One of the most challenging aspects of Christian leadership today is staying focused on our core mission—the Great Commission—and devoting our efforts to fulfilling strategic goals toward that end. There are so many seemingly pressing issues politically, socially, morally, ethically, and denominationally that demand attention. Media—legacy and social—do whatever it takes to drive eyeballs to their channels.
Our denomination lacks central authority but that does not mean we lack opportunity for leaders to call us to fulfill our most important tasks. Dr. Ronnie Floyd, president of the SBC Executive Committee (EC), along with the other entity presidents, are trying to do this. At the Nashville convention in June 2021, the EC will recommend an all-out denominational effort to fulfill five goals called Vision 2025. This is a concentrated effort to change the channel—to shift our focus from a thousand other things vying for our attention to a few key drivers that will make an eternal difference.
The first of those goals is to “increase full-time, fully-funded missionaries by a net gain of 500, giving us 4,200 full-time, fully-funded missionaries through the International Mission Board.” Fulfilling this goal will focus us spiritually, strategically, and financially on a quantifiable task that will definitely make an eternal difference.
While there are many other ways to serve internationally—as volunteers and on short-term teams—the backbone of our global mission force is full-time, fully-funded missionaries. These long-term workers learn local languages, immerse themselves in local culture, develop relationships which become conduits first for the gospel and later for leadership development, and create the infrastructure for short-term teams to be effective. No matter what else we may do, we need more full-time, fully-funded missionaries on the field.
Fulfilling this goal will take all of us working together. Children’s workers must prioritize missions education in church programs. Youth pastors must organize missions trips to introduce young people to overseas service. College leaders must challenge young adults to forsake material gain for spiritual riches through Christian service. Pastors must challenge their best and brightest young professionals to use their gifts for missional advance, not career enhancement. Pastors and church financial leaders must increase funding through the Cooperative Program and all of us must give more generously to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Undergirding all of this, prayer warriors from Woman’s Missionary Union and other missions-supporting groups must call out to God to raise up a new generation of leaders.
Surely, among millions of Southern Baptists are hundreds who will answer God’s call to missions in the next few years. Are you one of them? If not, why not? If you are interested in international service, go to www.imb.org and get started discovering your future.