Two Baptist seminaries are among numerous organizations offering housing options for International Mission Board missionaries returning stateside as part of the IMB budget restructuring.
At New Orleans Seminary, ten campus housing units will be made available rent-free. In addition, a campus-wide special IMB offering is being set for Nov. 3 during the annual Global Missions Week at NOBTS. That day, IMB President David Platt will speak in chapel.
The temporary NOBTS housing will be in addition to the Grey Missionary Housing complex, a residence long used for furloughing missionaries. Returning missionaries who accept the rent-free temporary housing offer will only be responsible for utility costs.
Returning IMB missionaries will be afforded the same status as traditional missionaries in residence at NOBTS. This includes eligibility for educational scholarships and opportunities to speak in NOBTS classes and meet with student mission volunteers as well as access to all campus facilities.
The possibility for housing to be offered at Mid-America Seminary, located in Cordova, TN, came about during a faculty meeting when professor of missions Mark Terry stated many returning missionaries would need housing and jobs. Seminary president Michael Spradlin followed up by proposing seminary apartments be offered for use, an idea endorsed by those in attendance.
Mid-America has been an influential training ground for Southern Baptist pastors, missionaries, and convention staff since its founding in 1971. The seminary operates without Cooperative Program funding, but promotes and supports the CP channel of missions and ministry.
Platt announced on Aug. 27 that a reduction of 600-800 IMB staff and field personnel is necessary to reach a balanced budget. The mission board projects a $21 million shortfall this year, adding to several consecutive years of shortfalls totaling $210 million.
Details of a voluntary retirement incentive were announced in September for eligible IMB staff and active career missionaries age 50 and older with five or more years of service.