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About Avant

OUR mission: HIS church

More than 2 billion people still need to hear the gospel.

Since 1892 Avant Ministries has focused on planting and developing the church in the unreached areas of the world.

Through church planting, church support ministries, media, education, camp and business, we hope to establish churches among the unreached: mature, nationally-led churches that desire to plant more churches, first in their own city, and then all over the world.

Avant trains, sends and serves missionaries in over 30 countries globally.

*Avant defines “unreached” as places where less than two percent of the population is evangelical Christian.

 

We Believe

The Bible
We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New testaments, inerrant as originally given, God’s final written revelation of Himself and His will, and the sole authority for all faith and practice.
(2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21)

The Godhead
We believe in God, who is revealed in Scripture as subsisting in three distinct persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, yet one in being, essence and power.
(Matt. 3:16-17; 28:18-19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Gal. 4:6-7; Heb. 9:14; 1 John 2:22-23)

The Lord Jesus Christ
We believe in the supernatural birth of Jesus Christ, who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, the incarnate Son of God, Emmanuel, God with us.
(Matt. 1:20-23; Luke 1:35)

We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is very God, the express image of the Father, the One by whom and for whom all things were created and consist.
(John 1:1-3, 14; Col. 1:16-17)

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, that He died as a perfect substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of all men, and that the believer’s justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead.
(Matt. 28:6-7; Rom. 3:24-25; 1 Cor. 15:4-8; Heb. 2:9; 4:15; 1 Peter 3:18)

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to the right hand of God, where He is the High Priest and Advocate for His people.
(Acts 1:9-11; Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1)

We believe in the imminent coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in the air to receive His church unto Himself.
(John 14:3; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Titus 2:13)

We believe in the subsequent, visible and premillennial return of the Lord Jesus Christ, with His church, to establish His promised worldwide kingdom on the earth. (Zech. 14:4-11; Rev. 19:11-16; 20:4-6)

The Holy Spirit
We believe in the personality and deity of the Holy Spirit, who convicts of sin, who is the supernatural agent in regeneration, and who, at the moment of conversion, baptizes and seals the believer into the body of Christ, immediately indwelling him.
(John 14:16-17; 16:7-11; 1 Cor. 12:12-14; Eph. 1:13-14)

We believe that it is the duty and privilege of the believer to be filled with the Holy Spirit, who illumines, guides and energizes the believer, enabling him to maintain a consistent Christian walk.
(John 16:13; Gal. 5:16; Eph. 5:18; 1 John 2:20, 27)

We believe that the ascended Christ gives gifts through the sovereign will of the Holy Spirit for the edification and unity of the body of Christ.
(1 Cor. 12:4-12; Eph. 4:7-13)

Angels
We believe in the reality and personality of angels, both good and fallen, including Satan, the great enemy of God and man, whose opposition is ever increasing but whose ultimate doom is sure.
(Job 1:6-7; Ps. 103:20; Matt. 4:11; Luke 2:13; Heb. 1:14; Rev. 20:10)

Man
We believe that Man was created, male and female, by a direct act of God, fell into sin and thereby became depraved and guilty before God; that the first man and woman were married by God and that biblical marriage is between a man and a woman only. Sexual intimacy is to occur only within the context of marriage so defined.
(Gen. 3; 1:27; 2:19-25; Ps. 51:5; Isa. 64:6; Rom. 1:21-23; 3:23; 5:12, 21; Eph. 5:31)

Salvation
We believe in salvation uniquely by the substitutionary atonement of Christ by grace through faith in His shed blood to accomplish man’s redemption from sin and reconciliation to God. (Rom. 3:24-26; 5:9; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:18-21)

The Believer’s Position
We believe in the sonship of all born-again believers in the family of God, their justification, sanctification and eternal redemption being fully provided for and assured in the finished work of Christ on Calvary and in His continued intercession above.
(John 1:12-13; Rom. 5:1; 8:14-17; Gal. 3:26; 4:5-7; Eph. 1:13-14; Heb. 7:25; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 John 3:2; 5:11-13)

The Resurrection
We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, each in his own order: the saints to everlasting life in God’s presence, the wicked to conscious and everlasting condemnation in hell.
(Matt. 25:46; John 3:18, 36; 5:28-29; Rev. 20:5-6, 11-15)

The Church and Its Mission
We believe in the Great Commission as the primary mission of the church.

  • The preaching to all the world of the gospel of the grace of God
  • Teaching converts to obey the Lord in baptism by immersion in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
  • To remember Christ’s death till He comes, in observance of the Lord’s Supper
  • To be always careful to live godly lives in the world
  • To pursue fellowship and seek ministry in visible, organized churches

(Matt. 16:18; Acts 1:8; 13:1-3; 114:23; 1 Cor. 1:2; 4:17; 12:12-13; Eph. 1:22-23; 5:23-27; Col. 1:18; 1 Thess. 2:14; Titus 2:11-15)

Mission.Vision.Values

Our Mission
To glorify God by helping others enjoy His presence through planting and developing new churches in the unreached areas of the world.

