IM Board Annual Session Yields Much Fruit


Antioch, TN—The Board of IM, Inc. met in its annual session, April 29-30, 2019, in Antioch, Tennessee. During the two-day meeting, the board received reports, interviewed candidates, discussed policy, and acted on proposals from the administrative staff. The board engaged in productive, in-depth discussions concerning long-term funding needs as well as the joys and challenges of developing international ministry teams.

“I thoroughly enjoy wrestling with missiological issues,” reflected General Director Clint Morgan, “but nothing compares to the joy of hearing the testimonies of candidates as they come before the board or the thrill of seeing their elation when they are approved to serve.”​

Candidate shepherd Neil Gilliland, Ph. D. brought eleven candidates to the board for interviews. As a result: 

The board reinstated Debbie Griffin as a career missionary to Japan. Debbie, initially appointed in 1985, faithfully served 26 years as a missionary in Japan. In 2011, in response to the request of family members and God’s guidance, she resigned to care for her mother. Mrs. Griffin joined Heaven’s chorus in November 2017. The Japan missionary team looks forward to Debbie rejoining their effort to reach the second-largest unreached people group in the world. 

Born in Cuba, 22-year-old Keren Delgado grew up in Cuba, Panama, and Russellville, Arkansas. Keren served in Bulgaria during the summer of 2018 through IM’s College Missions Program and discovered an opportunity to teach Spanish as a second language. The board approved Keren as a two-year intern to Bulgaria. Keren will graduate May 10, 2019, with a B.A. in intercultural studies from Welch College in Gallatin, Tennessee. She will receive certification in teaching Spanish as a second language in Spain before transitioning to Bulgaria. 

Floridian Jacob received approval as a two-year intern in southern France with Shane and Joy (surname withheld) under The Hanna Project.  The 22-year-old is scheduled to graduate from Welch College in Gallatin, Tennessee, in May with a degree in English. Jacob wants to use English as a means to improve the lives of North African immigrants in France. 

Casey Jones, a 33-year-old Oklahoma native, served a short stint with IM a decade ago in Central Asia. Health issues brought an abrupt end to his ministry. Unable to serve overseas, he began serving immigrants in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area. The board reinstated Casey as a career missionary seconded to American Dream Center, an organization founded to provide advocacy, education, and help to refugees and immigrants.

Ohio native Rachel Burns received board approval as a professional servant/educator seconded to Resourcing Christian Education (RCE) at Dakar Academy in Senegal. The 25-year-old graduated from Welch College with a B.S. degree in elementary education in 2016. She has taught for three years at Ashland City Elementary School in Ashland City, Tennessee.

The board approved transitioning Matt and Courtney Lindsey to professional servant/educators seconded to RCE in Japan. In April 2018, the couple received a partnership blessing to serve through RCE. The Lindseys play a vital role in the new Hope Alive church plant in the Tokorazawa City area of Tokyo.

The boardapproved 22-year-old Brenton Driscoll and 21-year-old Debbie Trifonova as two-year interns to Bulgaria. The couple plan to marry this summer on July 12. Brenton, a missionary kid from Japan whose parents serve with OMF International, will graduate with a B.S. degree in Christian ministries from Welch College later this year. Debbie, the oldest of IM’s national missionaries Trif and Vanya Trifonov’s children, will graduate on May 10 with a B.A. in English, also from Welch College. 

The board interviewed Jonathan and Michelle Chereau. Jonathan, of French descent, was raised in a Christian home and in the Saint Nazaire FWB church with missionary Jerry Gibbs as his pastor. Jonathan served with Operation Mobilization for two years. Michelle grew up in the Villalba FWB church outside Madrid, Spain. Jonathan and Michelle married in 2012. The couple lived and worked in Spain for several years, before moving to France. Mentored by missionaries Robert Bryan and Dennis Teague, Jonathan and Michelle serve on the church council of the St. Sébastien church. Discussions between the general director, France field leadership, and the board are ongoing to determine the best way to classify this committed couple.

 “What a blessing it was to hear missionary candidates talk about their desire to be obedient to God’s calling,” stated Board Chairman Jeff Manning. “If this meeting was any indication of the future of IM and its involvement in fulfilling the Great Commission, I’d say the future is very bright!”

An unmodified approval of the audit was received from Blankenship CPA Group. The board approved a $7.5 million framework budget for 2020 to be presented at the July 2019 convention of the National Association of Free Will Baptists in Cincinnati, Ohio. The operational budget for 2020 will be approved at the December 2019 board meeting. 

The board reelected Jeff Manning as chairman, Jeff Nichols as vice chairman, and Mark Price as secretary.

Board members in attendance were: Janice Banks (TX), Will Harmon (AR), Danny Gasperson (NC), Cameron Lane (AR), Jeff Manning (NC), Jeff Nichols (TN), Mark Price (OH), and Rodney Yerby (AL). I