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Monday, August 17, 2009

Is NAMB a "Relic of the Past"?

Last week on SBC Voices Blog I made a statement that has drawn some heated debate that I need to clarify just a little bit. The comment I made was:

“NAMB is a relic of the past… church planting networks like Acts 29 own the future.”

Responding to my comment Ron West wrote:

“Greg you seem bitter about the IMB and NAMB. You desire to have them done away with and calling them relics of the past is undeserved in my opinion.”

Now I will be the first to admit that I rarely beat around the bush about things and my comments can most certainly come across as being bitter or angry, both of which I am not. I do not equate having strong convictions with being either bitter or angry, but I can see how Ron could read that into my comments about the IMB and NAMB.

Following is the follow up comment I posted to Ron’s comment above which explains my original comment that “NAMB is a relic of the past… church planting networks like Acts 29 own the future.”


Concerning the IMB and NAMB:

My first preference would be that both the BOT and Administration of the IMB and the NAMB would realize that the Baptist Churches of the SBC, which they serve, are a diverse group of Churches. We Southern Baptist are far from being “of one accord and one mind”…

So it is with this understanding that I passionately believe that both our mission agencies should represent, and make allowances for (without discrimination), the diverse group of Churches that make up the SBC. This is something that they have NOT done in the past, and is something that I and many others in the SBC would welcome with much joy.

Should not every cooperating church, which is in good standing with the convention, have the reasonable expectation that it may fully participate with, and receive support from, these agencies equal to the participation and support afforded to others? Why is this convection such a “Radical” idea? Why is this asking to much for people like David?

The truth is that unless these agencies are willing to change and adopt a new attitude toward the diversity that is a reality in the SBC then they will rapidly become relics of the past as more and more of our churches look elsewhere for mission partners.

If you have had a negative experience with the IMB or NAMB, or if you believe these agencies need to change to fully represent all churches of the SBC I believe the SBC needs to hear what you have to say…???

Grace Always

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Gary said...


I more often than not tend to agree with you. I tire of the "Rube Goldberg" invention which both the IMB and NAMB have become. There are great ideas elsewhere. Both of the these orgs suffer dreadfully from the "Not Invented Here" syndrome.

With respect to the NAMB question, while I do not know the figures, I would expect that they dole out their money which goes back to the State Conventions pretty much proportionally the way they came in. How does this make sense? Well, it keeps the SCs doing it, because they know they'll get a bunch of it back.

But if you look at the map at, you'll see that our church planting efforts will likely be disproportionately done in places where the SBC is one of, if not THE, biggest religious group in the area. If we truly want to be a nation-wide convention, we really need to over-sow those places where we are in a strong minority.

There are plenty of ripe fields out there, but alas, like the cotton farmers of the deep south, we keep trying to get a fresh new crop from worn-out soil.

All of these platitudes and $4.50 will get you a Venti cup at Starbucks as well.

Have a great week!


Greg Alford said...


“There are plenty of ripe fields out there, but alas, like the cotton farmers of the deep south, we keep trying to get a fresh new crop from worn-out soil.”

That comment alone is worth a $4.50 Venti cup at Starbuks anyday… Very nicely said!

Grace Always,

Brent Hobbs said...

The second comment (the call to diversity) is excellent. It speaks well to the foundational issue with private prayer languages and other hot-button issues we're dealing with today.

Greg Alford said...

I agree Brent… (the call to diversity) or should we dare say (the call to embrace our diversity) is in my opinion “foundational” to the future of the Southern Baptist “Convention”.

Many of the historical doctrines of the churches and people of the Southern Baptist Convention are built upon the core value of embracing the diversity that exist within the churches of the convention.

The Autonomy of the local Church, the doctrine of Soul Competency, the Cooperative Program, and even the very idea of a “Convention” of churches in lo of a mother church all embrace the principal of diversity.

And I believe that to the extent that the leadership, pastors, and churches of the SBC once again embraces the fact that the SBC is “Convention” of diverse and Autonomous Baptist Church she will prosper and have peace… And if we do not then we will have nether prosperity nor peace.

Grace Always,

Grady Bauer said...

Greg, I would say that the current structures and processes of NAMB (and even IMB) are relics of the past.

They're top heavy, admin driven, usually inefficient, not known for innovation. There are some good people that work for them and others that would work with them but their reputation goes before them and more and more people are looking into other options.

The NAMB is currently in shambles but if LMCO doesn't pick up in 2010 the IMB may soon find themselves in the same boat. Neither organization has a large rudder and takes forever to turn or change.

Greg Alford said...

Gary Bauer,

I fully agree with you that there are some very good people who work for both these mission agencies. They are passionate, dedicated, and faithful.

However, at some point in the past the leadership of both these mission agencies felt it their duty and privilege to “Narrow the Parameters of Cooperation/Participation” to the effect of excluding many Southern Baptist Pastor, Church Planters, Missionaries, and Churches who all of a sudden found themselves with no option to fulfill God’s calling in their lives except to form partnerships and networks outside the official SBC family of agencies. What did they expect these God called men to do when they were rejected and made to feel unwelcome… go sell used cars?

Decisions have consequences… and the decision to exclude those who were Calvinist, Elder lead, accepting of alcohol in moderation, etc… from service within the SBC has given birth to a whole new mission’s movement which now threatens to sweep aside those old structures which are now largely seen as relics of the past.

Grace Always,

Anonymous said...

I have been in a SBC church 10 or 12 years, which i have been told just is nor enough to really "get it". I do not know what that means.
I enjoy the fellowship of my local SBC regional group. I have no interest in getting involved at a National level, as I read how each time they meet some sort of 'group think' takes place where they become compelled to make some sort of embarrassing decision.
We ended up being a new church plant. The level of financial support vs. the level of control exerted was just not worth it , so we took no money. I feel that if we took funds we would have rebelled and left the SBC by now. I love the Faith and Message, the fellowship, but can not stand the bureaucracy. I no longer serve on regional or state boards and will not in the near future.

Greg Alford said...


I hear you… and I hope that the leadership of the SBC hears you! I fear that, like you, the best and brightest of the younger generation of Southern Baptist have already “left the building”.

Grace Always,