Yesterday, RNS published a story of a missionary couple in Africa supported by the Southern Baptist denomination’s International Missionary Board. They’re taking early retirement and returning to the US after 33 years abroad, because the IMB is reducing the number of missionaries it supports after a drop in funding. The SBC is losing members, thus income is down. This was announced back in August. The RNS report puts a face to the numbers.
Is this a trend among our people as well? Are we losing numbers and funds going to missions? This is harder to tell among us, and I’m not aware of any research on the level of mission funding among us. So observations will have to be anecdotal, but these still have validity if the observers have a good feel for what’s happening.
A number of brethren has decried the rechanneling of mission funds into benevolent projects and relabeling these as missions. I attribute this to postmodernist influence among us, which values social projects over spiritual, eternal emphases. Instead of door-knocking, now it’s medical clinics and disaster relief. So because of this, there does seem to be fewer funds going to evangelism and church planting.
I can attest to missionary personnel numbers in Brazil. Once we had dozens of missionaries. Today, the number is probably a fifth or less than back in the 80s and 90s.
Any observations or conclusions on your part?