Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board in 'much healthier financial position' after layoffs

Rev Ronnie Floyd says his 'heart is broken' over their ministry's lay off of missionaries and staff.Matt Miller/Baptist Press

The International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is now in a "much healthier financial position" after it let go a large number of staff, IMB president David Platt has announced.

"IMB is committed to a future marked by faithful stewardship, operational excellence, wise evaluation, ongoing innovation and joyful devotion to making disciples and multiplying churches among the unreached," he said in a statement.

Platt told Christianity Today that the organisation has spent $210 million more than it has received. With the recent manpower cut, the IMB will now be able to operate at its current rate of spending for two years. After which, the full-time ministry might finally come to an end.

"The financial realities are clear," he said. "In order to get to a healthy position for a future like I've talked about, we have to get to a healthy place in the present."

"The stage is now set financially, organisationally and spiritually for IMB to work with Southern Baptist churches to create exponentially more opportunities for disciple-making and church-planting among unreached peoples around the world," he added.

The IMB earlier announced that it recently suffered from a financial setback, forcing it to lay off more than 1,000 of its missionaries and other workers to be able to balance its 2017 budget.

The number of workers laid off is actually twice the estimated number the Board announced last November when it first revealed its plans to cut the number of its missionaries and staff, CBN News reported.

For now, 983 missionaries and 149 U.S. staff members have accepted the IMB's offer for voluntary early retirement or resignation. SBC's number of missionaries in the field is now down to 3,800, which is the lowest number recorded in over 20 years.

SBC President Ronnie Floyd said his "heart is broken" over the news, adding that the layoff of missionaries "is disappointing to all of us."