News Articles

SBC DIGEST: IMB 2021 stats; First baptism among people group; Lifeway, B&H Español awards

IMB releases 2021 statistics

By IMB Staff

The International Mission Board has made the full 2021 Annual Statistical Report (ASR) available to the public. IMB trustees were presented the report during their board meeting May 18-19 in Orlando, Fla.

The ASR reports that the number of people who responded to the Gospel, the number of new believers baptized and the number of new churches planted overseas increased over the previous year. There is extra cause to celebrate these vital statistics because they are part of an upward trend IMB personnel have seen in the last few years, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These hopeful statistics are so vital, now more than ever, because the ASR also reported that 157,690 people currently die daily without Christ.

“More people will die lost today than on any other day upon which the sun has risen in human history,” IMB President Paul Chitwood said in his address to the trustees in Orlando. “Yet to this problem, the world’s greatest problem — the problem of spiritual lostness — God has given us a solution. We are stewards of the Good News of His Gospel. And through a sustained missionary presence, we are taking that Gospel to the very ends of the earth. And we are doing it together.”

Because of the faithfulness of IMB personnel and partners around the world, 592,408 souls heard the Gospel last year. This resulted in 176,795 new believers.

The number of new believers baptized, as reported by IMB personnel, totals 107,701.

As a result of IMB missionaries and their partners, 22,744 churches were planted last year.

Additionally, 29,632 pastoral trainings, 67,187 advanced theological trainings and 85,293 church planting trainings were facilitated by IMB personnel and partners in 2021.

The Annual Statistical Report (ASR) represents work done by IMB personnel and their missions partners in 2021, for use from May 2022 to April 2023.

The ASR contains data from all IMB affinities and reports on the components of the missionary task: entry, evangelism, discipleship, healthy church formation, leadership development and exit to partnership. The IMB’s global research team has taken care to provide accurate numbers that represent IMB’s commitment, as the apostle Paul advised, to not report upon the work done outside of the sphere apportioned to us by the Lord (2 Corinthians 10:12-18).

Download the Annual Statistical Report (PDF) for offline viewing.

Story Update: First known believer baptized among people group

By Leslie Peacock Caldwell

In 2021, IMB published a story about IMB missionaries Travis and Beth Burkhalter and their work among the Embera people of Colombia. Travis was learning a difficult and unwritten language to share the Gospel with an unreached people group.

“It is a daunting task,” Travis said, “but I am extremely motivated because I know souls hang in the balance.”

In early April 2022, Travis waded into the rushing waters of a jungle river to baptize Sarah, the first known follower of Christ among her tribe. With tribe members watching from the bank of the river and on nearby rocks, Sarah took this bold step of faith.

“In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I baptize you,” Travis said in her language before lowering her into the river, raising her to her feet, and offering a warm hug.

Sarah explained her decision to accept Christ with her community. The Burkhalters and others on the team shared with her for three years. As Travis learned more of her spoken vocabulary, he taught Bible stories in her heart language. The more she learned, the more she understood the truth of what Jesus had done for her. Finally, she expressed her belief in Christ and desire to follow Him.

Your prayers are making the difference among the Embera people. Please continue to lift them to the Lord as you praise Him for this one who believed. Pray for the Burkhalters as they disciple Sarah and guide her away from harmful addiction. Ask God to use Sarah’s testimony and witness to bring many more of her people to salvation. Pray for the missionary team in Colombia as they faithfully share the truth throughout the country. Ask God to protect them as they make dangerous trips into the jungles of Colombia so that many more will believe.

Some names have been changed for security reasons.

Lifeway and B&H Español win best Bible, book awards

By Lifeway Staff

MIAMI (BP) – Lifeway and B&H Español received more awards than ever from the Spanish Evangelical Publishers Association (SEPA) at this year’s Expolit trade show held May 18-21, in Miami.

Lifeway and B&H Español employees received more awards than ever from the Spanish Evangelical Publishers Association (SEPA) at this year’s Expolit trade show held May 18-21, in Miami.

Lifeway Christian Resources received 13 awards and two sales recognitions – the most SEPA accolades Lifeway has received in a single year since it first began attending the event more than a quarter century ago. The SEPA Awards recognize the highest quality and excellence in the publication, sale and marketing of Christian literature in Spanish.

“Receiving these awards is always a reminder of our Lord’s kindness,” said Giancarlo Montemayor, director of global publishing. “The Spanish publishing industry is growing year over year, and we’re grateful Lifeway gets to be a leading publishing house in this space. Being awarded Bible of the Year, Book of the Year and Original Book of the Year is especially meaningful to us because it’s a testimony to the quality of our publishing strategy.”

Lifeway also hosted a luncheon during Expolit to celebrate its Spanish offerings from the last year and to create anticipation for upcoming resources. More than 100 commercial partners participated in the luncheon.

One of the highlighted resources was the upcoming “Spanish Thematic Study Bible,” edited by Miguel Nuñez, one of the most prominent evangelical leaders in the Spanish-speaking evangelical world. Nuñez participated in a discussion panel about this upcoming resource.

“We’re extremely excited and expectant of what God will do with the ‘Spanish Thematic Study Bible,’” said Emanuel Elizondo, associate editor. “Our organization is privileged to publish a product of this quality for the Hispanic world. We pray that God greatly uses this resource.”

Read the full story and see the complete list here.

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  • BP Staff