Holding Lottie’s Rope Network: Save A Southern Baptist Missionary

October 28, 2015


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.

Option A is to accept the Voluntary Retirement Incentive and come home to the United States. Thankfully, a number of churches and ministries are assisting the missionaries who are coming home with this difficult transition in their lives.

Option B is to decline the Voluntary Retirement Incentive and continue serving on the field as an IMB missionary. When this option is chosen, the financial support for our missionaries will continue through the usual SBC channels.

Option C is to accept the Voluntary Retirement Incentive while remaining on the field in an effort to continue reaching the nations. Why would a missionary retire only to keep working? First, they may feel the need to “take one for the team” with a sense that this is what they are being asked to do. Second, the VRI deal presents the optimal retirement package to provide financial security for their families. Third, in addition to the considerations above, they may continue to feel the tugging of God’s Holy Spirit upon their hearts to keep reaching the nations.

The decision to accept this early retirement brings with it an undeniable financial reversal. However, it stands to reason that if these missionaries could identify some other source of private financial support, they would be able to continue their mission. It is this income that we seek to raise through the Holding Lottie’s Rope Network.

This network also makes sense from the perspective of the local church wishing to maximize their missions giving. What other missions network can offer you an experienced missionary who already knows the language, culture and contacts of a particular mission field, the kind of information that would take a rookie missionary years to discover?

Our network neither receives nor disburses funds. We simply exist to connect retired SBC missionaries with sponsoring SBC churches. The identities of the churches and missionaries participating will remain confidential. We will not publish a list of the churches or the missionaries that we privately match.

Because every missionary has a different situation, financial needs vary. Likewise, some of our churches will be in a position to offer greater support than others. Some may be able to give a few hundred dollars; others, a few thousand. Our goal is to match each missionary with at least one church. All funds will be donated directly from the churches to the missionaries.

Our veteran SBC missionaries have given their lives to reach the nations. Frankly, some of these missionaries are not quite ready to come home. Our SBC churches have been holding the rope for them for years. Frankly, some of these churches are not quite ready to stop. If your SBC church is interested in saving a Southern Baptist missionary, or if you are a retired Southern Baptist missionary remaining on the field, please check out the link below. We have been partnering for years to reach the nations for Christ. Perhaps God is not finished with us yet.


UPDATE: Within the past week, nine SBC missionaries representing five mission settings have registered on Holding Lottie’s Rope. These SBC missionaries are retiring from the IMB but remaining on the field reaching the nations. They represent four different countries on two different continents. At least two churches are in the process of raising support. Ideally, we would like to match at least one church with each mission in order to provide some level of financial support. Some churches may be able to give a few hundred dollars while others may be able to give a few thousand. Any amount will be appreciated.

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Clinton White

As an overseas missionary that raises full support I can attest that for 20% of my salary or that of an IMB employee a church could support a “national” missionary in many countries that would be even more experienced than a veteran American missionary. I realize I’m jeopardizing my own job security in saying this but the fact is a “national” missionary will always be able to serve for far less money and will always be ahead of the language and culture curve. Not to mention the fact that increasingly a lot of countries might not want American missionaries when they see the immoral culture we come from. It’s the direction I think every American sending agency must consider.

    Rick Patrick

    That’s a very interesting paradigm–direct support to nationals. Some are calling our new approaches the “amateurization” of missions. Your suggestion, which has merit, might be viewed as the “outsourcing” of missions to assist the nations in reaching themselves, a process that has always been the goal even in classic missionary approaches.

    At some point, however, frontier missions obviously requires an “outsider” missionary to engage a culture. Still, for areas with well established work, your approach does seem very cost effective.

Scott Shaver


What you say makes sense. Definitely worth keeping at the forefront of consideration given the current world climate. Sounds biblical even.

Scott Shaver

Had no idea such an account had been set up under the sponsoring entities. Kudos.

