RIDGECREST, N.C.—International Mission Board trustees gathered at Ridgecrest Conference Center Sept. 11-13 to celebrate more than 25,000 years of service by emeritus missionaries while approving the appointment of 51 new personnel to take the Gospel to unreached people and places.
The fall meeting near Asheville, N.C., also included orientation for 11 new trustees; approval of a balanced budget for 2017-18; and concerted prayer for specific needs representing every region of the world.
New emeriti, missionaries
IMB traditionally hosts a celebration of new emeritus missionaries every five years. The 2017 celebration included appreciation for 31 new emeriti, with 950 emeriti able to attend the quinquennial reunion despite the inclement weather which hampered travel for some. In all, the group represented 25,297 years of Southern Baptist missionary service. Trustees participated in honoring their faithfulness to proclaim the gospel.
Trustees also approved 51 missionary personnel who will go to share the gospel in every region of the world. The new personnel, honored and challenged during a Sept. 13 Sending Celebration, represent churches in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
During the Sept. 13 plenary session of the meeting, IMB President David Platt introduced the 2017-18 proposed budget, balanced with receipts and expenses both projected at $262 million.
Platt said the IMB’s priorities for the budget are to sustain an increasingly efficient and effective organization; undergird the existing mission force and staff; replenish the current mission force in response to natural attrition; and expand the future mission force with the remaining budget.
Platt thanked Southern Baptists for giving in a way that reaches people with the gospel.
“This is why we exist as a coalition of churches, for the accomplishment of the gospel,” he said, introducing the 2017 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering theme—Compelled—based in 2 Corinthians 5:14 (“For Christ’s love compels us,” HCSB).
“Your giving in your churches, your praying in your churches, has eternal impact,” Platt said.
The week also included orientation for 11 trustees elected in June during the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Phoenix.
The new IMB trustees include Trent Snyder, associate pastor of missions and evangelism of Porter Memorial Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky.
IMB trustees will meet via video conference Nov. 14 to approve new missionary appointees, with a Livestream Sending Celebration honoring the appointees and their sending churches slated for Nov. 16, at 2 p.m. EST. (BP)