At Ebenezer Baptist Church, where I serve, various ministry groups visit and we often take up special offerings for them.  Many times we would find out months later that some members continued to send money to that particular ministry, designating it through the church.  But we eventually took a stand and set a policy that the church would only forward funds to outside ministries specifically approved by the whole body and we asked individuals to send contributions to their special interest ministries directly and without the imprimatur of the congregation.

We felt it was inappropriate to tie the church to a ministry without the consensus support of the entire membership.

Now Southern Baptists have learned that the North American Mission Board is not using this same type of discretion in the distribution of church planting funds Southern Baptists have contributed through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.

At the outset, I want to express my support of NAMB in general, and I want to state up front that I am a proponent of cooperative ministries including church planting.  Also, I am not writing to slam NAMB’s**** reorganization in face of the Great Commission Task Force recommendations that were approved by the messengers who attended the SBC annual meeting this past year in Orlando.

I would add that I have some hesitation in expressing my concerns because of my strong past support of Annie Armstrong.

At every church I have served I have done everything I can to challenge each one to take a step of faith in setting a goal for this special missions offering.  Even when previous controversies enveloped NAMB, I still challenged my church to give to Annie Armstrong.

However, I need to express caution about what is taking place now with NAMB in terms of its use of at least part of Southern Baptists’ home missions offering to support the controversial Acts 29 church planting network.

In a photo accompanying a NAMB article published in Baptist Press, church planter Jan Vezikov is described as “one of hundreds of North American Mission Board missionary church planters starting new churches across North America.”  Unfortunately, two of the churches identified with him, Grace Church Boston and Russian Church Boston are Acts 29 churches, and not what most Southern Baptists would consider as churches in “friendly cooperation with the Convention and sympathetic with its purposes and work.”

Acts 29 is controversial not just because of the vulgarity and over-the-edge biblical interpretations by its co-founder Mark Driscoll, or because of its active promotion of alcohol consumption.  But it is controversial to Southern Baptists because the network has conditions for membership that exclude any role for more than 90 percent of Southern Baptists – other than to give it money.  Acts 29 membership calls for members to adhere exclusively to Reformed theology (Calvinism), and the network expresses a desire for a new church plant ecclesiology to be an elder-rule form of governance (a corporate board type of control that excludes the New Testament congregational form of how most SBC churches self-govern).

On top of that, Acts 29 calls for churches within its network to contribute 1 percent of church collections to the Acts 29 foundation and another 9 percent to start other Acts 29 (Reformed-only) churches – which means money contributed to Annie Armstrong by Southern Baptists expecting it to be used to establish Southern Baptist churches is actually being siphoned off and redirected to create a “competing” type of denomination. That is, unless the denominational responsibility these Acts 29 churches may also have calls for them to contribute a portion back to the denomination.  To my knowledge NAMB does not require a church plant to ‘contribute back’ any portion of the funds they receive.

Some SBC leaders point to these church planters as “young leaders” vital to the SBC’s future; however, it is clear that these Reformed-only-minded church planters are much more committed to being Calvinists/Acts 29 members than being Southern Baptists.  Moreover, Southern Baptists have been kept unaware of this de facto redirection of designated funds.

To be fair, Dr. Kevin Ezell, president of NAMB, said in a sit-down with Dr. Al Mohler that as a pastor he had disengaged from the SBC and he “was sorry” he did.  He offered that one result of this disengagement was a greatly increased learning curve for him.  On his behalf, NAMB’s communication office said he was unaware of any Acts 29 connection with the church planter profiled in NAMB’s photo.

Moreover, earlier this year he stated there were no organizational ties between his entity and Acts 29.  According to this report, during questions-and-answers at SWBTS, “When asked about NAMB’s connection with the Acts 29 Network, Ezell told the faculty that NAMB has no formal relationship with the church-planting organization.”

However, Dr. Ezell is relatively new to NAMB and still learning the intricacies of his organization and Acts 29.  In an interview with The Georgia Index Editor Gerald Harris the following exchange was reported:

 “Q: I believe I read that one of the seven churches you helped start was a part of the Acts 29 Network of churches. Do you expect to partner with the Acts 29 Network in your church planting movement? I understand they are targeting Georgia for their church planting efforts. How do you feel about that?

A: The Acts 29 Network doesn’t plant churches. I think you have to be in existence for a year and show certain credentials in order to qualify as an Acts 29 church. That is why their success rate is so high because it is like joining the Willow Creek Association. The church that we planted that became a part of the Acts 29 Network only did that recently and the pastor made that decision on his own.

Our missions pastor checks on our church planters monthly and the pastor of this church never mentioned that he had become a part of the Acts 29 Network, and we are correcting that. I have no plans to partner with the Acts 29 Network to plant churches.”

NOTE: For the record, the Acts 29 Network does plant churches through its member churches. Here is a web page listing new Acts 29 churches,  an interview with “their” church planter, Jan Vezikov, and the Acts 29 covenant requiring member churches to plant network churches.

So, maybe he and NAMB didn’t know about the Acts 29 affiliations when they agreed to fund these particular Acts 29 churches.

But they know now, and so do Southern Baptists.

Their doctrinal beliefs, form of governance and how they use church planting funds are being dictated by their membership in the Acts 29 Network.  Southern Baptists are not the major influence (other than funding) and it’s not likely SBC causes and beliefs will be promoted except as they fit with Acts 29 aims and purposes.

Moreover, because gifts from the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and the Cooperative Program are going to Acts 29 churches – churches that are required by Acts 29 to spend 10 percent of their funds to the work of the Acts 29 network – this convenient dual alignment type of arrangement benefits Acts 29 at the expense of Southern Baptists.

I urge Dr. Ezell to re-think his conclusion that NAMB***** has no formal relationship with the Acts 29 Network.  Although the absence of a “signed agreement” might make his statement technically true, the facts of the matter show there is at least a practical relationship that allows Acts 29 church planters access to Southern Baptists’ money.

Moreover, there are questions that beg answers from him and others regarding the safeguarding of Southern Baptists’ collective church planting funds:

— What other Acts 29 church planters receive Annie Armstrong funds?

— Do church planting agreements with state conventions clearly state conditions that prevent Southern Baptist resources from being used to start or support churches whose form and function are dictated by the Acts 29 Network  (i.e. are only church plants with an authentic relationship of “friendly cooperation” with the Southern Baptist Convention being supported)?

