AIMS Takes Aim
Jim Ammerinan, head of Full Gospel Chaplaincy, a man whose research has been recognized by the Pentagon for apportioning chaplains in the armed forces, says there are SO. to 100,000 charismatic congregations in the United States. The Association of International Mission Services (AIMS) conservatively places the figure at 60,000.
Created March 21, 1985 in order to serve churches and mission agencies arising out of the charismatic renewal, AIMS believes these churches will supply many of the new missionaries and resources to reap the end time harvest.
Some recent moves consolidated the work of AIMS and provided me the opportunity to interview Howard Foltz, president of AIMS, and his assistant, Victor Lipsey.
Lipsey said AIMS is targeting independent churches in the charismatic renewal "because they are not as aware of ACMC and other such services as are denominational churches or those associated with some other organization There are a lot of new churches that haven't caught on to missions yet".
Foltz added, "The spiritual resources of these churches provide great potential and must be challenged and mobilized for world evangelization. The immense needs, and yet unprecedented opportunities that face as in today's world, move us to compassion and compel us to obey the Biblical mandate to establish God's kingdom in all nations."
According to Fohz and Lipsoy, most non demoninational, charismatic churches are not affiliated with any mission organization. Yet pastors from many of these churches are asking important, hard hitting questions:
"How can we inspire, educate, and activate our people for missions?"
"What is God saying about contemporary mission strategy?"
"How can we learn from the experience of others?"
"How can we meaningfully network with other churches and mission agencies to multiply our international impact?"
AIMS hopes to provide answers.
Some of the services AIMS offers include:
- consultation in setting up mission programs;
- provision of informatioq on mission opportunities overseas;
- provision of computer placement services for mission candidates;
- assistance to churches and mission agencies seeking to network together in missions projects such as church planting, short term evangelistic outreaches and construction teams;
- assistance in missionary candidate recruiting and/or naming;
- assistance in sponsoring conferences for mission agency personnel;
- curriculum and training aids.
Foltz said, "We are trying to relate churches to churches to help them team up to do missions together. We don't know of any other organization that is directly Vying to do that,"
Lipsey added, "The fruit we expect from this association is thousands of new, spirit filled missionaries who will go out into the more difficult places in the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ, working together with other brothers and sisters in the faith in other counuies wherever they might be."
"It's important to stress the global vision of this consortium," said Foltz, "As national leaders develop the same vision, we will share our resources and expertise with them and help them develop their own organizations. We are not a centralized international movement. All members everywhere will be aut000rnous. When we serve another agency we don't want to own or control them in any way."
With respect to work among :etind oples, Foltz commented, I believe must find methods to make the ongoing (Unreached Peoples) research available to the independent Charismatic and Pentecostal churches to challenge and motivate them to help penetrate these last frontiers?'
In order to nurture a compassionate and understanding heart for the nations, AIMS believes one of the most significant experience a mission leader could have is confronting firsthand the peoples and cultures of other countries. En light of this, AIMS is sponsoring "Mission Encounter" trips to mission centers throughout the world. Mission Encounter trips for this fall will go to India. Central America, Asia and Europe. All interested pastors and lay mission leaders am invited to come along. For more information, write to AIMS at the address below.
AIMS held its rust world mission training seminar at Calvary Temple in Denver, Colorado, this last February 26 through March 2. The focus of the seminar was on missionary education and missionary preparation in local churches. Six or seven additional seminars are in the planning stage. A resource catalog is being produced for distribution to its membership.
AIMS currently has 56 different organizations on its membership roles. These include individual churches and mission agencies. AIMS requires its members to make three commitments:
- to subscribe to the Lausanne Covenant without reservation;
- to pay a $125 annual membership fee; and
- to promote the networking of the consottum and work toward one community with the express purpose of evangelizing the world.
Nationally, AIMS is divided into nine areas. Three of these regions the Northwest, including Washington, Oregon. Idaho and Montana; the Southwest, covering California, Nevada and Arizona; and the Rocky Mountain - have full-time coordinators. Fifteen area representatives are located elsewhere across the country. AIMS utilizes part-time workers in the areas of communications, Public Relations, and Financial Development.
AIMS is governed by an elected Board of Trustees. Distinguished leaders of many charismatic and "full-gospel" groups serve on its Board of Reference and Advisory Council. The Lausanne COvenant (established in 1974 at the International Congress on World Evangelization) serves as AIMS's statement of faith.
After starting out with main offices located in two widely separated points across the country - Dallas, Texas, and Virginia Beach, Virginia - AIMS central administrative offices have now been consolidated in Virginia Beach.