Six months after announcing plans to cut 600 to 800 missionaries and staff in order to balance its budget, the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) revealed today that it has lost 1,132 workers—almost twice as many as its low-end estimate.
In all, 983 missionaries and 149 US staff have accepted the IMB’s offer of voluntary early retirement or resignation. That brings the number of SBC missionaries in the field down from 4,700 to about 3,800—a return to 1993 levels.
The news “is disappointing to all of us," SBC president Ronnie Floyd told Baptist Press. Frank Page, president of the SBC’s Executive Committee, said his “heart is broken” over the large number.
“This reset is not regress or retreat,” Floyd told Baptist Press. “Southern Baptist churches must see this as a fresh calling to reaching the world for Christ. Now is the time to go forward with a clear vision and an aggressive strategy ...1