Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Let's Put Our Money Up to Show Our Support

I served for three years as a trustee of the International Mission Board (2005-2008) and our church has several members who are currently serving through the IMB on mission fields around the world. I continue to have a desire to do everything possible to improve our Southern Baptist cooperative mission efforts. I read with interest the following report of the most recent International Mission Board Meeting, March 17-18, in Greenville, South Carolina, and one of the ways we can become a better missions agency seemed to leap off the page at me as I read the report. Reporter Shawn Hendricks wrote:

Trustees appointed 89 new missionaries for a total missionary count of 5,569. Fourteen more missionaries are delayed being appointed to field service because their houses in the States have not sold yet. The March appointment service would have been the IMB’s fourth largest group of appointees had the 14 missionaries been able to participate.
The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention has millions upon millions of dollars in a capital reserve account. It would seem wise to me for a portion of those funds to be pulled out of traditional investments (the stock market, C.D.'s, etc . . .) in order to purchase the homes owned by missionaries who have been vetted and approved by the International Mission Board, but are having trouble selling their homes. Some may not know that IMB policy requires missionaries to be mortgage free before going on the mission field. It would be easy for trustees to draw up a simple policy requiring impartial appraisals and the use of an agreed upon formula to determine the fair market price that the IMB would pay the missionary for his/her home. Then, when the missionary is on the field, the IMB would sell the house, pocketing either the profit or absorbing the loss. The IMB is well equipped to handle the additional real estate transactions, closing on hundreds of real estate properties around the world every year. Adding a few additional transactions during the course of a year, properties located in the United States, would not be difficult - and it would allow our missionaries to get to field in an expeditious manner.

In my opinion it is the best possible investment for IMB capital funds.

In His Grace,



Bob Cleveland said...


My guess is that IBM or the phone company would do the same; I don't see why the SBC couldn't.

Steve said...

It sounds like a good idea. I sure haven't heard of construction developments around the world that would require the setting aside of ALL the IMB's set-aside cash.

Oh, wait a minute! Were some of those nails driven or pipes laid by builders not baptized in a non-eternal security church?


Kelly Reed said...

Hey can soon to be appointed NAMB Church Planters, who are waiting to get on site b/c their house needs to sell get in on this one too????

Of course, if my house had sold right away, I probably would not have been so "quick" to consider church planting or been at this point, ready to go. His delay has had a purpose.

Thankfully, we've shown the house a couple times this past week. Hopefully it will sell soon--please keep praying for it to sell.

Anonymous said...

I think we should also take up a special love offering to save the Calvinist at SWBTS in addition.
Maybe you have Paul Young donate to the Heretics for Calvinist fund at SWBTS?

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

Anonymous said...

Wade said,

"The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention has millions upon millions of dollars in a capital reserve account."

Wade, is it known FOR SURE that this money is still there. With all the 'secrecy in the SBC and specially appointed trustees answering only to the higher ups', IS there a way to confirm that the money has not been 'reappropriated' for 'other uses' at the discretion of the 'leadership'?

Sorry to sound suspicious.

P.S. Your idea is creative and will get missionaries out into the field for service in a timely way.
IF those funds are still available in the capital reserve account. Good thinking, Wade.

Chris Ryan said...


Can you ever be germane or do you always have to try and sidetrack things with snide comments?

Chris Ryan said...


It sounds reasonable to me. Any monetary losses absorbed would be far worth it when these missionaries are out in the field seeing souls saved.

RKSOKC66 said...

Given the current depressed values of houses the IMB might be able to add these 14 houses to its portfolio with the expectation that over time they would increase in value.

I guess the plan would be for the IMB to offer "fair market value" for the houses now and then sell them later. Assuming that the average house would be valued at somewhere between $100K and $200K the IMB would probably be investing around 2 million to implement this.

The 2 million would start to come back as the houses were sold by the IMB. Given depressed market right now it could be maybe 3 years until the last of the 14 houses could be sold a "non fire sale" price. I think another result of the current housing price collapse is that the IMB could probably pick up the houses as bargin basement prices right now -- selling them at a profit over time.

The only downside I see is if the missionary candidates holding toxic mortgages -- such as sub-prime or ARMs. If so, then I don't think the IMB will be able to buy those houses since they are currently "under water". I don't think the IMB should be "bailing out" irresponsible behavior.

Before making a recommendation on this I like to see an appraisal on each of the 14 properties. With real estate the three most important determinent as to marketability is location, location, and location.

Roger Simpson Oklahoma City OK

Anonymous said...

