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’.
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.
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.