Kinda puts the real spirit of Lottie Moon back into “Lottie Moon” without all the corresponding baggage and bureaucracy. I’m game.

Ryan Morris

This is just a question.

If churches give to this would it be possible they cut funding to the IMB which creates a larger problem down the road? Also if churches give even more to this couldn’t they have given more to the IMB and the issue never would have happened.

Please do not hear me saying that our veteran missionaries do not deserve our support. I am not saying that and I commend your efforts in this project, I just wonder these 2 things.

    Rick Patrick

    Two very good questions. As for the first, we certainly do not encourage any churches to give less through the CP in order to give more through Holding Lottie’s Rope. As you know, all SBC churches are autonomous and may choose to give however they feel led. In your hypothetical example, if a church did give less through the CP in order to give more through Holding Lottie’s Rope, then they would indeed be supporting the retired, experienced SBC missionaries over against the rookie SBC missionaries that have not yet been appointed. Again, we do not encourage this, but each church is completely autonomous and free to give however they wish. As for the second, I would say the answer is, “Yes, if churches had given more through the IMB in the first place then this issue never would have happened. However, they didn’t and it did happen, so now we must try to save some of these veteran missionaries if possible.”


    In my church there are different kinds of money in peoples pockets. There is only so much they will give to Lottie Moon, and there is their regular offerings. The support for this would come from “other” money. At my level, it’s a lot about how people think.


Scott Shaver

If the IMB have been poor enough stewards that 800 – 1000 can’t continue in lieu of continuing appointments, why continue putting dollars into special offerings like Lottie and Annie when they could be better spent supporting what can’t be continued through the entity originally entrusted for doing so.

I see this as an opportunity for autonomous local churches (if so desiring) to make sure that at least Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon offerings are designated for those who will be returning ….or staying self-supported. This is a viable alternative to giving Lottie and Annie Dollars through IMB and getting it directly to those already serving.

I like it.


I like it, too, Scott. The SBC should be known for taking care of its own not– throwing them to the proverbial curb when they are 50. Folks can parse what has been done all they want but it is just putting lipstick on a pig. I am probably alone in this which is fine by me, but the IMB would not get another penny as they have been horrible stewards and their solution even worse and insulting.

Debbie Kaufman

Lydia: Why would you care anymore. You are no longer SBC according to you so you wouldn’t be losing anything. You don’t contribute to any of this so no money is lost on your part. I have a hard time with those who are not in the SBC having an opinion on this. It seems more like just muckraking than helping.

    Scott Shaver

    What you have a hard time with Debbie is nobody’s interest but yours.

    I guiess you monitor Lydia’s bank account and spending?

    Muckraking is about the extent of what you’ve contributed to this particular thread.


“Lydia: Why would you care anymore. You are no longer SBC according to you so you wouldn’t be losing anything. ”

Why do you care that I care? :o)

I don’t like to see anyone thrown to the curb as if their long term efforts were nothing. This is especially sinister when done by believers with power to believers who are subject to that power. The strategy employed suggests there is another agenda. Why not take care of our own? Isn’t that how believers think? Paul was practically frantic in taking up collections for the Jerusalem believers. He mentions it several times.

Couldn’t the Radical Platt make do with an average salary to define his leadership and earlier teaching for others ? What exactly is HIS blank check he preaches to others? Leaders model –they don’t shame and dictate.

I realize you don’t see it that way as one enamored by Platt et. al.

But, thanks for asking why I care.


“Lydia: Why would you care anymore. You are no longer SBC according to you so you wouldn’t be losing anything. ”

Come to think of it. A lot of the SBC partners who received NAMB money for church plants and also jobs and perks at SBTS…..are/were not SBC. (Mahaney is only recently SBC but Driscoll/Acts29 never was)
Barnabas Piper was a practicing Presbyterian including pedeobaptism when he was chosen for the nice paying LifeWay position for his opinions.