Hey Wade,

AS an IMB candidate, I completely disagree. Here's why. In recent years they IMB has become more lax with missionaries who have financial issues. This can range anywhere from college loans to bad credit to any number of major financial issues that will inhibit the candidates themselves and their teammates on the field. I was a short termer on a team with a girl who had $60K in college loans. She regularly drained time and money from career members because her funds were going to pay off her debt. Other missionaries i have known have lived beyond their means abroad, and although qualified spiritually and emotionally, they were extremely fiscally irresponsible in the states. At any rate, I would venture to say that most of those submitting applications to the IMB have had or currently do have debt issues, because most Americans have debt issues. This is not a slam on applicants who can't sell a home, but honestly i don't want to serve on another team with missionaries who can't get their finances strait. If you took on an expensive home three years ago and can't sell, i think you should HONOR your commitment to the bank, and pay it off, it's what God has called you to do at that time. Anyhow that's my take, thanks for posting Wade, your the most thought provoking blogger i know ;), - druw

Anonymous said...

Chris Ryan,
Relax a little....dont try so hard to answer for Wade!

Robert from Geneva

Anonymous said...

Interesting proposal. With appropriate guidelines it could be a win-win scenario. Secular employers have done this in the past, though not so much in the current economy (but the profit motive ought not be a concern for a missionary sending organization). And while waiting for the houses to sell, perhaps some of them could be used to house missionaries on furlough (I know that's not the current term but I forget what it's called these days). Or if we wanted to get really radical we could house a few folks who would otherwise be homeless, just because it would be the Jesus-like thing to do.

Kevin said...


I appreciate your desire to get more missionaries on the field, but I'm not sure I agree with this idea.

I don't like setting a precedent of the IMB buying real estate.

Then there's the time, energy and resources involved in selling the acquired property.

At the risk of sounding negative, it just seems there are about 100 ways this could backfire on the IMB.

Just my two cents.

Blessings to you.

Anonymous said...

"...but honestly i don't want to serve on another team with missionaries who can't get their finances strait."

You have a lot to learn my friend.

Before you come to the field, please realize that it is not your job to monitor other missionaries spending habits.

If you are not careful, you might get an earful from another missionary about a habit you have that they don't like, and why they don't want to be on your team.

John Daly said...

I still like the concept of the local church sending out and equipping their own missionaries. If the house hasn't sold yet, then so be it, learn to wait upon the Lord.

Local Church--Missonaries

Local Church--(IMB)--Missonaries

I'll take option A

Anonymous said...

Wade that's entirely too logical for the IMB to implement.

Anonymous said...

If the money can be found in the SBC to fund 'Pecan Manor' complete with servants, pastry chefs, etc. etc. etc. AND a gated-community home for ANOTHER 'prince of the church'; then surely the IMB can find enough money from its millions in order enable these missionaries to further the work of the Lord.

Priorities ?

Right now, things aren't looking so good for the SBC's values.
This COULD change, if people get their goals straightened out.
The 'princes' can be fired.
The missionaries can be helped.
It all evens out in the end.

Except, this time, souls will be saved.

What's most important.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, no thanks on this idea.

While I recognize the difficulty of the times in home sales, something candidates probably did not forsee, I am wary of the IMB, and by extension all of us, becoming the financial guarrantor of last resort.

I think it best to let the candidates work this out and meet the requirements for appointment.


Anonymous said...

The problem I would find with this proposition would be the many bad directions it could go.

For example claims arising that the IMB is just buying missionaries houses to make money. They aren't giving a fair price for the home. Etc.

Missionary applicants wanting to get out of their mortgage so trying to go overseas to get the IMB to buy their home.

It could cause more problems. Seems much easier just to have the owner sell it.

Rex Ray said...

Chris Ryan,
I like your style. Of course Robert’s goal is to gouge Wade or highjack.

Notice his ‘advice’ to you was still challenging Wade to go off topic.

A bully is not happy unless he’s in control. (If anyone gripes about this, we know it’s the bit dog that yelp’s.)

Should Baptists be in real estate? Money is a tool. After World War II, Baptists bought a lot of land in Japan when it was cheap. Since then, money generated from the land has been used for God.

Baptists got smarter by building houses to rent on that land. On my first of thirteen trips as a volunteer, the house we worked on has rented for at least $5,000/month since 1994.

Due to the cost of Japanese labor, our travel, room and board was paid for. On one trip, after six weeks of working on fourteen units that Japanese Baptists employees would live in, their President (nicked-name “Big Bear”) told us if we tithed the rest of our lives, it would not exceed the money we saved them.

So on Wade’s idea, I vote to go for it.

Anonymous said...

I remember part of the joy of going to seminary was seeing how God worked out all the 'impossible' situations, including financial ones. I fear that by purchasing unsold homes we would remove another opportunity for God to show himself faithful. I also think this would deter young families from being as financially responsible as they prepare themselves before going overseas.

