ANM is often asked, “How do you know the missionaries you are asking us to support are genuine?”
ANM has a vetting process before new missionaries are accepted. The field standards are guidelines for approving and continuing a relationship. Our regional directors or field directors make periodic visits to missionaries on the field, and each ministry we partner with turns in a yearly report for accountability. A few times, ANM has ended partnerships that did not continue to meet the standards.
Renee Lilly, ANM’s Regional Director for Latin America, shared, “As regional directors, we take the vetting process very seriously, both because we are accountable to the donors to ensure their gifts will be properly used and also because we are called to support those who are truly in need and doing great things for the Kingdom of God in their context.”
Renee continued, “The vetting process for a ministry in Brazil happened this way: I had been praying for a few years that the Lord would send a ministry reaching the unreached in Brazil. Through a former ANM board member, I discovered such a ministry. I did a cursory search on the ministry website and began an email correspondence with a representative.
“It became clear that they were apprehensive about ANM divulging confidential information in our efforts to advocate for them. After further discussions, we came upon a plan to guard the info effectively yet be able to advocate for the needs of the ministry. I continued the correspondence for over a year, checking in to get updates and see how things were going.
“Finally, I was able to plan a field visit. During the visit, we met with the leadership and lived with a missionary family for a couple of days. The trip also included a trip into the jungle to visit a tribe they were attempting to reach. We observed their character, their unique struggles to reach this area, and the success they had already achieved. On returning, I was able to give an extensive report to [ANM’s] leadership, who then prayerfully approved the ministry. Since that time, they have proven to be good soil.”
Advancing Native Missions Field Standards
These are the field standards that are used by Advancing Native Missions to vet ministries:
- A clear evangelical statement of faith.
- A leadership that is motivated by a burden for the lost to be saved.
- A ministry based on the “love of the brethren” — i.e., do the brethren love one another?
- A high level of spiritual maturity and integrity among the leadership and missionaries.
- A vision to see the Gospel carried to the surrounding unreached and unevangelized peoples.
- Evidence of spiritual fruitfulness among the targeted peoples and active missionary outreaches resulting in new churches being planted and organized.
- Training and equipping of new missionaries for the harvest fields.
- A good report from neighboring Christian missions.
- A ministry tested by the fires of tribulation, faithful in the face of spiritual and physical opposition.
- A commitment to financial transparency, coupled with the issuance of an annual audited (or similarly approved) financial statement for the Christian mission.
- An organization with a board of directors or set of officers for spiritual and financial accountability.
- A commitment to providing ANM with regular field reports, updates, and photos.
These standards help ANM to be assured that the funds entrusted by donors to go to the field are used to spread the Gospel according to the vision of ANM in Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”