What’s changed since last Indianapolis meeting?

Southern Baptist messengers will meet in Indianapolis June 15-16 for the convention’s annual meeting. When the SBC met in Indianapolis 12 years ago, Foreign Mission Board President Keith Parks raised five questions in the context of criticizing those involved in the conservative resurgence. Here are his questions in 1992 followed by answers based on this year’s Book of Reports.

Parks: Has the controversy accelerated fulfilling our purpose of sharing the gospel with all the world?

• By examining the IMB strategy implemented after a conservative-led trustee board elected new leadership, some indication of the effectiveness of conservative resurgence values can be seen. The five-year evaluation of Strategic Directions for the 21st Century revealed that the number of people groups engaged by IMB personnel has more than doubled to 1,371, with 146 unreached people groups engaged with the gospel for the first time in 2003.

Parks: Do we have more commitment to pray?

• Prayer support for Southern Baptist missionaries intensified as local churches and individual Southern Baptists were sent regular prayer updates electronically. A total of 42,024 have asked the IMB to send them those requests weekly.

Parks: Are there more of us giving more generously?

• Lottie Moon Christmas Offering receipts have grown from $78.6 million in 1992 to $133 million projected for this year.

Parks: Are there increasing numbers of men and women eager to give their lives as international missionaries?

• The missionary count has grown from 3,906 in 1992 to 5,375 this year.

Parks: Is our witness more effective in the world?

• Overseas baptisms have grown from 233,334 to 510,357 in just over a decade. New churches planted overseas have grown from 1,576 to 16,721 in the same timeframe.

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