— Messengers in Orlando voted to allow the International Mission Board to target language groups in the U.S.  Does the IMB have safeguards in place to prevent usurpation of Southern Baptists’ designated and cooperative gifts from benefiting the Acts 29 Network?

— Do those who, leading up to the vote on the Great Commission Task Force recommendations, dismissed concerns about Acts 29 church planting ties as a “myth” now owe Southern Baptists at the least an explanation if not an apology?  Dr. Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Seminary, and Dr. Ronnie Floyd, chairman of the Great Commission Task Force, and pastor of Cross Church (formerly First Baptist Church in Springdale. Arkansas) both took pains to rebuke the notion that there was any move to align Southern Baptists with the Acts 29 Network.  Now, two members of the former task force seem to express a different take on the issue.  Akin told Christianity Today, “we” have “no intention of emulating” Acts 29 and Redeemer Presbyterian Church (Tim Keller) “at every point” but that “we” are looking at them.  In the same article, Dr. Al Mohler stated more emphatically, “When you’re looking for theologically vibrant, healthy models that lead to growing churches, where else are you going to look [than at Acts 29 and Redeemer Presbyterian Church]?”

Let me conclude that I encourage Pastor Jan Vezikov to follow his call from God with all his heart.  He has chosen a tough cultural area in which to serve and I do not want to discourage him as he has every right to find funds where he can.  Because of his fellowship and partnerships I consider him an Acts 29 church planter and not a Southern Baptist one. If he desires to be a Southern Baptist church planter he would need to break all ties with other church planting networks other than those solely committed to the Southern Baptist Convention.   I also want to express support to Dr. Ezell for his strong focus on church planting — and I also ask him to seriously consider my concerns.

When my church commits to give through the Cooperative Program or a special offering, we expect that money to be used for the Southern Baptist causes we intended.  If our congregation wanted to partner with Acts 29 it would have explicitly done so.  The funds Ebenezer Baptist sends through the Cooperative Program are to be used for specific reasons: planting Southern Baptist churches, enabling efforts of Southern Baptist missionaries, and furthering the theology of Southern Baptists.  When I lead my church to give sacrificially above their tithes to Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong, I expect that money to pay the salaries of Southern Baptist missionaries and church planters, and also fund SBC ministry needs on the mission field.  We do not expect any portion of those funds to go to those who are working for another denomination or serving a non-SBC related church planting network.  If we wanted to support them, we would send our money directly and not bother going through Southern Baptist Convention channels.

****I contacted Dr. Kevin Ezell with the following questions: Are you defining “formal relationship” as a signed agreement with Acts 29? As it appears the answer to that question is, yes, the follow-up question is simple.  Does NAMB jointly fund any other church planters that are receiving church planting funds from Acts 29 churches? If the answer to that question is, yes, then I do have one follow-up question. Do you not consider that as a “formal relationship?”  Mike Ebert, VP of Communications contacted me at Dr. Ezell’s request.  Because of our email correspondence and cordial phone conversations I allowed him to examine the article concerning any inconsistencies or mis-representations before I posted this article.  In addition, according to the position of NAMB they will not allow a church planter to solicit funds from another denomination and remain as a church planter with the SBC.  However, despite the obvious tensions NAMB does not classify Acts 29 as a “denomination.”

*****Please see, VP of Communication at NAMB, Mike Ebert’s response to my article here.  I sent him a rough draft of a final edition on Wednesday AM and in the email I expressed that the article would be released on Thursday.  He did respond that he had meetings and appreciated my openness in sending him the article.  I did not hear back from him so I ran the article with the footnote. I have not implied in any way that Mike Ebert approved of the article.  I have implied there were no factual errors, mis-representations, or inconsistencies.  He feels there is a mis-representation which there is not, so we will agree to disagree.  The fact remains NAMB has accentuated a Church Planter that is clearly tied to the Acts 29 Network and receiving funds from Annie Armstrong.

  1. Rick Patrick says:

    Acts 29 is a denomination. Of course, they will not define themselves that way. Neither did the CBF. But that is what they are.

    Your excellent article is a wake up call for Southern Baptists. While I am less than certain about narrowing NAMB’s focus so strictly to church planting, it seems to me that if we ARE going to do so, it would be very nice indeed if the churches we planted actually belonged to our denomination, rather than using our funds to plant churches of another denomination.

  2. Mike Ebert says:


    I enjoyed our conversation the other day and appreciated your taking the time to speak with me. I’m sorry I did not have a chance to look at the article before you posted. I would appreciate your removing the implication that I gave your post my stamp of approval, because I disagree with the premise of the article completely. Your approach is just the opposite of what I repeated on the phone a half dozen times—you call Jan’s church and Acts 29 Church, we say it’s a Southern Baptist Church.

    NAMB plants Southern Baptist Churches. We don’t plant any other kind. When we spoke by phone the other day, I repeated over and over again that when a planter is recommended by our staff and approved by our trustees, we are convinced they will lead their church, preach the Word of God and conduct themselves in a manner consistent with Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as well as SBC doctrine and practices. We also expect they will meet our requirements to lead a church that has an evangelistic heart to reach its surrounding community. NAMB, along with the state convention partner, supervises our planters and if they aren’t conducting their ministry consistent with our requirements and expectations, we take action. We have removed planters from their churches in the past and will in the future if we need to. Not including language like that in your post leaves a big gap and implies that NAMB is not doing its job in this area.

    As I mentioned by phone, we don’t give our planters a list of people or organizations with whom they cannot associate. So we don’t know where other funding comes from. Our concern is that they are planting their church and conducting their ministry in a way consistent with Baptist Faith and Message 2000, SBC doctrine and NAMB policies and expectations.

    Also, you’re making a lot of assumptions about what Jan’s church is giving and how they are participating with Acts 29. I don’t know if that’s accurate or not. Did you contact him?

    Our plants are expected to give to the Cooperative Program and other SBC offerings. The amount varies by state convention.

    Also, if you’re going to mention alcohol, wouldn’t it be fair to mention that NAMB forbids its planters from consuming it? We talked about that on the phone, but you didn’t mention it here.

    So again, I would kindly ask that you please remove the language implying that I approve of the post. I disagree with the entire premise because I think it’s inaccurate–NAMB plants only Southern Baptist churches.

