As we embark on our fourth decade of global ministry, The Forgotten Missionaries International is officially changing its name to FMI – the initials which many people already use to refer to the organization. The new name will significantly reduce impediments to more effective ministry across the global landscape. “Our board of directors has been united in its understanding that this is the right time to embrace a new name,” says Bruce Allen, executive international director.
The simplification to the letters FMI maintains the mission’s heritage and focus. Allen notes, “These initials represent our unswerving commitment to Facilitate, Mobilize, and Inspire national church planters in some of the world’s spiritually darkest places.”
Supporters who make donations to the organization via check may begin writing them payable to “FMI” immediately.
“There was a two-fold difficulty inherent in the previous name,” Allen explains. “One was in asking potential donors to support workers overseas whom we were essentially decrying they had forgotten. The other incongruity was in visiting our church planting partners overseas and relaying greetings and the assurance of their supporters’ prayers, and still calling them ‘forgotten missionaries,’ when in fact they were not; they are very much remembered and cared for.”
Allen adds that since terrorism has impacted the way global financial transfers are handled, especially on the receiving end, using initials only as the organization’s legal name will ease the transfer of donor funds safely into the hands of FMI’s overseas partners.
Since the mission’s incorporation in 1986, we have been ahead of the curve in a now-growing trend in global Christian missions: developing partnerships with nationals inside creative access countries. “FMI is not a sending agency; we are an empowerment agency,” Allen continues. “While there is always a place for the strategy of sending non-native pioneer evangelists where the gospel has not already taken root, we dare not neglect the vital component of fortifying national believers to be personally and corporately responsible for the ministries within their countries once the gospel has germinated.” Unfortunately, in many of these places, the fact of extreme poverty among Christians, their minority status, or the discrimination against and persecution of Christians, often makes it difficult for a congregation to adequately support their pastor and expand their church’s ministry. For more than thirty years now, FMI has been highly effective at planting new churches and helping guide them towards maturity.
In 2015, nearly 1,000 people placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation through the ministry of FMI church planters in the largest Muslim-dominant nations; more than 500 people were baptized across 186 established ministry sites, and 49 new churches were supported. Already by the summer of 2016, the number of people who trusted in Jesus Christ through the work supported by FMI had well surpassed the 2015 total figure.