draw a paycheck. They’ve fussed to their presidents who told them, “Believe this, teach this and you’ll be a great pastor someday.” But nobody wants them. They can’t even lie to get themselves in the door to “reform” a church so that it would agree with them. (Oh, BTW, I’ve got a recent account from a church in TN to back that statement up.) So, money has to be allocated for them to start churches that will have their theology and methodology so that they can get a pay check and get the use of the education they paid so much money for. Just one pastor’s observation, but it sure looks and sounds to be true.

    • April 1, 2011 at 11:29 AM


      Thanks for your kind words and for linking my post on your Twitter. I think that your local pastor friend has some astute and accurate observations about what is happening at the new NAMB. As an inconsistent Calvinist, I have found that pastoring — at least the churches where I have been privileged to serve — are a lot less interested in what you know about TULIP and much more interested in hearing about both God’s love and His sovereignty. As a student at Southern from 1994-97, I had many a discussion with some of the YR&R crowd back then. Some of the things that bothered me then are even more bothersome now. It seems that many of our own seminary graduates simply do not want to do try to pastor an established church. And, from some of the comments that I have seen recently, it appears that not only in theology, but in methodology, they would go into a church like a bull in a china shop.

      Whether its Purpose Driven or Reformed, I do not think it is healthy to come into a church and completely change everything within 6 months because you don’t think it was being done right. So, instead of having to bother with an existing church, let’s plant our own churches. If the new NAMB thinks that established SB churches are going to keep funding church plants that will be Acts 29 or some other network and nominally Southern Baptist, they will find out that this approach will not work. You would think someone at the top would figure this out, but no one seems to have a clue. And, as to the new strategic partnership agreements, I have very good reason to believe that NAMB will only partner with states if those ministries are 80% or more geared toward church planting. That means Collegiate ministries, Children and Student ministries, Sunday School/Disipleship ministries will be cut (most likely starting in 2012). That is so shortsighted as to be ludicrous, but I think there is an even bigger agenda at play. Of course, we might have a clue as to what that is were the GCRTF records not sealed for 15 years. Thanks again for the encouragement. God bless you in your ministry,


    • Max
      April 1, 2011 at 11:29 AM

      Brad –

      I have been following the rapid spread of “New Calvinism” in Southern Baptist ranks very closely over the past several months. While I personally disagree with reformed theology, I am even more concerned about the underhanded way in which the young, restless and reformed (YRR) are taking control of traditional works. Without going into details, I have personal experience to support what I am writing here … let’s just say that a couple of YRR pastors in our area were not completely honest to church leadership about their reformed leaning.

      Whether they admit it or not, the YRR are sympathetic to groups like Acts 29 and are energized by changes in SBC leadership which will provide homes for them via new church plants without having to deceive and manipulate the good people of mainline SBC churches. Thus, you are correct to note that NAMB will open up new opportunities for them. Remember, these are young pastors who have a lifetime of ministry ahead of them to effect a generational transition to reformed theology within SBC. Older and embattled reformed leadership within SBC welcome these new troops with open arms … they need the revolutionary zeal of the YRR to make this happen. “New Calvinism” + “New NAMB” = New Day for Southern Baptists … but a sunrise that most folks in SBC pews would not wish to see … if they only knew.

      On a related note, the SBC Pastors Conference this year includes on its speaker list Darren Patrick, Acts 29 Vice President, and non-SBC pastor John Piper, a leading influencer of the YRR. Think about it.

      For more information and insight in this regard, I refer you to Howell’s previous and excellent blog entitled “NAMB’s New Church Planting Bus: Who’s Off?”



  6. Don Arndt
    April 6, 2011 at 9:15 AM

    I guess I am one of the one’s you are worried about, Howell.

    I am finishing up my Seminary education at Southern and have been thinking about church planting since before I began seminary (2004).

    My family and I are planning on planting a church in what is called the Metro East. (Illinois side of the St. Louis Area) Madison/St Clair Counties have a population approaching 600,000. The statistics say that approx 85% are completely unchurched and that number includes people who attend church as little as 5 times a year.

    I am a part of a team that is looking to reach that 85%.

    I am not looking primarily to NAMB for funding, or even to the IBSA, although I want them to be involved and to help as they see fit. I plan on working bivocationally and raising some funding on my own. I see my role as a missionary, going to an area that is in need of the Gospel. There are several churches in the area, but not enough to reach 500,000 people.

