Editor's note: This article contains a direct appeal for funding from Disciple's parent organization, AMG International. Because Disciple continues to be a complimentary publication for the equipping of the saints around the world, we do not often solicit funds on behalf of AMG, and we do not want you to feel obligated to make a donation. We do, however, want to remind you of the opportunity to show your support for Disciple through giving toward AMG's ministry as you are led.
Each year has its share of markers, experiences that define it for our memory and measure the ways it stretched and encouraged us. 2013 was certainly a year of transition for AMG, but what stands out as we look back at this year (and the more than 70 years of ministry that came before) is not the change but the constants.
As my first year as AMG's president comes to a close, I have a new awareness of the challenges we face today and the shifting needs of those we serve around the world. As clear as it is to me that we have a responsibility to tailor our methods to the tasks presented to us, we have a higher calling to hold fast to our reason for being in the first place. While the way we do ministry may change, what we do is the same as it has been since AMG's founding. Our focus and mission has always been God's call to us to "make disciples of all nations" (Matt. 28:19). The Lord's faithfulness to lead and provide for this ministry of the Gospel motivates us to be as unswerving in our goal as He is in His faithfulness.
We are reminded of the unchanging nature of God's character, work, and Word over and over through Scripture. "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting" (Ps. 136:1). "For you have been born again, not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring Word of God" (1 Pet. 1:23). What tremendous comfort and encouragement to know that God is and always will be our rock and our redeemer! Likewise, His commands are steadfast, giving us clear goals for life and work.
This truth informs and directs everything we undertake. As we pursue opportunities to minister to others in Jesus' name, our first priority is to make disciples. The work God enables us to do through childcare, medical care, education, disaster relief, and other areas is all done with the aim of showing the fullness of God's love-giving those we serve a chance to hear and respond to the Gospel and grow as Christ's disciples.
We have seen so many times that the more our ministry changes, the more it stays the same. One tremendous example comes from our ministry partners in a large Middle Eastern country. They have recently added Internet and social media-based evangelism outreach to their existing newspaper evangelism program. Because of this innovation prompted by people's changing habits, they were able to reach an entire new segment their country with the timeless truth of salvation through faith in Christ's sacrifice. We praise God for this!
Among the bigger challenges facing AMG is the way ministry funding tends to work in our culture today. In times past, ministries (including AMG) received much of the support for our work through direct gifts to our general fund. Supporters gave and expected a ministry to wisely steward those resources to make the most impact for God's Kingdom. Those gifts have always been diligently applied to field ministry, but both donors and ministries understood that it was just as necessary to provide for the infrastructure that makes larger ministry possible-less-than-glamorous things like printing and postage, office maintenance, electric bills, insurance, etc
Today each of us is more connected than ever to the direct ministries we support. Our giving reflects that, with most gifts designated to a specific individual (such as a missionary, sponsored child, or national worker) or ministry rather than to the general fund. Let me be clear: this is wonderful, and we thank each of you so much for your faithful generosity and the relationships you have with those on the field that make those gifts so much sweeter and more personal.
At the same time, we want to keep our overhead low, continuing to have our behind-the-scenes needs met so that we can maximize our ability to do the work to which we've been called. Your gifts to AMG's Worldwide Ministries fund are a big part of making that possible, along with profits from AMG Publishers. Likewise, a healthy general fund balance prepares AMG to handle unexpected field expenses and gives us the flexibility to respond to new ministry opportunities as the Lord leads.
We know many of you do continue to faithfully give to both the Worldwide Ministries fund and to the individuals you support, and we thank you! If you are new to AMG or if you've never considered how a simple gift to the general fund can be just as vital to the work of the Gospel around the world as any more specific needs, please consider adding an extra gift to AMG to help make all the work we do possible.
In 2014, as always, we are trusting God to provide and to see us through another year, and we look forward the ways He will work in and through AMG around the world to draw men, women, and children to Himself. "Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass" (1 Thess. 5:24).
Anastasios "Tasos" Ioannidis became president and CEO of AMG International in 2013. He has served since 1989 in many different roles with the organization.
To learn more about AMG's ministries around the world and how you can partner with us, please visit www.amginternational.org or call 1-800-251-7206.
Advancing the Ministries of the Gospel (AMG) International is a non-denominational, international missions agency based in Chattanooga, Tenn. AMG's distinctive has always been its reliance on national workers to carry the Gospel in their own cultures. Today, they operate ministries in over 40 countries around the world through partnership with national believers.
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