Home Christian News SBC’s NAMB Clarifies ‘Only Qualified Men’ Can Preach at Their Church Plants

SBC’s NAMB Clarifies ‘Only Qualified Men’ Can Preach at Their Church Plants

Photo courtesy of Baptist Press.

The Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) North American Mission Board (NAMB) released a statement last Thursday, October 14, 2021, clarifying its stance on women in church leadership.

NAMB is the SBC’s domestic church-planting and revitalization organization. In 2020, NAMB planted over 550 new churches and reported 3,057 domestic missionaries under its care.

SBC’s Baptist Faith and Message

The SBC’s Baptist Faith and Message 2000 is a statement of “faith and message to set forth certain teachings which we believe” and details the SBC’s stance on women in church leadership.

Article VI of the statement says, “[The church’s] scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”

NAMB Issues Statement

In the statement released last Thursday, NAMB said that it serves the SBC churches and “seeks to fulfill its mission in fidelity to the statement of faith adopted by the Convention, The Baptist Faith and Message.” Therefore, NAMB is committed to “endorse” and “fund church planters” who align with that faith and message.

“We recognize there are differing views on how best to interpret and apply Article VI of The Baptist Faith and Message, which affirms the truth that ‘both men and women are gifted for service in the church’ and that ‘the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture,'” the statement says. “We will continue to partner with and assist any cooperating churches.”

Clarifying its position, NAMB explained, “We believe it best, however, to reserve endorsement and funding for planters who are willing to reflect the practice of most Southern Baptists in this issue.”

“The challenge of church planting is as tough as it has ever been. The divisiveness we see in the media every day, the lingering impacts of the global pandemic and an increasing secularized world are all reminders of why taking the Gospel to every city and town is so important.” – Kevin Ezell, NAMB PRESIDENT

Defining what “the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture” means, the statement said, “NAMB also requires that endorsed planters align with the practice of the majority of Southern Baptist churches—that only qualified men will hold the office or title of ‘pastor/elder/bishop/overseer’ and, as such, serve as the communicator for teaching and preaching in their main gatherings or worship services.”

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NAMB president Kevin Ezell told Baptist Press last week, “We are always walking with planters through the challenges of their missionary work and clarifying our guidance as they seek to serve God as He has called them. NAMB reaffirmed again this week that we always have and always will only endorse biblically qualified men as pastors, fulfilling those responsibilities unique to that of a pastor.”