The Billy Graham Center partners with the North American Mission Board.

For nearly 40 years the Billy Graham Center (BGC) at Wheaton College has served as a hub of mission and evangelism training and inspiration. Rev. Billy Graham sought to develop a Center for strategic planning, inspiration, and preparation of leaders to fuel the evangelism mission of the Church in the world.

Today, the BGC uniquely blends practical missions with academic rigor to empower Christian leaders in nearly every sector of society to lead with the gospel in all they do. In addition to recently launching the Evangelism Leaders Fellowship (ELF) for denominational and network missions leaders and the Rural Matters Institute for pastors and leaders serving in rural settings, the BGC is partnering to launch the SEND Institute, a think-tank on church planting.

Needless to say, I’ve cared about church planting for a long time. But, over time, roles change. I’ve planted churches, and I’m thankful for that, but now I think we need a place for church planting thought leadership, serving all kinds of gospel-focused groups, to help church planting move to a new level of effectiveness in mission.

When I transitioned to my role as the Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center last year, one of the first meetings I had was with Kevin Ezell and Jeff Christopherson of the North American Mission Board (NAMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention.

NAMB has recently retooled and refocused on church planting. They have, in my view, put a much needed greater focus on church planting, and decided to be the best-in-class in what they do—primarily church planting now.

And they have done that. In my view, NAMB is now leading the way in North American church planting.

So I flew down to see Kevin and Jeff and told them that …

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