Failures of the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board (NAMB)

Discussion in 'Evangelism, Missions and the Persecuted Church' started by Pergamum, Apr 16, 2019.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    This is a good website highlighting the failures of the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board (NAMB).

    Not only are the Southern Baptists failing to preserve doctrine (they are falling prey to Wokeness), but a decade or so ago they stated that it is better strategy to plant new churches in North America than to buttresss and maintain older churches.

    About 15 years ago I read several Southern Baptist articles arguing that the best missions strategy for the US was NOT to maintain and support older churches, but to plant new churches, because members were more likely to go to these new churches than to an older already-established church. There were some suggestions about "presentability" as well to the younger generation (avoid writing Baptist in the name, adopt modern worship music, etc). I've heard also from US pastors, that, in the name of "revitalization", some older churches were encouraged to sell their assets to NAMB so that NAMB could rebrand and restart the church.

    Well...we are seeing the results of this failed strategy now.

    FUNDING ISSUES: Also, while the IMB (International Mission Board) had to CUT missionaries and missions budgets last year due to budget shortfalls, NAMB still has a large RESERVE fund, and they are buying luxury properties with the funds instead of using the funds for church-plants.

    "NAMB spent over 250% more on church planting while cutting support for existing churches. Since 2010, the budgets for ministries that support existing churches was slashed 72%, they cut spending to help with evangelism by 65% and defunded all evangelism staff, including collegiate ministers, except for states in the South and the Northwest Convention.

    It could be claimed that NAMB had to cut those to provide for the spike in the church planting budget. However, NAMBs contributions received, expenses and administrative budget have remained flat, and their liabilities have dropped 50%. Their investments increased $100 Million since 2008, property assets increased $22 Million since 2013, and their reserves are up $200 million. That does not include the $35 Million in cash they received from selling church loans in 2014.

    Are we surprised baptisms are down 30%, when we slash support for existing churches?

    NAMB could fund support ministries they have cut if they wanted too. However they have instead chosen to bury it in assets and reserves."

    There are also issues of abuse of power and using funds to wield power rather than to serve. I've heard of NAMB offering assistance to local churches IF the local church turned over asserts to NAMB. With money comes power and NAMB appears to be using funds to create a little kingdom and gain more power rather than to serve.

    I am glad somebody is exposing this.

    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  2. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    Sad but not the least bit surprising.
  3. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    To put it further into perspective the International Mission Board overspent by 210 milion and kept getting further into debt and so had to slash 600-800 foreign missionaries (all who've spent years in training), and yet in the same time period NAMB built up a 230 million reserve of funds and bought a load of expensive properties in the USA.
  4. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Another impetus for church planting is the lack of church discipline (and related issues) in Southern Baptist churches. Many church planters would rather plant a church than have to deal with the problems in an existing church, whether it be unregenerate members or what might be termed obstructionism with regard to running the church.
  5. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)


    This is precisely the reason I heard 2 Southern Baptists mention. It is too hard to effect change in older churches which possess an oligarchy of the blue-haired old ladies that hen-peck new pastors to death and drive them away. They said the exact same thing, "Easier to start from scratch..." and "It is so hard to teach an old church new tricks..." is how one church-planter put it. And "It is easier to go where there is not all the baggage..."

    I can sympathize with that sentiment. But God does tell us to do hard things. Planting new churches and ignoring existing churches is the easy way out.
  6. ScottishPresbyterian

    ScottishPresbyterian Puritan Board Freshman

    Also, maybe the old church didn't need any new tricks.
  7. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    I have never been a member of an S.B.C. church, but aren't local assembles just as independent as most other Baptist churches? Are they under any sort of obligation to the Convention?
  8. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Technically you are correct, but there is also denominational identity and influence that play what some would consider to be an outsized role, although this seems to be diminishing.

    The stereotype in IFB world (at least as perceived by outsiders) is that the pastor is the "man of God" and some kind of dictator who is not to be questioned. A mentality that many old timers in the SBC have (generally this is smaller or medium size churches where a few families basically run things) is that the pastor is their employee who is to marry and bury them and should not do a whole lot of meddling otherwise with the way things have always been done. Yet he's also at fault if the church doesn't grow.

