People-group ministry is often viewed as an international concern, but the executive leadership at the North American Mission Board is seeking to highlight this ministry’s importance and develop the scope of Southern Baptist people-group efforts in North America.
“The ethnic population is growing faster than the Anglo population in the United States,” said NAMB senior assistant to the president, Kim Robinson. About 58 percent of the new churches added to the Southern Baptist Convention in 2013 and 2014 are reported to be minority congregations, he noted.
Robinson and NAMB president, Kevin Ezell, hosted a two-day summit at NAMB’s Alpharetta, Ga., building to address this growing need. More than 20 Southern Baptist leaders representing several different ethnic groups sat down to discuss current outreach efforts and explore how NAMB could effectively help plant churches for diverse populations in cooperation with ethnic Southern Baptist groups like the National African American Fellowship, the Vietnamese Baptist Fellowship of North America, the Native Fellowship of Christians, the Chinese Baptist Fellowship of the U.S. and Canada, and others.
“We did not invite you here just to get to know you. We didn’t invite you here just to come and share the particular needs of each area. We’re really ready to stand with you. To speak up at the appropriate time, and to sacrificially, come together to have a shared goal of how we’re going to get this done,” Ezell said during the April 23-24 meeting.
Robinson told the group in his opening remarks, “We have a very strong desire to accelerate ethnic church planting, but we know we can’t do that by ourselves.”
He said, “That comes from pastor-led churches leading their congregations into church planting. So we want to partner with you to help plant more than we could if we tried to do it alone. It’s not that you need to join forces with us, and we are your leaders. We want to join forces with you.”
Throughout the two days, participants spent time in both large group sessions and small-group meetings where they explored ways that their respective fellowships could work symbiotically.
“We would like to advocate the potential of partnership with other ethnic groups, so that we could add value to the kingdom work here in the U.S.,” said Filipino leader Jerry Lepasana.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press
K. Faith Morgan