May 10, 2020, marked the 175th Anniversary of Southern Baptists establishing the Foreign Mission Board, now known as the International Mission Board (IMB).
Since 1845, almost 25,000 Southern Baptist missionaries have shared the Gospel, made disciples, planted churches, and planted their lives in 185 countries around the world. *Southern Baptists have had an uninterrupted witness among the nations for 175 years. No war, famine, or global pandemic has or will stop the Gospel from spreading to the ends of the earth or disciples from being made among all peoples, tribes, and nations. But Southern Baptists must not rest on the laurels of such a profound history. At the beginning of 2020, Dr. Paul Chitwood, president of the IMB, presented five new benchmarks, new goals to push the work of the global Gospel witness forward to the year 2025. Your church plays a vital role in this continuing work.
- Mobilize 75% of Southern Baptist churches by prayerfully and financially supporting the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® (LMCO) by 2025. Only about 50% of SBC churches report giving to the LMCO (100% of gifts going directly to the mission field). Your church can GIVE.
- Send an additional 500 fully-funded missionaries by 2025. IMB missionary team leaders from around the globe say this is the number needed to fill the gaps and to push the work forward. With attrition rates (end of terms, retirement), this would mean that the IMB needs to appoint about 400 missionaries each year and needs about 1,600 people in the pipeline to go. Your church can SEND the called out from among you.
- Mobilize 500 global partner missionaries on IMB teams. These partners from around the globe will not be funded by the IMB but will be sent out from the nations to the nations and will be embedded in IMB teams. This will exponentially grow the missionary force. Your church can PRAY for the Lord to send out workers from the harvest back into the harvest.
- Engage 75 global cities in comprehensive strategies. Projections are that 80% of the world’s population will be urbanized by the end of this century. Global cities are strategic in their global reach and connectedness, often as global business and commerce hubs. Your church can GO to reach the nations.
- Increase LMCO receipts by 6% annually to sustain the 500 additional missionaries, or $10 million growth per year for the next five years. “While that seems like a lot of money, it will only require that every one of the 16 million Southern Baptists increase their Lottie Offering by $0.63 per year,” Chitwood said in his January 2020 presentation. “Dividing by the number of Southern Baptist churches, every church needs to give an additional $200 per year. No matter how you do that math, the point is, it can be done.” Your church can start now to GIVE, SEND, PRAY, and GO.