    I, like yourself, would describe myself as a Spurgeon Calvinist. I have know desire to affiliate with Acts 29, although I see know problem with those that do. I want to help start churches that are decidedly SBC, but I don’t pretend for a moment I want it to look like the typical SBC church you claim to be representing. We will stand on the Gospel, it will drive everything we do. But, there are no plans for an organ, to wear a suit and tie to preach, (as yet, I have never preached without a suit coat), a standard SS program (although we are starting with discipling small groups meeting in homes), and frankly, we have no pressing plans to find a building, (as a matter of fact, we are renting the VFW for the forseeable future).

    I appreciate and understand your concerns, but I am burdened for the lost. We need more churches. Is there a more effective way to spread the Gospel than to start more churches? Why would you not want to support someone like me? What is it that I threaten?

    “So, money has to be allocated for them to start churches that will have their theology and methodology so that they can get a pay check and get the use of the education they paid so much money for. ”

    Frankly, this is a base and vile accusation. You insulting the integrity of Seminaries, leaders in same, and hundreds or thousands of students who desire to spread the Gospel. You should repent and retract this statement.


    What is your solutions? You agree NAMB was less than efficient, but how do you propose to change it? Just slow down?? Take your time?? Tell that to the lost people who we are needing to reach. How shall they know without a preacher?? People are dying without the Gospel, and it is a crisis.

    • April 6, 2011 at 10:43 AM


      Thanks for taking the time to read and to share your thoughts. First, I’m not sure who exactly you are referring to with the comment to “Brad.” Perhaps Brad Whitt, but I don’t remember that comment on one of my posts (at least it didn’t come through on this post).

      From the way you have written and how you have described your calling from God, I do not believe that you would be in the group that I was referring to. I could be wrong, but you appear to be passionate about the lost and helping to reach them by planting a church in the St. Louis area. While you say you are not seeking NAMB funding, if you were a cooperating Southern Baptist, I would have no problem in having NAMB support your church plant. Indeed, I may very well have no problem in our church directly supporting your church plant. I have no problem with your church not wanting to look like the “typical SBC church” (which I never claimed to be representing, although I think our church is representative of many SB churches). There are several churches in the Albuquerque area that our church supports through the Cooperative Program. Most are very contemporary and some may even be more Reformed. The preachers may preach in jeans and a polo and sit on a stool. I do not have an issue with that. It’s not the young and reformed that I have a problem with as much as the restless, reckless, and/or non-cooperating SBs that I take issue with.

      I also take issue with the radical reoganization of the SBC, particularly at the new NAMB, and the redefintion of what it means to be a cooperating Southern Baptist. The new Calvinism, the church planting emphasis at the new NAMB, the seminaries, and CP all play into this discussion. No one that I know of has argued that NAMB did not need to be more efficient. The problem comes in the radical ways that the new NAMB is going about it, particularly in regards to state conventions and local associations. I believe that we need to plant more churches, but I’m not sure that the almost exclusive church planting emphasis that the new NAMB has will be productive long-term. Hope that helps to clarify where I am coming from. Thanks again and God bless,


  7. Don Arndt
    April 6, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    The comment from Brad is directly above mine on this very post. April 1st at 9:19 a.m.
    I should have used the reply under that post I guess.

    This is a radical assertion, he did not even couch it by “supposing.”

    Howell, I know there are a few “cage-stage” calvinists at Southern. But, from my experience, the percentages are small and probably insignificant.

    You agree that NAMB needed to change. I do too. I fully embrace the GCR. But for me, the urgency of the need is a deciding factor.

    I forget where this quote is from.

    If we thinking the way we have been thinking,
    We will keep doing things the way we have been doing,
    And we will keep getting the results we have been getting.

    The need for the Gospel is so great, it will take radical, God-empowered initiatives to even begin to impact the lostness here in America and across the world.

    We, as SBC’ers, haven’t changed our approaches much in the last 50 years, our churches are declining for the most part, certainly there are many more lost people in America than ever before. Sometimes, large changes and reallignment are the only way to promote change that is needed.

    • April 6, 2011 at 2:41 PM


      No problem about where you posted your reply, but I appreciate the directions to Brad’s original comment. Brad can speak for himself, but I think there is a perception — which doesn’t always mean reality — that this is the case.

      As to the “cage-stage” new Calvinists, we might differ on how we define that term. You say there are a few and they are insignificant. You maybe right, but then again, there may be more than a few who are not very far from the cage and still have somewhat “wild” tendancies. How one approaches a church — made up of people — can be either positive or negative. Ultimately this comes down to a matter of pride and arrogance, regardless of the theological label that the new pastor wears. I’ve known my fair share of non-Calvinists who have done damage to churches in the name of “radical change.” I am not against change, but I am against the radical nature of some of the changes that we are seeing, particularly at NAMB. I understand that you may see things differently regarding realignment and such, but perhaps we can still find ways that can cooperate together for the sake of the Kingdom. Thanks again for your insight and perspective. God bless,


  8. Lance Kramer
    May 5, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    I’m an Alaskan Native who used to be a “contract worker” for the Alaska Baptist Convention a few years ago. My salary was paid by N.A.M.B. My title was: Alaska Native Church Starter/Strategist.

