Al Gilbert leaves Calvary for NAMB post
    August 12 2011 by From staff and wire reports

    Al Gilbert announced today that he is leaving Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, which he has led as senior pastor since 2002.

    “Calvary is a special place and it has been a great honor to serve God with you,” Gilbert said in a letter to church members. “You have loved and encouraged us and will always have a special place in our hearts. This has been a very difficult decision for us, but we have seen God’s hand opening a door for ministry.”

    Gilbert will start at the North American Mission Board (NAMB) in mid-September as executive director of Love Loud, the ministry evangelism arm of NAMB.

    Gilbert explained to his church members that his wife’s parents have been in declining health. KK’s mom fell and broke a hip before Thanksgiving 2010, and she has been in Atlanta a great deal since the incident.

    “We have continuously cried out to God for wisdom and direction,” he wrote. “While praying over how to meet KK’s parents’ needs, I realized God is leading us to a place where KK can care for her parents and I can continue to influence the people of God to be on mission.”

    Al Gilbert will start in mid-September as NAMB’s executive director of Love Loud.

    Gilbert compared his new assignment to a similar ministry at Calvary. Love Winston-Salem is a year-round attempt to partner with schools, recreation centers and Christian ministries. He said there will be an emphasis throughout all regions to find ways to reach neglected neighborhoods with evangelism, compassion and missions.

    NAMB’s Executive Committee approved Gilbert Aug. 9, and the Board of Directors was informed via email today. Gilbert met with the church’s staff and deacons before mailing a letter to church members.

    Calvary’s deacons already have started the process to find the church’s next spiritual leader. Gilbert said an update would be given at the church’s Aug. 31 multi-campus celebration.

    Currently Gilbert is on his second term on the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Executive Committee. Before coming to Calvary, Gilbert served as special assistant to the president of the International Mission Board.

    Gilbert, a Georgia native, has led Calvary to be a top giver to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. In the last four years Calvary, along with Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, have collectively given $4 million to the offering.

    A recent Baptist Press story reported that Calvary gave $513,679 last year.

    “For over 40 years, we’ve been sending short-term teams to the field,” said Steve Hardy, associate missions pastor at Calvary. “As our folks go to the field, they see the effects that Lottie Moon giving has in the ability of our missionaries to do what they’re called to do. When our people give, they know why they’re giving. They see the direct results of it.”

    That missions mindset is what attracted attention to Gilbert for this position.

    “Al Gilbert brings high energy and real passion for taking the gospel to the world,” said Larry Wynn, NAMB vice president for evangelism and leadership development. “He is a leader in SBC life and a practitioner of loving people to faith in Christ.”

    Wynn said it was Gilbert’s intentional approach to ministry evangelism that convinced him and NAMB president Kevin Ezell that Gilbert was the obvious choice to give direction to Love Loud.

    “When I came to NAMB, Kevin and I started talking about ministry evangelism. The SBC had conducted a Love Loud initiative, and we thought through what that might look like as an expansion of ministry evangelism,” said Wynn. “You know you can do ministry, and then you can do ministry evangelism. Southern Baptists are good at building bridges, but we don’t always bring the gospel across the bridge. We want to make sure we are offering hope with the help. Meeting people’s needs in life events like crises medical situations, crises pregnancy, or adoption opens the door, but when we offer help in those situations we also need to share hope in Christ. We need to make sure we do both.

    “We started looking for a practitioner who could help lead Love Loud, and Al was a natural choice. He has been a pastor, a church planter, a leader in the SBC, and served with the International Mission Board. He was the perfect fit for us to lead the team that Kevin has put together. His leadership of Love Loud, both in evangelistic church plants and with growing the ministry evangelism efforts of existing churches, will bring true vitality to the work.”

    Love Loud will include many areas of ministry those familiar with evangelism efforts through NAMB would recognize including medical and dental work, crisis pregnancy, hunger, and Campers On Mission, among others. Love Loud will also embrace new work including adoption and foster care ministries.

    “As we dream into the future we may see God lead us into other areas of ministry evangelism,” said Wynn. “This is certainly not an exhaustive list. For instance, you may see elements of Love Loud as part of Crossover efforts, particularly in a city like New Orleans that still has so many needs. You will also see elements of Love Loud in our church planting efforts. The thought is not original with me, but church planting is not just about growing a church, it is about loving a city. Love Loud will help church plants and existing churches connect with their cities. It would be fair to say that Love Loud is an expansion of ministry evangelism. We will look to do more than we have ever done in helping churches love people to Jesus.”

    The Gilberts have four children and 11 grandchildren.    
    8/12/2011 7:52:00 AM by From staff and wire reports | with 0 comments

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