The growth of the work of the Lord at Advancing Native Missions, even with its share of seasons of plateaus, has always been on the upward trajectory. From a few indigenous ministry partners overseas at the outset, we now have over 250 partners in more than 80 countries. From the few hundred native missionaries we served in the initial years, we now have the honor and blessing of serving some 8,900 of them. Together they are bringing the Gospel to more than 450 unreached people groups.
There is also growth from within—from four workers in its first two years, ANM now has around 50 full-time staff workers and more than 20 volunteers on site and on call.
The Lord has also trusted us with His resources. From $55,000 during its first year of operation, in 2016 we had the highest cash offering of over $8 million and over $4 million in gifts-in-kind for missions.
Most recently, an NGO watchdog, MinistryVoice, gave us the distinct recognition of being one of the “92 Most Trusted U. S. Non-Profits.” Also, theologydegrees.org classed ANM among the “Top Ten Most Amazing Christian Charities.” Another non-profit watchdog, GuideStar, gave us their highest recognition for integrity—the “Platinum Seal of Transparency.” And MinistryWatch gave us their highest rating—Five Stars.
So why the sudden decision on my part to step down now from the top post of President to evolve into ANM’s Global Ambassador? The answer is clear and simple. I believe it’s the Lord’s timing and purpose. The Bible reminds me, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
One expert and author on leadership, Mike Myatt, often considered the top CEO coach, points out, “Great leaders discover pivot points and transitions that create a certain rhythm and balance….” I don’t claim to be a great leader, but I pray to be sensitive to the Lord’s ways, changes, and transitions, and to take action on such in humble obedience.
My first awareness that we were entering a major pivot point when I might transition into something else was when an excellent professional consultant did an evaluation of ANM last year. He underscored three major strengths the Lord has given us:
First, “A compelling core mission and clear biblical vision.”
Second, “A widespread passion for the mission of the organization among its team members and a sincere, deep-rooted love for one another and for the missionaries.”
And, lastly, “The organization is also blessed with a diversely gifted, passionate and much-loved leader, who is inspiring, articulate and caring.”
He finished, saying, “These core and compelling strengths provide a major foundation to build upon, and are not universally found in all non-profit ministries.”
I took the above as a loving commendation from the Lord, who called me in 1986 to His service. I also took it as a signal of the end of my term as president. I spent days in prayer thinking of the answers to an interesting query raised in the report—what would be the profile of the next leader? Would he be operational? Inspirational? Strategic?
To my delight, the Lord has given us several co-leaders, all of whom fit these three profiles in varying degrees. Oliver Asher’s strong suit is inspirational, George Ainsworth’s, operational, and Dick Prins’, strategic. And P. R. Misra from India represents well the heart, passion, “color and accent” of most native missionaries we serve.
My transition creates rhythm and balance on the issue of succession. The Lord, by His grace, has allowed us to prepare an excellent leadership team to succeed me, with Oliver as president, Dick as CEO, George continuing as COO, and P. R. as international president (still under Oliver).
Last November 4, the ANM Board approved my strong recommendation for this divinely supplied and balanced leadership team composed of godly, highly competent, and trustworthy brothers whom I love. I thank God for leading us together all these years to create a culture of teamwork, loving relationships, and self-sacrifice.
My years as ANM’s primary leader were strengthened by the precious members of our staff, our beloved donors and friends, and all the faithful and fruitful native missionaries God has accorded us the honor to serve.
Encouraging feedback on the change prompted Oliver to email me, “Brother Bo, I believe we are receiving these positive responses because you are a gracious and magnanimous leader who properly prepared the groundwork for the transition of leadership. Thank you for your proactive preparation.”
In regard to my appointment and excitement as ANM Global Ambassador, a much-respected missionary partner reaching unreached Aeta aborigines in the Philippines says it for all the brothers we serve: “Indeed, Brother Bo’s new title and responsibility is a great blessing to us in the field because he has more time now to come and visit and encourage us. He is now free to pray with us, laugh with us, cry with us, and fellowship with us in the field. He can now give more attention and focus in advocating for the needs of ANM as well as the needs of ANM missionaries all over the world.”
As my season developing ANM’s culture of leadership comes to an end, please pray with us. We are asking the Lord to trust ANM with additional resources to recruit more young leaders and acquire technology that will help us strategically improve the way we work together and serve the Lord’s people. We believe this growth will enable those we serve to declare God’s glory among all the nations, tribes, and language groups—’til all hear!