I don’t know if our International Mission Board has a projection that goes along with their $175 million goal. In past years, they have used real estate sales and reserves to spend as if the goal were met. With considerable reductions in personnel (I am unaware of any hard numbers released by IMB just yet) I would assume they are planning to live within their operating income for 2016.
Southern Baptists have given considerable sums the past two years to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, a record $154 million in 2013 and the second highest ever, $153 million last year.
The goal has not changed since 2009: $175 million. We haven’t even been in the neighborhood of reaching it.
What about this year, with the reduction of missions and stateside personnel? The actions have generated criticism for past mismanagement by some. Others have commended new IMB leadership for clear-eyed candor. All regret that the actions were found necessary to take. Will the net effect on the LMCO be positive, negative, or neutral?
- Some are going all out, all in to give more. Now is the time to show whether or not we believe our flagship institution is the only vehicle with a truly global strategy for reaching the nations.
- Some are waiting to see how the IMB reset progresses before they decide to give greater support.
- Some are in modest ways already redirecting part of their LMCO towards funding retired IMB personnel.
- Some have long since dropped the LMCO in favor of a generic missions offering for local missions.
I’m optimistic that SBCers can manage reality, recognize that the vast evangelistic needs are still overseas, and do their best to give significantly more. Were I an active rather than semi-retired SBC pastor, I would try and lead my congregation to give significantly more.
I’ll predict at least another record year for the LMCO but not a year that reaches the $175 million goal. Any prediction this years is really a shot in the dark. God only knows.
The image above is Lottie, one of my favorites of her. Serious.
What’s your church planning?