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Businessman’s expertise helps missionaries from U.S. base

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–At 35, Bob Bass was achieving professional success as a general contractor with his family’s construction business. Then a five-week volunteer missions project in Japan opened his eyes to the needs of a lost world.
Thirty-three years later, Bass is volunteering his time in the Richmond, Va., headquarters of the International Mission Board, where his expertise is strengthening stateside support systems for Southern Baptists’ 4,795 overseas missionaries.
Now a new IMB program — International Missions Stateside Partners — offers all Southern Baptists an opportunity to put their hard-earned skills to work in a variety of management, professional and support positions on the board’s stateside staff.
“I served for 10 years on the IMB’s board of trustees,” said Bass, an active member of Richmond’s Bon Air Baptist Church. “It was a terrific time of deepening my commitment to missions and appreciating all our missionaries are doing.
“I decided it would be great if I could spend some time in my retirement years helping the mission effort. I made a commitment to be able to do that.”
Now the financial knowledge Bass gained from his business experience strengthens the work of the IMB’s development office. He works with families interested in setting up charitable trusts to benefit Southern Baptist overseas missions efforts. In one case, he played a key role in securing a large grant for outreach through a Baptist hospital overseas.
Prior to his volunteer work in the development office, Bass served as general contractor for construction of the board’s Missionary Learning Center in Rockville, Va. — a contribution to the success of more than 2,000 missionaries who have benefited from the MLC facilities since they opened in April 1984.
“Bob Bass is one person you want on your team if you are going to reach a lost world with the good news,” said David Button, the board’s vice president for public relations and development. “He is prayed up, prepared for a challenge and committed to the unfinished task.
“Most importantly, he is busy planting the passion and enlisting others to be members of the team,” Button added. “He is a model of what a mobilized Christian should be.”
The International Missions Stateside Partners program seeks out seasoned Southern Baptist professionals who have a heart for world missions and need an outlet for service here in the United States, said IMB President Jerry Rankin.
“We are having more and more Southern Baptists serving the Lord overseas after years of valuable experience in their careers,” Rankin said. “Many others could contribute significantly on a volunteer basis here at home as Bob Bass has done.
“As our mission work grows and expands overseas, support services in our home office also have to expand. IMSP personnel can enable more resources to flow to the field and the priority of reaching a lost world.”
For his part, Bass says helping build the stateside base for Southern Baptists’ worldwide mission is very gratifying.
“You’re devoting your time to the most important thing in life, supporting and doing the kingdom’s work,” he said. “There’s a real joy in that. It gives you a satisfaction you can’t get anywhere else.”
Candidates for the International Missions Stateside Partners program must: — Be committed to missions.
— Be active members of a Southern Baptist church.
— Have significant management, professional or support experience.
— Be available to serve full-time at least one year.
— Be financially self-sufficient.
Information about the program and available service opportunities may be found on the International Mission Board’s Internet site, www.imb.org/imsp. For an application, e-mail [email protected]; write Staff Personnel Office, International Mission Board, P.O. Box 6767, Richmond, VA 23230-0767; or call toll-free 1-800-999-3113, ext. 1670.

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  • Mark Kelly