Magazine article The Christian Century

Southern Baptist Missions to Lay off Up to 800 People

Magazine article The Christian Century

Southern Baptist Missions to Lay off Up to 800 People

Article excerpt

The Southern Baptist Convention will cut as many as 800 employees from its overseas missions agency to make up for significant shortfalls in revenue, officials announced August 27.

The International Mission Board anticipates an annual budget shortfall of $21 million this year, following several consecutive years of shortfalls.

The developments are particularly painful for a denomination that was founded as a missionary-sending organization and that prides itself on making Christian converts across the globe.

"Over the past six years, the organization's expenditures have totaled $210 million more than has been given to it each year," the board said in an announcement.

On a conference call with journalists, International Mission Board president David Platt said, "This is not an ideal step, but quite frankly there are no ideal steps at this point."

Platt told staff about the plan in a town hall meeting at its Richmond, Virginia, headquarters.

The cuts will be achieved through a volunteer retirement plan for employees and restructuring of the agency.

Despite the shortfalls, the mission board intends to send new missionaries to the field--about 300 this year and a similar number in 2016. …

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