The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) reported some truly stunning numbers surrounding international missions efforts, noting impressive increases in baptisms and the sharing of the Gospel throughout 2020.
The SBC’s International Mission Board (IMB) reported a 62% increase in new believers between 2019 and 2020, with that number rising from 89,000 to over 144,000, Christianity Today’s David Roach reported.
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During the same timeframe, baptisms swelled 81%, expanding from 47,929 to 86,587. And that’s not all, as 769,494 people heard the Gospel in 2020, up to 535,325 in 2019.
Meanwhile, 18,380 churches were planted across the globe in 2020.
Roach noted that most evangelism increases took place in South Asia, where 89% of the baptisms unfolded, and 97% of new churches were planted.
These statistics — which come with caveats and considerations worth exploring — are particularly fascinating amid the backdrop of a pandemic that left many domestic and global churches shuttered, restricted, or otherwise quieted.
It seems the SBC’s 3,552 missionaries were truly busy in their global work, despite these issues, though, as the statistics show a notable increase in not only reach but in actionable faith adherence.
“We’ve seen the Holy Spirit working across the globe in mighty ways,” Wilson Geisler, IMB director of global research, said.
The IMB statistical report detailing all of these accomplishments noted international missionaries needed to get creative in how they shared the Gospel, primarily due to fewer opportunities to meet in person because of COVID.
“In 2020, despite fewer face-to-face opportunities, IMB missionaries and partners found innovative, often virtual, ways to present the Gospel,” the report read.
These international gains for the SBC have come amid controversy over a sexual abuse investigation and a notable drop in membership in 2020. The denomination reportedly lost 436,000 members in 2020, and baptisms were down substantially, though the latter consideration came amid church closures due to the pandemic.
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