Missionaries Go Home

From the Wall Street Journal—Cash-Strapped Missionaries Get a New Calling: Home.

Peter and Jennie Stillman felt a divine calling to preach the gospel abroad. So the Southern Baptist couple left Texas with their three young daughters 25 years ago and became missionaries in Southeast Asia.

Now, the Stillmans are responding to a new call: early retirement. They are among hundreds of Southern Baptist missionaries working abroad who are being summoned home in a move to slash costs, after years of spending to support missionary work around the world led to budget problems.

The International Mission Board, an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention with 4,800 missionaries and 450 support staff, plans to cut 600 to 800 people from its workforce, a 15% reduction. It is starting by offering voluntary early retirement to veteran missionaries.

Since 2010, the organization has spent $210 million more than it has taken in, officials said. Last year, it had a $21 million shortfall.

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