ABHMS announces ‘God-sized’ vision at board meeting
VALLEY FORGE, PA (11/18/16)—At the biannual meeting of its board of directors Monday through Wednesday, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) introduced a new mission strategy that will enable the organization to relate to a larger number of partners and increase mission engagement across the southern part of the United States.
The new strategy—“Connect. Cultivate. Change.”—will focus on:
- increasing the capacity of American Baptists to impact U.S. society;
- forecasting and influencing trends impacting Christian leaders; and
- publishing and promoting high-quality resources.
In his remarks, Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Haggray pointed out that the American Baptist Home Mission Society set out in 1832 to advance the goal of Christian mission across America, and the United States and Puerto Rico are still major mission fields today. “We are highly energized to reclaim our historic mission passion,” he said, adding that ABHMS seeks “a God-sized vision,” as the world gets smaller.
As ABHMS continues working to cultivate leaders, equip disciples and heal communities, the new strategy recognizes today’s challenge of transmitting Christian values to emerging generations in the face of declining church attendance. Within this challenge, ABHMS finds opportunity to lead the way in convening and connecting mission-minded partners through aligned action networks that will collaborate to share strategies and resources to maximize their mission impact. Haggray said ABHMS will launch this strategy in 2017.
The presentation of “Connect. Cultivate. Change” was made by members of the strategy development team: Maria Aguilar, the Rev. Lisa Harris-Lee, Gina Haas, Joshua Kagi, the Rev. Florence Li, the Rev. Salvador Orellana and Sarah Strosahl-Kagi. Additional team members are Derrick Gilbert, the Rev. Dr. Jeff Johnson and the Rev. Kristy Moeller.
President Dr. Clifford Johnson, who noted the one-year anniversary of Haggray’s call to ABHMS in his remarks, said, “It is most exciting to see staff and board engaged and see the results that are taking place.”
In other business, the Rev. Dr. Eddie Cruz, associate executive director of Mission Advancement, announced the America for Christ Offering 2017 theme—“Cultivating Leaders”—undergirded by Luke 4:18-19: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Offering materials should be received in churches in December.
Certificates recognizing notable giving among board member churches were presented to the Rev. Lauren Ng, First Chinese Baptist Church, San Francisco, for the highest giving; the Rev. K. Scott Robertson, Mill Creek Baptist Church, Millcreek, Ind., for the largest year-to-year increased giving; and Antonio Lombardi, Norwood Baptist Church, Warwick, R.I., for the highest per-capita giving.
The board affirmed calling three new directors: Sanetta Ponton, First Baptist Church, Englewood, N.J.; Lacey Alford, Wheat Street Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga.; and Xyomara Medina Ramos, Primera Iglesia Bautista de Castañer, Puerto Rico.
In opening devotions, the Rev. Miriam Mendez reminded fellow ABHMS directors of Psalm 62:1-2: “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken.” Mendez assured those gathered, “We will never be shaken because we serve a God who lives forever.”
American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists in answering God’s call to promote Christian faith across the United States and Puerto Rico to cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and heal and transform communities, by developing aligned action networks and programs.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.