NAMB Announces Key Leadership Changes

The North American Mission Board (NAMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention announced key leadership changes during the agency’s semiannual employee Spiritual Focus Day last Thursday. According to the agency, John Yarbrough, who served six years as NAMB’s evangelism vice president, is to move to the board’s strategic initiatives group as vice president while well-known Georgia pastor Dr. John Avant will be considered for the position of NAMB’s next vice president of evangelization when the board meets next month.

“As I looked at [Yarbrough’s] track record, his evangelistic zeal, leadership skills and denominational experience, I knew we needed his stability and strength in strategic initiatives,” NAMB President Robert E. (Bob) Reccord explained. “I also knew that John Yarbrough is the ultimate team player. He’s told me many times that he wants to serve wherever the organization needs him most, so I asked him to consider moving over to this new challenge. He came back and said, ‘If that’s where you need me, I’ll be there tomorrow’.”

“John Yarbrough has done a magnificent job leading [NAMB] to create the most cutting-edge, effective evangelism training materials available anywhere,” Reccord added. “In fact, last year, more than 1 million Southern Baptists learned how to share Christ using NAMB materials. We owe a tremendous debt to Dr. Yarbrough’s six years as NAMB’s first vice president of evangelization.”

In the new position—which was left vacant last year when longtime missions executive Mike Day retired—Yarbrough will have leadership responsibility for NAMB’s Strategic Focus Cities initiative, the associational strategies team and leadership development, areas that Reccord called “key to Southern Baptists’ success in reaching North America for Christ.”

Yarbrough, who joined NAMB in 1997, was a member of the SBC Executive Committee for eight years and served on the SBC’s Implementation Task Force for the Covenant for a New Century that restructured the denomination, including creation of NAMB. Yarbrough also was president of the Georgia Baptist Convention from 1994-96.

With Yarbrough serving as vice president of the board’s strategic initiatives group, Reccord said, “The challenge, then, was finding God’s man to fill John’s enormous shoes.”

“And God led me to Dr. John Avant, a wonderful brother, loved across our convention,” the NAMB head stated.

Reccord says Avant, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Ga., “has agreed to allow me to submit his name to our trustees for consideration as NAMB’s next vice president of evangelization when the board meets next month.”

Avant currently serves as a member of the SBC’s Empowering Kingdom Growth Task Force. He has served as a NAMB trustee and as adjunct professor at Criswell College and Oklahoma Baptist University as well as a teaching fellow at Southwestern Seminary. He has preached and led conferences across North America and around the world and is the author of several books.

During the semiannual meeting, Reccord also announced two other leadership additions to the NAMB staff. Former Phoenix director of missions William (Bill) Agee is the new director of NAMB’s associational strategy team and Michael Licona is director of the interfaith witness team.

[Source: Baptist Press]