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Thoughts, insights and observations from the ABN staff


Communications employees to lose jobs at IMB headquarters

International Mission Board President David Platt speaks with missionaries in this archive photo.RICHMOND, Va. – Multiple sources are indicating some major changes in personnel are taking place at the headquarters of the International Mission Board (IMB) in Richmond.

The entire IMB communications team has been terminated, a source told the Arkansas Baptist News (ABN) Jan. 13. The number of Richmond employees affected is estimated at 30.

The source said the communications staff will be paid through April and work through February. A follow-up meeting regarding the future of the communications staff is expected today (Jan. 14).

IMB President David Platt announced a dramatic “drawdown” in the Southern Baptist mission organization’s force in August 2015 in an effort to address financial shortfalls. It was a move that resulted in a firestorm of reaction by both supporters and opponents of the plan. Platt said the IMB operated in the red in 2014, with the agency’s operating expenses exceeding income by nearly $21 million.

At the IMB’s February trustee meeting, Platt proposed streamlining the mission entity’s strategy and structure, a move he said was in keeping with IMB's mission to exalt Christ and work more effectively toward accomplishing the Great Commission with available resources.

At its May trustee meeting, IMB trustees streamlined guidelines for appointing new personnel to fulfill their missionary calling. The result of the new standards was expected to result in more nontenured missionary personnel on the field, some of whom would be funded in nontraditional ways.

The drawdown announcement and “reset of the organization” as Platt called it, included reducing 600-800 of the IMB's staff and field personnel – which is 15 percent of the entity’s total personnel. 

The staff reduction began with a voluntary retirement incentive for all eligible employees, including both missionaries and staff. Personnel who accepted the incentive finalized their decisions in early December. Phase two of the plan was to include consolidating support services, recalibrating mobilization, assessing global engagement and re-envisioning training.

The ABN will provide updates, as additional information is available.


Out with the old! It's closet cleaning time at the Arkansas Baptist News!

ABN staffers Jeanie Weber (left) and Jessica Vanderpool sort through materials removed from the Arkansas Baptist News storage closet. Below are some of the items.


World News Service 2013 Timeline

World News Service 2013 Timeline
By Kristin Chapman

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (World News Service) -- Key events from 2013 (as of Dec. 11) compiled by WORLD Magazine follow:


Jan. 1: Congress approves a fiscal cliff deal, with President Obama signing the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 into law the next day. 

Jan. 4: The Church of England says gay priests in civil partnerships can become bishops if they remain celibate. 

Jan. 8: An Open Doors report states that during 2012, Christians in North Korea suffered the most persecution in the world for the 11th straight year. 

Click to read more ...


Happy New Year! Here are stories we are working on for the January 9 edition

Stories to be included in our first edition of the year (Jan. 9):

2013 top 10 stories chosen by Arkansas Baptist News staff – THE YEAR of our Lord 2013 was full of significant events. For Arkansas Baptists, many were exciting, others disappointing and some tragic. 

Little Rock couple request trial date in Glorieta suit – ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Kirk and Susie Tompkins of Little Rock have asked a judge to set a trial date in what has turned into a land ownership dispute over the sale of property in and around Glorieta Conference Center. 

New Orleans professor says resolve church conflict ‘early’ – NEW ORLEANS, La. – Conflict has many facets. Many different obstacles can generate friction in the local church. One of the major keys to resolving church conflict is to get to it early, says professor of leadership and pastoral ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Reggie Ogea.

Other stories to be included in the edition are: 

– Arkansas Renewal Project hosts Arkansas pastors

– Arkansas judge orders trial in same-sex lawsuit

– And many more you don’t want to miss!


Arkansas Baptists called to action following devastating typhoon in Philippines

The Arkansas Baptist State Convention missions ministries team encouraged Arkansas Baptists Nov. 13 to assist people of the Philippines in the aftermath of the historic storm.

“We have been in direct contact with IMB (International Mission Board) missionaries on the scene. We have told them about the Philippines relief fund that we have started, and are standing by to recruit teams for them as needed,” reads a statement posted on the missions ministries team blog. “It will be some time before they can assess the situation and formulate a plan, especially due to the chaos still taking place.”

“If you wish to donate to the fund, 100 percent of which will go directly into the hands of IMB missionaries on the field, you can do so using the Donate Now link found on our homepage: 

“Or, you can send a check made payable to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, (with Philippines Relief in the memo line) to 10 Remington Drive, Little Rock, AR  72204.”