    In closing, please don’t take my reply as adversarial. I enjoyed our friendly conversation the other day and I appreciate you as a pastor, writer and fellow SBC and Christian brother who wants to make a different for Christ in this world. We obviously see this issue very differently, so I am grateful to you for giving me the opportunity to share NAMB’s perspective.

  3. William says:

    I think it’s fair to ask questions, Tim. And I think NAMB is to be commended for speaking with you and answering your questions.

    You raised a legitimate question. Mike Ebert answered it and don’t you owe it to him to edit your article to be consistent with his comment? Not all of your readers will read the comments.

    And it looks like you are parsing Ezell’s statements that NAMB has no “formal relationship” with them (or, as he said elsewhere, “I have no plans to partner with the Acts 29 Network.”) and while I commend you for raising the question, I think your implications are premature.

    Ebert didn’t say it but I’d almost guarrantee that the Annie Armstrong promotional piece that featured Southeastern grad Jan Vezikov was prepared some time ago. I’d also almost guarantee that such articles that come from NAMB’s publicity department will have more diligent vetting in the future with respect to Acts 29 .

    The Acts 29 business is just one of dozens of prickly issues that Kevin Ezell has to face. I see nothing to lead me to conclude that he is doing anything other than facing these head-on and with transparency towards SBC constituents. I probably will not favor all of the changes at NAMB but one change I do favor is NAMB being open and transparent with us. Best I can see, they are doing much better at this.

  4. Rick Patrick says:

    Evidently NAMB is planting Acts 29 churches while calling them SBC churches as long as they meet the minimum standard of BFM 2000.

    It would not surprise me in the least if many of these churches view themselves more closely aligned with Acts 29 in terms of identity, ministry philosophy, conferences, resources, networking and so on. It seems our main SBC contribution is money.

    By not investigating those OTHER partners more carefully, we open ourselves up to being, at best, JUNIOR partners in jointly planting churches with another denomination posing as a parachurch organization.

    Tim, you are SPOT ON. While there may be no formal arrangement, the terms of participation in this partnership clearly favor Acts 29 to the detriment of the SBC.

  5. William says:

    Also, I agree with you that the matter of what kind of churches we are planting is important. Neither you nor me nor most any SBC pastor is interested in giving our money for non-SBC church plants or planters; however, the matter of the secondary relationships of these churches and church planters adds a level of difficulty in supervising these things. One of the things Ezell has talked about is the protocols for evaluating church plants. I’m guessing this area of other affiliations or relationships will be a part of the protocol.

    Have a nice Easter.

  6. William says:

    Rick, that’s not a fair statement or conclusion to make from the example given and in light of the explanation from NAMB. You can’t take a single case and saddle NAMB with a secret agenda.

    Tim raises a legitimate question but hasn’t provided enough evidence to lead to the conclusion that stealth commies (Acts 29 sleepers) have infiltrated throughout the SBC, to use the terminology from the Red scare of the 1950s.

    Let’e be fair here.

  7. Les Puryear says:

    So an approved Southern Baptist church planter can associate with whomever he wishes and NAMB doesn’t care? Is it okay for NAMB church planters to associate with CBF? NAMB has an exhaustive list of requirements for their church planters. Is it not reasonable to add that we will not fund any church planters who associate with Acts 29 or CBF? I think it is.

    For the first time in 14 years as a pastor, my church will not be giving to Annie Armstrong. We are quite concerned about the direction of this new NAMB and thus, we will take the funds we would have given to AA and give it to a sister church plant; one whom we know is a true Southern Baptist church plant.

    Finally, I believe it is a sign of poor leadership on the part of NAMB trustees to elect a president who admitted to “disengage from the SBC” for any reason. Now is not the time for leaders who are not loyal Southern Baptists. We have too many qualified loyal Southern Baptists who can lead for us to choose leaders who are marginal Southern Baptists at best. I’m sure he is sorry for disengaging from the SBC now that he has a presidency of one our entities.


  8. Rick Patrick says:

    Please be fair to ME. I said nothing about NAMB having a secret agenda or having “commies”(your term). In fact, I’m not at all sure that this unbalanced, informal partnership is even intentional at all. I’m just saying it exists. I’m agreeing with Tim that it needs to be addressed. The convention has been sweeping Acts 29 issues under the rug for two years. It’s time to clean up the mess.

  9. Robin Foster says:

    “according to the position of NAMB they will not allow a church planter to solicit funds from another denomination and remain as a church planter with the SBC. However, despite the obvious tensions NAMB does not classify Acts 29 as a ‘denomination’.”

    Acts 29
    – Provides Funds to people to plant affiliated churches.
    – They have a Doctrinal statement of faith.
    – They require funds to be sent to their own approved Acts 29 churches.

    Sounds like a denomination to me.

  10. Bart Barber says:


    FBC Farmersville has absolutely ZERO interest in funding Acts 29 church plants, nor the church plants of any other denomination. We want to fund Southern Baptist church plants through NAMB.

  11. Funny, I didn’t think the SBC was a denomination, but a convention.

    I also thought churches had autonomy.

    Funny, how when things don’t go our way those 2 realities disappear.

    Thank God for men like Ezell, Hunt, Page, and Akin who can see more than their own little personal opinions.

  12. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Mike,

    First, I do not take your comments as adversarial because you have stated such. However, your concerns and objections would have been received with much less tension had you at least called me and said you did not have time to respond yet. I could have delayed the article until you and I could talk. There are areas that we will just have to agree to disagree, but instead of waiting until the article was public I could have resolved some of the matters that you brought up. We emailed each other and I was the one that implemented the telephone call. I know you are busy, but you knew the article was going to come out on Thursday, as I shared in my email.

    Second, I do not feel it is an issue that NAMB has the policies in place they do. Everyone knows NAMBS strict policies on alcohol consumption by church planters. No one has implied that we have church planters that consume alcohol. What is very evident is that church planters receiving funding from NAMB and also funding from Acts 29 network churches have policies to follow that are contradictory.

    Third,you ask;

    Also, you’re making a lot of assumptions about what Jan’s church is giving and how they are participating with Acts 29. I don’t know if that’s accurate or not.

