Because of a deep desire for every church in the Hoosier State to be active in missions, the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana is striving to fuel the International Mission Board pipeline with more missionary candidates to actively reach the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Ryan Strother, executive director of SCBI, visited IMB’s office in Richmond, Virginia, in January and was challenged by the IMB’s goal of sending 500 more missionaries over the next five years, said Scooter Kellum, team leader for church and leader mobilization for SCBI.
“Statistics reveal that 300 missionaries come off the field every year for various reasons,” Kellum said. “So, when realizing that the Southern Baptist Convention needs to send 400 new missionaries every year if we’re going to see 500 additional missionaries over the next five years, Dr. Strother started thinking of how SCBI can fuel the pipeline with more Hoosier candidates.”
Kellum went on to explain that as Strother was reflecting on what the first step would be, he was reminded of a time when he was a pastor. A young couple from his church was reportedly inquiring about how to follow God’s calling in their lives to be on the missions field. They went to Strother, and he was able to help track down the answers the couple needed. They are now serving on the missions field.
Paul Chitwood, president of IMB, recently shared with Southern Baptists his vision for missionary involvement. Kellum noted that Chitwood said, “This work can only be accomplished through the cooperative work of Southern Baptists. Our convention exists for the purpose of praying, giving, going and sending together. Together, we get to share the good news of Jesus with people and in places where that news has never been heard. Together, we send, sustain and support missionaries to be steadfastly present around the globe.”
Filling the missionary pipeline
In May, Kellum, six pastors and Strother went to Richmond for two days to learn more about the work of the IMB.
“If SCBI is going to fill the missionary pipeline [with] Hoosier candidates, we need our pastors involved in the solution,” Strother said.
Kellum outlined the strategy SCBI is working toward, which includes “connecting and coupling.”
Connecting involves making one connection, such as a phone call, with an SCBI pastor each week and being available to speak in churches and associations when missionaries are desired.
Coupling means that every Hoosier candidate in the IMB pipeline will be paired with one of the IMB advocates for prayer and emotional support throughout the process.
“We want to connect with our SCBI churches,” Kellum said, “to create a missionary pipeline so that many will be added to the ‘great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb’” (Rev. 7:9).
To learn more about the missionary efforts being put forward by the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana, visit www.scbi.org.