Bad idea in my opinion!

Anonymous said...

Steve; Thanks for your comment. Your sick humor saved me a few minutes of time. I usually read Wade's blog in the morning and I always have an opinion but seldom pen them down. I have taken up the position that as soon as I read a comment that is from someone like you I then go on about my business. Your are number 2 this morning so I'll never know what the other 18 might have said. Thanks again.

Alan Paul said...


Ignoring obnoxious folks brings joy to your soul.


Anonymous said...

Good morning Wade. I don't comment much but I am reading! Interesting post.
It sounds like a good idea, but I would submit a different perspective. I have served as an IMB missionary and have walked the road of selling a house and just about everything we owned to go on the field. And have walked beside and prayed with many in the same situation. Where God leads, He will provide. He is a God of details. My concern about IMB buying candidate's homes is that if there is a profit made on the house, the missionary and or missionary family will need those funds. In life things happen, parents get sick, or pass away, students go to college, need vehicles, the list can go on and on. IMB takes very good care of their personnel, but the limited salary does not provide much cushion for the things listed above. We incurred debt because of a needed trip back to the states. I applaud Mr. Reed and his waiting on the Lord. It's one of the most difficult things to have a God given vision and calling and wait for the appointed time.

The gentleman that states he is a IMB candidate and stated, "I don't want to serve on another team where people can't get their finances straight". As one who served in essence as a missionary to missionaries, you will have people on your team with all kinds of issues and some of them might be finances, and some of them will be your own issues. We are all in need of grace to be able to walk this Christ life out. Better get ready.
Just my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Let me sort this out:
is it true that missionaries are kept on a short string financially while 'certain leaders' are outrageously showered with wealth from tithe monies?

What, exactly, IS the thinking here.

I note all the lack of support for 'bailing out' the missionaries: same people who support the hogs at the trough.


greg.w.h said...

Wow. So let's start at the beginning:

1. Pastorates used to come with parsonages and fewer ministers that were appointed as missionaries "owned" their own homes.

2. Missionaries when my parents were appointed had very little salary impingement from either housing (basically provided) or transportation (again basically provided). So the only drag on salary was more basic cost of living expenses like food and clothing. Indonesia was a low cost field, so my parents saved a decent amount.

3. The FMB required my parents to dispatch ALL of their outstanding debt before appointment. Dad sold the cars and the church gave us a money tree that helped pay off the last of the other debt. I'm aware from some of dad's comments over the years of the sources of the other debt, but since we were in a parsonage at the time, I'll simply say that it had nothing to do with mortgages on property(ies). I suspect this principle was the squeaky cleanest possible interpretation of the elder/deacon being in control of his own household. For today's minister, that would be almost ridiculously stringent since debt is a more prevalent than it used to be as a tool for managing finances.

After you consider those points, I think it helps to construct a reasonable mental model of what you think owning a house actually is in the typical family's "life". For my family, it is a form of investment combined with slightly cheaper rent for somewhat nicer than rental accomodations. With a traditional mortgage (one without a balloon payment and that includes payment on principal), you have a leveraged asset purchase of a (presumably) growing value combined with a forced savings program and a place to live/rent.

If the property was purchased for a reasonable price, as income grows in the surrounding area, the price of the house should increase, too. Income traditionally grew with productivity improvements in the private enterprises. And housing traditionally was strongly coupled to income growth. During our most recent real estate asset bubble, the tie between income growth and pricing has become disconnected. Income has not risen nearly as fast as prices and you could argue that was an unsustainable event since eventually you reach the point where NO additional pricing growth can occur. Arguably that is the BEST explanation of the current situation.

If that is the case, then the risk of buying houses in the current market is very high until those prices have readjusted back to the traditional relationship with baseline income growth. I would not expect the IMB to have sophisticated enough information to project that in the various markets where it might end up needing to buy houses from potential appointees even though median prices are down as much as 30% in some markets.

You can't establish a real arms-length transaction, either, with a mere appraisal in the current market. The information on housing prices is pretty sparse in some markets and the traditional appraisal process is HEAVILY dependent on "comps" based on recent sales in the local neighborhood. The IMB runs the risk of both overpaying AND underpaying in most markets. Overpaying means they take a loss at sale. Underpaying means they experience an outsized gain at the expense of the missionary candidate.

The only thing that improves this situation is for there to be an RTC-like function that works to quickly clear the current inventory of foreclosures and outstanding housing inventory. And the current administration efforts point to preventing foreclosures which will extend the period of time that it takes to get back to pricing that is more in line with baseline income growth.