At least I grew up SBC. And only recently left my SBC church when it became deterministic (mostly cut and paste Piper teaching) due to hiring a parroting YRR as pastor.

Your blog friend Christiane is Catholic and has many opinions about the SBC as she explains “her grandmother was SBC”. Y ou have not seemed to have a problem with that or seek to censor/critisize her having opinions.

So color me confused when it comes to so many of your comments, Debbie.

Rick Patrick

Back to the missionaries. On the first day, we had three missionaries register—two in South America and one in Asia. Now, the challenge is for our churches to step up and register so they can be matched with these SBC missionaries and begin helping them remain on the mission field reaching people for Jesus.


This would also be a good SS class project if church leadees won’t commit out of fear. I am sending the link to jn/316 on this to some I know.

Debbie Kaufman

Yeah Lydia, not buying it.

    Scott Shaver

    We’ve got lots of other stuff for sale, Debbie, what you interested in?


“Yeah Lydia, not buying it.”

Oh dear. I won’t be able to sleep tonight! :o)

    Scott Shaver

    This Debbie Kaufman sure has a fetish for trolling you Lydia.

    What did you do to rain on her happy parade?


      Lydia offers cogent reasoning. A few may consider that “rain.”
      A few who sometimes comment at this blog follow the time-worn lawyers’ maxim:
      “When the facts are on your side, argue the facts.
      When the law is on your side, argue the law.
      When neither is on your side, attack your opponent.”
      Happens too frequently ’round here.

Rick Patrick

Back to the missionaries. In our church, one option we are considering within our Missions Committee, that would then be taken to our Finance Team, Deacons and Church family for a vote, would be to structure our support for these IMB missionaries in the following manner:
1. We set a generous Lottie Moon Offering goal and give it through normal channels. (We have exceeded our goal over the past few years.)
2. We split any surplus amount over the Lottie Moon goal 50/50 between Lottie Moon and the Holding Lottie’s Rope missionaries with whom we are matched.

In this manner, we continue to give faithfully through traditional SBC causes, thereby supporting the rookie missionaries, while also continuing to remain faithful to the rope holding promises we made to the Southern Baptist missionaries taking early retirement while continuing to fulfill their God-called mission. This approach may not be for everyone, but it seems like a fair and balanced manner of supporting all our SBC missionaries.


“This is a viable alternative to giving Lottie and Annie Dollars through IMB and getting it directly to those already serving.”

While this may be of help to those taking the VRI, how does this solution help to put more missionaries on the field? If we just maintain what we have, won’t we stay behind the proverbial “eight ball?”

    Scott Shaver


    I would say that the quicker churches cut out the middle man and start doing their own thing, the quicker they’ll get maximum efficiency from their missions dollar without the adminstrative overhead.

    Cooperation worked and the coffers stayed full as long as people were entrusted to God for correction of “erroneous baptist belief” When the powers that be decided it was their job to DEFINE THEOLOGICALLY those who were FIT to cooperate is where everything started heading south in the SBC.


    “While this may be of help to those taking the VRI, how does this solution help to put more missionaries on the field? If we just maintain what we have, won’t we stay behind the proverbial “eight ball?”

    Some folks might not be interested in spreading the SBC NeoCalvinism to the far ends of the earth. Did you see Piper’s retirement video filmed from Geneva? That is the concept of mission focus I think the new IMB is going for.

    Rick Patrick


    A penny saved is a penny earned. Holding Lottie’s Rope KEEPS trained, experienced missionaries who know the language and the culture reaching people for Jesus. That “puts more” missionaries on the field than, say, taking 800 full-time missionaries away. If we wind up “staying behind the proverbial eight ball” it will be a result of the financial realities driving the downsizing—not any special effort to keep helping lifelong SBC missionaries remain on the field.

Scott Shaver


Did you get to watch any of the live stream this week with David Platt “throwing out ideas”.

