In a celebration marked by the testimonies of new missionaries and prayer for people groups around the world, International Mission Board President David Platt reminded messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention that the SBC exists first and foremost for the spread of the gospel.
“Tonight we have the opportunity to remember the reason we came together in the first place. We exist to combine the efforts of our churches for the spread of the gospel in the world,” Platt said during IMB’s Sending Celebration June 12.
Platt introduced 47 newly appointed missionaries approved by IMB trustees during their June 11 meeting in Dallas. The celebration also recognized 32 journeymen—recent college graduates who will serve internationally as fulltime, fully funded church planters for two to three years.
All are going to “people and places where the gospel has not yet gone,” Platt said. He also led messengers to pray for people groups around the world by name, instructing the audience to open an envelope placed on their chairs before the service.
“There are an estimated 11,700 distinct ethnic, or people, groups in the world. In this room, we have about that many people, which means the card you are holding is most likely not matched by anyone else in this room. For the next few minutes, the responsibility of praying for that people group is upon you,” Platt said.
As the service concluded, Southern Baptists dispersed across the hall to lay hands on and pray for those being sent out. “With 2.8 billion in the world who have yet to hear the gospel and a room of 10,000 people who have the gospel, God may be calling out more than just these 79,” Platt said.
He challenged the audience by a show of hands to commit to ask God, “Do you want me to go, too?”
Across the hall, hands raised.
– Baptist Press