The North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) Send Relief compassion ministry officially launches at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Annual Meeting, June 11-15, in St. Louis. The celebration includes the unveiling of two mobile medical and dental units purchased by NAMB to provide aid to underserved communities across North America. The units will be used during multiple outreach events taking place across St. Louis June 11-12, including during a block party Saturday, June 11, at First Baptist Church Ferguson. The units also will be on display at the organization’s annual Send Luncheon on Monday, June 13, at noon.
“Southern Baptists have a long history of meeting needs,” said NAMB president Kevin Ezell. “The mobile medical units, Backpacks of Hope, and partnerships with other organizations have the potential to help even more become involved. Imagine 45,000 Southern Baptist churches equipped, resourced and mobilized to engage and meet needs in their communities and across North America.”
NAMB is partnering with First Baptist Church Ferguson to host a neighborhood block party on Saturday, June 11, where it will provide free dental services, distribute and install fire alarms in partnership with the American Red Cross, and supply Backpacks of Hope and food through Children’s Hunger Fund and the Ferguson-Florissant School District. Festivities and entertainment are open to the public. The free Send Luncheon takes place during the SBC Pastors’ Conference and invites pastors to learn about the new ministry, see the units and fellowship with one another at The Dome at America’s Center.
The two mobile clinics NAMB has purchased are fitted with state-of-the-art equipment and can be utilized by medical and dental professionals as part of outreach and service events for underserved communities. The units will be used as part of NAMB’s ongoing Send Relief ministry and will be available to churches, associations, state conventions and other Southern Baptist entities that want to use them as part of their own ministry events.
“One of the most exciting aspects of launching Send Relief to me is how the Lord might use this to unite us as Southern Baptists around some of these common causes in such a way that we’ve never been united before—ultimately for the sake of proclaiming the gospel,” said David Melber, NAMB Vice President of Send Relief.
These growing missional opportunities encompass expanded ministries including hunger, international learning centers for immigrants, inner-city construction, adoption and foster care for children, evangelism initiatives, combatting human trafficking, hunger and poverty, and more.
“Send Relief provides the opportunity for people to be on mission that aligns with their faith,” said Melber. “That means seeing needs and taking action to meet those needs in whatever area that might be. We at the North American Mission Board want to see this take root at the local church level by partnering with and providing opportunities through organizations and initiatives that are engaging the local community, producing measurable results and making legitimate the church in the community.”
Southern Baptists have a strong reputation for serving in the midst of disaster, with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief being one of the top three largest disaster relief agencies in the nation. Send Relief will apply the excellent structures already in place to provide similar relief in the areas of hunger, for underserved children, refugees and fighting human trafficking. NAMB’s Disaster Relief team is included in the Send Relief ministry and will continue to have its own director. NAMB will continue to coordinate national, multi-state disaster relief responses.
Church leaders can explore more about how Send Relief can assist their churches in discovering its next missional opportunity at www.namb.net/sendrelief.