Alaska Baptists overwhelmingly approved restoring their relationship with the North American Mission Board during the Alaska Baptist Resource Network annual meeting Sept. 27–28 in Juneau. Only three of the 100 registered messengers voted in opposition.
Alaska was one of six state conventions expressing concern over NAMB’s funding and strategy changes in August 2020, and it agreed to talks in early 2021. He predicted then that “cooperation doesn’t happen automatically,” adding that trust and “healthy and vibrant” relationships must be built, according to Baptist Press.
“If trust is broken or there is a lack of respect, it takes time and mutual commitment to rebuild trust,” Covington said in an email. “My prayer is that a cooperative spirit can be renewed.”
During the annual meeting business session, Randy Covington, executive director of the Alaska Baptist Resource Network, confirmed the discussions over the last year and a half have gone well and “our relationship with the North American Mission Board has been improving.”
With regard to funding, NAMB reportedly has committed to ABRN to make funds available in 2023 for requests related to church planting (potentially around $200,000 based on the number of church planters in the state) and evangelism strategies ($100,000). NAMB also provided ABRN $100,000 for evangelism strategies in 2022.
Covington also noted three mutually agreed upon strategic initiatives will be pursued:
- NAMB will recruit young students through the GenSend program to participate in projects across the state to be part of the work taking place in Alaska.
- NAMB and Alaska Baptists will intentionally look for ways to partner in replant and revitalization efforts.
- NAMB will assist Alaska Baptist church planting through residency programs with a goal of recruiting young men from Alaska to plant churches in the state.
“We are excited about the direction our relationship is going with the North American Mission Board,” Covington said.