    I got saved in a Quaker (Friends) church up above the Arctic Circle in ’95 and was discipled in the local SBC there. Later, an Indian from Oklahoma who worked for ABC paid my way to go to NAMB trainings here and there.

    The various cp trainings that I went to with NAMB were great! As a Native who was once lost, and now was discipled in Baptist doctrine, I can totally see how the NAMB church planting efforts could’ve been successful. I’m telling you, they could’ve worked!

    There was one problem: the state convention. The ABC’s strategy to plant churches in Alaska was the 1950’s model…build a building, plop some dude from Georgia in it, and hope that it will fill up and the expensive electricity and heating bills can be paid. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work.

    So, I was being paid by NAMB but I was being governed by ABC…..therefore, NAMB’s potentially good strategy to plant culturally-relevant churches never did/could come to fruition.

    Now, if ABC would’ve had some new blood in their leadership, folks who knew how to keep the doctrine of SBC pure while trying new methodologies, and working with NAMB to really support the young missionaries such as myself to accomplish the task…than we would not be in this predicament today.

    The reason why numbers of salvations and baptisms are down, in my opinion, is because most of the state conventions in our country operate on an old school, 1950’s model of church planting. You can’t do that in today’s society and expect a lot of people to come to that kind of a church.

    The biggest givers in the SBC knows that. And they will not keep giving their money to largely support state convention staff who are operating under that kind of a model. I believe they put some pressure on NAMB to change their policies regarding how NAMB works with state conventions. And I’m glad they did this. Lord willing we can finally cut out the ineffective, money-consuming middle man (sc), and give money directly to those church planters who are “gittin’er done”.

    I also believe NAMB shouldn’t give money only to church planters like Howell said. I think we need to keep our children’s, collegiate, and SS ministries funded…they are developing our “feeder programs” that produce our seminary students, who produce our next generation of pastors.

    Man, our Alaska state collegiate woman was TREMENDOUS (Brenda Crim). Not all apples in our state convention were rotten. In fact, there were a lot of new, young, doctrinally-sound, executive board members. It was just the top two in leadership that put a halt to NAMB’s church-planting ideas (one was a great Christian fella, the other, not so, but they’re both my and your brothers nonetheless).

    I wish our top two could’ve been young, energetic, and sat at a table with us future church planters and said, “In your opinion, how can we reach and disciple more in this state, and what is it going to take to support you in this endeavor?”…….and then be our advocates (instead of our nemesis) to NAMB and say, “Hey, this is what our church planters have come up with, we’re in support of them, how can you support us?”

    As an insider, this is how I saw things and how I wished it could’ve worked. However, it didn’t.

    I’ve since quit my contract work with the ABC (some of the ways things were done were not only sinful, but illegal, in terms of the politics and such) and have started my own non-profit ministry where I can put to practice what I’ve learned from NAMB.

    What’s interesting, is that some of those Baptist churches down south that are dissatisfied with the state conventions, now give me support to do what I need to do. It’s the “black-sheep Baptist churches” that are actually mature about this whole thing, and seek God’s will, and support those church planters fulfilling the Great Commission. Praise God for them. May He continue to bless them as names keep getting written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. God bless Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse too!

  9. May 5, 2011 at 5:49 PM


    Thanks for sharing what God has been doing through your ministry in Alaska. I have no problem with NAMB being involved in church planting, but to have almost 100% of funds for church planting is short-sighted, IMO. We definitely need to have models of church planting that are culturally appropriate as to time and location. I think the best way to plant churches is to work with folks in that area through the State Conventions and local Associations. That doesn’t mean they control everything, but planting a church outside of Atlanta is different — in some respects — from planting a church in Alaska or New Mexico.

    We too have some great ministries going on in NM that are not necessarily church planting. I think that the Great Commission is more than just planting churches. If the new NAMB keeps cutting funding to all programs that are not somehow involved — directly or indirectly — with church plantingn, then NAMB will whither on the vine and die a slow death. I’m glad that you were able to use some of the principles you learned working with NAMB in your non-profit ministry. May God continue to bless you as you share the Good News in Alaska. Thanks again for stopping by. God bless,


  10. Lydia
    September 21, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    Lance, knowing org development the way I do, I fear the only thing that will change, in the long run, is that instead of some guy from your state assoc interfering, it will be some guy from NAMB in an office even farther away, you have never met, who has never been to Alaska…. making the rules for you.

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