Trustees of Southern Baptists’ International Mission Board, North American Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources have met in recent weeks to approve, among other matters, budgets for 2020-2021. Due in part to COVID-19 financial realities, each of the agencies has approved reduced budgets, ranging from a 4.5% budget decrease for the IMB to a 20.5% budget reduction for NAMB and a 25.3% budget reduction for LifeWay Christian Resources.
International Mission Board
International Mission Board trustees, meeting on Sept. 30, approved a 2020-2021 budget of $255.3 million, representing a 4.5% decrease from the 2019-2020 budget of $267.4 million.
In other business, IMB trustees unanimously approved the appointment of 80 full-time, fully funded personnel in their fall 2020 meeting, compared to 24 approved in the trustees’ fall 2019 meeting.
On Oct. 6, the IMB reported a 2019-2020 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering total of $159.5 million, the second highest offering in history. This total exceeds by $4.5 million the 175-year-old organization’s budgeted goal of $155 million.
Southern Baptist church members gave $157.3 million to support international missionaries in 2018-2019, the third-highest LMCO for international missions ever received. The 2020-2021 LMCO goal is $175 million.
North American Mission Board
In their full board meeting Oct. 5-6, North American Mission Board trustees unanimously passed a $99.8 million operating budget for fiscal year 2021, representing a 19.7% reduction from last year’s budget of $124,230,000. Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, NAMB instituted budgetary freezes and cutbacks designed to keep missionaries on the field.
Southern Baptists gave a total of $49.3 million to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering in 2020. The amount was $20 million short of the $70 million goal, but NAMB suspended its promotion of the offering after COVID-19 caused churches to close their doors. Southern Baptists gave $61.4 million to AAEO in 2019, a record high for the offering.
Meeting on Aug. 25, trustees of LifeWay Christian Resources unanimously approved a $210 million budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, representing a 25.3% reduction from its 2019-2020 budget of $281.3 million.
LifeWay President and CEO Ben Mandrell told trustees that because of declining sales and loss of revenue related to cancellation of summer camps and women’s events, LifeWay projects missing its budgeted revenue for the 2019-2020 fiscal year by $61 million, resulting in a net loss of $21.7 million.
In April, LifeWay instituted spending reductions of approximately 10%, which included staff reductions, a freeze on all hiring and discretionary spending, and suspension of salary increases and matching 401K contributions for all employees. Beginning in May, members of the executive leadership team gave up one month’s salary.
Mandrell said those cost savings somewhat mitigated the impact to LifeWay’s bottom line, but said the organization would still end the year with a significant net loss. Mandrell told trustees LifeWay had been on a growth trajectory before the pandemic.