International Mission Board

Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board

International Mission Board

International Mission BoardInternational Mission Board is the centralized mission board for the overseas missionaries fielded by the Southern Baptist Convention.

In 2021, International Mission Board fielded 3,619 missionaries around the world (below), up slightly from 3,562 in 2018, when it had "about 350" support staff in USA and an annual budget of $278,755,000 (source: International Mission Board representative, 2018).

Strengths

1.  International Mission Board pays a full salary and covers all costs, including travel, medical, children's education, etc., for its missionaries, who are able to focus on sharing the Gospel instead of raising funds.

2.  Since the Southern Baptist Convention’s current (2021) 14,525,579 members in 47,530 churches (down slightly from 15,216,978 members in 47,272 churches in 2018) make it the largest protestant denomination in USA, its International Mission Board should enjoy the highest economies of scale - i.e., lowest cost and highest operating efficiency - of all US-based international mission boards.

International Mission Board's 2019 Annual Report reported the numbers below, including a worldwide conversion rate (new believers / unbelievers to whom an International Missions Board missionary witnessed) of 16.7% - i.e., 1 out of every 6 people to whom its missionaries witnessed got saved:

2019 IMB Annual Report
 
Heard
Witness
New
Believers
New B. /
Heard W.

Baptisms
South Asia 103,328 35,183 34.0% 29,286
Sub-Saharan Africa 95,253 20,775 21.8% 3,982
East Asia 92,821 14,548 15.7% 5,021
Middle East & North Africa 31,460 4,686 14.9% 1,394
Southeast Asia 67,767 7,955 11.7% 5,581
Latin America 28,286 2,195 7.8% 578
Central Asia 48,648 2,192 4.5% 1,265
US, Canada, Europe, Russia, Oceania 59,196 1,583 2.7% 682
Deaf 8,356 193 2.3% 138
Total 535,115 89,310 16.7% 47,927

Weaknesses

1.  Three factors indicate the "16.7%" worldwide conversion rate above to be overstated. First, multiple Baptist leaders have disclosed (http://www.ethicsdaily.com/article_detail.cfm?AID=5178) that International Mission Board reports as its own the work of indigenous Baptist churches, even those that have no affiliation with International Missions Board or Southern Baptist Convention. Second, the stunning "34%" conversion rate for "South Asia" is due to Hindus in India, the region's dominant country, simply adding Jesus to the 330 million "gods" that they worship in the hopes of improving the quality of their lives; when told the true Gospel and that they must renounce all of Hinduism's demonic idols, the true conversion rate plummets far below 34%. Third, the reported "East Asia" is comprised of Japan, South Korea, Mongolia and China: Japan remains very hard soil; Mongolia is a small country of only 3 million people; the number of Protestants is declining in South Korea, which was evangelized a century ago; the harvest is more plentiful in China but has slowed, and the conversion rate in China is also far below "15.7%".

2.  Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and International Mission Board are fielding too few missionaries. SBC's 14,525,579 members in 47,530 churches fielding 3,619 overseas missionaries through International Mission Board in 2021 means that on average, each SBC church has 306 members, and it takes 13.1 of those churches (totaling 4,013 members) to field one missionary. By contrast, the 16 million member Mormon "church" fields 70,946 Mormon missionaries; the largest Protestant denomination in USA is fielding only 5% of the number of "missionaries" fielded by a Satanic cult that is spreading around the world the blasphemous lie that Jesus and Satan used to be brothers.

3.  SBC members give too little to missions. Its 15,216,978 members giving $278,755,000 to field 3,562 missionaries (2018 figures) means that on average, each Southern Baptist is giving $18.31 per year, which is equal to $0.35 per Sunday, to support missionaries, each of whom cost International Mission Board an average of $78,258 per year (fully allocated).

4.  There are reports of International Mission Board covering up sexual abuse, including of children, by its missionaries: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/investigations/article/Abuse-of-Faith-Missionaries-left-trail-of-abuse-13904418.php.

Solutions

1.  The giving needs to rise. If it were to rise from the current $0.35 to even just $1 per Sunday, the number of its overseas missionaries will triple to 10,000. If it were to rise to $10 per Sunday, International Mission Board will be able to field 100,000 missionaries.

2.  International Mission Board's 350 full time staff in USA caring for its 3,542 missionaries (2018 figures) equates to one full time staff in USA caring for about 10 missionaries. This ratio should more than double and other cost-saving measures taken to lower the cost to field each missionary. International Mission Board should also publish transparent financial statements that detail the costs, including salaries of its leaders.

3.  Report true statistics. Doing so will require admission of past exaggerations, which must be repented, not perpetuated.

4.  Ultimately, SBC should note that for the $78,258 to field one missionary through International Mission Board, HeartCry can field many more indigenous missionaries, and consider a structural modification similar to the one undertaken by Wycliffe Associates.

5.  Have GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment - netgrace.org) investigate all past and any current allegations of sexual abuse, publish its findings, implement its recommendations, turn over the perpetrators to law enforcement for arrest and prosecution, and fire all leaders who engaged in cover up(s).