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CMI’s CEOs meet in Thailand

CMI’s Federation of Ministries


Published: 11 February 2016 (GMT+10)

Back in 2008 the respective Boards of our six CMI offices worldwide endorsed the formation of what has become known within CMI circles as ‘The Federation’.

We discussed a number of points, including how to advance and increase our ministry penetration in the years to come.

It should be known that The Federation is not a corporation. One cannot have a corporate, international non-profit because the laws in each country differ in terms of how such non-profits are structured or operate. Each CMI office around the world is an autonomous legal entity with its own Board of directors (or ‘trustees’ in some countries).

The Federation concept was born of a desire for all CMI offices to work together to increase the efficiency of our operations, while at the same time ensuring harmony in the way all our offices operate. Many of our offices perform different or specific functions that benefit the worldwide outreach. For example, one office maintains the website, CREATION.com. Another produces our Internet TV show Creation Magazine Live, and yet another office handles the publishing of all CMI’s books and most of the ministry’s audiovisual production. This means that each office does not have to replicate each of these operations, which provides a great cost saving to supporters worldwide.

Being ‘bound’ to one another

The Federation is basically an agreement entered into by all the national offices to help ensure that we ‘all sing from the same hymn sheet’. It also helps protect the ministries from the possibility of a powerful personality taking one office in a completely different direction. It has always been our belief that people give to a ‘cause’ rather than a person. The Federation ensures that our offices stay true to the ‘cause’. The Creation-Gospel message is to remain paramount, not the promotion of personalities.

Left to right: Don Batten (Australia), Richard Fangrad (Canada), Ross Peeters (New Zealand), Robert Zins (South Africa), Philip Bell (United Kingdom/Europe), Gary Bates (United States of America)
There was also the enormous value of the leaders of each of the offices spending time together; fellowshipping and building trust.

Each year the CEOs of each office meet (usually by Internet conferencing such as with Skype) to discuss a range of issues and challenges facing the ministry. As the Federation operates under democratic principles, each year a CEO is elected. The CEO, however, has no real authority over the individual offices. The role is actually one of an administrator—acting as a central person to aid communications between the offices and to convene annual meetings. The current CEO is Gary Bates (CEO of our US office) who has been elected each year since the Federation’s inception.

Every couple of years we aim to meet face to face, for which there really is no substitute. In January 2016, the CEOs met in Thailand, which is a reasonably central location for all our global offices to meet, as well as being very affordable. We discussed a number of points, including how to advance and increase our ministry penetration in the years to come. The meeting was extremely productive. Some of the issues discussed included,

  • How we are to reach young people, who by-and-large are not interested in attending conferences, purchasing materials, or subscribing to magazines.
  • How we are to fund outreach in the future with younger generations expecting everything to be free on the Internet (indeed creation.com provides over 10,000 articles and hundreds of videos free of charge).
  • How to minimize the risk of legal suits that could become a side-track to hamper ministry.
  • The best approach to presuppositional apologetics (yes, your prior beliefs are fundamentally important in interpreting evidence, but the evidence is best explained within a biblical historical framework). A position paper was approved for publication.

Above all, there was also the enormous value of the leaders of each of the offices spending time together; fellowshipping and building trust. We really grew in appreciation for each other at a personal level as well as for what each one brings to the global outreach; the balance of theological perspectives, all rooted in the authority of God’s Word, but differing in subtle ways that helps keep us from drifting ‘off song’ (into non-core issues). Our offices also regularly share the resource of personnel by sending speakers and trainers to various offices, and assist each other as much as possible where a particular office’s needs are the greatest.

More accountability than most non-profits

Financial supporters can, we believe, feel confident in the fact that the Federation serves as an extra layer of accountability for each office because they have willingly bound themselves to each other through a mutually binding agreement. This extra layer of accountability is in addition to most national offices also having another layer of accountability above the Board level; a wider membership of folk with a demonstrated dedication to promoting the Creation-Gospel message who elect the Board members and to whom the CEO can appeal if the Board goes ‘off song’.

