Three new believers.
It’s a big number anytime, but it’s especially big when you’re talking about a place where a missionary couple had lived 15 years without seeing a single person come to faith in Christ.
Paul Chitwood, president of the International Mission Board, started his report to the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting June 14 by sharing the story he’d heard from a pastor the night before. The pastor’s daughter is serving for a month this summer in the Middle East, and she and her ministry partner “just got to lead three Muslim women to Jesus on a house visit,” Chitwood said.
For 15 years, the IMB couple had seen no converts, but “today there are three,” Chitwood said.
“What a beautiful picture of what Southern Baptists do together,” he said. “Some go and plow hard ground. Some go and sow the seed. Some go and water the seed. And some go and enjoy a harvest. Together we’re able to see the gospel advance.”
On behalf of the IMB’s 3,600 missionaries and their 2,850 children, Chitwood thanked Southern Baptists for their partnership and generous support.
He said as the convention moves forward with the Sexual Abuse Task Force’s recommendations, “it’s those 2,850 kids who come first to my mind, and I am grateful for your support of protection and care for our most vulnerable.”
“At the IMB, we have made sweeping changes in this area to protect those precious ones the Lord has entrusted to our care,” Chitwood continued. “Just as we have seen the Lord honor transparency, humility and repentance in this area at the IMB, I believe we will see him honor these things in our denominational family.”
He said more information about the IMB’s response to abuse is available at imb.org/abuseresponse.
Also during the IMB report:
- Chitwood said that in 2021, more than half a million people overseas heard the gospel through the witness of IMB missionaries and their national partners. More than 176,000 people chose to follow Christ, and more than 22,000 churches were planted.
- Chitwood announced that the IMB has seen a turnaround in giving, and this year has started “even better, much better in fact.” The organization’s two primary revenue streams — the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and Cooperative Program funds — are currently running more than 14 percent ahead of last year’s giving. “We could not be more grateful for your generosity,” he said.
- He also noted an upswing in giving opens the door for increased sending and noted that the missionary candidate pipeline had quadrupled since he became president.
- IMB’s new branding — a logo with a map pin — was celebrated as helping IMB “look forward to an even brighter future.”
- Chitwood underlined the importance of the sending of 52 new missionaries during the sending celebration earlier in the day. “We’re somewhere between the Great Commission and the great multitude, and we find we still have work to do,” he said.
View photos from this business session of the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting here.
To view other photos from the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention in Anaheim, click here.
For more stories from the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, visit thebaptistpaper.org/sbc2022.