RICHMOND — International Mission Board trustees approved the appointment of 24 new fulltime, fully funded personnel to take the gospel to unreached people and places during their Sept. 25-26 meeting near Richmond.
The meeting also included an update on an external report regarding IMB’s prevention and response to abuse and harassment; the approval of a balanced budget for 2019-20; and orientation for 23 new trustees, including Sam Greer, pastor of Red Bank Baptist Church, Chattanooga.
The 24 new missionaries were appointed during a special Sending Celebration, which recognized both the new personnel and the churches sending them to take the gospel to the nations.
The celebration, hosted by Swift Creek Baptist Church in Midlothian, Va., featured testimonies from each of the appointees. Ronnie Floyd, president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, gave the new missionaries a Scriptural charge.
In May, the board received recommendations from Gray Plant Mooty concerning the IMB’s handling of past matters and current policies and practices related to the prevention of and response to allegations of child abuse and sexual harassment (including sexual assault). Chitwood reported to trustees that GPM’s work has continued in conjunction with senior leadership and a trustee officer.
“Let me assure you, as I stated in May, that IMB absolutely remains committed to making changes necessary to better prevent instances of child abuse and sexual harassment (including sexual assault), and to do all we can to better care for victims while holding perpetrators accountable,” he said.
Chitwood said IMB leadership is methodically implementing every recommendation presented by Gray Plant Mooty, diligently moving toward the highest standards in abuse prevention and response, including providing compassionate care.
Chitwood’s update noted that:
- IMB has reported every known incident of alleged child abuse by IMB personnel or others affiliated with IMB that had not previously been reported. In addition, IMB has taken steps to encourage people to notify authorities and the IMB of incidents of abuse.
- IMB has adopted protocols for consistently reporting allegations of child abuse committed by IMB personnel or others affiliated with IMB to U.S. government authorities, even when there is not a legal duty to do so. IMB has also adopted protocols for reporting allegations of child abuse to foreign government authorities.
- IMB finalized a job description for a full-time, senior-level position to oversee prevention and response efforts of the IMB in relation to child abuse and sexual harassment. Throughout the summer, IMB has actively sought to fill the critical role, committed to finding the best candidate “who can lead us toward excellence in this area,” he said.