International Mission Board (IMB) President David Platt will host a one-hour live streamed video session on the entity’s future at 11 a.m. Eastern Time March 3, answering questions and responding to comments submitted via Twitter under #IMBLive.
Platt has expressed a desire to move the conversation beyond discussion of the 983 missionaries and 149 stateside staff members leaving IMB through a Voluntary Retirement Incentive (VRI) and a Hand Raising Opportunity (HRO) collectively aimed at balancing the entity’s budget.
Registration is available free online to the public at eventbrite.com/e/the-future-of-imb-tickets-21722715226.
Specifically, 702 missionaries and 109 stateside staff took VRIs, and 281 missionaries and 40 stateside staff took HROs in the plan to create a balanced budget for the organization that had operated with a $210 million deficit over the past six years by utilizing reserves and selling property. The VRI was offered to eligible retirement-age personnel and the HRO was available to everyone in the IMB.
When Platt announced Feb. 24 the numbers taking VRI and HRO, he said he wanted to focus on IMB’s future.
“In the days to come, I do want to begin … to shift the conversation to that future, a future that I pray will be marked by multitudes of Southern Baptist missionaries taking the gospel to the nations,” he said during a Feb. 24 press conference. “Amidst all the conversations about the number of missionaries who have left, I want to talk about the number of missionaries who are left.
“Thousands of missionaries, with thousands upon thousands of years of collective experience, still remain on the field through the IMB, in such a way that IMB remains the largest missionary organization of its kind in the entire world,” he noted.
Those missionaries are ready to conduct missions, Platt said.
“They are ready to stop talking about VRI and HRO and start putting all of our collective focus back on making disciples and multiplying churches for the most populated cities in the most extreme places in the world,” Platt said. “We’ve made significant changes to our infrastructure and systems in order to help them do that with greater excellence, effectiveness and efficiency.”
IMB will spread the gospel by continuing to support the approximate 3,800 international missionaries who remain in the field, while surrounding them “with students, professionals and retirees who are leveraging their studies, vocations and relocations for the spread of the gospel,” Platt has said.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor.)