Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, says NAMB and the International Mission Board, have a “beautiful” partnership.
IMB President Paul Chitwood agreed. “It is a wonderful opportunity for us as Southern Baptists to come together, to work together to bring help and hope in Jesus’ name,” he said.
And that partnership shows up in two main places Southern Baptists can get involved in — Send Conferences and Send Relief.
Ezell announced during the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting June 14 that three more Send Conferences are in the works — for 2024, 2027 and 2030. In 2021 about 25,000 people came together for worship, preaching and learning about the missions work the Southern Baptist family does together.
“What we’ve found is that the Send Conference is a great opportunity to discover new church planters, new missionaries and to help our entire convention be focused on sending our people to the uttermost so people will come to know Christ,” Ezell said.
Chitwood said the conference is an amazing opportunity, but Southern Baptists have another they don’t have to wait two more years for. Send Relief, the compassion ministry arm of Southern Baptists, is at work every day.
“It’s a unique partnership between NAMB and IMB — it’s your compassion ministry at work in North America and to the ends of the earth,” he said.
Chitwood and Ezell said a crisis that hit close to home for both of them recently was the tornado that hit Mayfield, Kentucky, in December 2021.
“Paul and I pastored about eight miles from each other for several years in Kentucky,” Ezell said. “To see the devastation in Mayfield was quite alarming.”
But Bryant Wright, Send Relief president, said it was exciting to arrive in the devastated community and see people in yellow disaster relief shirts covering the area already.
“That happens time and time again in crisis,” he said.
Disaster response in Ukraine
That kind of response is also happening in Ukraine and the surrounding countries right now, Chitwood said.
“We’re so incredibly grateful for the outpouring of generosity from you and your churches to meet the needs of refugees both in Ukraine, as millions have been displaced inside the country, and outside of Ukraine and the surrounding countries where millions more have fled,” he said. “To date your giving has been overwhelming. We are right at $11.5 million for relief efforts in and around Ukraine.”
Wright said he’s thankful, too, that thousands of people who donated to Ukraine relief efforts were first-time givers to Send Relief.
And he’s amazed by the way churches in eastern Europe have put those funds and supplies to work ministering to refugees. Moldovan Baptist leaders say 80% of the first 300,000 Ukrainian refugees who came through their small country were ministered to by churches, Wright said. “Southern Baptists and other churches and Christians around the country, it is your gifts that have allowed us to give them the resources as they open up their churches.”
But what’s most exciting is how many people have come to Christ during this time of crisis, Wright said. “The gospel is central to this.”
View photos from this business session of the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting here.
To view other photos from the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention in Anaheim, click here.
For more stories from the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, visit thebaptistpaper.org/sbc2022.