IMB 2009 Annual Report In 2009, churches and individuals responded to the International Mission Board’s (IMB) theme “Who’s Missing? Whose Mission?” The emphasis led people to respond personally to the call to pray, give and go. Missionaries and volunteers crossed geographic barriers as they continued strategies to plant churches within affinity groups and focus on unreached peoples. In spite of increased urgency to reach the peoples who are missing from God’s family, Southern Baptists took a hit from continued economic hardships in the U.S. IMB trustees made the painful decision to reduce the number of missionaries being sent and temporarily suspended programs such as International Service Corps and the Masters Program. This initiated a gradual reduction in missionary numbers. IMB remained committed to its pledge not to recall any personnel or lay off home office employees, but to accomplish the reduction of personnel through completions of service, retirements and resignations. A weakened U.S. economy did not stop the work of the Holy Spirit, however, or IMB’s commitment to reach the missing. Southern Baptists stayed true to their passion for evangelizing the nations by giving $148.9 million to the 2009 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering®. It is the third-largest Lottie Moon offering in history. “We are not disappointed as God proves His faithfulness through Southern Baptists, and giving through Lottie Moon reflects the heart of our churches and their Great Commission commitment,” said Jerry Rankin, IMB president. “Constituting more than half of the IMB’s annual budget, the Lottie Moon offering dramatically impacts our ability to take the Gospel to the lost world. I am deeply grateful for the increase in giving, some $7.6 million above the 2008 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, and for the sacrifice made by Southern Baptists during these difficult economic times.” More than $4 million came from a special offering challenge issued in the summer of 2009 by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Daniel Akin and others. The extra funds allowed the IMB to send missionaries placed on hold by financial shortfalls earlier than planned and prevented even deeper reductions in IMB’s global missionary force. World Hunger and General Relief fund receipts totaled $5.8 million, proving that Southern Baptists don’t stop caring for a world in need when times are tough. While a troubled economy saturated the news, the Holy Spirit was sweeping the globe and Southern Baptists joined the work. IMB missionaries reported that they shared the Gospel among 1,089 people groups and were a part of 24,650 new churches planted and 506,019 believers baptized. At the end of 2009, the total number of missionaries serving through IMB was 5,344. IMB’s passion to reach the lost also didn’t waiver with the September 2009 announcement of Jerry Rankin’s retirement as president, effective July 31, 2010. As IMB awaits new leadership, it remains committed to the vision of providing all peoples the opportunity to respond to Jesus Christ’s offer of salvation. Latest global research data indicates 6,426 unreached people groups which still have not had that chance. Southern Baptists remain committed to seeing that number decrease each year. Giving through the Cooperative Program and to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering makes it possible for Southern Baptists to have a hand in seeing God’s kingdom grow to the uttermost parts of the earth. IMB is a Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® is a registered trademark of Woman’s Missionary Union.
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