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Ian Campbell is AIM’s Associate International Director. We asked him to give us an insight into the background work of our International Office which allows AIM to continue our work of sharing the gospel with those who have yet to hear it.
“Do you just look at your computer all day then?” This was my grandson’s bemused question in response to my efforts to share how I spent my days in AIM’s International Office in Bristol. And no, I don’t play computer games as he might imagine! I join with a handful of others to help play a directive and supervisory role for all of AIM’s ministry, contributing to the prayerful, supportive and strategic direction for the whole organisation. The ministry of the four Bristol office directors is complemented by ten consultants living in different parts of the world. The consultants share their expertise in specific areas of ministry, all contributing to the care of the leaders and members on the ground as they face ministry decisions.
Birthed in the International Office, AIM’s ‘Vision 2020’ has set a unifying direction for the whole organisation. It emphasises identifying and reaching unreached people groups, many of whom who are in creative access nations – places where traditional mission work is not welcome.
Even though its ministry is being exercised across more than 20 countries in Africa, AIM is clear in terms of its priorities. Vision 2020 gives a shared vision to the varied backgrounds of our seven mobilising regions from around the world, the diverse ministry contexts of our five receiving regions, and the supporting ministries of Rift Valley Academy and Africa Based Services. To illustrate, we have the TIMO team among the Ik that started in October in North Uganda, with members from four different countries.
Without the International Office playing a central role, this unified and cohesive ministry approach would be hugely difficult to establish. As a result of Vision 2020, all members of AIM have been encouraged to focus more intentionally and collaboratively in their ministries. We believe that this will strengthen the potential for greater effectiveness and kingdom impact, recognising again and again that without Jesus we can do nothing.
Serve, empower & equip
As the International Office, we look to prioritise ministry direction, identify key prayer needs, strengthen member care, identify trends in membership, offer training, intervene when needed to resolve strained relationships, provide financial help for key needs and make strategic appointments. In this, we are seeking to serve, empower and equip members, to help them achieve the ends of AIM as they fulfil their ministries. Ministry on the ground in Beira or Bunia might appear to be a million miles away from the office-related activities in Bristol, but ministry fulfilment and member care can be directly related to the direction and policies which are set for the whole organisation through the International Office.
“Coming alongside can make a real difference to those who are feeling the heat of the day…”
Pastoral support of leaders is another key part of member care. Leadership can often be thankless and lonely – yes, even in a Christian organisation! – and so knowing that there are those who are committed to and interested in them as individuals and not just as leaders, helps them to carry the weight of leadership. Coming alongside can make a real difference to those who are feeling the heat of the day and at times believe themselves to be misunderstood. And so, travel from Bristol to all areas of Africa where we have members is a key element of this support. It’s also an opportunity to learn more about situations on the ground which is a critical part of growing in understanding not only of our members’ needs, but also of how ministry could be developed in the future.