“How does ANM choose its native ministry partners?”
I have been asked this question many times. It’s a logical question, given the numbers: ANM has 263 ministry partners in 83 countries. The full answer is actually very complicated, full of formal guidelines and protocols. So here’s the simple version.
It has been said that ministry moves at the speed of relationships, and we have certainly found this to be true as we grow our network of partnerships around the world. Most often, we meet new qualified ministries through existing relationships — pastors, leaders, churches, and ministries, both here in the U.S. and around the world.
ANM’s newest partner ministry in the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar is a good example of how this highly relational process works. Here is the cast of characters God used to create this new partnership.
Pastor Andrew, a Christian from the Chin tribe, leads a multifaceted outreach in Mandalay, the country’s second largest city. His ministry includes a pre-school, a discipleship training center, a Bible college, and a local church.
Pastor Andy, who leads a church in Indiana, met Andrew some years ago and was impressed with his fruitful ministry (now 20 years of it). Pastor Andy has travelled to Myanmar on multiple occasions to teach at Andrew’s Bible school and preach at his church. He also heard the testimony of Pastor Sokhon, an established ANM partner in Cambodia, which helped him appreciate the depth and effectiveness of indigenous ministry partnership.
Ron heard about the ministry in Myanmar from Pastor Andy, whose church he is a member of. Ron used to serve on ANM’s board of directors and played a critical role in refining ANM’s focus on reaching unreached people groups. So when he heard about Pastor Andrew, Ron told his longtime friend at ANM, P.R.
P.R. is ANM’s international president. When Ron recommended Andrew’s ministry to P.R., P.R. coordinated with Ron and Pastor Andy to conduct an initial field visit with Pastor Andrew in 2018. Impressed with what he witnessed, P.R. recommended Andrew for partnership.
Eric (me): P.R. asked me to spend additional time with Pastor Andrew during my annual teaching trip to Myanmar. Andrew requested that I conduct a three-day teaching on the Good Shepherd for his network of pastors and church planters while I was in Mandalay. The result was 50 workers encouraged to go deeper in their relationship with Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
Chris: Chris is ANM’s regional director for Southeast Asia, with overall responsibility for all ANM partner ministries in that region of the world. Chris, P.R., and I worked to secure available funds for the conference, and Chris sent the funds to Andrew in Mandalay.
So, to recap: an American pastor meets a ministry leader from Myanmar, hears the testimony of an ANM partner from Cambodia, shares his experience with a former ANM board member, who then encourages our international president to visit Pastor Andrew. Other ANM staff are looped in to help complete the initial field visit.
God used this chain of events, set in motion through a diverse set of relationships, to bring us into partnership with Pastor Andrew in Myanmar. Ministry truly does move at the speed of relationships.