All this recognizes our fallenness, even as God’s forgiven, adopted children. No matter how righteous someone might appear to be, we all have ‘feet of clay’ and need to be held accountable. The Federation provides another ‘guarantee’, as much as this is possible, that a CMI office will continue to proclaim the message with integrity and in tune with their sister offices. That is our heart’s desire and prayer that it will be so.

Helpful Resources

Readers’ comments

Steve H.
Thanks for your prompt reply to my earlier comment! Many third world Christians have not benefitted from institutional educational systems as we have "in the west". Equally, they have probably not been corrupted by erroneous scientific arguments as we have "in the west". Far from winning them back, our approach may be more of quarantining and inoculating them as we do with our children. Indeed children's resources may be better targeted to people coming out of subsistence farming whose first book is often the Bible and whose literacy teacher is a Christian missionary. ("Forewarned is fore-armed")
Steve H.
As a corporate manager in an international company (now retired) I concur entirely with your excellent governance structure and the use of both face-to-face and teleconference meetings. Great strategy for effective use of resources! Christianity is growing most rapidly in Africa, China and South America. The face of global Christianity today is not white and its language not English, so further to the existing feedback: what are the next most strategic language(s) after English (for the creation message), and where could a new office be planted whose focus is on translation? Could a crowd funding approach be used on your website for this purpose? If yes could you include specific prayer points for its development so that we can seek God's blessing on your endeavours?
Gary Bates
Thanks for the comment Steve. Please see my response to Phyllis in the comments below the article and why we focus on establishing offices in primarily 'first-world' countries who can fund outreach to less wealthy nations. BTW at any one time we actually have dozens of translations projects going on and we have a dedicated translations coordinator that operates out of our Australian office. Specifically, with Africa, pray for a robust South African office who can outreach and partner with other countries in the continent. They have already conducted direct outreach and speaking tours in neighbouring countries.
Cheri F.
Thank you for being so transparent and intentional with how you handle your organization! What a great example of being wise as serpents and harmless as doves. I'm especially thrilled to see this year's emphasis on young people. To ignore this segment of society is to guarantee our irrelevance in just a few years. Yes, it is difficult having a generation that expects vast amounts of materials free, but as you point out your website is already providing this. Plus, when we take the internet into account, interest in our origins and creation science isn't waning, just the media we use to learn and share has changed from the past. May God richly bless your efforts to equip His people with truth and may many young people find their faith firmly settled by understanding the truth about science!
Gary Bates
Thanks Cheri, can I add for the benefit of others reading this, while the majority of our website information is free, it requires a massive team effort to produce. For example, we have a weekly Internet TV show and the lead article on the site changes every day. I encourage folks to financially support their local CMI office to keep the information coming.
Jonathan G.
Just want to say that I am blessed by the spirit of unity and humility that I perceive in this article. Glad you were able to meet in January. I agree on the value of face-to-face communication.
Janine D.
As a parent of children who love the sciences, especially Biology, it would be such an amazing thing to have a CMI Camp/course for young adults to equip them further before they go into University. A place where it will be safe to ask questions and receive sound teaching(even on debating skills). In so doing be able to keep their own in any debate and be able to recognize the bluster and lies. We have used most of the Apologia curriculum and this has been really helpful in equipping them. However I feel that so much more is needed. Thank you so much for the great resource you have been in my family.
Gary Bates
Janine, I know it is a long distance, but if you are able I recommend your family should make the effort to visit one of CMI's SuperCamp, either in Australia or the US. Last year in the US we included sessions on creation speaking training and on how to answer questions. Plus people are able to spend lots of one on one time with our scientists and speakers. Although you mention equipping skills about debating to recognize fallacies etc. I think this is just the normal part of equipping young ones and providing them with creationist answers that should be par for the course in any Christian family, particularly those who realize the onslaught our young ones will face in higher education. The other factor is that it is probably wise for our youth to keep their heads down somewhat in university settings. Experience shows that directly tackling lecturers about what they are being taught can lead to discrimination and lower grades. So, in short, being equipped and sure about what they believe before they get to college, and preempting the type of information they will receive is the key. This can all be done at home with creation resources and a little bit of extra effort. It seems like you are doing this already so hopefully your young ones will be in good stead. I hope this helps.