The question is to what extent we pay attention to normal investment risks in running an organization that is entirely dependent on donations. I think relatively arms-length transactions of money markets, governemnt and corporate bonds, mutual funds, and even hedge funds include understandable risks and can both be diversified and appropriately hedged. I don't think you can do that with purchases of individual properties that were once owned by your current employees. That approach seems fraught with peril to me.

But local congregations could band together to buy houses in markets that they understand. Their members in the real estate industry could even take on this kind of risk as part of their normal business operations. They would not be able to write down any losses as "charitable contributions", though, but they still could serve the Kingdom by taking the risks. There are LOTS of ways to solve this problem, but I would not recommend the IMB take Wade's approach.

Greg Harvey

Lydia said...

"...but honestly i don't want to serve on another team with missionaries who can't get their finances strait."

My goodness. We are told to look the other way over pedophiles serving in the church, Pecan Manor, pastry chef's, etc. but a person who has financial problems is automatically pegged as not spiritually qualified.

I guess that does not need to include those who have been living high off the hog on church offerings at our entities?

Perhaps mommy and daddy helped you out. Perhaps they paid your tuition. Or perhaps you did not have huge medical bills or some personal calamity. Or perhaps you were not let go by an entity when you had 3 kids to feed and a mortgage as has happened to some at SBTS recently.

Let's just automatically lump everyone into one pot who has difficulties and say, they are not worthy of help.

Doug Hibbard said...

I see the concerns. I understand the concerns. There's more of them: what happens if an IMB-owned house burns down? Are we responsible? What about insuring vacant properties? What about properties in disaster areas? How about if the market bubbles again, and the board makes millions in real estate? What would this do to non-profit status, if the board is buying and selling houses? What happens if the IMB, unknowingly, buys a house that's been trashed? What about people that have renters, and are trying to sell? What happens if the IMB buys someone's house, only to discover there wasn't a clear title? Or if it gets eminent domained while the IMB has it? (I've got 7 church families about to lose homes to a highway. The government does not like to pay what private property is worth.)

I also know that, at some point, we've got to trust people the IMB is appointing not to abuse the process. The suggestion isn't that the IMB buy your house as soon as you submit your application. The suggestion is to look at ways that might be possible. I'd say you'd want to establish that the potential missionary do their best to sell it, and that, if it came down to the IMB, that no more would be spent then to pay-off the loan. And couldn't some of our churches partner with the IMB to handle some of the sales issues? For example, a house here where I pastor, we could volunteer to help keep the grass cut, etc, until it sold. A good chance there for people that can't go on mission trips to help our mission efforts.

To all of questions about seeing God's faithfulness: Perhaps God has been faithful to provide the money to the SBC family, and we're not faithfully passing it on? Is it possible that our own sinful selfishness is holding us back as Southern Baptists?


Anonymous said...


I think this is the one and only time I have not agreed 100% with your post. As a soon to be former IMB missionary, I think the IMB should stay out of buying missionaries houses so they can get to the field. God will provide a way for the house to be sold or rented.

When we left in '86 to go to the field, mortgage interest rates were in the teens. How were we going to sell our house with interest rates that high? We soon found out we were not going to sell the house, God was! It was only a work of God in our circumstances. We sold the house ourselves without a real estate agent, and went to the field right on schedule with money in our pockets.

This is just my personal opinion, but I think times are going to get hard for the IMB in the near future. There are still problems with field and regional leadership. There is still the attitude among leadership you experienced while on the BoT of the IMB, do as you are told or there is not place here for you. We have documentation to back up what we say we have experienced. I have been in contact with other missionaries in others parts of our region and other parts of the world , and they have experienced many of the same things we have experienced. (Some make what we have experienced look like a Sunday School picnic.)

Our country has lost a large number of families in the last two years not counting us because of conflicts with leadership in our country and in our region. Many of the same people will be in the same positions of leadership as before when the big change takes place later this year.

Because of the continuing leadership problems, the failing economy and the power struggle/BI/Landmark questions that still raises it head every once in a while with the BoT, yes, it is still happening since you have left, I think there is just not going to be the funds to cover the support of missionaries on the field AND buy the unsold houses of new missionaries.

Maybe God wants the folks who are having a hard time selling their house to trust Him more.

The IMB has been good to us in our 21 years of service. They have provided excellent health care, support on most other problems and many other benefits.

We were devastated when we were told we could not return to our country. However, again just like selling the house in 1986, we just have to trust God to do whatever He desires to do to meet our financal needs and provide a place of service for Him. True to His ways, He is doing just that!!

Would we like to return to our country? Sure, we would. However, we know that our mission field country is not the only place we can serve. God is proving that everyday!! We have not been this happy, affirmed and loved by fellow Christians and feel that we are doing what God wants us to do since the summer of 2005. It has been a long, dry almost 4 years.

