Editor’s note: We would never have imagined going into 2020 that our top news events would be the effects of a global pandemic. But what we see looking back is that God never stopped moving among His people. IMB is grateful to have been a part of what He chose to do among the nations this year. These are some of the key stories from the year.
The World Faces a Pandemic
COVID-19 affected us globally and IMB made the difficult decision to ask volunteers not to go. Many missionaries also had to leave their countries of service and change approaches to their ministries and daily lives.
At the end of March, IMB senior leadership directed all personnel to postpone hosting any ministry volunteer groups through June 30. Read the full story here.
The Task Continues
We began to hear and share stories of God’s continued work through IMB missionaries and local believers. Nothing could have encouraged us more.
The evening before Akille’s baptism, the government implemented new regulations that forbid all religious meetings and ceremonies. The churches simply could not meet for the baptism. While the churches planned to respect the government regulations, they did not want to forego the opportunity to celebrate the new life Akille has in Christ and the testimony of his baptism. Church leaders made the decision to move the baptism to his house. He would be baptized in the bathtub and those present would witness a visible demonstration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Read the full story here.
Quarantine. Lockdown. Unable to leave your apartment. Not exactly the ideal recipe for large-scale gospel sharing in difficult-to-reach Spain, where less than 0.5 of 1% of the population have a personal relationship with Christ. In this story, we see how the power of the gospel through music on Easter morning poured through the open windows of more than 300 apartments where Caleb and Carina Beaty, IMB missionaries, live and minister in their barrio of Madrid. Read the full story here.
Missionaries Prepare for service in 2020
We rejoiced during three Sending Celebrations and the 161 new missionaries commissioned this year.
Representing Southern Baptist churches throughout the United States, 21 International Mission Board missionaries were publicly celebrated during a service at Magnolia Church in Riverside, California, Wednesday, Jan. 29. This would be the only in-person commissioning service to take place in 2020. Read the full story here.
On June 9, the International Mission Board commissioned 61 missionaries in a virtual Sending Celebration. The missionaries represented churches in 15 states and would be serving in all nine of the IMB’s affinities. Read the full story here.
On November 18, the International Mission Board celebrated the appointment of 79 new missionaries in a virtual Sending Celebration streamed on Facebook and through the IMB: Advance the Kingdom app. Read the full story here.
Celebrating 175 Years
IMB celebrated 175 uninterrupted years of bringing the gospel to all nations.
A 175-day prayer emphasis and an interactive timeline directed Southern Baptists to our history, but also current needs and future plans.
Southern Baptists Give Generously
The generosity of Southern Baptists continued with a renewed emphasis on fulfilling the Revelation 7:9 vision.
The International Mission Board reported a 2019-20 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering total of $159.5 million, the second- highest offering in history. This total exceeded by $4.5 million the 175-year-old organization’s budgeted goal of $155 million. IMB also received $97.2 million from the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program for 2019-20. Read the full story here.
IMB Looks to the Future of Missions
Though a joint report published with Barna group, an online workshop, and the Future of Missions Summit, IMB looked at how best to involve the next generations in global missions.
Participants from 48 states and 30 countries connected with IMB leaders, missionaries and a panel of experts Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, to address the global, cultural and spiritual realities that are impacting the future of missions. The two-hour simulcast was broadcast in five languages: English, Spanish, American Sign Language, Korean and Mandarin Chinese. Read the full story here.