I said months ago he was getting ready to go outside traditional CP channels while opting for fund managers and non-SBC networks of partnership.

Just goes to support the “evil” theory that not only did the old guard of leadership spend through assets as if “budget” is a dirty word, the new guard is about to take what’s left of the organization and it’s historic operation by removing it completely from collective SB input, influence, or resemblance. They’re about to make off and get clean away with THE WHOLE BALL OF WAX. Have no doubt that it will be heralded by many “suckers” as a “BOLD INNOVATIVE VISION”.

Why any conscientious “Southern Baptist” would contribute a further dime at this particular time is beyond me. But hey, its their money, not mine.

    Scott Shaver

    Look for John Piper and C.J. Maheney (perhaps) to be seated at some point in the near future as IMB Trustees.


    Scott, Anyone who does not think this was planned is a bit naive. The mismanagement created the perfect crisis to take advantage of those missionaries over 50 and replace them with younger ones who are more apt to buy into the party line. Many of the over 50’s were on the mission field during the Neo Cal resurgence.

    And, Platt is the perfect celebrity figurehead to carry it off. He gave up his “radical” lifestyle for the six figure job of laying career folks off. My guess is he is a talking head but he might want to rethink a few things. This is not Brook Hills. I want to know what HIS blank check is. Even the followers are Pravda have not asked that question while they applaud his spiritual blank check message for others.

    So when the IMB needed a bespeckled balding experienced numbers/efficiencies guy as president, they hire Platt? That tells me all I need to know. They really do think we are stupid. All they ahve to do is yell “divisive” to shut most folks down. Well, I like what Cruz said about that accusation of him. If he was not divisive he would not be doing his job..

    It is not the pew sitters job to “go along” and pay for these shenanigans.

Scott Shaver

Despite the charges against Ann Coulter of being a blue meanie by some of our obviously challenged and arrogant baptist voices (i.e. Moore, Cross etc) she was spot on in her assessment of their arrogance and hypocrisy. Ann Coulter has taken Russell Moore, Alan Cross etc on a much-needed trip to the wood shed of both reality and the spiritual consequences of cause and effect. They sound like little dogs barking at lions.

I hope they keep writing their trash pieces on what they consider “less than desirable candidates” for office and I hope they keep calling the members of the SB family who disagree with their political views “UnChristian”.

Makes some of us all the more determined to cast a “non-Christian” vote (according to their definition) in the next presidential election. Since our own want to classify us as “non-Christian” based on who we vote for in an election, their words about being “Ambassadors for Christ” are a JOKE! They’re shills for the GOP established and spineless leadership. Coulter was exactly right about Russ Moore needing the sympathy of liberals, that’s his target audience and recruiting class, apparently.

One of these “too pious for any earthly good” critics of Coulter even went so far as to write that she is working against the Great Commission. For me, that puts the icing on the cake as to where these guys have both their hearts and their interests.

Hate to break the news, but the Great Commission was given by Jesus, not the Southern Baptist Convention. The Great Commission has not been co-opted by the SBC nor has God given the SBC exclusive proprietorship over this divine command. As a matter of fact, squandering away 210 million dollars in deficit budget spending may be an indication above all others that Southern Baptist “missiologists” have long had their eyes on matters other than the effective spread of the Gospel. Times have changed, the rhetoric and platitudes they throw out ring as hollow as a rotten cyprus stump right down to the most uninformed tier of Southern Baptist church members.

The term “Divisive” is now a badge of honor.


    Scott, You would think they would have spilled more ink concerning Driscoll who was consistently vulgar in the Name of Jesus for many years. But he had correct doctrine, so got a pass., I suppose. Yet they want a secular Presidential candidate with higher standards than Driscoll who brought us Acts 29 as a partner in church planting? Boggles the mind how they play favorites and ignore the obvious.