We have just decided that we need to concentrate on King and Kingdom and not the IMB and however your field leadership decides you should do the strategy regardless of your gift, talents and skills.

I have said more than I should have, but this is what I think, take it, or leave it.


RKSOKC66 said...

Greg Harvey:

You have made a cogent case for the idea that the IMB should not be buying up houses of missionary candidates. After some reflection on the points you have made, I agree with you.

One of the things I've noticed in the last ten years is the absolutely reckless debt that people have taken on. This includes Christians and also churches.

No wonder Dave Ramsey has such a big audience with his "Financial Peace University".

There is a church in Houston (Sagemont) that does not use debt to build buildings -- that is the way to go. My wife and I have been members of a couple of churches that have had staggering dept load. It is totally out of hand.

At the risk of being simplistic I'd say debt is one of the four or five major problems with marriages. Also, it is at the root of a lot of problems that churches have which manifest themselves in various ways.

If I was the IMB, I'd say to candidates: "Pay off your debt, then will talk".

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

John Daly said...

My desire is to do an inner city church plant in the hood of St. Louis. I run by the perfect building everyday. (Some days I have to run fast :) If God provides the funding then I'll praise Him and move on. If He doesn't, I will praise Him and move on.

BUT...I will not go into debt to do this.

Anonymous said...

Wade it appears to me that after your last blog where there was debate as to if homosexuality was a sin or not...Maybe the IMB sould buy those houses and dispatch missionary to America to evangelize "US"!!!

Nate said...

Chris Ryan,

Go read this post if you have time. It relates to the topic of postmodernity that we discussed before. I'd honestly like to know your thoughts on it. Do you find the conclusions stated there somewhat accurate of postmodernity?


wadeburleson.org said...

It does seem that there are some good arguments against the idea. Frankly, this is why discussion, debate and dialogue - out from behind closed doors - would be a good thing.

It could prevent SBC trustees from passing silly policies.



greg.w.h said...


I also think this debate illustrates a very important principle about our boards of trustees: it is extremely important that those appointees be representative of both specific ministry knowledge and broader non-ministry knowledge in order to function effectively. Each trustee must be an independent voice of reason.

If too many of the trustees band together and form a shadow bloc, ideas that are presented will receive an inadequate hearing by the entire board before decisions are made. And the fact that the SBC requires both lay and pastoral participation is a solid approach to broadening the experiences of the various trustees. I think we run into trouble, in fact, if we use the lay positions to appoint too many people that are already closely associated with other leadership, a point that you have made in the past.

We need the designed, intentional full perspective for our boards of trustees to function effectively. When we lack that full perspective, it's like ignoring the full counsel of Scripture from a theological perspective: we're just asking for bad mistakes to be made.

The various committees and boards that influence the nomination of trustees should all act to respect this principle as well as the people who are chosen as chairpeople. All of the members of the body are important to the body, not just some.

Greg Harvey

Anonymous said...

"My desire is to do an inner city church plant in the hood of St. Louis. I run by the perfect building everyday. (Some days I have to run fast :) If God provides the funding then I'll praise Him and move on. If He doesn't, I will praise Him and move on.

BUT...I will not go into debt to do this."

John, find out who owns that building. Go to them. Tell them what you are planning to do with that building. DO THIS.

Chris Ryan said...


The compare/contrast between Modernism and Postmodernism was largely accurate (as I understand the terms). But you and I both know that there is rarely anything that can be accurately qualified in one or two sentences. For instance, the first contrast stated that Modernists believed in only one view of reality, Postmoderns believed that there are many views of reality. That is correct. But it does not necessarily follow from the Postmodern position that there are multiple realities. Only multiple *views* of reality. Some Postmoderns will go the extra step, but not all of them. The Postmodern take on power and its relation to truth is also very complex and the post doesn't do it justice. I could go through all of it if you want, but I would prefer to do that via email since this isn't necessarily germane to Wade's post.

Most of the applications show a distinctly Modern bias (at the risk of sounding Postmodern). They do not seem to really hear Postmodern concerns and developments. Certainly, unthoughtful Postmoderns can and do go in those directions, but more developed thought exists. It isn't intellectually honest to present some of the lower calibre arguments as the best the opposition has to offer, and for that I take issue with the post.

Rex Ray said...

Is it too late to change your vote?

After reading several comments, I realize what the market in Japan was, is NOT what the market in America is today.

Besides Greg Harvey’s comment and others, RPPRFL said a mouthful in saying, “I have said more than I should have…”

He questions how long new missionaries will last once it really sets in that (my paraphrase) they are controlled not by the Holy Spirit but by their employer.

