Building on a Firm Foundation

As we enter the final months of celebrating our twenty-fifth year of ministry, and my first year of leading IBL as President, the words of Paul to the Corinthians are rich with application.  First, they are a clear reminder and admonition that all our efforts be built upon the solid foundation of Christ as He is revealed in scripture.  The counsel we give leaders and recommendationswe make must be born out of the truths of the revealed Word of God.

Second, I can’t help but also think of the foundation laid by Russ, as IBL’s founder, over these past 25 years:  aprayerfully thought-out framework and ethos of ministry, providing practical help from God’s Word to His leaders.  I’ve seen time and again how this ministry is used by God to help His leaders more effectively fulfill their callings.

This past year has been a time of celebrating these foundations, even as we begin building according to God’s desires for us.  We know the foundation is sound and we praise God for it.

As we’ve previously shared with you, God is leading IBL to embrace a new regional strategy in which we partner with leaders-of-leaders in different regions of the U.S. and world, through whom we coordinate and execute our ministries to God’s leaders.  In short, it is a strategy to strengthen leaders region-by-region through leaders-of-leaders.

Within the U.S. we are establishing a network of Regional Coordinators to take the lead role in overseeing IBL ministry in their respective parts of the country.   Internationally, we are partnering with U.S. churches to train and strengthen national church leaders in developing countries.  These regional relationships allow us to reach leaders we otherwise would not have an opportunity to influence; to deliver our ministry more effectively in cultures and countries other than our own; and to realize a Kingdom-focused impact by helping leaders impact leaders in their own cultures and circles of influence.

In the coming three years, as the Lord leads, we are establishing or strengthening our regional presence in the Southeast, in the West, and in the Midwest.  Internationally, we are establishing or strengthening our regional presence in Vietnam, Kenya, India, and two other, yet-to-be-determined countries.  Our early discussions with pastors and churches have been very encouraging, with several expressing a strong interest in our strategy for assisting national church leadership around the world.  In the U.S. our efforts in the Southeast and West have provided many opportunities to influence church leaders this past year.

Our three-year goals represent a major undertaking for our small team and limited resources.  And God has already blessed tremendously:  as we have presented this need to individuals and churches, God’s people have provided almost 70%  of our need.  We are so grateful for every supporter and give God praise for His tremendous provision.

If God is leading you to join our financial support team, or to increase your current giving, please visit out giving page where you can give online.  And please continue to pray for us as weseek to be faithfully obedient to His calling.

“According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it.  Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” -  1 Corinthians 3:10-11

The preceding article originally appeared in the 2014 edition of SideBySide, our yearly publication.