TRUSTEES: IMB celebrates missionaries, approves balanced budget

RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP) -- International Mission Board trustees gathered at Ridgecrest Conference Center Sept. 11-13 to celebrate more than 25,000 years of service by emeritus missionaries while approving the appointment of 51 new personnel to take the Gospel to unreached people and places.

The fall meeting near Asheville, N.C., also included orientation for 11 new trustees; approval of a balanced budget for 2017-18; and concerted prayer for specific needs representing every region of the world.

New emeriti, missionaries, trustees

IMB traditionally hosts a celebration of new emeritus missionaries every five years. The 2017 celebration included appreciation for 31 new emeriti, with 950 emeriti able to attend the quinquennial reunion despite the inclement weather which hampered travel for some. In all, the group represented 25,297 years of Southern Baptist missionary service. Trustees participated in honoring their faithfulness to proclaim the Gospel.

Trustees also approved 51 missionary personnel who will go to share the Gospel in every region of the world. The new personnel, honored and challenged during a Sept. 13 Sending Celebration, represent churches in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Budget

During the Sept. 13 plenary session of the meeting, IMB President David Platt introduced the 2017-18 proposed budget, balanced with receipts and expenses both projected at $262 million.

Platt said the IMB's priorities for the budget are to sustain an increasingly efficient and effective organization; undergird the existing mission force and staff; replenish the current mission force in response to natural attrition; and expand the future mission force with the remaining budget.

Rodney Freeman, vice president of support services and IMB treasurer, led trustees through a review of the 2017-18 budget during a WebEx session prior to the meeting, as well as in the Support Services committee meeting, and he recapped the budget proposal during the Sept. 13 plenary session. Freeman reiterated the budget reflects short-term financial responsibility and long-term organizational stability. The budget is based on a new fiscal year, Oct. 1, 2017-Sept. 30, 2018, which aligns IMB's financial year with other SBC entities. The new fiscal year was approved at SBC annual meeting in Phoenix.

Platt and Freeman reported the IMB budgeting process follows five core principles:

-- Uses realistic to conservative projections for receipts (projecting Lottie Moon Christmas Offering receipts at $153 million for 2017-18);

-- Maintains contingency reserves at an appropriate level (set at 5.5 months, which falls within SBC Executive Committee guidelines);

-- Excludes property sales from budget receipts or expenses;

-- Spends 100 percent of LMCO receipts on the mission field; and

-- Presents a balanced budget for approval each year ($262 million for 2017-18).

Platt thanked Southern Baptists for giving in a way that reaches people with the Gospel.

"This is why we exist as a coalition of churches, for the accomplishment of the Gospel," he said, introducing the 2017 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering theme -- compelled -- based in 2 Corinthians 5:14 ("For Christ's love compels us," HCSB).

"Your giving in your churches, your praying in your churches, has eternal impact," Platt said.

In addition to reports by the trustee standing committees, trustee chairman Hance Dilbeck presented two sets of minutes for approval: minutes from the June 12 trustee meeting held in conjunction with the SBC Annual Meeting; and minutes from an Aug. 24 IMB trustee executive committee meeting. During the August meeting, the executive committee of the IMB trustees agreed to evaluate Platt's involvement as teaching pastor at McLean Bible Church in Northern Virginia during a provisional period over the coming months.

"Our president, Dr. David Platt, has expressed a deep sense of calling to serve as teaching pastor of McLean Bible Church while also continuing to lead the International Mission Board," Dilbeck, senior pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, said. "We respect Dr. Platt and his sense of the Lord's leading; and we recognize our responsibility to hold him accountable for his work leading the International Mission Board. Over the coming months, while Dr. Platt serves as teaching pastor for McLean Bible Church, the trustees of the International Mission Board will evaluate Dr. Platt's fulfillment of his responsibilities as IMB president. Trustees also will evaluate McLean's level of partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention. We plan to revisit this matter in our February trustee meeting."

For more information about this topic and other frequently asked questions, visit IMB.org/FAQ.

Orientation

The week also included orientation for 11 trustees elected in June during the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Phoenix.

The new IMB trustees are Joel Bundick, pastor of Community of Grace church in Aurora, Colo.; Jim Crockett, president of R1 Ministries and member of First Baptist Church of Hendersonville, Tenn.; Jordan Easley, senior pastor of Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, Tenn.; Keith Evans, senior pastor of Pathway Church in Troutdale, Ore.; Will Gatling, associate pastor of missions of Bay Leaf Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C.; Nathan Gunter, pastor of Lansing (Kan.) First Southern Baptist Church; Kirra Kelly, an educator and member of Family Church in West Palm Beach, Fla.; Gary Mathena, a professor and member of First Baptist Church in Roanoke, Va.; Cliff Mayton, senior pastor of Memorial Baptist Church in Spring, Texas; Trent Snyder, associate pastor of missions and evangelism of Porter Memorial Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky.; and Brian Zunigha, a campus minister and member of Redeemer Baptist Church in Riverside, Calif.

IMB trustees will meet via video conference Nov. 14 to approve new missionary appointees, with a Livestream Sending Celebration honoring the appointees and their sending churches slated for Nov. 16, at 2 p.m. EST.

The official launch date for the 2017 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is Oct. 1. For more information, go to IMB.org/LMCO to find the new resources for your church's mission offering.

Watch a video from David Platt:

Julie McGowan is Public Relations Manager for the International Mission Board.
Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP).
Download Story