International Cooperating Ministries Church Building Work: 1986 – 2010
(All Data Current as of August 2, 2010)
The church building work of International Cooperating Ministries (ICM) began in India in 1986 when ICM founder Dois Rosser provided funding to build a church there to honor his father. Today, there are more than 1,100 ICM partner churches in India, alone. In fact, as of July 2010, ICM has helped build 3,621 projects in 56 countries. These projects include not only traditional church buildings, but also church-orphanages, chapels, love homes, learning centers, training centers, and schools. And, as a result of ICM’s “daughter church” strategy, the ministry has seen more than 20,000 additional church congregations established.
Shortly after the initial work in India began, Rosser established a charitable foundation using a substantial portion of his personal wealth to fund the ministry. ICM’s outreach model contradicts many traditional approaches, in that there are no paid overseas staff members. The ministry continues to have a global impact while employing fewer than 25 full-time, local staff. The foundation funds all overhead, allowing all gifts to ICM’s work to go directly to church building and Mini Bible College projects.
According to Pat MacMillan, a consultant with Triaxia Partners in Atlanta, Georgia, the ministry’s founding principles were 20 years ahead of their time. “I knew faith-based ministries, but here was one started by a businessman, and it was violating all the rules of the typical ministry. It talked about results and accountability and leverage. I just loved the sound of it.”
MacMillan contrasted the approach used by many other ministries , which involved high costs in time and financial resources—training and sending American missionaries to the field—with the way ICM started. By teaming up with indigenous ministry leaders around the world, MacMillan said, “… you have ministry impact right out of the blocks, for considerably less money, and it’s considerably more effective.”
This approach (working with indigenous people and leaders; creating strategic networks and partnerships; and leveraging technology) is now being adopted by other ministries. ICM has been at the forefront of what is now an emerging trend in missions work. “[If] you took a look at ICM, it started by doing all of those things, whereas many of the older, more [traditional] … missions [agencies] are having to retrofit themselves as they confront emerging trends … around the world,” MacMillan said.
ICM’s strategy consists of working together with indigenous partners to build “mother churches” in each country. The mother church strategy involves building new churches approximately 25 miles from one another. Each of these “mother” churches, in turn, commits to planting at least five “daughter” congregations nearby. ICM’s goal is to “blanket” each nation with churches and other projects. Using this multiplication strategy, ICM and its partners have seen more than 20,000 congregations, to date, established worldwide. The churches are the catalysts that facilitate the ministry’s primary purpose: nurturing believers.
ICM nurtures believers primarily through the teaching of the Mini Bible College (MBC), a clear, systematic Bible curriculum developed by Pastor Dick Woodward. MBC consists of more than 400 individual lessons in audio, print and other formats. The teachings include an entire survey of the Old and New Testaments; the Sermon on the Mount; the Gospel of John; studies covering First Corinthians, Romans, the Values of Christ, Family and Marriage; and more than 20 teachings on various aspects of Godly living.
Woodward served as senior pastor of the Virginia Beach Community Chapel, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, for more than 20 years. Rosser became acquainted with Woodward in the late 70s. In 1982, when Woodward was diagnosed with a rare degenerative disease of the spinal cord, he began creating MBC.
MBC was first aired in English locally in Virginia Beach, and then via Trans-World Radio (Bonaire) in 1986. Later, it was translated into Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin. In 1991, the Telugu translation for India was released. Today, MBC has been translated into 26 languages and is currently broadcast via radio in 16 of these languages. It’s delivered via the Internet and through digital audio players and CDs. Booklets, leadership materials and study guides are also available. Internationally, ICM churches use the materials for evangelism, pastoral teaching and nurturing believers in Bible study groups.
More information at: http://www.icm.org