IMB trustees appoint 83 missionaries, express commitment to gospel advance and financial transparency


RICHMOND, Va. — International Mission Board trustees approved 83 fully funded missionaries for appointment during their May 15-16 meeting. While gathered near Richmond, Virginia, trustees also affirmed numerous reports from around the world detailing Southern Baptists’ efforts in advancing the gospel among the lost.

The missionaries approved for appointment will be recognized during a Sending Celebration on Tuesday, June 11, at 10 a.m. EDT in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Indianapolis. The event will be livestreamed on

Carol Pfeiffer, second vice chair from Texas, opened the trustees’ May 16 plenary session with prayer.

In his report to the board of trustees, IMB President Paul Chitwood reported that the missionary candidate pipeline has remained above 1,300 for consecutive months. He also announced the relaunching of the Master’s Program, a fully funded missionary pathway for those ages 55 and older. Chitwood noted millions of the Boomer generation retire yearly and said IMB leadership sees a great opportunity for many of those retirees to join an IMB overseas team as a Master’s missionary.

“This pathway and others like it, by God’s grace and the generosity of Southern Baptists, means that fully funded missionaries continue to be our mainstay at the IMB,” Chitwood said. “To provide for the support of a growing number of missionary candidates, we rejoice that our past two Lottie Moon Christmas Offerings® have been the largest in our history, and this year’s offering is on pace to potentially set another record.”

Trustees received a copy of the latest Annual Statistical Report which reports IMB 2023 data from the mission field. Chitwood highlighted the following statistics as the work of every Southern Baptist church that supports the advance of the gospel through the IMB:

  • Gospel work in 155 countries;
  • More than 451,000 people heard a complete gospel presentation;
  • 141,000 professed faith in Jesus Christ;
  • 800,000 people heard the gospel online through video content watched to at least 95%; and
  • 117,000 new believers were baptized through the work of IMB missionaries.

The Annual Statistical Report is available for public download on IMB’s website at

Chitwood emphasized IMB’s stewardship of the generous gifts of Southern Baptists, calling the task an “honor and a privilege.”

“At the IMB, we undertake financial stewardship and reporting with a goal toward full transparency and the highest standards of accountability,” he said.

He listed the following ways IMB provides financial accountability to Southern Baptists:

  • IMB’s unredacted, independent external audits, stating income, expenditures, debts, reserves, and operating balances, are available for public viewing in the SBC Book of Reports and on org/impact.
  • IMB operates in compliance with the standards of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, ensuring that the organization adheres to the industry standards for Christian organizations, including standards regarding executive compensation.
  • Each year the chair of IMB’s board of trustees submits a statement referenced in the SBC’s Book of Reports that confirms the compensation of IMB’s president is incurred to accomplish IMB’s mission statement and ministry assignment, with no impropriety.
  • Salary structures for the president are set by IMB trustees through a series of evaluations and recommendations, before being presented to the full board for approval, independent of influence by the president or any other IMB executive. The IMB’s president and executive leadership team then set salary ranges for all other staff positions in consultation with IMB’s human resources team, which engages independent professionals to ensure that IMB’s salaries are within a reasonable range for similar positions with similar organizations in similar markets.

“In these and many, many other ways, the IMB conducts its financial business above reproach and in full view of trustees appointed to represent Southern Baptists and ensure the integrity of the operations of the IMB,” Chitwood said.

Chitwood emphasized IMB’s ongoing commitment to financial transparency and accountability while cautioning Southern Baptists of the potential harm that public disclosure of some types of IMB information could present. In his report, he referenced a motion from the floor of the Southern Baptist Convention 2023 Annual Meeting that the IRS 990 be required of SBC entities. “That kind of public reporting could literally put the lives of our missionary families and their national partners at risk and would potentially compromise the confidentiality of church members and other donors who generously support the IMB’s work,” stated Chitwood.

“Thankfully, [IRS Form 990] is not required, nor is it a reasonable expectation of the IMB,” Chitwood said. “Financial transparency and accountability, however, are reasonably expected by Southern Baptists, and the IMB meets and exceeds those expectations.”

Chitwood emphasized his gratefulness for the role of trustees.

“When trustee oversight is rightly exercised, as it is at the IMB, Southern Baptists can rest assured that the very highest standards of accountability are also being exercised, standards that far surpass anything I’ve ever seen in any local Southern Baptist church or any other state or national entity.”

Thursday’s meeting included reports from standing committees regarding the business of administration, global engagement, human resources, LFTT (logistics, finance, travel, technology), marketing and communications, mobilization and training.

Trustee chairman Keith Evans and Chitwood thanked trustees completing their terms of service and affirmed their continuing advocacy in the missionary task. Trustees recognized for their service included: Jenna Cobb, Florida, David Coombs, Tennessee, Ray Deeter, Indiana, Thurman Hayes, Virginia, and Joel Williams, Louisiana, who all served from 2016-2024; Cliff Mayton, Texas, who served from 2017-2023; and Mercedes Lopez, Kentucky, and Mike McMahon, New York, who served from 2020-2024.

Wes George of Arkansas, chair of the administration committee, led the election of officers for the coming year. Trustees elected the current slate of officers to serve another one-year term: Keith Evans of Washington and the Northwest Baptist Convention, chair; Nate Bishop of Kentucky, first vice chair; Carol Pfeiffer of Texas, second vice chair; and Trudy Crittendon of South Carolina, recording secretary.

IMB Executive Vice President Todd Lafferty led a time of remembrance for the lives of 85 colleagues who died in 2023. One staff member, Keith Musik, who served as a manager of business operation services for four years, as well as two active field personnel, passed away in 2023. To protect the security of other workers, the missionaries were not named publicly.

Emeritus missionaries remembered included 71 career personnel. Their years of service totaled 1,857 years for an average of 26 years of service. Their average age at time of death was 89 years.

Among others who served around the globe, the following were recognized as having terms of service for 35 or more years: Pat Howard, age 93, 37 years in Japan; Lee Nichols, age 88, 41 years in South Korea; Roberta Hampton, age 93, 39 years in Mexico and Brazil; Jo Ann Sturgeon, age 91, 48 years in Mexico; Elinor Pennell, age 88, 36 years in the Philippines and Indonesia; Ramona Mercer, age 94, 38 years in Japan; Jim Ragland, 99, 38 years in Lebanon; George Wilson, age 95, 36 years in Hong Kong; Evelyn Hill, age 96, 42 years in Thailand; Lewis Smith, age 94, 35 years in Hong Kong; Mattie Lou Bible, age 94, 39 years in Brazil; and Barbara Wyman, age 82, 39 years in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Canada.

Retired staff whose lives were remembered, among others, included: Ron Boswell, who served for 29 years in the Americas and as director, volunteers in missions; Judy Meador, who served for 47 years as payroll manager; Betty Law, who served for 29 years in the Americas and Europe and as regional vice president for the Americas; Alan Compton, who served for 34 years in Eastern South America and as vice president, office of communications; Bill Damon, who served for 34 years in Eastern South America and as candidate consultant in personnel selection; and Gerry Volkart who served for 24 years in Northern African and the Middle East and as Richmond associate for NAME.

Missionary tributes for retired field personnel can be found on IMB’s website at

Nate Bishop, first vice chair from Kentucky, closed the meeting in prayer.

The next IMB trustee meeting will be Sept. 25-26 near Richmond, Virginia.