    I do not what the church is doing but I have a factual basis for my assumptions–the covenant. Acts 29 has their church planters sign a covenant under which they are going to operate. Now, if you are telling me that this church planter does not abide by the Acts 29 covenant then we have a more serious problem than I thought. We have a church planter that signs covenants and then does not abide by them.

    Fourth, you bring to light something that I believe you are missing completely concerning this entire issue.

    I disagree with the entire premise because I think it’s inaccurate–NAMB plants only Southern Baptist churches.

    Just because you say NAMB plants only Southern Baptist churches does not make it correct. I have provided for you the facts this church planter is involved with Acts 29 church planting network in more then just fellowship and inspiration. Two of the churches he has planted are listed on the Acts 29 website as Acts 29 churches. He is featured in an interview as an Acts 29 church planter. In the interview it was asked of him how he became involved in Acts 29. He responded that it was their boot camp where he became involved. Even with all of this evidence you still say that NAMB is planting a Southern Baptist Church Plant.

    Finally, I also enjoyed our conversation. We do disagree on certain things and as I told you on the phone, many SB pastors will have no problem fully funding a church planter’s salary. It does not take rocket science to understand that church planters, like international missionaries, should not have to worry about where their family’s next meal is coming. I want to see NAMB succeed and I want to see Dr. Ezell succeed as president of NAMB. But, I also want us to deal with the issues that are clearly contradictory to who we are as Southern Baptist. The fact is we are funding Acts 29 church plants through our Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.


  13. Rick Patrick says:

    My own little personal opinion is that I hope you have a Happy Easter.

  14. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother William,

    I believe your concerns are handled in my second footnote that I just recently placed in the article.

    Brother Rick,

    I want to see NAMB succeed along with Dr. Ezzel. It appears that he is on a tremendous learning curve. Many times leadership convictions never make it to the trenches where the work is taking place. Add to that the levels of partnership within the church planting field. Even within the SBC there are 42 state conventions and each has different job requirements for church planters. I do pray that Dr. Ezzel will respond positively to this issue because we really need to that our funds are not just being thrown out there so we can say we have church plants.

    Brother Robin,

    They may be a denomination according to the definition, but Acts 29 itself does not view this church planting network as a denomination. That may be the line of reasoning that NAMB is following.

    Brother Ryan,

    A church plant is not an “autonomous church”. It is a church plant receiving funding and thus under accountability until it becomes a viable healthy church. That is the reality.

    Also, could you help me understand where I have argued that the SBC is a denomination? Maybe I have written somewhere that we are, but I cannot remember it and need to correct it.

    One other thing. I also praise God for men like Ezell, Hunt, Page, and Akin. But remember they were boots of clay just like the rest of us.

    Brother Bart,

    Thanks for your words of encouragement.


  15. Brad Whitt says:

    As a former NAMB church planter my question would be, “Does A29 view these plants as their church starts or as SBC church plants?” That should answer the question as to who ought to get the funding.

  16. Robin Foster says:


    You may paint a skunk white, give it a basket of eggs, teach it to hop, and call it the Easter bunny, but the putrid* smell tells a different story. Acts 29 is a denomination.

    *This comment is not to infer that Acts 29 has a putrid smell. But I believe the following video fully expresses what may happen to the love affair between Acts 29, NAMB, and the SBC if this matter is not cleared up quickly.

  17. Bart Barber says:


    Here’s my understanding of local church autonomy. Your local church can fund Acts 29 church planting just as much as it wishes to do so. They accept cash and checks, and probably a wide variety of credit cards.

    My autonomous local church wishes to fund Southern Baptist church planting. Is there anything wrong with my local church, being autonomous, wanting to fund the planting of churches that are, in their hearts and not just in their application papers for financial assistance, Southern Baptist churches? I don’t think so. I think that my autonomous local church ought to be able to partner in a network that goes about the planting of Southern Baptist churches.

    So, the question is, where ought my Southern Baptist church to have to go to find a network by which we can plant Southern Baptist churches? It seems to me a no-brainer that I ought to be able to do so through the actual Southern Baptist Convention and her entities. If that were the case, I don’t see how it would compromise any local church’s autonomy. Acts 29 will gladly take your church’s money. Why would you have to send it indirectly through a vehicle that siphons off my church’s money to go to them, too?

  18. Bart Barber says:

    By the way, I’m going to go ahead and make a prediction: Whenever it comes out, the Thirteenth Edition of the Handbook of Denominations in the United States will list the Acts 29 Network as a denomination. It meets all of their criteria.

  19. Bart-

    You can partner with whoever you want to. So can your church.


    The denomination term was used by Rick not you. I agree with you that church plants are not autonomous but the churches who are helping them to plant are and they are the ones who get to decide who their plants affiliate with- not you. If you want to keep churches who you help to plant from partnering with A29 that’s your church’s business. It is not your business to make that call for other autonomous SBC churches.

    Further, calling A29 a denomination is deceptive. A29 is a movement, not a denomination. There are A29 churches that are affiliated with all kinds of denominations.

    Also, I have stated this before on other blogs but will reiterate it here- I find it tragic that men who are affiliated with the SBC as pastors and laymen are so derogatory and combative toward A29. I would encourage you, challenge, you, beg of you as a brother in the Lord, to go to a Boot Camp or A29 training session. They are free in almost all cases. Meet the men who are planting though A29. They are among the most humble, God fearing, Jesus loving group of people you can find. They love lost people and they love the church. You would find much in common with them. I think this would set fire to many of the straw man arguments laid against A29 on many BI blogs.

    I pray that you have a blessed Resurrection Day as well.

  20. Bart Barber says:


    Great. Thanks. Now, I want to partner with Southern Baptists to plant Southern Baptist churches. Why shouldn’t I be able to do that through the Southern Baptist Convention?

    Also, the point here is not to denigrate Acts 29, at least for my part. I’m sure that there are hundreds of great denominations around the world. I’m not affiliated with any of them other than the Southern Baptist Convention, but my not being affiliated with them doesn’t mean that I wake up and pronounce a curse upon them each morning. The real question is whether my church is under obligation to provide funding for Acts 29 church planting if what we really want to do is to fund Southern Baptist church planting.

    I say no. I say that our church ought to be able to choose just to fund Southern Baptist church planting. I further say that funding church planting through the Southern Baptist Convention clearly ought to be the way to go about the funding of Southern Baptist church planting.

