Valley Forge, Pa.-- At the semiannual meeting of the National Ministries' board of directors in Nov. 16, participants voted unanimously to adopt five strategic mission priorities to guide programs and ministries and measure American Baptist home mission effectiveness.
Executive Director Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III noted the priorities seek to answer the question, "What parameters can we use to measure the effect of our ministries with people so we can assure the best use of our human and financial resources?"
Developed by National Ministries' staff following a yearlong organizational study, the five strategic mission priorities are:
1. To plant disciple-making congregations at an exponentially growing rate to act as catalysts for community transformation, in support of the American Baptist NEW LIFE 2010 goals to start 1,010 new churches and reach 1,000,010 new disciples by the year 2010.
2. To renew and resource congregations and their leaders, in partnership with others, resulting in strong and healthy American Baptist churches.
3. To identify and resource new, emerging and growing people groups as primary ministry channels through which National Ministries facilitates the proclamation of the gospel, the starting of new churches, and ministering to persons of special need.
4. To facilitate evangelism, congregational transformation, new church planting and caring ministry partnerships and alliances with and among new and emerging people group congregations and "dominant culture" congregations for the furtherance of NEW LIFE 2010 and Encouraging Life in Christ goals.
5. To resource and deploy the staff of National Ministries effectively and efficiently according to mission priorities and goals so that "cooperative connections" are established, effectively communicated, and nurtured among partners in mission towards the realization of NEW LIFE 2010 and Encouraging Life in Christ goals.
Wright-Riggins said an "environmental scan" revealed that many American Baptist churches stand in need of renewal: "They need our help and we must give it to them." Despite limited budgets, the executive director said, "We remain committed to all of our churches-and to NEW LIFE 2010, church planting, evangelism, caring ministries and congregational transformation."
The Board members also unanimously adopted National Ministries' 2003 budget that includes a $35,404 deficit and a 7 percent reduction in expenses from 2002.
At Friday afternoon's plenary session, ABMen President Cody Pollington thanked National Ministries' board for supporting men's ministries and asked board members to remind local church and region participants that these ministries start at home.
Pollington said: "ABMen is the men at the local, grassroots level. It's time for men to recognize that ABMen needs to take ownership of its ministry. I do not believe it can work any other way."
Wright-Riggins said that National Ministries' goal is to help the group move toward becoming a self-supporting ministry.
Board President the Rev. Susan Maybeck reported on mission visits made by the board's executive committee to Fairport Baptist Home, a senior housing facility, and Cameron Community Ministry, a Neighborhood Action Program, in the Rochester, N.Y., area. Maybeck expressed that God is providing social service programs like these in American Baptist regions and local churches across the country. Even so, she reported, "It's not enough." She challenged members: "God has called us to do a ministry. We have to go hand-in-hand with God. We have to be responsible and we have to be hopeful. Do you see the vision? Do you see the ministry needs? Are we going to be about our God's business?"
The board also heard home mission highlights from Aundreia Alexander, Esq., director of Socially Responsible Investing and Ecology. Because 100 percent of National Ministries' Common Investment Fund is held in socially responsible investments, Alexander pointed out its income not only funds mission work but also provides a means to carry out mission. "Every dollar we have invested is socially responsible; it is doing mission every day," Alexander said. "Money speaks and ours speaks for social justice."
In addition, National Ministries uses shareholder activism to carry out its socially responsible investing mission. The current effort, said Alexander, focuses on the pharmaceutical industry and high drug costs, price constraints on HIV/AIDS/TB/malaria drugs in Africa and ethical practices in extending patents, which delay consumer access to cost effective medications. Future plans of this ministry include developing programs and workshops that will educate individuals and groups at the local church level about socially responsible investing.
By Pauline J.