On Dec. 18, Paul Chitwood, president of the International Mission Board (IMB), visited the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area to meet with leaders from five area churches that also happen to be among the top 10 missionary-sending churches in the Southern Baptist Convention. JD Greear, SBC president and pastor of the Summit Church, hosted the meeting at the Capital Hills campus of the Summit Church in Raleigh.
“We wanted to connect with them knowing that they are such strong partners with the IMB.” Chitwood explained in a Facebook Live broadcast with Greear. “We have the privilege at the IMB to be the sending arm of Southern Baptist churches, and knowing that these churches are so committed to sending, how can we send more in partnership?”
Represented at the meeting were pastors and staff from the Summit Church as well as North Wake Church in Wake Forest, N.C.; and Imago Dei Church, Providence Baptist Church and Open Door Church, all in Raleigh. Leaders from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) also were present.
Chitwood explained that many of the leaders had personal experience being overseas, which led them to a passionate commitment to get the Gospel to the nations. This commitment led to a culture among the churches and SEBTS.
“It has created a dynamic push of people out,” Chitwood said. “It all goes back to leadership.”
In the meeting, Chitwood cast a vision for the future of the IMB, including the desire to send more full-time missionaries to the field. There are currently 3,660 active missionaries, and the IMB is preparing to send more, with a goal of adding 500 additional personnel by 2025.
“We want to steward well what the Lord has given us,” Chitwood told the group. “Five hundred more is a goal. We are asking God to provide more missionaries and the money to send them.”
A theme of both the meeting and the broadcast was the Go2 initiative that challenges college students to commit their first two years after graduation to serving with a church plant in the U.S. or overseas as they begin their careers. Internationally, this initiative takes place through the IMB’s Journeyman program, where graduates serve their two years in a city as a fully funded missionary.
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Source: Baptist Press