A Missions Mistake?
I have heard much recently from people who have served as missionaries with the IMB and are opposed to the changes that the trustees have made. These same individuals, however, are constantly calling for change in the IMB, particularly in reference to their methods of theological education. I don’t want to be someone who stirs up trouble but the one common denominator between all these folks is that they are FORMER IMB missionaries. I certainly don’t want to disparage anyone’s opinion but after going through the IMB’s church planting training and serving with the IMB in the recent past I can attest to the fact that their attempt to provide solid, biblical church planting methods through their missionaries is to be applauded. Our own training was provided by Curtis Sargent who did an excellent job planting churches with the IMB himself and now works on staff at Saddleback as the director of their fantastic P.E.A.C.E. Plan. There seems to be no shortage of former missionaries who have struggled with everything from “New Directions” to the BFM 2000 and even the renewed IMB commitment to church planting, and as a result now have a gripe with the IMB. I can assure you that the IMB is not shortsighted in it’s attempt to produce viable churches. There certainly is an eagerness to multiply the work quickly but I in no way think that this attempt is at the expense of solid churches. I have seen specific missionaries who tried to circumvent the IMB’s attempts but in every case their leadership stepped in and these individuals have chosen to end their relationship with the board.
It’s my fear that somehow through this trustee madness we are going to begin to sour on the IMB. I hope that we do not begin to drag the IMB down. We have the greatest missionary movement in the history of mankind, led by the single greatest visible leader in Southern Baptist life (in my opinion). If there are legitimate problems, than let’s tackle them head on. At least if those problems are problems across the IMB. In this case, however, I am sure there are various problems in isolated instances, there always are. As a whole, however, I’m convinced that the IMB is all that we could hope for and even more!