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October-November 2021

Celebrating 100 Issues of ONE Magazine


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State of the Mission: A Decade of Challenges and Blessings

By Clint Morgan


Article II, Section 3, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution requires the President of the United States to “give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” In layman’s terms, the President informs Congress and citizens of the actual state of the country as it relates to challenges and accomplishments, as well as activities to achieve future success.

Though I am not the President, I do think it appropriate to inform Free Will Baptists of the state of the Mission. First, let’s take a brief look at the past, a cursory overview of where we stand presently, and a quick glimpse into the future. Please understand, this is not intended to tell you what I have accomplished as general director. God has provided an amazing staff—both office and field workers, national believers, and partners to IM. Collectively, we have worked to execute His plans and bring honor and glory to Him. Seeing God at work in, with, and through IM has been quite exciting.

February 6, 2021, marked my tenth year as general director. In all transparency, when I stepped into this position the Mission was passing through deep, dark waters relationally with our constituency, leading to enormous financial challenges. These factors certainly affected the pursuit of strategic goals and objectives and, thereby, our overall effectiveness.

Therefore, in 2011, the priority was repairing and rebuilding relationships. This meant other directors and I traveled extensively to churches, district associations, and state meetings. We visited pastors, leaders, and laymen. We listened, dialogued, and learned how to move forward together. We worked hard over five years rebuilding relationships and renewing trust. I vividly recall the first time a pastor told me, “I trust IM.” To be honest, I almost wept. We hear this often now. We see it reflected in the openness and support of pastors and leaders who, ten years ago, would not invite us into their churches. Now, these same pastors invite IM missionaries to speak in their services and pledge prayer, moral, and financial support for them.

Progress in rebuilding relationships and trust opened the door for more strategic thinking. The IM leadership team set goals and objectives that reflected an understanding of the Great Commission. They found their basis in missiological best practices; demanded a high level of commitment from the IM staff, both office and field; and, above all, called for profound trust in God as the means and power for realizing them.

As I look back on the past decade, several strategic aims pointed us in the right direction. We reworded our mission statement to proclaim clearly and concisely what we are about as a mission. It now reads, “We exist to labor with the Body of Christ to fulfill the Great Commission.” This statement displays a strong commitment to unity in a concerted effort to obey Christ’s last command to make disciples of all nations. What greater cause could we have than the cause of Christ?

Using our mission statement as the starting point, the IM leadership team looked forward and planned accordingly. I want to share five important objectives set by the leadership team during this period. They kept us focused, even when things became chaotic. We will review these five objectives from three angles: past, present, future.


Objective 1: Broaden our support base.

Past: In 2012, our financial records revealed only 45% of FWB churches regularly donated to IM. This was unacceptable. We knew efforts must be made to correct this.

Present: In 2015, we set a goal to increase the number of churches giving to IM by 20% before the end of 2020. We met and surpassed this goal.

Future: Our 2020-2025 strategic goals and objectives state we want to increase the number of churches giving to IM on a monthly basis to 75% by December 2025.


Objective 2: Expand our missionary force.

Past: In the late 1990s, just over 100 IM missionaries shared the gospel globally. That number dropped to a low point of 72. This was unacceptable. A strong emphasis was placed on expanding our missionary force.

Present: At the April 2020 board meeting, we gratefully reported 103 IM missionaries on staff. Though great progress has been made, we must continue this growth.

Future: Our goal is to have 125 IM missionaries serving five years from now.


Objective 3: Become more of a truly “international” mission.

Past: Since 1935, we have been called “Foreign” or “International” Missions. Yet, in 2011, only three board-approved, foreign-born missionaries graced our missionary force. It was imperative we set up structures and processes to provide the possibility of non-North American believers serving with IM.

Present: Presently, we employ 13 foreign-born IM missionaries. These brothers and sisters bring a much-needed “international” perspective to IM.

Future: God will continue to call believers from many nations to go into all the world. We want to play our part in ensuring these called ones serve where He leads. We anticipate seeing the number of foreign-born, board- approved missionaries double over the next five years.


Objective 4: Seek mutually beneficial partnerships.

Our mission statement declares we “labor with the Body of Christ.” In reality, we often rejected the idea of working with non-Free Will Baptists, or even Free Will Baptist organizations not directly attached to IM. Thankfully, this is no longer the case.

Past: In 2011, IM partnered with three other evangelical organizations.

Present: We currently partner with 21 evangelical agencies or churches. Each of these organizations contain strong Free Will Baptist connections. Most importantly, they are members of the Body of Christ.

Future: We anticipate God sending more partners for IM. We will build from a common vision to fulfill the Great Commission, sharing our resources to collectively expand His Kingdom.


Objective 5: Increase the number of Free Will Baptist believers and churches outside North America.

The IM task is to take the gospel to the nations, with a focus outside of North America. (Note: this does not exclude reaching immigrants and refugees within the United States in collaboration with North American Ministries.)

Past: Free Will Baptists pioneered works in many places around the world. From the handful of converts and churches planted in India and Cuba in the 1930s, we grew to 33,699 believers and 480 churches and church plants in 2012.

Present: The faithful labors of IM missionaries and national believers keep those numbers on an upward trend. The 2019 field statistics demonstrated an average attendance of 35,537 people in Free Will Baptist churches outside of North America, comprising about 13% of the FWB denomination. The 845 churches reported constitute close to 40% of FWB churches.

Future: We set our 2020-2025 goal to see 2,000 churches planted with an average attendance of 50,000 believers each Sunday. God must direct, and we must “labor with the Body of Christ” to realize these faith-based marks.


I don’t want us to get bogged down in this plethora of facts and figures and miss what is really important. These numbers are not ribbons or trophies to prove how hard our missionaries work or proclaim IM as a shining example of a great mission agency.

If we see anything other than God at work through obedient servants and Him being glorified through these efforts, we are focused on the wrong things.

The Mission is certainly in a much better position relationally and financially than we were in 2011. This by no means implies we have reached the pinnacle of collaboration within the Body of Christ, achieved optimal financial support from our denomination, or realized maximum fruitfulness for the ministries of our missionaries. We must continue to grow in our relationship with Him—the One who called us to proclaim His salvation to all people. We must continue to build our relationships within the Body of Christ. We must give as He leads. We must march in the cadence He sets. We must always depend on Him to bring about the harvest.

We must raise our voices in praise to Him alone for what He has accomplished through IM. With heartfelt joy, I see Free Will Baptists moving down the time-culture continuum from our humble beginning in 1935. From sending Laura Belle Barnard to India as our first missionary to seeing IM workers in cross-cultural ministry in over 20 countries.

The past has taught us many lessons. The present fills us with hope. The future calls us to continue our commitment to God’s command articulated in IM’s mission statement “to labor with the Body of Christ to fulfill the Great Commission.”

About the Author: Clint Morgan has been general director of IM, Inc. since 2011. Learn more:


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