IMB trustees appoint 62 missionaries; highlight growth in globalization

PHOENIX, Ariz.—International Mission Board trustees approved the appointment of 62 new full-time, fully funded missionaries during their Feb. 14-15 meeting in Phoenix. Trustees met in conjunction with a Sending Celebration for new appointees hosted by North Phoenix Baptist Church on Feb. 14.

Keith Evans, trustee chairman from Washington state, presided over the meetings. Trudy Crittendon, trustee recording secretary from South Carolina, called Thursday’s plenary session to order and opened the meeting in prayer.

The meeting included reports from standing committees: administration, mobilization, global engagement, human resources, LFTT (logistics, finance, travel, technology), marketing and communications and training.

President’s remarks

IMB President Paul Chitwood thanked trustees for their ongoing service and commented on the significant partnerships among Southern Baptists. Chitwood spent time earlier Thursday morning with state convention executive directors.

“All of IMB’s Cooperative Program dollars and the overwhelming majority of our Lottie [Moon offering] gifts come from churches through their state conventions,” Chitwood said. “As such, those state conventions are not only essential partners, they are among IMB’s strongest advocates.”

Celebrating the appointment of 62 new missionaries by the board on Feb. 14, Chitwood told trustees that the missionary candidate pipeline is currently 1,355. He emphasized the importance of encouraging those who have served with the IMB before to return to career service. The missionaries appointed on Wednesday participated in a Sending Celebration at North Phoenix Baptist Church that evening.

Chitwood shared a report from Daren Davis, the leader of IMB’s Sub-Saharan African Affinity. Davis shared earlier in the week about the launch of the Africans on Mission sending body, a partnership of 14 African Baptist entities that will now work together to send cross-cultural missionaries to all of Africa and from Africa to all nations.

“IMB’s role in the formation of Africans on Mission could not be overstated,” Chitwood remarked, “but that is only one example among many of how our investment in the globalization of the missionary task is inspiring sending among our Baptist brothers and sisters the world over. An important part of this investment is our objective to add 500 global missionary partners to IMB teams. Since the pandemic released its grip on the world, we have added 134 global missionary partners to IMB overseas teams and have 136 more GMP candidates currently in the pipeline.”

Global missionary partners are overseas partners, called to cross-cultural missions, sent by their local church or sending entity and affirmed by IMB field personnel. They receive training and ministry resources through their cooperative work with IMB missionary teams.

Chitwood reported that the IMB audited financials for 2023 have been reviewed by the LFTT (logistics, finance, travel, technology) and the audit committees of the board of trustees. “We are happy to report that we’ve received an unmodified opinion by the auditors, which is the highest level of assurance available,” Chitwood said.

“No property sales were used for operations,” he continued. “Reserves were funded at appropriate levels, including commitments to retiring missionaries being fully funded. And as always, 100 percent of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering proceeds were spent on the field. We’re thankful for the generosity of Southern Baptists and their faithful giving through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. Simply put, the IMB would not exist without them.

“We are also thankful for the IMB Finance Team, both abroad and in Richmond. We are blessed to work with many men and women of integrity who love the Lord and desire to see the Gospel proclaimed to the ends of the earth. The auditor’s opinion confirms, yet again, what we already knew, and indeed we are grateful.”

Chitwood closed his remarks reflecting on his six years as president. He told trustees that though there is much work to do, “I retire every evening confident of this — the work of the IMB is the Lord’s work. We give ourselves to it as a privilege and a calling but never under the illusion that the Revelation 7:9 vision we long to see fulfilled will in any way be accomplished in our power or according to our plans.

“But the vision will come to pass. Every nation, all tribes, peoples and languages will someday be a part of that great multitude standing before the throne and before the Lamb. Might God find us faithful striving to do our part. But might God also find us full of faith that He will do what He has said in His Word, with us or without us. As much as it depends on you and me, let it be with us, not without us.”

Managing Editor
Leslie Peacock Caldwell
International Mission Board (IMB)
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