IMB, NAMB Celebrate Missionaries and Their Sending Churches at 2015 Southern Baptist Convention

Kevin Ezell, left, president of the North American Mission Board, and David Platt, president of the International Mission Board end a joint Church and Mission Sending Celebration by recognizing missionaries with a standing ovation at the June 17 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. Photo by John Swain/NAMB
Kevin Ezell, left, president of the North American Mission Board, and David Platt, president of the International Mission Board end a joint Church and Mission Sending Celebration by recognizing missionaries with a standing ovation at the June 17 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. Photo by John Swain/NAMB

In a darkened convention center hall filled with Southern Baptist messengers, individual pinpoints of light illuminated the darkness. Moments earlier, in passionate pleas, IMB President David Platt and NAMB President Kevin Ezell urged Southern Baptist messengers not to be cold toward the vast lostness in the world, but to join in God’s global mission as church planters, missionaries and sending churches to take the light of the Gospel to a dark world.


IMB and NAMB partnered together in a Church and Mission Sending Celebration to recognize 59 missionaries and their sending churches during the final day of the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, June 17, in Columbus, Ohio.

“The stakes are too high, the Gospel is too good for us to settle for incremental increases in Southern Baptist church planters and missionaries,” Platt said in his message. “We need to open the door for tens of thousands more people to engage the nations with the Gospel.

“Wouldn’t you want that to be our legacy?” Platt asked. “Don’t we cry out for God to bring a Moravian-type missions movement among us so that our legacy might be a convention of churches who send thousands, tens of thousands of God-exalting, Christ-following, Spirit-led, biblically faithful, people-loving, high-quality missionaries and church planters across North America and the nations for the sake of God’s fame?”

Light of the World

The Sending Celebration symbolically celebrated commissioning the new missionaries and church planters to share Jesus as the Light of the World (John 8:12). Christian band Shane & Shane led the audience in worship.

Of the 59 missionaries and church planters highlighted, 27 will serve in North America in the Northeast, South, Midwest, West and Canada, while 32 will serve overseas in East, Central and South Asia; North Africa and the Middle East; Europe; Sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas.

Stationed throughout the crowd, missionary families and representatives of their sending churches stood with an open lighted “book” illuminating their faces, while information about the missionaries and their work was displayed.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Laura Fielding