Coronavirus concerns lead SBOM to halt global student missions trips

The Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM) issued an official statement March 5 cancelling international student missions trips because of concerns about the global coronavirus outbreak.

“Based upon the current situation, the [SBOM] has determined that the better part of wisdom is not to endorse any international missions trips by students and others, until further notice.

“The focus of the student summer missions will be upon the partnership projects we have in North America (the United States and Canada). An intentional focus will be on serving in Alabama and the rest of the southern part of the United States.”

The International Mission Board (IMB) recently convened a coronavirus task force “to specifically address the implications (of COVID-19) for its personnel and partners, including church volunteer missions teams. The task force aims to provide consistent information to all IMB field personnel and stateside staff regarding medical advice and travel directives,” according to an IMB press release. The task force has launched a web page at imb.org/COVID-19.

Following a chapel service at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, on Feb. 27, Chitwood said missions work in areas at the epicenter of the virus have “almost been totally shut down.”

IMB suggests churches frequently monitor travel advisories in order to make wise and prayerful decisions about missions trips planned in the near future. (IMB)