    If the SBC were poor, I’ll bet that even Acts 29 would see the logic of that arrangement.

  21. Michael says:

    Brother Les,

    If you are receiving funds from the SBC and BSCNC as a church planter in NC, you are required to give 8% to the BSCNC and 2% into a church planting fund to start another church. You are also required to promote both the Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong offerings and give generously to them. I don’t agree with every single thing the SBC and/or BSCNC decides either, but I’m not going to withhold offerings until they do as I wish. Just an FYI, the SBC also requires church planters that receive Tier 1 funding ($1200 per month) to not hold another job. I had to quit mine to plant the church. How much sense does that make? I would encourage you to continue to give to CP and to AA and LM since that directly impacts our missionaries on the field. Trust me, SBC leadership will deal with these issues and act accordingly.

  22. Rick Patrick says:


    I just want to clear up any confusion here, believing that I might be falsely considered among those SBC “pastors and laymen” deemed “derogatory and combative toward Acts 29.”

    My father and grandfather were Methodists. I have many good Methodist friends. To use your words, they are “among the most humble, God fearing, Jesus loving” people you could find. Indeed I “find much in common with them.” I’m certain the same is true with Acts 29.

    However, just as strongly as I would like to be certain that SBC resources are not used to plant Acts 29 churches, I would not want them used to plant Methodist churches either.

    As to the matter of calling either the SBC, Acts 29 or Methodists a “denomination” rather than a convention, a network or some other term, while I understand the technical distinction of the SBC only existing two days a year and all, I think I’m using the term more in its practical, popular usage as referenced in the excellent resource Bart mentioned, the “Handbook of Denominations in the United States.” Also, Robin’s excellent line of reasoning supports this.

    I don’t wish for the nomenclature itself to be derogatory. (Denominations aren’t bad!) The only advantage I can see in calling Acts 29 a “denomination” is that apparently the NAMB guidelines protecting the SBC from planting non-SBC churches would only kick in when and if Acts 29 is actually viewed in such a way. If that’s what it takes, then call it a denomination, and wish them the same blessings in Christ that we wish to all other non-SBC Christian groups.

  23. Les Puryear says:


    Thanks for the encouragement. My SBC church plant is not receiving any funds from the SBC or BSCNC. It seems that the criteria for church plants has changed since the new NAMB and my church plant doesn’t qualify somehow. It seems that NAMB is only funding new church plants around “events.” No one has defined to me what that means. I’m betting no one really knows what it means yet. The simple truth in NC is that new church plant funding is at a standstill. That doesn’t necessarily mean that new church plants are not being started. As in the case of my church plant, we are proceeding without funding from our state association.

    We have given to Lottie Moon and we give to CP, and NAMB will receive a share of our CP funds. However, we will not be giving to the AA special offering because of the issues raised in this blog. We will give to a sister church plant who is a Southern Baptist church plant and is not affiliated with Acts 29.

    You see, it’s not that we’re not giving to AA because we’re not getting our way. That was Dr. Ezell did when he was a pastor. We’re not giving to AA because there is no assurance that we are not funding Acts 29 churches. When we’re satisfied that NAMB will not fund any church affiliated with Acts 29 then we will resume our AA offering.

    The state requirement to be full-time to receive the full support is ridiculous. One can still receive support as a bivocational church planter but it is only $700 instead of $1200. To me, this silly rule reveals a bias on the part of the state convention against bivocational pastors.

    Have a great Easter!


  24. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Ryan,

    No one is denigration Acts 29. They are a great church planting network. However, if I wanted to partner with them, then I would do it through means other thn funds determined for Southern Baptist church plants.

    Brother Bart,

    Great response. The real issue is whether my church funds should provide funding for Acts 29, or any other denomination, when in fact we have a desire to plant Southern Baptist churches.

    Brother Michael,

    I do believe the NAMB will deal with the funding issue.

    Brother Les,

    Thanks for your response. While I do understand your position, I would encourage you to continue funding Annie Armstrong.


  25. Ron Hale says:

    Bro. Tim,

    You mentioned Church Planter and Pastor Jan Vezikov fo the Grace Church in Boston, Mass.

    Just a quick “google” on this church planter shows two things:

    First, he is profiled on Acts29 Network as one of their church planters in Boston (same church). He answers a series of questions about his relationship with Acts29.

    Secondly, he is written about on the NAMB website under New Churches, profiling his church and city.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks like this is a Southern Baptist/Acts29 Church Plant.

    Someone with the wisdom of Solomon will have to determine the real Mother of this baby.

    Pastor Vezikov has a great challenge. He’s in one of the toughest areas in our nation to share the Gospel and reaching Russians poses an even greater challenge due to their many years of communist indoctrination. My prayers are with him.

    Last, as we look to the future, the greatest partners for SBC/NAMB Church Planting should be SBC congregations … not … other denominations, networks, or non-SBC groups. Let’s sow Churches, not confusion!

  26. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Ron,

    Words of great wisdom. Thanks for stopping by and contributing.


  27. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Ryan,

    Also, I have stated this before on other blogs but will reiterate it here- I find it tragic that men who are affiliated with the SBC as pastors and laymen are so derogatory and combative toward A29. I would encourage you, challenge, you, beg of you as a brother in the Lord, to go to a Boot Camp or A29 training session. They are free in almost all cases. Meet the men who are planting though A29. They are among the most humble, God fearing, Jesus loving group of people you can find. They love lost people and they love the church. You would find much in common with them. I think this would set fire to many of the straw man arguments laid against A29 on many BI blogs.

    First, no one is being derogatory or combative against Acts 29. We have disagreements and they are merely being expressed.
    Second, neither has anyone questioned the humility, Christian walk, or the Acts 29 church planters love for the lost and the church. Thus your straw man is not well taken here.
    Now, one more time for the record’s sake. I pray the church planter this article is about succeeds in the Boston area. I have nothing against him or the Acts 29 church planting network.


  28. Tim,

    Your piece represents some of the best you’ve posted. Nor do I understand Mike Ebert’s complaint whatsoever. You obviously gave him ample time to respond. The truth is, I personally emailed Ebert 9 days ago on April 13 and asked a similar question to yours. I must have caught him at a busier time than you for I received no reply at all (of course, I could have gotten his address wrong).