This concept originated when missionaries received an email in 1997 asking them to have “a confidence and willingness to follow the wisdom and guidance of God-appointed leadership, whether we necessarily understand or agree”, and the rule book would be “put on the shelf.”

Making the BFM 2000 a creed changed the 1997 ‘asking’ into ‘force’.

Are these ‘unqualified’ 14 would be missionaries long term or short term? That would also make a difference.

BTW, why does the IMB make it almost impossible to find out how many long term missionaries exist of the 5,569? Is the number embarrassing?

Wade may not know but I’ll bet ‘Thy Peace’ could find out. I think the only way is something is different about the way their paychecks are marked.

What is the percent of drop-outs? At one appointment, more left than was appointed. I think the IMB finds out who can and who can’t follow orders. (I believe no Daniels allowed, but ‘yes sir’ people.)

RPPRFL said, “There is still the attitude among leadership you experienced while on the BoT of the IMB, do as you are told or there is not place here for you…I have been in contact with other missionaries in others parts of our region and other parts of the world, and they have experienced many of the same things we have experienced. (Some make what we have experienced look like a Sunday School picnic.)”

RPPRF may have been under an area director like the one visiting our church in a bylaws meeting.

I could tell he was accustomed to being obeyed when he shook his finger in my face and said its people like me that caused pastors to leave the ministry and if I didn’t like change, I should leave the church. I replied I was glad his finger wasn’t a gun.

Bob Cleveland said...


You make a good point about God providing a way. Might it be that the IMB is one way God might use?

John Daly said...


It's currently listed under Cardinal Realty and one agent was kind enough to send me a bunch of digital shots. I'm going to prepare a packet and attempt to enlist support from the St. Louis and Missouri Baptist Conventions and anyone else God might put in my path.

We'll go ahead and take a shot, oops, that's not a good phrase to say in this neighborhood :)

Anonymous said...

Dear JOHN,

I knew you were pro-active.
Something WILL come of your efforts. You will see.

Anonymous said...

Wade Burleson said...
It does seem that there are some good arguments against the idea.

Now, Wade, there you go again with your wishy-washy liberalism! Make up your mind and have some conviction about it! Pick an opinion and stick with it, regardless of what new information you might find -- that's the Baptist way! :)

Frankly, this is why discussion, debate and dialogue - out from behind closed doors - would be a good thing.

It could prevent SBC trustees from passing silly policies.



And there you go again making reasonable statements instead of dogmatic assertions! When will you ever learn??


Anonymous said...

IMB has 'laid-aside cash?

where is it?

who controls it?

Unknown said...

I haven't taken the time to read the 42 comments, so forgive me if this has already been stated. But it seems to the IMB could purchase these homes and then enter into an agreement with local SBC churches to partner together and utilize the homes as mission houses when our missionaries are stateside.

This would accomplish several items: it would allow missionaries to be mortgage free to go to the field; it would provide an additional opportunity for the IMB to partner with local churches; increase awareness of mission work with those same local churchs; provide additional options for missionaries who are on stateside.

Just my thoughts...

Pastor Ricky

Rex Ray said...

John Daly,
Instead of running by the building, you might try what the women of a church in Japan did.

The Baptist Convention had decided not to buy a lot for a missionary house because it was too expensive. Every day many women of a church walked around the lot seven times while praying and singing

After a long time, the Convention reversed their decision, and a house was built.

I met the missionary after midnight as she stopped by to see why a light was on. She had ‘lost’ her home that she used as a church for children, and was anxious for this one to be finished. She had never married and would retire in a few years.

Bob Cleveland,
Strange how we used RPPREL’s comment for different reasons. I thought most of his comment would have given your question a clue.

Ramesh said...

Off Topic: Here is a good article about Freeman Dyson (Science Fiction fans will recognize the dyson sphere). Very interesting to read about his "subversive" thinking:
NYT: The Civil Heretic

