The International Mission Board (IMB) and North American Mission Board (NAMB) are forming a partnership under the Send Relief umbrella.
“This will be an easier way for Southern Baptists to do what Southern Baptists do — love the hurting, help the hurting and share the gospel,” said IMB President Paul Chitwood, who signed the partnership agreement a few hours prior to the Feb. 18 announcement.
The work previously done by Baptist Global Response also will be part of the new Send Relief effort.
While associational level and state convention level disaster relief efforts — branded as Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (sbdr.org) — have had a somewhat strained relationship with Send Relief’s disaster response efforts, Chitwood and Ezell said they consider SBDR as partners. Chitwood said SBDR will be included in the partnership through grants and seats on the Send Relief advisory committee.
“Southern Baptists are generous people … but our systems can be very complex and hard to engage,” he said.
NAMB President Kevin Ezell added, “One name, but they (IMB) do what they do and we (NAMB) do what we do while branded under one name.
“We are extremely excited — one mission, one focus, one website, sendrelief.org.”
With the new partnership also comes a public relations and fundraising role (president) to serve as the face of Send Relief.
The Send Relief president will be announced March 2 and will report directly to Chitwood and Ezell. Two vice presidents will serve under the Send Relief president, one representing the national work and one representing the global work.
Picture the structure like a bow tie, Ezell said. “The Send Relief president is the knot while Paul is at the top of one corner and I’m at the top of the other corner, and the vice presidents are at the bottom corners under their specific areas.”
Funding for the position will be split 50–50 between IMB and NAMB.
“The ultimate purpose is simplicity,” Ezell added. “We want every SBC church to do compassion ministry locally, nationally and internationally.” (Jennifer Rash)