IMB ‘open for business,’ Platt tells SBC messengers

International Mission Board President David Platt declared the IMB “open for business” in his report to messengers at the SBC annual meeting in Dallas June 13.

“By the grace of God and through the generous support of Southern Baptist churches, the IMB is positioned on strong biblical foundations, and we are standing on firm financial ground,” Platt said. “Our giving is up through both the Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon. And our sending is up. Lord willing, we will send more missionaries this year than we have in years.”

David Platt reports at SBC

Dr. David Platt, president of the International Mission Board, presents the entity’s report to messengers at the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Dallas. (Photo by Maria Estes)

In February, Platt asked IMB trustees to begin the search for his successor. He is leaving the IMB to begin a pastoral ministry in Washington, D.C. Although a search committee is “working hard,” the IMB is not about the president, Platt said.

“The IMB is about a coalition of over 47,000 churches working together to support thousands of anonymous missionaries whose names and places where they work can’t even be mentioned in public because they are spreading the gospel at great risk to their lives. They are the IMB, and I want to report to you on what they are doing,” Platt said.

Good news from around the globe

Platt shared a number of twitter-length reports from IMB missionaries serving around the world, including:

• A Muslim people group is hearing the gospel for the first time in one of the largest slums in Sub-Saharan Africa.

• Thousands of Iranian and Afghan refugees are coming to know Christ across Europe.

• One church in a European city started four new churches in the last year. When six people were recently baptized, two were European, one was Chinese, and the other three were Iranian.

• A Yezidi refugee who was fleeing ISIS came to Christ and was baptized.

• Refugees are coming to Christ, becoming disciple-makers, and returning to their war-torn homeland to rebuild the foundations of their lives and communities on the gospel of Jesus Christ.

• Last week, IMB missionaries shared the gospel alongside local partners with more than 1,100 Muslims in three days.

‘Disciples are being made’

In addition to the shorter stories, Platt shared a longer story from a Muslim country in Southeast Asia.

“One of our missionaries was with one of his national partners named Ahmad,” Platt said. “It looked like it was about to rain, and Ahmad asked our missionary if he could borrow an old shirt to wear as he rode his motorcycle because he didn’t want to get his new jacket wet. Our missionary handed him a big white T-shirt.”

Later that day, Ahmad was wearing that white shirt when it started raining, Platt continued. He pulled his motorcycle over under an awning. The owners of a nearby house came out, and as is their custom, invited him in for tea.

“He went in, and over tea, Ahmad thought, ‘I might as well share the gospel,’” Platt said. “Then he asked the couple, ‘Do you want to believe and be baptized?’”

Without any hesitation, the couple said, “Yes!”

“Do you understand what you’re doing? That you will probably be shunned by your family for this, or even worse?” Ahmad asked.

The man said, “You don’t understand. I’ve had several dreams over the last three nights, and in each dream, a man wearing white told me he had the way to salvation for my family and me. Last night, that man appeared to me again and told me a man dressed in white would come to my home the next day and share the way of salvation. When we saw you standing outside, we knew we needed to invite you in and hear whatever you had to say to us.”

This formerly Muslim couple now follows the Messiah, Platt said.

“If anyone asks you about what’s happening at the IMB, you tell them: Disciples are being made, churches are being multiplied, and Jesus is being glorified among people who previously never even heard His name,” Platt said.

Ann Lovell is a freelance writer based in Richmond, Virginia.