International Mission Board Sending Celebration: ‘The Spread of the Gospel in the World’

In an International Mission Board service marked by testimonies and prayer for the approximate 11,700 people groups around the world, IMB President David Platt reminded messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention that the SBC exists first and foremost for the spread the Gospel.

“Tonight we have the opportunity to remember the reason we came together in the first place. We exist to combine the efforts of our churches for the spread of the Gospel in the world,” Platt said during IMB’s Sending Celebration the evening of June 12.

Platt introduced 47 newly appointed missionaries approved by IMB trustees during their June 11 meeting in Dallas. The celebration also recognized 32 journeymen — recent college graduates who will serve internationally as fulltime, fully funded church planters for two to three years.

All are going to “people and places where the Gospel has not yet gone,” Platt said.

Every church has a role

The celebration emphasized the importance of the local church in identifying, nurturing and supporting missionaries. Platt introduced a new resource for churches: “Foundations,” a magazine-style summary of the biblical and theological foundations of what the IMB does around the world.

Platt underscored the cooperative nature of Southern Baptists’ global evangelistic efforts. “We have given together all year long. By God’s grace through you, the IMB is on firm financial ground, so tonight we’re going to pray together and we’re going to send together,” he said.

The new missionaries together with local church representatives entered the hall to the beating of African drums, which heightened the excitement and anticipation of the evening. Meghan, a journeyman to Southeast Asia whose last name wasn’t used, opened the service with her story.

Meghan said, “The stories we tell you are glimpses into how our churches played their role in our call to missions. I’m from a small church of 100 people, and I’m the first missionary we’ve sent out in 60 years.”

The 79 new workers represent both large and small churches in large cities and small towns in the United States and abroad.

Fiodor and Galina Baraniuk, newly appointed missionaries to Europe, grew up in the former Soviet Union where life was “difficult for Christians,” Galina said. The two came to faith in Christ at a young age in the Soviet Union and later moved to the United States. They are being sent by Meadow Brook Baptist Church in Byhalia, Miss.

“Through our church, God moved our hearts for European people,” Galina said.

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Source: Baptist Press