[SLIDESHOW=44084,44085,44086,44087,44088]RICHMOND, Va. (BP) — During 2016, Southern Baptists, in partnership with thousands of International Mission Board personnel around the world, have shared reports of how they’ve seen the Gospel of Jesus Christ spread through faithfulness to the task of completing the Great Commission.
The IMB reflected on the past year:
Record Lottie Moon Christmas Offering
In a year when IMB leaders expressed a compelling drive to fulfill the Great Commission, Southern Baptists responded with support through the 2015 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. Finalized in early June, the 2015 Lottie Moon offering totaled $165.8 million — the highest total in the 127-year history of the offering.
In consideration of the offering’s namesake, Lori McDaniel penned a blog post regarding the legacy of Lottie Moon’s contagious, tenacious heart for God’s mission.
Appointment of new missionaries
Southern Baptists appointed 132 new missionaries in partnership with IMB in 2016. “Why are we celebrating sending missionaries tonight? Because we’re united by the Gospel, enthralled in God’s worship, and we’re focused on mission,” IMB President David Platt said during the Aug. 25 appointment of 27 new missionaries. Southern Baptists also appointed 26 new missionaries in February; 29 new missionaries in May; and 50 new missionaries in November.
In addition to appointing new missionaries, IMB trustees named Edgar Aponte as vice president of mobilization, a role which leads teams and networks to mobilize churches in sending missionary teams.
Reflections on a mission journey
Nik Ripken, author of “The Insanity of God,” –- a story that was captured in a movie released this year with the same title — shared five things he would tell his 21-year-old self if he started his missions journey over. For one, Ripken suggested: “Laugh more, love with reckless abandon, embrace your mistakes, and make everyday a new adventure with our Creator.”
IMB also celebrated the faithful 41 years of service of Clyde and Elaine Meador, who are known among missionary teams for steady, unflappable leadership. Meador has worked closely with three IMB presidents as a top advisor and vice president, and even as the mission organization’s interim president from August 2010 to March 2011.
Fostering a mission mindset
“Our prayers remain the greatest way we can support those we are sending out, invoking the very power of God to intervene in ways that are beyond our human limitations to save the lost,” Platt wrote in a list of 16 ways to pray for missionaries continually.
Parents can create a reading list for raising globally minded kids, following a pattern of “read and pray” with their children.
Perspective of the U.S. presidential election
“No election can unsettle the good plan of our God,” Platt wrote in a Nov. 10 blog post in the wake of this year’s presidential election. “So, let’s spread the glorious news of Christ and his unshakeable kingdom with zeal, passion, steadfast urgency, and Spirit-filled unction, particularly among unreached men and women throughout the world who have never even heard his name. Let’s do so as if the election didn’t change anything, because, well, by God’s grace, it didn’t.”