FOR MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY the eminent physicist Freeman Dyson has quietly resided in Prince ton, N.J., on the wooded former farmland that is home to his employer, the Institute for Advanced Study, this country’s most rarefied community of scholars. Lately, however, since coming “out of the closet as far as global warming is concerned,” as Dyson sometimes puts it, there has been noise all around him. Chat rooms, Web threads, editors’ letter boxes and Dyson’s own e-mail queue resonate with a thermal current of invective in which Dyson has discovered himself variously described as “a pompous twit,” “a blowhard,” “a cesspool of misinformation,” “an old coot riding into the sunset” and, perhaps inevitably, “a mad scientist.” Dyson had proposed that whatever inflammations the climate was experiencing might be a good thing because carbon dioxide helps plants of all kinds grow. Then he added the caveat that if CO2 levels soared too high, they could be soothed by the mass cultivation of specially bred “carbon-eating trees,” whereupon the University of Chicago law professor Eric Posner looked through the thick grove of honorary degrees Dyson has been awarded — there are 21 from universities like Georgetown, Princeton and Oxford — and suggested that “perhaps trees can also be designed so that they can give directions to lost hikers.” Dyson’s son, George, a technology historian, says his father’s views have cooled friendships, while many others have concluded that time has cost Dyson something else. There is the suspicion that, at age 85, a great scientist of the 20th century is no longer just far out, he is far gone — out of his beautiful mind.
One idea pulsing through his mind was a thought experiment that he published in the journal Science in 1959 that described massive energy-collecting shells that could encircle a star and capture solar energy. This was Dyson’s initial response to his insight that earthbound reserves of fossil fuels were limited. The structures are known as Dyson Spheres to science-fiction authors like Larry Niven and by the writers of an episode of “Star Trek” — the only engineers so far to succeed in building one.

Ron said...

I hesitate to comment on this but I will make a couple of observations. The IMB will not buy these houses. That is not an option. They are trying to sell property on the field and I am sure they will not want to buy property in the US. It would make more sense for their local church to offer help. I am not sure about the legalities but they could either buy the property in order to sell or switch the title to the church with the church taking on the responsibility of selling the property and then giving the missionary the money from the sell. There is much more to that could be said about RPPEFL’s comments but should be left for another time.

Anonymous said...

WOW! A post and a sizeable amount of comments (40ish) without one comment including a bunch of catholic catechism indoctrination.

Word verification: solofide

Just kidding! :)

Anonymous said...


There are several good points here both pro and con concerning your proposal. As an IMB M, I can see this from both sides (I think). I understand that there would be risks if such proposal were attempted. I mainly mean the spiritual risks of having one's financial burdens lifted by the person's "employer". However, I can also see that God could definitely work through your proposal to get people on the field, just as he could work in any other way to do that.

As you can see, I am undecided; but I want to say that your proposal, regardless of its other merits, is the kind of thinking that demonstrates grace toward we Ms.

I don't have a dog in this race, but there are several other issues, some financial, some not, that affect Ms in unique ways. There are needs, financial and otherwise, that most wonderfully generous and thoughtful Southern Baptists just could hardly imagine, but which effect Ms as we try to live on two sides of the globe and balance life in two very different economies as we travel between the two. But these things would never be mentioned by most Ms (including this one) because of the difficulty in explaining it and/or because they themselves wonder if it would be self-serving, greedy, complaining, or somehow a lack of faith on their part. Our SBC family takes better care of us than any other group of Ms I have ever known - and I appreciate it!!

But I am grateful for those in SBC life who have a gracious attitude toward us and our families with ideas such as yours. I am certainly no "hero" for being on the M field; but I confess that I gulped hard several years ago when I realized that I was taking my family out of the lap of luxurious US of A and leaving behind "stuff" all we Americans take for granted. I have never regretted that decision though. Praise the Lord!

I also know that some Ms might take advantage of such generosity and "extra mile help" like you are suggesting. We are just people too. But most people I have met on the field certainly didn't come as part of some grand scheme to "get rich". If they did, they must be sorely disappointed!

I just wanted to say thanks for "thinking" of such a thing in the first place!


Anonymous said...

To Roger Simpson and other on here who just assume that many IMB missionaries carry too much debt, I'd like to simply say you are significantly ill-informed. The majority do not. Also, there are others here who stray way from Wade's point to assume that others are dealing with irresponsible loans. The majority are not. Your comments come off as pious and self righteous.

My wife and I are in the appointment process for the second time. Like many IMB missionaries we left the states the first time with under $1,000 debt. We've been back in the state for six years and the only thing standing between us and approval is a contract on our house. It is the only debt we have and it is a solid loan.

Most of you who have never been through the IMB's vetting process for placing field personnel stand back and toss pious statements at the trustees, board personnel and missionaries. I would hazard that many of you pastors would not be in your positions if your churches were as rigorous in their search process as the IMB is in their candidate process. Granted, trustees and their policies and the board are not perfect entities, but look statistically at all mission sending agencies and I think you'd be pleased to see that the IMB is at or near the top in retention categories and near the bottom in terms of number of people dismissed from the field. (Considering LifeWay's report a few years ago that for the 10th year running showed that relational issues are the top 5 reasons pastors are dismissed from their churches, and that the average tenure of an IMB missionary is considerably longer than the average number of years a pastor stays at his church, I'd say the board has a pretty good track record.)

