This was shared with me this morning — I wanted to pass it on. Thanks for reading.
Heartbroken. Discouraged. Forgotten. That’s how I feel today.
I’m sitting at my computer inside because the annual haze in my city is getting worse and it’s not particularly good for my five children to be out breathing it in. My husband has been traveling the past four days. He is speaking to churches and encouraging believers with the gospel in a nation where the consequence for sharing the good news with those from other faith-backgrounds is the death penalty. I check Facebook periodically to see what is happening with the massive political protest that is happening today in the capital of this country. I need to be aware to keep my family safe and to pray for my local friends, many of whom are involved in the protest.
As I scroll through Facebook, I see it. The announcement that our sending agency, the International Mission Board, needs to call back home 600-800 missionaries because of a lack of funds to support the Great Commission work. When I first heard the news a few days ago, I was deeply saddened that we reached this point. I respect and love my organization’s leadership. As they made the announcement to us, you could hear the grief in their voices. They know this callback is not a good thing. They know this decision is hard. We are big boys and girls. We understand the dire realities and the drastic measures.
After hearing the decision, many of us missionaries discussed together that maybe this would shock the Southern Baptist churches who sent us to the field to labor in the harvest. They had promised to support us missionaries through prayer and financial sacrifices. Our hope was that they couldn’t allow such a grievous thing to happen.
Here is where the heartbreak comes. As I scroll through Facebook, I read posts from numerous pastors and denominational leaders. They write about how this move is good. They write about how they are proud of our leadership. Where are the voices speaking for the harvest workers who will not be able to fulfill God’s calling to make disciples of all nations?
We must be good stewards of the gifts and resources God provides for us. We are grateful for those who make decisions regarding the allocation of resources, but it seems to us on the field that people in the states are more happy that the budget is being balanced than they are disturbed that harvest workers are being pulled off the field. They write about how they think balancing our budget is a good thing.
I thought our convention just emphasized a Great Commission Resurgence a few years ago? How can our first response to this announcement not be grief and repentance as individuals and churches and as a convention? We were founded for
global missions, and now pastors and church leaders are “proud” when the IMB must ask the most seasoned, experienced, effective, and knowledgeable veterans among us to go home? Jesus called his people to the Great Commission, to go to the uttermost parts of the earth to proclaim his name among all nations.
How can a convention of 50,000 churches and missions not support 5,000 missionaries?
The homepage of the Southern Baptist Convention says, “For almost 170 years, Southern Baptists have sought to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all people everywhere. The Southern Baptist Convention was formed with a Gospel vision. Its founding charter identifies its singular focus: …for the purpose of eliciting, combining, and directing the energies of the Baptist denomination of Christians, for the propagation of the Gospel…”
Do we as Southern Baptists no longer believe this? Are we no longer committed to this singular focus?
Please understand me. I think we have great leadership in the International Mission Board. They are godly men, and I do not envy their role and responsibilities during these challenging days.
It is important to be financially responsible. But, I think that this means we have got to give more generously to international missions. Even as the IMB strives to budget well, we must repent of the way we spend our personal and church finances and prioritize giving money to support missions so that millions of lost people destined for hell can hear the gospel before it is too late and they are in hell for all of eternity.
Southern Baptists, we love you and thank you for supporting so many of us for so long. Will you allow a financial crisis to limit the number of men and women called by God from SBC churches to make disciples of all nations?
Please help us get the gospel to the nations!