The International Mission Board has announced the closure of its Richmond Communications Center effective April 29 and the accompanying layoff of 30 stateside staff members, according to a Jan. 14 IMB news release. Ten additional communications staff members are being transitioned to other positions.
The layoffs were the result of “reevaluating systems and structures across the IMB not only because of IMB’s financial realities,” the release said, “but also to be the best possible stewards of resources that churches have entrusted to IMB to get the Gospel to the nations.”
The affected communications employees represent about 6.5 percent of the approximately 450 stateside staff members at the IMB prior to the board’s “organizational reset,” which began in August with the launch of a voluntary retirement incentive for personnel 50 and older with five or more years of service.
No additional teams, groups or departments will be eliminated during the organizational reset, the board said.
News of the communications layoffs came as the IMB announced the beginning of phase two in its reset: a “hand raising opportunity” (HRO) for missionaries and stateside staff members “to transition outside the IMB if they believe God is leading them to a new place of investment in mission,” according to the news release. Individuals who accept the HRO must finalize their decisions by Feb. 22 and will receive “a package beyond the scope of a normal resignation.”
Though remaining overseas staff may volunteer to leave IMB for new fields of service, no missionaries will be “required” to leave the field as part of the continuing organizational reset, the IMB said.
Despite closure of the communications center, the board will continue to release news and feature stories, photos and videos produced by IMB media workers based in Europe, the Mideast, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press