FFICM’s vision is to develop national leaders through partnerships with local organizations and churches and to train them in evangelism and follow-up. Our passion is to see nations of people who have not only committed their lives to Christ, but are also equipped to be lifelong followers of Jesus.
Fulfilling our mission through organizing and teaching trainings
We started by running evangelism and follow-up trainings in Nigeria alone. Now we are training in Ethiopia, Niger, the US, Uganda and Poland. In February of 2017 we have trainings scheduled for Cameroon and Siberia.
Through the addition of our new staff this past year, we have been able to train 578 national evangelists, pastors and church leaders in the countries we serve. We also taught and followed up over 500 more church members.
We also helped organize and teach at the yearly conference on evangelism and discipleship in Nigeria which we started 10 years ago with our partner New Life for All. Over 3,000 attended that conference from Nigeria, and the surrounding countries. After the conference more than 1,000 left Jos and shared the gospel in Kebi state, Nigeria for a week.
At least 493 people have been trained in evangelism and follow-up by those we trained this year, and 717 people have received Christ and are being discipled. 4 new churches were planted. In addition, there was further impact from the Kebi state outreach in particular (as well as other areas) but we don’t have statistics yet.
Fulfilling our mission through personnel growth and developing partnerships
FFICM formed in late 2013. Rich became the first full-time employee in 2014, and remained the only employee for several years. This year we added Rick Cordell, Peter Wash, Sunday Mallam, and Dara Searcy-Gardner to our staff. Rick Cordell, as an International Trainer, has been able to support our Nigeria branch in developing their local trainers, and Peter Wash has joined as Nigeria Coordinator! He has been organizing trainings, choosing and developing volunteer personnel, and teaching trainings. Sunday Mallam joined as a Trainer and Organizer, and has been able to help us improve the quality of our programs exponentially by traveling to set up trainings and meet with everyone to make sure all arrangements are in place, as well as doing critical post-training follow-up, meeting with trainees and finding out what their needs are as they put their training into practice.
The addition of Peter and Sunday our staff represents a special kind of fulfillment of our goal to put nationals in charge of reaching their own people. The effectiveness of this strategy has been demonstrated this year not only by the sharp increase in the amount of trainings we have been able to run in Nigeria (14 this year alone!) but also in the improved quality of the trainings as Sunday provides on-the-ground feedback. We hope to develop Peter into the role of West Africa Director, with Rich supervising in an advisory capacity. We are also developing other trainers in Nigeria for future roles in FFICM.
Dara Searcy-Gardner joined the organization this year as Director of Communications and has been working to ensure that we have all of the stories and information from our overseas team that we need to effectively support them, and also communicates what the team is doing to our supporters through newsletters and social media. She is in an expanding role, as she has also taught follow-up classes in the US, is helping to re-work our materials, and takes on additional projects as needs arise.
In Ethiopia, we do not have any FFICM staff, but we have found an effective partnership in Eyasu, who is in charge of evangelism in the largest denomination in Ethiopia (Kaleheywet). Eyasu has a network in place to recruit evangelists and pastors to our trainings, as well as to follow up with them to let us know if there are more trainings, materials, or support needed. Iskandir has been an important partner as well! He is an independently funded missionary who does not need our monetary support, but is passionate about the work and has been attending and running trainings. Through partnerships with people like Eyasu and Iskandir, FFICM is empowering Ethiopians to reach their nations for Christ, without currently needing to have full-time staff of our own active in the country.
In Nigeria, we have collaborated effectively with national organizations and denominations, including CREI, COCIN, ECWA and many more. Our most effective partnership in Nigeria has been with New Life for All, where our participation in their conference for their evangelists has resulted year after year the training of thousands of Nigerians in evangelism and follow-up.
Our partnership with Roman continues to bear fruit as well. After training church leaders in Poland last year, as well as visiting Russia and observing his work, we now have opportunities this coming year in Russia.
We have new partnerships that are in the early stages of development in Uganda, Niger, and Cameroon–these have already resulted in multiple trainings being carried out and planned in those countries!
Through our personnel and partnership development we are discovering what patterns are most effective in accomplishing our mission, not only in different countries, but within different areas of the countries in which we operate. We are learning how best to keep track of each area’s fluctuating needs! We want to make sure that we emphasize follow-up not only in our evangelism training, but also in the way that we run our ministry.
Fulfilling our mission through development of our materials
Many of those we minister to are only semi-literate, so the artwork in our materials is absolutely essential. Indeed, we have been told that our art is what sets our materials apart from others. We have a graphic illustration to follow every major concept that we want to communicate to new believers, as part of achieving our goal of getting rid of confusing jargon in training new believers. Many trainers have told us that this is particularly effective in explaining theological concepts in ways that people can easily grasp and remember. This year Dara and Rich have been working with a graphic artist to improve and unify our artwork so that it is uniform, of higher quality, and communicates more clearly the concepts that we teach. We have been in constant contact with countries in which we use the materials to make sure that the artwork translates well cross-culturally, and will use different images for different cultural contexts as needed.
We believe strongly in the effectiveness of discussion-centered teaching as well, and we are hoping our revamping our artwork will facilitate this even more effectively. Our trainees often tell us that they have never been taught like this before—they’re used to being told to memorize facts. Simply memorizing facts, however, is not the best way to internalize truth about God! Through artwork and question-centered discussions, we are better able to help trainees find their own words to relay truth about God and his work in their lives.
Rich has also been working on writing a training manual that will enable the trainers to all be on the same page as far as how they teach and what they teach!
Our materials have already been translated into Hausa, Amharic, Oromo, Lungandan and Russian. More languages (such as French, for Niger) will be added this coming year.
Thank you for your support! May God bless each and every one of you, as well as the thousands of people He is calling to be His own.