The New NAMB: All Eggs in the Church Planting Basket

New NAMB President, Kevin Ezell, has made it clear that church planting will be the main priority of NAMB. Yesterday, he was quoted as saying:

“Today, we’ve got the potential of entering a golden age of church planting. The GCR (Great Commission Resurgence) and Southern Baptists made it very clear that they want us to be about church planting. Fifty percent of NAMB’s budget is to be for church planting. So we need to be building the greatest church planting network in the world. God has given us the resources. We will have the passion. But we must focus and get it done. We can be the greatest church planting network the world has ever seen — to God’s glory, not our own,” Ezell said.

I agree that church planting should be part of our strategy to make disciples for Christ, but should it be our only strategy? Should there be a more balanced approach including church planting and helping existing churches reach their communities? It appears that Ezell’s approach is to put all of NAMB’s eggs in the church planting basket.

No matter how much rhetoric Ezell and others spout about church planting, the fact is that the majority of SBC churches will never plant a new church. But, I believe, they will reach out to their neighbors if encouraged to do so and given training on how to do so.

Church planting is now and will remain the approach of a minority of SBC churches. Is it wise to give our money to an organization that caters to large church ideals and does not help the majority of SBC churches reach their communities for Christ? I am pondering that question right now. How it is answered will impact my church’s giving to the new NAMB.

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6 Responses to The New NAMB: All Eggs in the Church Planting Basket

  1. Dan says:

    The title of this post should be “The New NAMB: Half of the Eggs In the Church Planting Basket.” It’s hard to be more balanced than 50-50.

    BTW, I’m a regular reader who finds a lot of insight here. Sorry to only comment when I disagree with you.

  2. joe white says:

    Help me understand this line of thought.

    1) How does 50% equate to “put(ting) all of NAMB’s eggs in the church planting basket”?
    2) Why should NAMB have to encourage existing churches to “reach out to their neighbors” or “train” them to do so?
    3) Why do you “give” in the first place if you just expect to get it back?

    Count me as one who is excited about the change in leadership at NAMB, excited about the opportunity to penetrate the lostness of North America, and excited about giving mission money TO missions!

  3. Les,

    I am not as concerned with all the eggs in the church planting basket as I am with all the eggs in the large church basket. Kevin Ezell’s church, Highview Baptist in Louisville, supports seven church plants out of their church’s budget and missions giving. All seven of these are in major metropolitan areas with populations of over 500,000. Several of these church plants are “multi-staff” church plants that they are supporting with up to $1000 per week. Ezell told a recently called church planter (a member of Highview) that their church would not consider supporting him because the area where he will be planting a church only has a population of about 150,000. Too small for Highview.

    It seems to me that Highview is only interested in planting churches that look like Highview: multi-staff, urban, mega-churches. I hope that this is only Highview’s policy and not one that Ezell will carry over into NAMB.

    There are several western states that don’t even have a city with half a million people. In my state of Colorado we only have 2: Denver and Colorado Springs.

    That’s my concern. –Richard

  4. lesliepuryear says:


    If 50% of the budget goes to church planting, then nothing else will have much attention. The remaining 50% of the budget will go to administrative expenses.


    That makes one of us.


    Excellent point.

  5. Dan says:

    I’m not sure where you got the idea that half of NAMB’s budget is administrative. Currently their admin expenses are 12.08%. ( That still leaves 38% of the budget to do other things, although you can count me along with Joe as someone who wishes that even more would go to church planting.

  6. Tom Agnew says:

    A couple clarifications are in need here. First, church planting is not a “large church” initiative. In fact, most large churches I know and have served in don’t want to plant churches just start multi-campus initiatives. Second, I serve a 3 year old church plant of 200 people and we are planting in year four. Most of the guys I run with in the “minority” are small churches wanting to plant more church because (here is the kicker) churches are supposed to plant churches. Lastly, the only reason that church planting is in the minority in the SBC is because we have ignored it and put our resources to our own initiatives in the local church which is clearly seen in our effective Gospel witness over the past 15-20 years. The model suggested in this blog is a model that has been in place for years at NAMB and has rendered itself virtually ineffective in sustainable Gospel growth.

    By the way, I will be planting that church next year. The church is God’s mission and planting more churches means providing and growing the most effective missionary tool ever given.


    Sorry to be a little critical.

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