As for Wade's point (sorry Wade for the side trail), I would LOVE for the IMB to buy my house and release us to go. Hard for me to argue against that. It has appeal. At the same time, I rest (sometimes squirm) totally in the sovereignty of God knowing He has called us and He will accomplish His plan in us in His timing for His purpose - not mine. I also know without doubt that God is using this time to challenge us to perservere in our faith. I believe we are going to need that in the future so He is gracious to work it out in us now. This cuts across my instant gratification nature and destroys my God on demand mentality...and I praise God for that!

Christy said...

"The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention has millions upon millions of dollars in a capital reserve account."

when you say millions upon millions what does that mean and what is it used for? capital reserve accounts are always suspicious to me. i think they should have clearer names.

i grew up learning to support the SBC agencies and then i got closer to the organizations and saw things that just don't make sense. Bureaucracies rarely make sense and are rarely effective. I love the idea of the cooperative program and it was a great idea when churches were smaller and there was a greater need to pool resources and to pool volunteers to accomplish the great tasks. But I'm not sure it is the wisest way for me to give my money anymore. There are so many missions and missionaries that receive support from the cooperative program that are doing great things. I don't want them to suffer but what more could they accomplish if there wasn't so much money being wasted and hoarded. how many more could be on the field if the money wasn't being wasted or hoarded. That's the question to me.

If the IMB was so sure on these candidates that have houses to sell, if they are so sure that they need to be on the field and need to be going now, then why are they letting anything stand in the way. at the point they are in the process, the imb knows everything they can possibly know about them, their neighbors, and their neighbors cats! to me, not helping these candidates find a solution to selling their homes, is not a sign of the economic downturn but a sign of the apathy behind the job we are suppose to be doing. there is too much at stake that is far more than money. but money is the focus. i know it is what turns the wheels but my goodness how many wheels does this machine need - i say it only needs feet.

wade, aside from my ranting, can you answer my question with a little more information? or give me a direction to investigate and research on my own?


Christiane said...


Hearing God in the
'soft whisper of a Voice'
(Book of Kings)

".Go out and stand before me on top of the mountain," the Lord said to him.

Then the Lord passed by and sent a furious wind that split the hills
and shattered the rocks - but the Lord was not in the wind.

The wind stopped blowing, and then there was an earthquake -
but the Lord was not in the earthquake.

After the earthquake, there was a fire -
but the Lord was not in the fire.

And after the fire there was a soft whisper of a voice.

When Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his cloak
and stood at the entrance of the cave."

Eileen said...

I can't believe that someone who has served as an IMB trustee would even suggest using strategic reserves this way. Not to mention the faithlessness that suggests doing an end run around the Lord's timetable for missionary candidates. If the Lord intends for them to reach the field, they will, when He is ready. You might not have been much help as a trustee, but your suggestion makes me think you'd be a great asset to the Big Brother Bailout Team in Washington.

Anonymous said...

The B.I. priorities for the use of tithe monies is a disgrace.
It insults those who tithe from hard-earned money, in faith, for the use of the church.
It insults anyone who sees the application of tithe monies for luxury living by B.I. leaders.
But most of all, it insults the Good Lord, who called those missionaries who are waiting to go out into the mission fields.

There has to be a WAY to get around the B.I. people and to use those IMB reserved funds for the Lord's work. The money will be replaced. Where is the faith in the Lord's ability to do that?
A WAY can be found, if people have the right priorities.

Rex Ray said...

I like your attitude on the “Big Brother Bailout Team in Washington”, but I believe Wade accomplished a great amount as a trustee.

Even the President of the Executive Board, in fear of a lawsuit, cautioned the Board on how they were treating Wade.

I believe future trustees will be treated the better for Wade standing for truth.

I also disagree with your statement as a cop-out in saying, “If the Lord intends for them to reach the field, they will, when He is ready.”

That’s the thinking of a ‘Hard-shell Baptist’…what’s going to be is going to be regardless if right or wrong is in control.

RKSOKC66 said...

Mr. Anonymous at 9:46

I apologize for coming off as "self-righteous or pious".

I did not state that "a majority of SBC missionaries had too much debt".

My point is that a lot of people have too much debt and it has all types of negative repercussions on their lives. So to the extent that the IMB takes actions so that candidates straighten out stateside financial obligations prior to thier overseas assignment then that is for the best.

Evidently you are one of the 14 people who has a house that is up for sale but is slow in selling due to the economy.

Would you send me an e-mail and give me a little more information on your situation?

If you wish to remain anonymous I will respect your confidentiality.

Roger K. Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Email: rksimpson1@cox.net

Anonymous said...

"Not to mention the faithlessness that suggests doing an end run around the Lord's timetable for missionary candidates. If the Lord intends for them to reach the field, they will, when He is ready."

Would this also include taking medicine when sick instead of waiting for healing?

Why would this kind of thinking not apply to sickness or any other major decision?