    Furthermore, what we have is pure doublespeak when we have NAMB representatives going around the country suggesting there is no “formal” relationship with Acts 29 when there doesn’t have to be to actually fit the criteria about which many Southern Baptists are concerned. Anyone who knows A29 knows it is not “officially” a denomination albeit it has denominational marks as Bart rightly notes. Even so, to suggest we are not partnering with a denomination because A29 is not *officially* a denomination is nonsense, playing on mass ignorance about A29–what it is and what it requires both doctrinally and pragmatically from its supporters.

    Thanks again, Tim. This article is bleak but necessary albeit our brother Mike disagrees with its premise. He & NAMB should realize many, many grassroots Southern Baptists will have a difficult time with it once they understand A29 and AA monies feeding its network. Continue to inform us.

    With that, I am…

  29. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Brad,

    Your question:

    “Does A29 view these plants as their church starts or as SBC church plants?”

    This question certainly appears innocuous on the surface. However, as one digs one will find various definitions of what it means to be labeled an Acts 29 church planter.All I know to tell you is what I have found out by Acts 29 documents.


    “We are only interested in churches that want to plant missional, reformed churches.”

    This statemnt is found on Acts 29 website concerning churches that may desire to partner within the Acts 29 network.

    Second, in this Acts 29 web page there is a list of things one needs to complete if applying to be a church planter that will be funded by Acts 29 churches. Let me say that I do not know if the church planter in question applied through the Acts 29 network as well as NAMB. However, there are two things that the Acts 29 website explains in detail. First, one has to complete an application process before attending a boot camp. Second, in his interview a question was asked him what advice he would have for church planters and his response was “Raise money before planting.” He also answered another question concerning challenges that church planters face as “Financial. Gotta have that dough.” So he is certainly going to try and raise money and if it means taking, some personal as well as family, time to fill out an application I am certain that would not be a hindrance.

    Third, in his interview he referenced Acts 29 boot camp and Darrin Patrick’s book Church Planter as two of the most helpful things in his life concerning his church plant. These are two of the three items that he can be held accountable to by the Acts 29 church planting network when considering his viability as a church planter the other is an interview.

    Therefore, because of the three items listed above, I would think that leaders at Acts 29 consider him as planting Acts 29 churches.


  30. Max says:

    A recent posting on the Baptist 21 website “Hope for NAMB” provides some insight on what appears to be taking shape in regard to partnering with church planting “networks”,

    It should be noted that Baptist 21 largely exists to encourage and support a new generation of young 21st-century SBC pastors, with church plants on their mind. B21 organizers, invited workshop speakers, and workshop attendees are primarily young, restless and reformed. There is no doubt that Acts 29 and its resurgent movement has had a great influence on theology, methodology, and missiology of many young SB pastors standing in line for NAMB church-planting funds. A29 has used its “network” effectively to influence and mobilize church planters within SBC ranks, whether it be by direct or indirect affiliation.

  31. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Max,

    You have certainly added to this discussion. Thanks for your input.


  32. “Acts 29 is controversial not just because of the vulgarity and over-the-edge biblical interpretations by its co-founder Mark Driscoll, or because of its active promotion of alcohol consumption.”

    “Second, neither has anyone questioned the humility, Christian walk, or the Acts 29 church planters love for the lost and the church. Thus your straw man is not well taken here.”

    Hah! Contradiction? Or downright lie?

  33. Tim Rogers says:


    You have a great Easter.


  34. Thank you Tim. I did. And I trust you did as well. We serve a risen Savior and when I consider my own brashness, I’m fortunate a risen Savior serves me!

  35. Dr. James Galyon says:

    Like you, I’m quite unhappy about Driscoll’s vulgarity, etc. I wonder, though, if Acts 29 can be said as a whole to “actively promote” alcohol consumption? While I have no doubt that some of the individuals associated with this group consume alcoholic beverages, is it true of them all? I also wonder if they could all be said to be comfortable with the vulgarity, etc.? Other than these two points, and the funding issues (if NAMB requires to be the sole funding source/affiliate), are there any other reasons you have for viewing the two aforementioned congregations as not being in “friendly cooperation with the Convention and sympathetic with its purposes and work”? In other words, if an SBC seminary grad decided to plant a church (praise God!), and be affiliated only with NAMB, and yet the congregation was identified as Reformed in its soteriology and elder-led in its polity, would that be acceptable? I look forward to your reply.

  36. Ron Hale says:

    HMB/NAMB has traditionally looked to SBC State Conventions as its strategic partners. Is that changing?

    Are new Church Planting networks gearing up to follow the initial strategy of Acts29 as it has successfully and strategically struck pay dirt in suckling at the spigot of the vast Baptist basin of mission dollars in the CP/Annie Armstrong Easter Offering enterprise?

  37. Tim Rogers says:

    Dr. Galyon,

    First, Happy Birthday.

    Second, you make some interesting points and I will address the questions specifically.

    I wonder, though, if Acts 29 can be said as a whole to “actively promote” alcohol consumption? While I have no doubt that some of the individuals associated with this group consume alcoholic beverages, is it true of them all? I also wonder if they could all be said to be comfortable with the vulgarity, etc.?

    I believe it depends on the definition we assign to “actively promote.” For me actively promoting alcohol consumption would be a board dinner where wine is served with the meal and no one seeing anything wrong with that. Of course, for some that is seen an individuals prerogative. On the other hand if an SBC entity board met for dinner and alcohol was consumed we would see that as actively promoting the consumption of beverage alcohol. Thus, “actively promoting” would be the allowance for it to be consumed by leadership at leadership meetings and no one speaking against it. As for everyone associated with Acts 29 imbibing I would agree that not everyone does. But, the does not negate the “actively promotion” point that I am making. By not speaking out against its consumption by their leaders, their silence is a voice of approval. As for the vulgarity. I believe that would be better understood by their silence on this issue also. Maybe I have missed it, but I do not know of anyone listed as an Acts 29 church planter or board member that has taken Driscoll to task on this issue. All of his public challenges have come from those outside of Acts 29.

    Your next question is one that I thought I spoke about in the article. Maybe I didn’t and I certainly want to address this more in detail.

