Contact: April Kelsey,
HAMPTON, Va., Sept. 13, 2017 /Christian Newswire
/ -- International Cooperating Ministries (ICM) in Hampton is celebrating as it undertakes its 7,000th project to aid Christians in the developing world.
The achievement is especially meaningful considering that ICM has historically maintained a U.S.-based staff of less than 50 employees. Founded in 1986 by Dois Rosser, Jr., ICM maximizes its impact by forming reciprocal partnerships with indigenous ministries already established and operating in some of the most destitute regions of the world. To date, ICM has worked in 86 countries—yet its home office occupies a small building in Hampton, Va.
ICM helps Christians in developing nations by enabling them to build permanent churches and supplying them with Bible study materials in their language. In addition to funding the construction of 7,000 churches, ICM has also worked with partners to translate its unique Bible study curriculum into 43 languages for both print and audio. This work has led to about 33,000 new congregations being established in the field. Even more astonishing, ICM promises donors that every designated gift is put 100 percent toward project costs.
"It has been incredible to see the exponential growth of ICM in recent years," says CEO Janice Allen. "Only a few years ago, we were building about 400 churches per year. This year, we're looking at doing 800. When my father first started this ministry, we were doing one or two churches per year. We never imagined we would get to this level, reaching people in places that have never heard the name of Jesus."
The 7,000th project will help a congregation in Laos rebuild their church that was recently burned to the ground in an act of persecution. The pastor says a local governor and his officials started the fire in the middle of the night after they failed to intimidate the congregation into recanting their faith.
ICM was founded to help Christians in places where they are considered a minority, impoverished, or marginalized. In countries where a permanent house of worship conveys legitimacy of one’s religious beliefs, a brick-and-mortar church building can actually be a lifeline to Christians facing violent persecution. The churches also become training sites for new pastors, who then take Christianity into places foreign missionaries could never reach.
"We think the work of ICM is cutting edge," says founder Dois Rosser. "We are blanketing nations—putting a church within walking distance of every person on earth. [The 7,000 milestone] means we are reaching that goal of blanketing 86 nations. We know of no other ministry achieving this goal."
ICM plans on celebrating more milestones in the future. It is working toward a goal of building 10,000 churches by 2020.