Dr. Paul Chitwood, president of our International Mission Board, brought the closing challenge to Ohio Baptists attending the 67th annual celebration at Dublin Baptist Church November 16. Dr. Chitwood opened by presenting a plaque of appreciation for retiring Executive Director Dr. Jack Kwok. The two developed a friendship when Chitwood served as Executive Director in Kentucky.
Dr. Chitwood then thanked Ohio Baptists for their support of the International Mission Board through the Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. “Thank you for sending 3,600 missionaries and their 2,880 kids to the ends of the earth!” Chitwood shared. He then noted this is a special year for the IMB as we celebrate 175 years of uninterrupted gospel witness among the nations. This witness continues today even in a pandemic. That adjective is huge – uninterrupted for 175 years!
Taking several passages from 1 Chronicles 16, Chitwood posed, “A very simple question to guide us: What is my obligation to my neighbors and to the nations?” The challenge is to make God’s salvation and His judgment known to our neighbors and the nations.
Chitwood closed with a great example from history. From the years 1918-1920, a global pandemic, known as the Spanish Flu, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide (about 1/3 of the world’s population at the time), killing at least 50 million.
In his annual report in 1919, the Foreign Mission Board president, J.F. Love, penned these words to the SBC constituents:
“Never in the seventy-four years of this Convention’s history has the Foreign Mission Board offered a report of its work for a year which was more eventful than that which has just closed. The public mind has rarely, if ever, been more distracted, the work of the churches more interrupted, the demands upon the benevolent more numerous or insistent than during the Convention year 1918-19.”
Sound familiar? He went on to say:
“That Southern Baptists have under the conditions responded so nobly to the needs of those whom they have never seen is an encouraging sign of a growing conscience among Southern Baptists for Foreign Missions; AND that amidst all the unwelcome circumstances of the year, with inadequate forces and equipment, the missionaries report a truly successful year’s work accomplished is a token of God’s will that we should, with expectation, attempt still larger things.”
Chitwood reminded us, “Every single day, 154,937 people die having given no indication that they have the Son.” As evidence of the commitment to continue the uninterrupted gospel witness, Wednesday evening, seventy-nine new missionaries were commissioned. You can see that service here: imb.org/send/
175 Days of Prayer
We have celebrated 175 years of continuous ministry by joining in 175 Days of Prayer. Each day features one request and can be sent to you as a push notification from the IMB Pray app, accessed at imb.org/pray or the Pray Daily newsletter, or seen through IMB social media (Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram). Rejoice over what God has done and continues to do as we INTERCEDE for missionaries and for the nations.
Here is the post from day 164:
The IMB's vision statement, from Revelation 7:9-10, describes a multitude from all nations, tribes, peoples, and languages, exuberantly worshiping God together. This is God's call for His church and the missionaries they send. The Cooperative Program is a wonderful way in which churches financially support their state convention and Southern Baptist ministries. Much can be done when churches pool their resources. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO), started in 1918, is unique in that 100% of it goes to support IMB missionaries and their work, not to administrative support. Because of the faithful giving of individuals and churches, missionaries can focus on reaching the lost, ministering to physical needs, discipling young believers, and helping to plant healthy churches. Daily expenses like housing, transportation, and schooling resources are all provided through abundant giving. We are grateful to you for your faithful participation in this vision. Please pray for God's provision and for His wisdom as every dollar given to LMCO is carefully allocated and used in spreading His Word and love. Ask God to inspire churches to engage in God's call through praying, giving, going, and sending.