Recommendations for next IMB President / Doug Munton, PhD

May 29, 2014

by Doug Munton, Ph.D.
Pastor of FBC, O’Fallon, Ill.
Alumnus of Wheaton College & SWBTS
Author of: “Immersed: 40 Days to Deeper Faith” and two other books.
Visit Pastor Doug’s Amazon page and his

Perhaps the most important decision that will be made in the Southern Baptist Convention for years to come is the choice of the next president of the IMB. I say that, not because he will be so critical to the success of the IMB (generally speaking, we need less of man and more of God in our workings, anyway), but because a poor choice would be disastrous for the SBC.

So, to the IMB’s next president: I suggest you focus on three goals, and start one massive new project.

1. Focus on making the IMB effective.
You should be a big picture guy. Help the organization reach the unreached and unengaged groups while mobilizing areas where the harvest is ripe. Keep our focus on disciple-making. Help us focus on starting churches that can be led by nationals. Draw our attention to evangelism that moves toward discipleship. You don’t have to be chase fads — we’d rather you not. But do consider innovations that will help us be effective while staying true to biblical convictions and proven practices.

Don’t lose sight of the historic success of cooperative missions. It has been an awesome legacy and has much to offer. (If we go back to a societal approach, some bright young seminarian will one day say, “I’ve got an innovative new idea! Let’s do cooperative missions!” He will be heralded as a genius and someone will honor him with a haiku — and since I’m not a big haiku fan, let’s just keep the cooperative approach.)

At the same time, if we can have more direct involvement of churches supporting missionaries, let’s consider it. Maybe we can have some of the best of both worlds. Let’s encourage mission trips and direct involvement of our churches. Just don’t throw away cooperative missions, whatever you do.

2. Focus on making the IMB efficient.
Work to make the IMB lean and mean. Okay, the mean part comes easily for us Baptists sometimes, but let’s make it lean. Fight for efficiency in the organization. Fight. Little old ladies give sacrificially to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Be a careful steward. Every dollar wasted is a dollar that doesn’t impact lostness. Be a careful steward.

Efficiency doesn’t always mean frugality. I love the word “frugal.” Mom thinks it was the first word I said as an infant.  :-) But, don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Spend money, but do so carefully, thoughtfully and strategically.

Help our missionaries to be efficient. Be careful about policies that make them think reports are the most important work they can do. Reports are certainly necessary to efficiency. But make reports meaningful if they are required. Please don’t require reports that aren’t read or meetings that aren’t well planned or training that isn’t top-notch.

Would you encourage the SBC Executive Committee to reduce the number of IMB trustees to about 30? That alone would save an enormous amount of money for the field. And, I believe the trustee experience would be more meaningful and effective. There are something like 90 trustees now. If each of them spoke for 3 minutes at a meeting, the meeting would be 41/2 hours long just from that. We can keep regional trustee representation as we have it now, but we should shoot for efficiency.

3. Focus on providing the IMB energy.
Bring passion and enthusiasm to the job. Missionaries are great, but they can become discouraged. Keep them focused on the life-giving energy of time spent with the Lord in daily devotions. Remind them often of the joy of the Lord.

Bring energy for missions to our churches. While we need a good spanking on occasion, normally the best way to bring energy to our churches is to encourage them to be involved in God’s work through missions. All spankings with no encouragement tends to make resentful mission partners. Help them see God’s heart for the nations and His passion for people. Preach with passion. Teach with passion. Lead with passion. Drink from the water fountain with passion. (Just threw that last one in to see if you were still with me.)

As for the one new thing:
Begin a massive new IMB Endowment.

I would like to see the IMB work toward a $20 billion dollar endowment. That is “billion” with a “b” as in “really, really BIG.”

That revenue stream would be constant, and would make a huge impact in our sending ability. It would be a buffer against the turmoils of the market. It would be a steady income source in good or bad times.

Encourage every Southern Baptist to leave the IMB in their will. Thousands would respond to that plea. Thousands and thousands.

It can be done. Harvard has an endowment of over $30 billion. With all due respect to Harvard, our job is bigger and greater.

Blessings on the search committee. Seek the Lord and ask Him for wisdom. And, next president — whoever you are — I’m praying for you already.

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available

Robin D. Foster

Doug, I would agree with all you said except reducing the number of trustees. The fewer numbers means there are less in a position of influence. It could turn into the good ole boy club on steroids. As an alternative, we might be able to reduce the number of meetings or reduce the number of “fly-in” meetings to where there would be mini-meetings conducted using a Skype type format. Either way, I don’t believe reducing the number of trustees is the best for the IMB in the long haul.

Another thing I would add to your requirements would be a man who was close to the churches. In other words, one who not only has served on the field, but one who also has been a pastor and has a “church” perspective. We need to be careful that the man chosen is not one who will lead the IMB to an inbred type mentality that forgets the people who send the missionaries. I believe Tom Elliff has done an excellent job in insuring this doesn’t happen. On foot in the church, another in the field bridging them together.

    Norm Miller

    Posted by Ed. on behalf of Pastor Munton

    Thanks. I do hope the next leader has a strong church connection. That would be a really good thing as churches send the missionaries, fund the mission organization and have the best potluck meals. Well, they used to have good potlucks. Now the younger folks just buy something from KFC on the way.
    You may be right about the number of trustees, but I think a huge group (and 90 is a huge group) tends to lend itself to just a few of the trustees making the majority of the real decisions. But it is at least something to consider. Thanks!”

      Robin Foster

      Thanks brother. May God Bless you and your ministry!!!

William Thornton

Excellent. The number of trustees is far to large and far too expensive.

pam knight

Norm, I generally agree with you on most things but I am gonna have to disagree with you on the “potluck” dinners. As Christians we don’t live or walk by “luck” but we live and walk by “Faith” so let me today encourage every Southern Baptist Church in the Convention to quit having those secular “potluck” dinners and start today having some Spirit led and filled “PotFaith” Dinners…..just funnin with ya…but we call our dinners PotFaith Dinners…
In Christ
pam knight

    Norm Miller

    PotFaith dinners — pretty clever.
    Thx for sharing.


    Pam – More church members show up for chicken dinners, than prayer meetings. Count them! That is, if you can find a prayer meeting in a local SBC church – most have been cancelled for lack of interest.

      pam knight

      Max, I totally know what you are talkin about…but you know…maybe if those of us who do show up for those Prayer Meetings would Rediscover Christ in our own lives….by realizing that we actually have a Person….The God of the Universe…who is.Alive… and living right underneath our skin….and if they could look at us and see the exciting adventurous daily Life that can be theirs In Christ….maybe Who and what we know will be alittle more contagious to them….and hopefully they will Rediscover Christ in their own Life….and begin to desire once again not just the physical food they can get at a PotFaith Dinner but they will also begin to desire the Spiritual Food they can glean from in those special times of Prayer and Bible study with their Brothers and Sisters in the Lord….I encourage all of us to …Rediscover Christ and His Life In us….What a Life !
      In Christ
      pam knight

Ron F. Hale


You said: “I would like to see the IMB work toward a $20 billion dollar endowment.”

Now is the time as billions and millions of dollars are transferring from the last of the Greatest Generation and the Builders to younger generations. We could do this if our hearts got right with the Lord! Thanks for your article!

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available