Changing the World One Church at a Time

Janice Allen is the CEO of International Cooperating Ministries, an organization working to change the world – one church building at a time.  

“We, I think, always felt that the church of Jesus Christ is God’s own plan for distributing the Gospel,” Janice says.

ICM’s mission is to help congregations around the world learn God’s word, and build their own churches.

“We are partnering with indigenous groups that are already doing this type of ministry,” she explains, “but they lack the facilities and the resources to really be able to do it adequately.”

Janice’s father, Dois Rosser, is the founder of ICM.  He first got the idea at a time when most people are thinking about retirement.  

“At the age of 65, my father had been very, very successful in the business world. 

Dois Rosser remembers the time well.  “In the business world, you look to maximize.  We ran, I think, 27 different franchises at one time.  But what you do is look for ways to get it done.  Well, if we do that in the business world, why shouldn’t we do it in the Kingdom?”

With that Rosser started working to make a radio broadcast series called “Mini Bible College” available to people around the world.  The in-depth study, written by pastor Dick Woodward, had revived Rosser’s own faith, and he wanted to share its message.  Later, when he visited some of those countries, he saw another very basic need:  church buildings.

“And the best example of that is, that there’s 650 thousand villages in India, 650 million people – that’s twice the population of the United States – who live in those villages,” he explains.  “You can’t send enough missionaries, you can’t afford to send them from all the various denominations.  You’ve got to equip the nationals.  So what happened – when we built the church in a village, we could change a whole village.”

Then, using his own money, Rosser founded ICM.  For the next thirty years, the organization would provide local congregations the needed funds to build a church in some of the world’s darkest areas.

“For example,” she illustrates, “when you think of Central America, 50% of the population may be under the age of 21, where you have some of the highest murder rates on the entire planet.  The drugs and the violence and the teen pregnancy and the prostitution —that cycle is going to be perpetuated until the Gospel of Jesus Christ steps in and changes people’s hearts and gives them a different future, gives them a different hope.”

Janice says that the church is often the only proper building in the community.

“When these villagers in these rural congregations have a building, they’re using the buildings for schools, they’re using the buildings for medical clinics.  Many times, you know, they will put the only clean water well at the place of the church,” she notes.  

Some of the churches serve people in desperate need of refuge.  

“We began hearing stories of how the churches were becoming the safe havens for these people escaping the atrocities that were going on as they were fleeing their own countries.”

Building the Body of Christ hasn’t come without persecution and violence.

“This photo was brought into my office,” Janice recalls somberly.  “I saw two railroad tracks. And on one side was a human head and the other side was the body. And it was a 13-year-old boy who was the son of a pastor of an ICM church.   And the extremists kidnapped him and beheaded him as a way to force his father to stop preaching the Gospel.  And he said, ‘We will not stop being Christ’s presence here in this village no matter what.’”

To date, ICM and its donors have funded nearly 6500 churches in more than 80 countries – and had the Mini Bible College translated into over 40 languages.   And there’s still more work to be done.

“Well, the first thing you realize is that man can’t handle it.  But what do you expect?  If you read the history books, man can’t - has not been able to solve the problems of the world.  God is the answer,”  Rosser states emphatically. 

“And it all started, I think, with my father’s obedience when God just said, you know, Dois, just bring Me what your time and talents and abilities are. And I will do something with it. And He says that to each and every one of us. That’s our opportunity we have to serve the King of Kings,” Janice concludes. 

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