Gian Carlo B.
OH RIGHT! I forgot, creationists are still on a 'bully rally' under a culture that is dogmatically evolutionist, sorry. It was indeed a great idea but I understand. Your plans are actually amazing even without universities, just thought of throwing an extra, but you guys are still great anyways. Oh I wasn't assuming some behemothic view about you guys, I'm very well aware of the public view towards creationists and the implications, just thought that because of the materials and knowledge you guys have should take you to that level, but again; your official plans do suffice. Keep going!
John F. K.
Where is Powder Springs, GA on your map?
Gary Bates
John, the map is not geographical accurate. it is just meant to be a stylized representation to show which countries we have offices in. I live in Atlanta where our US office is located so I am well aware the spot on the map is not in the exact right spot. I'll see if we can get it fixed though. Regards.
David G.
This is an outstanding report, very helpful and well descriptive of what appears to be an excellent structure for healthy checks and balances. Important above all, though, is prayer, by, among and for the boards and your ministries. While maintaining biblical truth is imperative, "unless the Lord builds the house" we all "labor in vain". God must do the work, from start to finish. And he would have us ask his presence and blessing (Eze.36:37; Lk.18:1-8).
Gian Carlo B.
You know what would be a great idea for you guys? Schools and universities built by you guys, as in, directly administered by you guys, that would be another great effective way to outreach youths. Or you could also expand your offices to third world countries more often as well, maybe even use the two as an advantage to reach other people more effectively. It might be costous but I see that as a great idea. Just throwing that out as a suggestion. Or you could make a worldwide universal Federation of other creation ministries as well and strengthen your numbers. But I think the first two should do enough.
Gary Bates
Hi Gian Carlos, please go back to the article and see my previous response to a similar suggestion to yours. I would add though that I think a creationist university is fraught with difficulties. It's been tried before by another ministry and cost tens of thousands of dollars in legal battles with the State to get accreditation. And the second time this was attempted accreditation was denied. In addition, having a degree from a 'creationist' university is just not really a very wise idea because no one in academia or secular industry would recognize such qualifications. I have to say that these suggestions and the previous one kind of presupposes that CMI is a some sort of behemoth creation group. We probably project much bigger than we are. The point of the article was to highlight that a number of our offices (which are actually relatively small) by working together can save costs and do great things! If you recall, for our Evolution's Achilles' Heels project, it was necessary to raise funds internationally to produce a book and documentary. That should indicate how tight things are for us. I don't know of any creationist organization who would have the funds to build such educational establishments.
Phyllis D.
Are there any plans for a CMI office in any South American Country? Does CMI know of any creation societies in or reaching into South America?
Gary Bates
We often get asked about offices in lots of different countries and this provides a good opportunity to explain our model. We simply don't have the financial resources to have offices in lots of different countries, and particularly non-English speaking ones. If we did, then we would also have to provide translations, thus printing costs and inventory for our resources in a multitude of languages as well. Our offices are located in generally 'first-world' countries where there is a solid base of Christians who can support the work. We then use those key offices to outreach into neighbouring countries (sometimes third-world). We then look for specialist, local ministries in those countries who will partner with us to fund local translations and the printing costs for distribution. The costs to print locally are often cheaper than in most Western countries (plus it saves shipping costs) which in turn makes the resources more affordable locally. Specifically, to your question about South America, we have good friends in various countries who have 'tent-built' their own ministries and have translated dozens of our titles. We have a dedicated translations coordinator who works from our Australian office, and at any one time we have dozens of projects on the go. And in most cases we don't even charge anything for the service provided to translate our resources. In short, if we tried to set up offices everywhere and produce resources in say. 300+ countries, the existing first world offices would soon disappear! the best way you can support work into other continents like South America is to financially support your local and existing CMI office.

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