In response to an inaccurate report on the progress of the North American Mission Board, 200 of its employees gathered for a "family chat" to be reassured and encouraged to stay on task.
"Keep your heads high, stay on task, pray a lot, and reflect Christ in everything you do," NAMB President Robert E. Reccord told the crowd on Wednesday.
A report by The Christian Index, a Georgia Baptist newspaper, examined the mission agency's areas of evangelism, church planting and missionary appointment since 1997, citing programs that had not fared well, including the What Now? evangelism campaign, and excluding the organization's "bright spots," according to NAMB.
The mission arm of the Southern Baptist Convention expressed extreme disappointment in a released statement, clarifying the inaccuracies and innuendoes including the number of church planting efforts.
"We admit we're not perfect," said a response statement. "We freely admitted our mistakes during the two-hour interview mistakes that we have learned from. But there are incredible stories and statistics showing Gods great work in North American missions though the writer deemed none of them worthy of focus in a 4,500-word article."
While the report asserted such efforts of NAMB to be "less than stellar," the mission agency released numbers saying it has averaged 277 more church plants per year than in the eight years prior to NAMB's existence.
"Five of the last eight years of church planting represent our highest years in the history of the Convention," the response statement said.
In an hour-long session this week, Reccord addressed the critical report and announced specific actions to ensure that NAMB and its leadership are and remain above reproach.
A task force of trustees was appointed and began work this week to review all the issues raised in the Christian Index article. The issues will also be audited by Capin Crouse to come out with a detailed report of the findings. Reccord has also called for a special meeting of the full board of trustees on Mar. 23 to review and discuss the findings of both the task force and the audit.
"Dr. Reccord and I want you to take the high road and God will lead us through this. We pray that God will use this situation to make NAMB and our churches even better and stronger," said Chuck Allen, NAMB's chief operating officer, in a released statement. "We want all of you to continue your focus on assisting our churches with evangelism, church planting and reaching North America for Christ."
The North American Mission Board is the domestic missions agency of the Southern Baptist Convention that focuses on sharing Christ, starting churches, volunteering in missions, sending missionaries, impacting the culture and equipping leaders.