Passing the Torch

Leadership changes at CMI, and a tale of God’s incredible provision


First published in CMI Prayer News, July 2023
© CMIgary and fran bates

In 2009 my wife (Frances) and I moved to the US from Australia with two of our four children. At the time, the US office was really a fledgling operation conducting just over 40 ministry events that year. There were only five full time staff working at CMI–US. One of them was a young man who, years before we even had a US office, arranged for me to speak in his hometown during a US speaking tour. I recall being impressed with Erin Hughes at the time for his zeal for evangelism. He knew a lack of information on the biblical creation issue was a major stumbling block for people in believing the Bible. After my tour to the US, I kept in touch with him, hoping that someday he would be a valuable addition to a potential future US office. And when that day came, he moved his family to Atlanta from North Carolina at a time when our office had only just moved out of the basement of a former employee’s house! He trained under Fran Bates in event coordination for several years before she felt he was ready to assume the Head of Events position in the US office.

Confirmation from the Lord

Incredibly, just before we departed Australia for the US, I did a speaking tour of the island nation of Singapore—a country that I love and where I have made many friends. One of them was Dr Wally Tow. He was a world-famous obstetrician/gynecologist and pastor who, with his brother Timothy, in post WWII Singapore, pioneered a denomination which now has over 50 churches in its fold. My last meeting there was in Dr Tow’s church. I mentioned to him that we were moving to the US, because it is a country with a huge Christian population, the majority of which have never benefited from the type of grass roots, church-to-church ministry that CMI specializes in. And, there was a need to reach Christians where they are—in the churches—thousands of them in the US!

Long story short, as we were packing up our house in Australia, word came that Dr Tow had donated almost $600,000 USD for the purchase of the building that we were currently renting in Atlanta. To say we were moved to tears is an understatement. Of course, we took this as a sign that God was affirming our move. So, in time for our arrival, CMI–US had a permanent home with enough room to grow well into the future. (Please see The enduring legacy of Dr Wally Tow). CMI doesn’t usually get such large donations. When we send you our monthly newsletters asking for support, it’s because it is the faithful monthly giving from a small number of individuals, moms and dads, and families that keeps us going. The astounding donation of a building meant that we would be able to ensure all future financial support went to outreach ministry and not fundraising for a building. And what a difference this made. As I write, for the last 11 years (except for the pandemic interruption), CMI has conducted around 330 events per year, reaching tens of thousands of people. The simple fact is that people do not normally look for creation information because they don’t realize there is any! But when we conduct ministry in churches where the Christians are, they are exposed to abundant information to support what the Bible says in those early foundational chapters. This outreach method has demonstrably worked in all seven countries where CMI has offices. And the key person overseeing the ‘engine room’ of our ministry operations was the aforementioned Erin Hughes. As Head of Events, he added zeal that paved the way for the type of feedback we constantly receive, for example, from teacher Robert L.

“Just a note of thanks and gratitude for your help setting up the presentation with Scott [Gillis]. He gave an amazing presentation on dinosaurs at our Creation Week Graduation Celebration. I can’t think of a better send-off for the students than to have them bathed in his wisdom and love…please know somewhere in Southern California there are 27 students that are armed with the powerful truth about Creation. Best wishes to you and Gary. I’m an avid fan of your website and magazine, and you are my top reference site whenever anyone asks for more information on this topic.

Resource production in the US

And talking about resources, most people think our office is bigger than it actually is. As I write, we have just 16 full time staff in Atlanta. However, since 2009 this team has been responsible for the writing and or production of 32 books, 34 presentation style DVDs, and 2 award-winning documentaries. This is more resource production than in all the years of the global ministry previously, and I’m sure you realize that this was a mammoth effort in addition to our huge speaking itinerary.

A time to move on

I always saw that our role in moving to the US was to build up a ministry and a team that would not be dependent on me/us. At 64 years of age, with one eye on the future, from July 2023, I will be stepping aside from the role of CEO. Erin Hughes, who has been so instrumental in the success of CMI-US, will be taking on the CEO position. Fran and I desire to spend ‘catchup time’ with our children and their families, now split across two continents!

By God’s grace, I have been involved with CMI for 31 years. As a ministry at the forefront of the battle, I certainly faced severe challenges and testing, but words cannot truly express how thankful I am for the honor of being involved in His work with a ministry that I love. Fran and I had the most incredibly rewarding experiences, especially seeing hearts and minds change toward our Creator and Savior Jesus Christ, which is what CMI is all about.

And thanks to you for supporting us via CMI-US in our roles over the last 14 years. There is just no substitute for hard work. Please pray for the amazingly talented team at CMI and Erin, as he leads them.

gary and fran bates

By Erin Hughes

As you can see, Gary has been instrumental in forming the CMI-US office, which has been an enormous task. During this time, not only was Gary the driving force behind the scenes, but he wrote and produced two award-winning documentaries and multiple books and performed roughly sixty speaking events each year! God has blessed the ministry and many in the church with Gary and Fran’s extraordinary drive and talents! Some of you have been with us through it all, and some are new to CMI. I want to say “thank you” to all of you for your prayers and support. Without you, CMI could not impact as many people as we do each year with our modest staff numbers. I very much look forward to building upon the foundation that Gary and Fran have laid. We have a great team with a vision to impact many more people for Christ our Creator!

Published: 13 June 2024

Helpful Resources

Titans of the Earth, Sea, and Air
by Dr Jonathan Sarfati, Joel Tay
US $35.00
Hard cover
Biblical Geology 101
by Michael J Oard, Robert Carter
US $20.00
Soft cover