    This is about Moore wanting to be accepted by the DC Establishment. He is basically jumping up and down yelling “look at me”! This is not about the marketplace of ideas in the public square which is uniquely American. So where is the “Liberty” in the ERLC. What Moore claims it is?

    Moore has gotten too big for his britches.

      Scott Shaver

      My wife and I received an email from an old college friend and IMB career missionary who has decided, prayerfully and through gritted teeth, to accept the offer of Platt et al to take a VRI at the age of 56…..after decades of devoted service to God and at the height of their effectiveness, this great couple will be coming back to the U.S. for a while before TURNING AROUND AND GOING RIGHT BACK WITH AN INDEPENDENTLY ORCHESTRATED NETWORK OF SUPPORT FROM SIMILAR-STRIPED SOUTHERN BAPTISTS AND LIFE-LONG CHRISTIAN FRIENDS, MENTORS, STUDENTS, PRAYER PARTNERS.

      Guess where ALL OUR FAMILY MISSION DOLLARS for the remainder of 2015 and following will be going? 1/2 to our home church’s unique foreign and local missions projects, 1/2 to the IMB couple which will remain unnamed until CHECK IS IN HAND FROM their soon to be former TASK MASTERS. We’ve designated a big fat ZERO for causes both local and international through NAMB and neo-IMB.

      This particular missionary made it clear to my wife when they dated in college that unless she were absolutely certain that God had called her to a life of service in a foreign country, they should not keep dating. That’s how crystal-clear the calling of this couple to their singular line of service has been for at least 40 years.

      GOD CALLED THEM. The way I see it, the SBC and IMB squandered their opportunity to keep supporting them and labeling them as “their own”, So now, GOD WILL SEND THEM BACK TO ENGAGE FRUITFULLY IN THE HARVEST THEY’VE WORKED SO TIRELESSLY TO CULTIVATE.

      This time they’re going back free from the cultural, theological, philosphical and financial demise of a “denomination” that once believed in what they were doing.

      God works all things for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to his purpose. Now that’s REAL pre-destination.


        Scott, in the new Calvinist SBC God tells those He has given special knowledge and title, who is called. 9Marx calls a variation of this, the keys.

        Without that special knowledge and a title conferred by a few others wirh power like Platt and his mentors., one cannot be sure. They are the Philosopher Kings.

          Scott Shaver

          I agree Lydia.

          I like to think of them as the NEW LOW-OCTANE GNOSTICS

        Andrew Barker

        Scott: This demonstrates a pragmatic response to a situation which should never have arisen. It also shows there are a few wise heads out there sitting on ‘older’ shoulders. I’m sure most of these missionaries would much rather not have been forced into taking this kind of action, but they will probably file this episode under the “you meant it for harm but God meant it for good” section of their biography if they ever have time to write it. If God calls you to a work and some ‘man’ tells you to stop ….. who are you going to listen to??

          Scott Shaver

          “pragmatic response to situation which should never have arisen”

          correcta mundo Andrew.

          I guess it’s some new kind of spirituality where we we’re willing to be pragmatic at the “here and now” while something quite the opposite at the “heretofore”.

      Scott Shaver

      C’mon Lydia:

      You know the axiom with these guys is “don’t do as I do…..do as I SAY do”.

      Let’s see how long they can hold their breath until that happens. :0

Daniel Byrd

would like to hear more about helping missionary’s who will take the VRI but stay on the field.

    Rick Patrick

    We have eleven missionaries from both Africa and Asia who have registered thus far, indicating that they are retiring but continuing to serve, and are thus in need of support.

    We also have one church that has registered and been matched with two of these missionaries. We expect other churches to join in this effort as well, but they have simply not registered yet. (The process is a bit more involved as many churches have to discuss such matters in committees, deacon bodies or with the entire congregation.)

    The place to sign up and be matched is here: http://bit.ly/1NSXCGh.

    Once the church and the missionary are matched, exactly what form and level of sponsorship is provided is a matter that is between them.


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