    Other than these two points, and the funding issues (if NAMB requires to be the sole funding source/affiliate), are there any other reasons you have for viewing the two aforementioned congregations as not being in “friendly cooperation with the Convention and sympathetic with its purposes and work”

    Yes. Even if you remove those two issues there is one huge theological issue that has to be addressed–Baptism. This pastor has signed a covenant with Acts 29 stating that he agrees with the theological doctrines of the network. The problem with that consists of Acts 29’s position on the mode of baptism. They view that as a secondary issue that should not be cause for division. The last I checked Baptist, while not affirming Baptism as necessary for salvation, certainly affirmed Baptism as something that we would divide over. Thus, the very mode of baptism would cause someone that is part of the Acts 29 network to not be sympathetic with the purposes and work of the SBC. Before I get hammered with making accusations, let me say this. I do not know of any church plants that are receiving dual compensation through Acts 29 and NAMB that are not requiring Baptism by immersion. However, I am saying that if it were to become an issue, according to the covenant they signed with Acts 29, they would not divide over this issue.

    Your final question seemed to piggyback on the last question. It was like it was part of the last question but I read it as two questions so I separated them. If this is not what you meant feel free to correct me. Of course, you have never needed my permission to correct me before and have done so, thus I do not know why I am giving it to you now. :)

    if an SBC seminary grad decided to plant a church (praise God!), and be affiliated only with NAMB, and yet the congregation was identified as Reformed in its soteriology and elder-led in its polity, would that be acceptable?

    Yes it would be acceptable. Now, let’s tease this out some more. According to a 2006 Lifeway poll 90% of SB congregations consider themselves to be non-Calvinists. According to a 2007, or ’08 survey Seminary graduates were increasingly becoming more and more Calvinistic in their soteriology. The problem we will eventually run into, if Reformed soteriology church plants is all we are planting, is the people in the pews. Once they realize that we are funding church plants for doctrine they do not agree with, we will have a backlash. Right, wrong, or indifferent it makes no sense to fund something where one does not agree. Thus, the church planting of NAMB needs, not to partner with seminaries exclusively, but needs to have state conventions continually connected because local churches will better direct their funds through the state conventions. That will maintain the balance needed and also allow for the various soteriologically structured church plants.

    Hope this helps.


  38. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Ron,

    It does seem that the SBC is seemingly becoming a Baptist Sow, with the teet for the evangelical world. But, let’s not be so hard on other Evangelical organizations. They would not make their way to the trough if it were not for the gate being left open.


  39. Max says:

    Tim –

    Your comment “Once they realize that we are funding church plants for doctrine they do not agree with … ” speaks volumes. As you note, the majority of Southern Baptists do not lean in a reformed direction, as compared to an increasing percentage of seminary graduates who do. Folks in the pew, at least in my area, were kept in the dark in this regard as Annie Armstrong envelopes were stuffed this year. I’m very disturbed by the rise of “New Calvinism” in the SBC, not only because I personally disagree with reformed theology, but because I see this movement being advanced in an underhanded way.


  40. Jon says:


    You are correct that the church plant funding is moving to an event based funding. I am on the church plant committee in our association and met last month with two people from BSCNC who stated that is where they are heading. From what I could tell, they did not even know how it was going to work or even how the new cooperation between the state convention and NAMB would play out.

    Since that meeting, William reported that NAMB has shared they could reduce the southern states funding by as much as 50%.

    I also think it is safe to say that more dollars are spent on church planting overseers than on church plants and their front line pastors. We stave our church planters and expect miracles. This has to end.

    Maybe the local church ought to sit down and set their own parameters on SBC entities before sending any more dollars to them. Make sure they are walking the line we expect them to walk. Isn’t that what they do?

  41. Max says:

    Tim –

    In regard to the Acts 29 view of alcohol consumption by those within its network, your readers might be interested in their doctrinal statement on alcohol at

    The opening paragraph of the cited document indicates that Acts 29 holds “essential” distinctives (e.g., reformed theology) in a closed hand, but loosens its grip on “secondary issues” (e.g., alcohol).

    While the document clearly points to the ails of alcohol consumption, Acts 29 “permits diversity on this secondary matter”. It appears that there are mountains to die on within Acts 29 ranks (reformed theology, church planting), while allowing wiggle room on the hillside via “Christian liberty” on certain moral behavior outside mainline Southern Baptist belief and practice. It’s interesting to me that adherents to “New Calvinism” hold firmly to the theology of the Puritan reformers, but not always to their moral purity.


  42. Jim Champion says:


    I teach a Sunday school class with a guy who is pretty hard core in his Calvinism, he and I are pretty much polar opposites. We teach a fairly large class, 25 on an average Sunday, of individuals who I would put on the high end of spiritual maturity and biblical knowledge, yet when we talk about/debate these issues we their eyes glaze over and they come down with a serious case of tiredhead. All that to say, I’m not sure the average or even most people in the pew know or care how or what the NAMB is doing.

  43. Max says:

    Jim –

    You’ve clearly defined the dilemma in Southern Baptist life when you say “I’m not sure the average or even most people in the pew know or care how or what the NAMB is doing”. When they wake up, it will be too late. A generational shift to reformed theology, a quiet revolution, is taking place as we speak. New SBC church plants in my area are primarily lead by fresh seminary graduates with a reformed leaning.


  44. Jim Champion says:

    Max, I don’t know that they will ever wake up, or even perceive it as a problem. I’m not sure I perceive it as a problem, of course I was all up in arms when missionaries who were told that they wouldn’t have to sign the BFM were then fired if they wouldn’t. This to me seems to not be that proverbial hill on which to die.

  45. Max says:

    Does not wisdom call out?
    Does not understanding raise her voice?
    On the heights along the way, where the paths meet,
    She takes her stand. (Prov 8:1-2)

  46. Tim Rogers says:

    Brothers Max and Jim,

    Certainly do not want to interrupt your discussion as it is producing some excellent points. However, I will just briefly answer your comments to me.


    I saw that in my research, but forgot where it was located. Thanks for the link and it certainly is a clear area that doctrinally separates Acts 29 and the SBC.


    With the internet the people in the pew are beginning to “know” and they are certainly do “care.” They have been caring all along they just have not been knowing.


  47. Max-
    In reference to your Puritan comment, the first building built by the Puritans at Harvard College was a brewery. In fact, rum was the #1 industry of Puritan New England in the early days of the colonies. Puritans were not teetotalers. They understood alcohol in its rightful place.

