INDIANAPOLIS—On June 11 during the opening session of the 2024 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) meeting in Indianapolis, the International Mission Board recognized 83 fully funded missionaries with a Sending Celebration.

IMB President Paul Chitwood

Newly appointed missionaries looked around the Indiana Convention Center’s hall at the urging of Paul Chitwood, International Mission Board president. He gestured from the stage to more than 13,000 messengers and guests sent by local churches to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Indianapolis, June 11-12.

“Beside you and behind you are row upon row, thousands of Southern Baptists, here to celebrate with you as you prepare to go to the nations,” he said. “As you go out to literally every corner of the earth in pursuit of the lost, may the Lord remind you that always — always — there are Southern Baptists praying fervently for you, and for the gospel to advance.”

Chitwood reminded the crowd that millions of Southern Baptists have prayed faithfully for God to call out and send laborers to His harvest fields during the convention’s 179 years of existence. These 83 missionaries, plus two previously appointed who participated with spouses, were recognized at the IMB’s Sending Celebration.

Among the missionaries approved for appointment and recognized during a Sending Celebration included Oklahoma Baptists Michael and Liz Davis. The couple from Paul’s Valley, Oklahoma, will serve among European Peoples in Germany and are sent from Trinity Baptist Church, Paul’s Valley, Oklahoma.

Liz and Michael Davis, Oklahoma Baptists who will be serving as IMB Missionaries.

These newly appointed missionaries join a force now numbering 25,000 missionaries throughout the two centuries of history in the Southern Baptist Convention.

“My conviction to go to the nations began as a child and my desire to reach the unreached increased as I grew in my faith,” Michael said.

Liz pointed out they would not be ready or equipped to follow God’s calling to church planting without supporting and praying churches, like those represented in the audience.

Oklahoma Baptists Executive Director-Treasurer Todd Fisher, who attended the sending celebration said,

“The IMB sending celebration at the SBC annual meeting in Indianapolis saw 83 missionaries sent, with 4 being from Oklahoma! This is the reason our convention exists.”

IMB President Paul Chitwood highlighted the urgency of “the Great Pursuit,” which is “our combined effort to find those who have yet to hear and believe the Gospel, and upon finding them, share the Good News with them. In short, it is our obedience to the Great Commission … the biblical model of getting the Gospel to those who have yet to hear through the presence of a missionary.”

Quoting Matthew 28 and the Great Commission, Chitwood underscored “the world’s greatest single problem is lostness.”

For security reasons, some Missionaries’ identities were not made public.

Throughout the Sending Celebration, many of the missionaries’ faces were not made public, due to the security considerations in areas in which they will be serving.

Chitwood looked at the new missionaries and pointed out the tenure of a long-term Southern Baptist IMB missionary is three times longer, on average, than those sent through other sending agencies. The reason, he said, turning back to the crowd, is because of the support that comes from the people sitting in the convention center and across the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention.

“May we not waiver in our pledge to support them through our prayers and giving, nor in sending reinforcements to serve alongside them,” the IMB president said, noting that spiritual lostness is growing every day and more workers are needed. “We’ve made a promise we must keep, together, that we’ll hold the ropes for those we are sending, and for the thousands they are joining around the world.

“They are our missionaries. Your missionaries.”

The morning event closed with a time of prayer in five languages. The next IMB Sending Celebration will be Sept. 25, hosted by First Baptist Church, Charlottesville, Virginia.

IMB missionaries are supported through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. For more information about IMB missions, visit