    If your question is in response to my mention of "obstructionism" I was referring to people in the congregation who were there before the pastor was thwarting what the pastor wants to do rather than elements outside of the congregation. But the latter can happen too. For example, a deacon or two or an influential person at a neighboring church finds out that the new pastor at another church is one of those nasty Calvinists or something else that isn't "Baptist." He then tells people at that church and the pastor ends up getting fired (or the church splits) when there didn't seem to be a problem prior to the outside meddling. The Director of Missions of the local association can be a meddler also. Some use him as a way of vetting ministerial candidates since they can't or won't do it themselves. Some have been known to put suspected Calvinist resumes in the circular file.

    "We sure like our new pastor." "But he's a _______." "Oh dear, we mustn't have that. He seemed like such a nice man."

    By contrast, the idea is that the people at a new church plant either aren't from a Baptist background to begin with or else are there because they have an affinity with whatever flavor of church plant it is, so it's less likely that there will be a problem, (not at the outset, anyway) or at least it won't play out as in the above scenario.

    But since new SBC plants typically take money from one convention or another (state, NAMB, etc.--why be SBC if you're going to totally go it alone?) then anti-Calvinists or anti-charismatics or anti-whatever niche the plant represents will sometimes complain that these aren't "real" SBC churches or whatever or that they have divided loyalty if any loyalty or identity at all, as in the case of the dually aligned Acts 29 churches that became an issue 10-15 years ago. In the latter case, it was probably as much about drinking and other manifestations of "cultural liberalism" as it was about Calvinism.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
  9. hammondjones

    hammondjones Puritan Board Sophomore

    I don't have a dog in this fight, nor can I comment, really, on it, though I'm sure that having lots of money (read: power) is usually a bad thing. It kind of reminds me of the criticism/fears of some of the real estate capital expenditures planned by some reformed churches in NYC.

    That said, in fairness, is it possible this source is a little one-sided?

    Not sure if anyone is saying this, but it sure makes a good straw man.

    Any investment would have massive gains since 2008, a convenient, cherry-picked date. Why not gains since 2007? - because then the argument wouldn't look so good.

    If they are selling loans they had on their books, it probably means they made the loans in the first place. That that is just an exchange from one asset type to another.
  10. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    I thought it was odd... in a small town near me, there are a lot of Southern Baptist churches. In fact, there are more members in the public numbers of these congregations combined than there are residents in the town. I think this is because they tend to pull members from surrounding towns as well.

    There is a new church plant in that town I saw without Baptist in the name, and they have on their website: "Church Plant of NAMB's "Send:Atlanta" emphasis". I have no idea why planting an "Anglo church" (as it is described on NAMB's website) in a rich, heavily Southern Baptist, suburb would be funded in this way.
  11. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    There is a lot of merit to that one.
  12. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    It doesn't take much to get counted on the rolls of some Baptist churches, and it can take significantly more effort to get off the rolls. Some folks may well be on the rolls of more than one church.
  13. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    NAMB has floundered for awhile, here is an article from 2006 that illustrates some of the ways churches fudge the numbers when reporting evangelism:

    "NAMB regularly claims that more than 5,300 North American missionaries are funded through the SBC's Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. A closer look shows only 2,942 are long-term missionaries funded by the offering. The remaining 2,422 — or 45 percent — are self-funded volunteers who serve through NAMB's Mission Service Corps.

    ...NAMB, on the other hand, removed the volunteer status, lowered the service requirement to only four months and commissioned them as full-fledged missionaries — which blurred the line of who's who in the headcount."

    A lot of missionary reporting is all smoke and mirrors and shell games. Just read reports about "church planting movements" overseas that claim hundreds of churches planted. I've been to some of these and they are not churches but prayer groups of Muslim women who still believe in Islam but merely pray in the name of the Prophet Isa.

    Here is another article:

    This article quickly summarizes the problem as follows:

    "Short-sighted Approaches — It appears that we are using tactics that produce quicker results, result in NAMB looking “cool” and successful but have long-term negative consequences."
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page