N.C. leaders glad about RA partnership
    March 3 2011 by BR staff, BSC Communications and wire reports

    ALPHARETTA, Ga. — North American Mission Board (NAMB) leaders announced March 2 they plan to partner with Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) for day-to-day operations of the Royal Ambassadors (RA) missions education organization for boys in grades one through six.

    The announcement follows NAMB’s recent organizational restructuring made to support the entity’s “Send North America” strategy to assist Southern Baptists in reaching North America through mobilizing and equipping churches and missionaries for evangelistic church planting.

    A statement from Ruby Fulbright, executive director/treasurer of WMU-NC, expressed excitement over working with North Carolina Baptist Men with the RAs.

    “The women of WMU and especially of WMU-NC, have long cherished the obligation and privilege of educating boys and girls in missions involvement, support and learning,” said Fulbright.

    The first RA chapter (Carey Newton Chapter) was begun at First Baptist Church in Goldsboro.

    “We believe missions education is a key part of equipping churches for reaching North America — and the world — for Christ,” said Kevin Ezell, NAMB’s president. “This partnership means churches will continue to receive top-quality material and it allows us to utilize WMU’s expertise and singular focus in this area.”

    For more than a century, Southern Baptist boys have developed lifelong friendships through Royal Ambassadors, as they’ve learned what it means to become an on-mission Christian.

    NAMB will maintain its missions education ministry assignment, will continue to operate its Baptist Men’s ministry work and will maintain close ties with the development of Royal Ambassadors curriculum.

    Wanda Lee, national executive director and treasurer of WMU (Woman’s Missionary Union), noted that RAs began with WMU. “RAs was born out of our heart and our soul,” Lee said. “We gave it lovingly to the (SBC’s former) Brotherhood Commission. Now we welcome them back and pledge our support and partnership with both mission boards to continue the work as best we can.”

    By 1918, Southern Baptists had established 1,200 chapters. In 1957, responsibilities for RAs transferred to the Brotherhood Commission, which in 1997 became part of the newly formed North American Mission Board.

    Richard Brunson, N.C. Baptist Men executive director-treasurer, said he and his staff are also looking forward to National WMU producing missions education materials for RAs and Challengers groups.

    “Because of the excellence WMU has shown in missions education materials, we feel this will greatly strengthen existing RA and Challengers programs in our North Carolina churches,” he said. “This will make it much easier for churches to start or strengthen RAs and GAs because they will have coordinated missions curriculum and emphasis.” 

    In addition to a more coordinated missions emphasis, the transition allows churches to order all their children and youth missions education materials from a single source. Brunson said N.C. Baptist Men will continue offering all the statewide RAs and Challengers events, projects, trainings and camps they now provide.

    “North Carolina is one of the top states in the nation in Royal Ambassadors and Challengers programs with many dedicated leaders. N.C. Baptist Men, as we are called upon by churches to coordinate activities with both state and national WMU, is glad to work together for the purpose of missions education,” Brunson said. We have a very good relationship with WMU and we anticipate this giving us even more opportunities to work together to provide North Carolina churches with the best missions education possible for their children and youth.” 

    NAMB shared the intent to partner with WMU at the annual Missions Education Roundtable meeting, March 1-2 at NAMB’s office building in Alpharetta, Ga. Missions education coordinators from 28 Baptist state conventions attended the sessions and had opportunity to discuss the planned partnership. Lee and other WMU staff members from Birmingham, Ala., were on hand to answer questions and discuss the transition.

    Specifics of the partnership — which will also include the Challengers program for teenage boys — have yet to be determined.

    “The idea for this partnership came from our desire for RAs and Challengers to flourish,” said Mike Ebert, NAMB vice president of communications. “We looked across the state line in Alabama and saw some friends who can do it very well and are very well equipped to do it.”

    NAMB and WMU are working toward finalizing the partnership and related transitions in time for the September 2012 curriculum delivery.

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    3/3/2011 7:35:00 AM by BR staff, BSC Communications and wire reports | with 0 comments

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