RICHMOND, Va. (BP) – Despite complications brought on by the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic, International Mission Board personnel reported more than 144,000 new believers globally over the past year.
That was among the highlights of the 2020 Annual Statistical Report presented to IMB trustees during their Thursday board meeting.
“I have to admit that I’ve been a little nervous about that report,” said IMB President Paul Chitwood, speaking to missionaries and support staff last week. “Honestly, I expected a drop off in the vital statistics we track to gauge our efficiency and effectiveness around the world.
“Jesus was obviously talking directly to me when He said, ‘Oh you of little faith,’” Chitwood quipped, “because I was wrong. What we witnessed in our work around the world in 2020 was not a dropping off, but a ratcheting up.”
IMB missionaries were able to personally share the Gospel with nearly 770,000 people in countries around the world during 2020.
The IMB’s report reflects growth in every area the organization measures, including the number of new fellowships, which grew from about 12,368 to 18,380. The number of new believers increased from 89,325 in 2019 to 144,322 in 2020, an increase of more than 50,000.
In addition to global highlights, the full-color document shares progress reports on the six components of the missionary task and statistics, stories and photos from each of IMB’s nine global affinities. The report concludes with a reminder of goals that have been set for 2025, which include sending out an additional 500 missionaries; mobilizing 500 global missionary partners on IMB teams; engaging 75 global cities with comprehensive strategies; mobilizing 75 percent of Southern Baptist churches to prayerfully and financially support the IMB; increasing giving to the IMB by 6 percent annually.
“As you read through this report, join me in praising God for the significant impact your IMB missionaries are making in getting the Gospel to the nations,” Chitwood said in an opening letter to the report. “And please prayerfully consider how God is calling you to reach the unreached today.”
Download a full report at imb.org/asr.