Myth #8: The GCRTF plans to abolish NAMB or dissolve it into the IMB.

To be fair it is easy to see how this myth has arisen. In fact it only constitutes as a myth as it relates to the current work of the GCRTF. Beyond that, as far as it being an item of intense discussion and interest, it is anything but a myth!

In the “Axioms message” I raised the question of some possible mergers (I was not specific) to increase efficiency and avoid duplication. Tim Patterson, chairman of NAMB’s board of trustees, spoke publicly to this issue. Perhaps no SBC entity has been the source of more confusion, conversation and criticism than NAMB over the past 15 years. There are many reasons for this. Some are probably justified and others most certainly are not. Still, no area of Southern Baptist life has generated more talk and more frustration than NAMB with its multitude of ministry assignments, inter-connected relationship with state conventions, and revolving door leadership at the highest level. So, what are we to make of all of this as it relates to myth #8 and the work of the GCRTF?

First, there are some very smart and godly people looking at the work of the IMB and NAMB both on and off the GCRTF. The fact is the TF has asked for and continues to ask for input as it relates to our mission boards. We welcome suggestions from anyone, including those reading this article.

Second, the TF has made no decisions about recommendations regarding the IMB and NAMB. We are still in the investigation and conversation stage. We still have much work to do, even if it has to be done in all too short a period of time.

Third, we do believe that the IMB and NAMB can work better with each other in the future given the rapid changes taking place around the world and in our nation, especially as it relates to the increasing mobilizations of people groups.

Fourth, I have no idea where the Convention will go in this particular area, but I pray that good godly people who have wisdom and insight in this particular area will lead us to a plan that will result in a great movement that will usher us into our greatest days ever as a convention of churches for reaching all nations with the gospel both at home and around the world. I have heard that “money follows vision.” I believe that is true. I also believe “action follows vision.” Southern Baptists desperately need a compelling vision that will inspire us and move us to give more and go more, to sacrifice more and serve more. We should do all of this not out of guilt, but out of gratitude for a great Savior and a glorious salvation.

If this involves minor adjustments that will bring this to pass then wonderful. However, if this requires major changes that are sweeping and comprehensive then it is my prayer God will give us the courage to make those changes. Again, the non-negoitable for me is that we get the gospel to the 1.6 billion who have never heard the name of Jesus and that we get the gospel to the massive population centers of North America that are underserved and underreached. How we get there does not matter to me. That we do get there does.

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  1. Dave Miller   •  

    Perhaps you know you are doing something important when you face the kind of resistance as you are.

    Some of it may have wisdom. Some if it is frankly petty. My hope is that you will continue in your work without letting the pettiness of some derail you.

    I look forward to seeing the final report.

  2. Roger K. Simpson   •  

    I agree that “action follows vision”. The current situation in SBC life is a result of decades (well, over a century I guess) of incremental adjustments and fine tunings. It is evident that we need more than just some cosmetic change around the edges. However, spelling them out in detail and getting buyin are something else.

    Here is my thought question. If we were starting from scratch today to setup a Gospel Proclamation operation in the USA [and by extension with outposts all over the world] would we organize it with: (a) local churches, (b) associations, (c) state conventions, and (d) national “agencies”? If so why? If not why not?

    It seems to me like we have too many layers.

  3. Bob Cleveland   •  

    For whatever it’s worth, it seems to me that the fundamental tasks of IMB and NAMB very too greatly for there to be enough common ground to combine them. IMB is tasked with seeing that folks give up their home here, move to a foreign country, learn a foreign language (mostly) and adopt a completely new lifestyle.

    NAMB seems to be tasked, mostly, to help the local churches start new churches down the street. That’s enormously different from that of IMB.

    If this is just a rumor, it seems the least logical, absent some secret agenda somewhere.

    Just my thoughts.

  4. Spencer   •  

    I still contend, and hope some of the myth inventors and believers can grasp, that all of the hoopla about what the GCTF is going to do is silly. The most basic thing that people need to understand is that the TF cannot do anything but make a recommendation.

    I fully anticipate being in support of the TF recommendations, however, that is all that they are. The TF is NOT going to eliminate, change, create, invent, rename, reorganize or defund ANYTHING because they don’t have that power.

    The key message to the convention should be: provide your input, and then wait, watch, and pray. We’ll see the recommendations that come out and be able to evaluate and act upon them or not.

    Spread the word! The frantic concern is unwarranted. For good or ill, the congregations of the SBC still have the final vote.

  5. SBC'er   •  

    As a SBC’er, seeing all of the blogs, comments and talks about the great commission reassurance is good, but I have mixed felling. I love what is going on as far as trying to restructure, but at the same time it make me want to send my money to other places. Please do not take this wrong, I see the SBC is trying to get on track. However, thinking through stewardship over my finances and seeing the current trends, I have a difficult time seeing why one should continue to support NAMB and IMB when they are not being proper stewards over the contributions of their member.

    I would enjoy seeing a series on why SBC’er should still fully support the NAMB and IMB in light of current trends. Theologically it is clear that support should be given to missionary, but in light of stewardship and the current exposure of financial misuse leaves one not wanting to keep financially supporting a structure that is not biblically utilizing finances. The current economy has clearly constrained giving, but it also seems apparent that the clear call for re-structuring may be a contribution for less support. At least it is for this writer.

  6. Matthew Hirt   •  

    SBC’er, I’m not trying to be contentious, but you leveled some pretty heavy accusations at the largest missionary sending agency in the world which seems to be doing a pretty decent job, although they have some flaws that are trying to be corrected. I’m curious if you are able to cite some specific examples of how they have been not been “proper stewards over the contributions of their members?”

    I am willing to admit that they are not perfect organizations, but what organization is perfect? There seems to be some animosity in your argument, and I’m curious where it is coming from because if there are actual situations of misuse of funds, then it should be made known.

    Also, if you’re going to make a complaint, don’t remain anonymous. That doesn’t lend much credibility to your argument.

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