    You’d probably also like to know that the first Kentucky whiskey was made by a Baptist minister in 1789.

    You’ve started popping up on a lot of blogs recently Max always with the same list of points and paranoia. Who are you? Where are you from? Are you a pastor? A layman? Most of us use our real names and post real connections to ourselves. What do you have to hide?

    Mark Driscoll publicly repented of his previous indulgences in vulgarity in the pulpit 3 years ago. Why not let it drop?!? Driscoll has not used vulgar language from the pulpit in literally YEARS. You may disagree with some of his topics or interpretations but it would behoove you to move on from the vulgarity label. It no longer sticks. Do you want to be held publicly responsible for your public sins for years and years to come even after you have publicly repented?

    Me neither.

  48. Dr. James Galyon says:

    Thank you very much for the birthday wishes, and for taking time to provide a very thoughtful reply. I appreciate your response.

    In reading some of the comments, I wonder why the uproar over so many church plants being Reformed/Calvinistic? Reformed/Calvinistic ministers within the SBC have been asked by many not to seek employment with “traditional” congregations. Doing this by seeking to plant evangelistic congregations within the parameters of the Baptist Faith & Message, it seems you are still crying, “Foul!”

    One may rightfully note that the majority of Southern Baptists do not believe the doctrines of election and predestination, or that they do not agree with elder-led congregational polity, yet both are within the bounds of the BFM and are part of the SBC heritage. If the current majority of Southern Baptists want these to be excluded, then it seems it would be appropriate for a new BFM to be drafted and approved. Otherwise, it would seem we need to figure out how to best labor together for the sake of our Savior.

  49. Dr. James Galyon says:

    BTW, when I say “you” are crying foul, I was not referring to you, Tim. It was just a general plural pronoun. : )

  50. Max says:

    Ryan –

    I am a voice crying in the wilderness.

    Tim –

    Thank you for your boldness to address this issue and for allowing me to contribute to your forum. I am praying for you.

  51. Max-

    Voices calling in the wilderness are known entities. You are anonymous. What do you have to hide? Apparently, you represent the “majority” SBC view. Why hide your identity? You have posted on SBCVoices, SBC Tomorrow, the Baptist Messenger, and now this blog. Same dogma. Same points. Same paranoia. I respect people like Tim, Brad Whitt, Bart Barber, even Peter Lumpkins because they are willing to put themselves out there as real people with their real names and photos attached even when they offer opinions they know will be controversial. They are men who stand for something. I disagree with them but I respect them, greatly, because they are not hiding.

    So I’ll ask again Max, who are you? What’s your background? Where are you from? Where do you attend church? It is unfair to make as broad of accusations as you have made against the Reformed in the SBC without making yourself known.

  52. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Ryan,

    It seems that your focus is on the vulgar language Driscoll used and was recorded in a book as an “f” bomb.

    Mark Driscoll publicly repented of his previous indulgences in vulgarity in the pulpit 3 years ago. Why not let it drop?!?

    I understand that he apologized for that type of language used in the pulpit. Some, like myself, would question the ‘I know I have done some things in the past and I am going to try not to do them again’ as an apology. However, I cannot tell the person’s heart and I leave that to God. But, where is his repentance for his messages concerning the promotion of sodomy within the marriage relationship and his linking to XXX websites under the guise as being Christian? Whether I disagree with his interpretation or not, that is vulgarity. So, I am not going to “let it drop.”

    Dr. Galyon,

    You bring up an interesting point that I want you to explore with me.

    I wonder why the uproar over so many church plants being Reformed/Calvinistic?

    The “uproar” has nothing to do with “so many church plants being Reformed/Calvinistic” The uproar is all about the church plants being “exclusively” Reformed/Calvinistic. Would you sit silently by if NAMB began funding church planters that were also receiving funds from a church planting network that called for their church to only be Arminian in their soteriology? I promise you I would raise just as much a fuss.


  53. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Max,

    You are doing well. Keep up the good work. :)


  54. Dr. James Galyon says:


    From some of the comments (not yours), it seems that some of the uproar does surround the fact that there are *any* Reformed/Calvinistic church plants at all (whether associated w/ A29 or not).

    I didn’t take it from your post that the issue at stake was NAMB church plants being “exclusively” in that camp, but rather, receiving funds from an additional organization which demanded exclusivity. I understand and respect your opinion in regard to funding issues. That is, in part, why I framed my original question(s) the way I did. My inquiry had to do with ascertaining your view of funding a Reformed/Calvinistic church plant funded solely by the SBC.

  55. Ron Hale says:

    Tim & James,

    Our church passed the $21,000 mark yesterday for the AAEO. Our people are joyful givers to SBC Missions! Our goal is $30,000 and I hope we make it.

    While I do not wish NAMB funds flowing into Acts29 Network coffers, I have no problem if NAMB dollars flow to sponsoring congregations within a state convention that chooses to plant a new church with calvinistic leanings. That is local church autonomy and authority working itself out. What I and some deplore is a “third party” network with exclusive claims and controls, be it Acts29 or any other network.

    For instance, if the Founders new Church Planting network desires to plant only “reformed” churches, then NAMB dollars should not flow through that network.

  56. Dr. James Galyon says:

    First, praise God for the generous spirit of your folks in giving and supporting missions!
    Second, I agree with you in that I don’t believe NAMB funds should go into A29 coffers. They should only be used for SBC work in church planting and other NAMB works, such as chaplaincy.

  57. Tim Rogers says:

    Dr. Galyon,

    You said: “I don’t believe NAMB funds should go into A29 coffers.” For the record, I do not think that funds are going into the A29 coffers. I certainly want to clear up that I do not think that AAEO funds are going to A29. What I see happening is the church planters that are dually aligned are receiving funding from NAMB plus A29 churches. When the church planter then has to decides to plant another church, guess what kind of church it will be–A29. Why do I say that? Because they signed a covenant that they would only plant A29 churches. That is the issue I have with using AAEO funds to plant dually aligned church plants. Let me say this loud enough for NAMB to hear–OUR CHURCH PLANTERS SHOULD BE FULLING FUNDED WITH A SALARY SO THEY WILL NOT HAVE TO SEEK FUNDS FROM ANOTHER SOURCE.