I have missionaries from Youth With a Mission, Wycliffe, Samaritan's Purse, HCJB Radio, and other Great Commission Evangelical Mission organizations who say to me that Southern Baptists are leading the evangelical movement to reach unreached people groups. When you hear about the partnerships with the IMB that are occurring as we lead out in taking the Scriptures through oral translations of Scriptural narratives, or the translation of the Word of God into the languages of people groups who have never heard the gospel, you can't help but marvel at what the International Mission Board is doing. One high level non-Southern Baptist missionary told me last week over lunch that there is a genuine move of God taking place all over the world and Southern Baptists are at the leading edge with other evangelicals. He has been around a long time and said it is a new day of cooperation with Southern Baptists. In the coming weeks I hope to share with you some great stories from the fields to illustrate this cooperation.
My undergraduate degree is in Business Administration and Corporate Finance. I considered an MBA before going into the ministry. I can assure every Southern Baptist that the administration of the IMB is on top of every aspect of the business end of missions. I have read diligently the public report of the problems at the NAMB, and I can guarantee you that there are not similar problems at the IMB. The work of the IMB is particularly complicated because of the countless countries with which we are involved, but the staff and administration do a tremendous job in their areas of responsibility, and the trustees are very active in demanding accountability.
When one looks at the leadership of Dr. Jerry Rankin the assessement is stunning. Over 5,100 missionaries currently at the IMB. An implementation of a New Direction philosophy that focuses on unreached people groups. I hesitate to put down the numbers of conversions and new churches on the mission field because frankly I am more interested in people being faithful in fulfilling their calling than determining success by numbers. Some fields will not have much harvest because of the conditions, but similar to William Carey's first two decades in India, the seeds planted will reap a harvest in centuries to come. The books are not closed on the Rankin administration, and with a possible ten years more of effective leadership at the IMB, I believe history will point to the last decade of the old millenium and the new decade of the new millenium as a watershed moment in Southern Baptist history.
It is a new record that’s reaffirming an old commitment. $137,939,677.59 – that’s what Southern Baptists gave to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions in 2005, making it the single most successful year in the offering’s history.
The $137.9 million marks a 3.03 percent increase over 2004’s $133.9 million Lottie Moon offering, not to mention a 1.28 percent gain over the old record set in 2003 – $136.2 million. More than 5,100 International Mission Board missionaries depend on the annual offering, of which every penny is used to support their work sharing the Gospel around the world.
“This historic level of giving will enable us to send an increasing number of God-called missionary candidates moving toward appointment,” said IMB President Jerry Rankin. “It will enable us to push forward in fulfilling the vision of bringing all peoples to saving faith in Jesus Christ. At a time of economic uncertainty, and a year in which massive amounts of funding have been directed toward hurricane relief and recovery, it is gratifying to see God prove His faithfulness through Southern Baptists.”
Clyde Meador, IMB executive vice president, echoed Rankin’s sentiments and acknowledged the critical role of the Woman’s Missionary Union in the offering’s success.
“The IMB wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the faithful support of our state and national Woman’s Missionary Union partners,” Meador said. “Long ago, WMU laid the foundation for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering because they understood the eternal significance of sharing Christ with a lost world.
The International Mission Board is not short on vision. The administration of the IMB does an outstanding job of casting vision, selling vision, and then implementing vision. Of course, the trustees of the IMB must approve the vision and policies of the IMB, and I have not had heard one trustee say publicly that he is not supportive of the vision cast by administration and Dr. Jerry Rankin.
This is one of the reasons why I believe all business sessions should be in the public view of the Southern Baptist Convention. The International Mission Board is owned by the Southern Baptist Convention. The trustees are elected by the Southern Baptist Convention. We all need to see, hear and affirm the vision established by Dr. Jerry Rankin or allow for the full, free debate against it to be PUBLICLY heard.
The best days of the International Mission Board are ahead. I really believe that to be true. This trustee will serve for the next seven years insuring that all Southern Baptists know about what is right with the International Mission Board, and right now, there is a great deal that is good!
This trustee will not stand by while some say things about the IMB that are not true. There have been statements made recently in Baptist Press by a presidential candidate of the SBC that sounds like talking points, words given him without first hand knowledge. As soon as I have been able to speak to him personally, I will blog about it. It is time that misinformation or disinformation from two well known individuals about the IMB stop.
Reports from Greensboro begin late Sunday night.
In His Grace,