FIRST-PERSON: More are answering the call. Now what?

Brandon Porter

More than 1,100 potential IMB missionaries are now in a pipeline awaiting preparation and assignment. Isn’t that exciting? It is an answer to prayer and a work of God.

This encouraging response to the call of the Great Commission is evidence of God’s work to bring all people to Him through Jesus Christ.

When I hear that others are answering God’s call to go to the nations, I want to do my part. Don’t you? Maybe we aren’t all called to physically go to the nations, but there is a role for all believers.

Upon hearing the news of the 1,100 missionaries in the pipeline, I was immediately reminded of an article IMB President Paul Chitwood wrote in 2021. In the piece, he specifically asked us to focus on increasing the mission force, to give toward it and to pray for it.

In that piece, Chitwood lamented, “Those of us who have been in a Southern Baptist church since at least 2008 should be sobered by the fact that gospel troops have been cut by nearly half on our watch.”

He issued a call to action for frontline missionaries, “We have a target of seeing the number of frontline missionaries grow by 500 over the next five years. And here’s what we need to do right now: we need to deliver the draft notice. We need to get the word out. We need to call out the called and encourage every pastor and preacher across the SBC to call out the called.”

God is at work and His people are responding.

We may not all be sent to the uttermost, but we are all called to pray and give for the sake of the Great Commission.

This is a not a new call to action. Another Paul, the apostle Paul, called on Christians to contribute to the needs of the saints. (Romans 12:13)

That same apostle looked forward to his own personal help from those Roman Christians as he continued in his mission work (Romans 15:24). He was counting on them to help carry the gospel to those who had never heard.

The need for us to increase our giving to reach the nations is great. “I’m asking Southern Baptists for more money, the money it will take to support those 500 more missionaries,” Chitwood said.

An IMB missionary, right, prays with a volunteer who came to share the gospel with the parents of the children the missionary teaches in London, England. IMB Photo

The apostle Paul was also counting on Christians to pray for missions and church planting. In at least five different places in the New Testament, he asks believers to pray for his mission work.

In the summer of 2021, messengers to the SBC annual meeting in Nashville passed Vision 2025. Two aspects in that urgent vision play a key role in news of the increased pipeline.

First, messengers agreed to pray and act to see a net gain of 500 full-time, fully funded missionaries through the IMB.

God is at work and His people are responding.

There is also a call to increase giving through the Cooperative Program (CP). The way to get the missionaries from the pipeline to the field is by giving generously through the Cooperative Program.

God is at work. Will His people respond?