Experienced Southern Baptist missionaries are in the midst of a soul-searching period of transition as they prayerfully consider the options presented to them in the Voluntary Retirement Incentive plan. Three options are worth consideration. Two are immediately obvious, while the third is the primary subject of this post.
The Lord has entrusted Southern Baptists with incredibly rich resources of people, finances, and opportunities. He will one day hold us accountable for what we did with what He entrusted to us.
The Voluntary Retirement Incentive targeting existing missionaries comes with a certain price tag. We are paying trained missionaries to incentivize their premature return from the field. This does not increase missions, but decreases it.
As I see it, the big issue in Baptist life today is that for too long, key leaders, and leaders at all levels, have been unable to say, “Do as I do,” or “Do as I did.” We are now seeing the fruit of this in the staff reduction at the International Mission Board (IMB).
While IMB Trustees were informed of the plan, there was no “up or down” vote taken on the matter. At best, the Trustees can be said to have offered their tacit approval through mutual consent.