Our Vision
To make a difference in time for eternity by rapidly planting and developing churches where none exist.

Our Values
At the heart of our organization is our deeply rooted belief that our Creator has allowed us to be part of His redemptive plan. In honoring Him and each other through the process. We hold firm to these core values which are the epicenter of how we conduct ourselves, engage in relationships and approach our work. There are additional values honored and expected within our organization, but these three are differentiators for our organization.
    • Care: We are a mission that recognizes the people of the Creator. In our pursuit of and obedience to God, we will relentlessly care for others. We will also care for those in our mission and in our team while not neglecting those in need around us.
    • Collaborate: We are a mission that recognizes the plan of the Creator. God allows us to participate with Him to redeem creation. It is through partnerships with other believers, united in the common task, that we see God’s kingdom expanding. In our pursuit to obey God and make Him renowned we will receive an eternal reward.
    • Create: We are a mission that recognizes the power of the Creator. His wisdom and power are the source of our creativity and ability. As stewards of the time God has given us, we will use innovative methods to creatively engage with people whom God brings across our path, sharing His redemptive plan to plant the church where there is no church.

Our History

Since our founding in 1892, Avant Ministries has been passionate about reaching the unreached.

Formerly known as Gospel Missionary Union, Avant is one of the oldest missionary sending agencies in the United States and Canada. Early Avant missionaries were some of the first North American missionaries to travel to distant places, entering Ecuador in 1892 and Mali in 1913. They suffered illness, persecution, separation from family and friends and sometimes death in order to share the gospel with people who had never heard it. We’re proud of the legacy we inherited from them.

Today we demonstrate our commitment to the church through planting churches in unreached places, partnering with established churches and participating in church support ministries. We believe the church is God’s instrument for preserving and proclaiming the gospel, uniting believers and transforming communities. It is through a local church working in its own culture that the greatest problems of our time can be addressed, as the gospel first changes an individual’s life and then spreads throughout the community.

Today in Ecuador strong, nationally-led churches exist among three different ethnic groups: the Shuar in the jungle, the Quichua of the Andes Mountains, and the Spanish-speaking communities living in cities and on the coast. The Malian national church is now a respected and growing presence in a country where Islam and animism has a stronghold. Our passion is to see these stories repeated in communities around the world.

There are still places on earth where the church does not yet exist. These are the places that we desire to go. Through church planting, church partnership, church support ministries and business, we hope to see churches spring forth from those places: mature, nationally-led churches that desire to plant more churches, first in their own city, and then all over the world.

Meet Our Leaders

  • Scott Holbrook, President

    Scott Holbrook, President

    Scott was appointed president of Avant Ministries in 2013. Prior to becoming president, he was the chief financial officer beginning in 1981. During that tenure he also served twice as interim president. Scott received a bachelor’s in economics in 1977 and a master’s in business administration in 1981 from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is a certified public accountant in the state of Missouri and an adjunct professor at a local community college. He served as chairman of the CrossGlobal Link Business Administration committee for 16 years and currently serves on the board of directors of MissioNexus. He is a member of the Christian Leadership Alliance and has served on the ECFA standards committee. He and his wife, Ruth, are members of Lenexa Baptist Church and have five children and twelve grandchildren.

  • Mike Reimer, Vice President & Canadian Executive Director

    Mike Reimer, Vice President & Canadian Executive Director

    Mike became the Canadian executive director for Avant in 2015. In this role, he oversees all the Canadian activities of the mission from the office in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Mike has a bachelor’s in intercultural studies from Briercrest Bible College where he met his wife Carolyn. Both Mike and Carolyn grew up on the mission field. Mike’s family served in Austria with GEM and Carolyn’s family served in Bolivia with Avant. In 1993, Mike and Carolyn were appointed by Avant to serve in Bolivia with the Guarani and 13 years later went to Uruguay as leaders of a Short-Cycle Church Planting team. In total, their family served in South America for 20 years. Mike and Carolyn have five children.

  • Mark Bruner, Vice President Field Ministries (Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe)

    Mark Bruner, Vice President Field Ministries (Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe)

    Mark came to Avant Ministries in 2005 with over 20 years of field-based missionary service. In their prior ministry assignment, he and his wife, Denise provided leadership for multiple ministry teams sharing the gospel in the Horn of Africa. At Avant, Mark oversees the recruitment and training of missionaries and the development of Short-Cycle Church Planting teams. Mark earned a bachelor’s in chemistry from Eastern Michigan University and also has two years of study in applied engineering. His preparation in biblical studies and missions came from William Tyndale College. Mark and Denise have been married over 35 years and have three adult children and two grandchildren.

  • Ted Draper, Vice President Public Ministries

    Ted Draper, Vice President Public Ministries

    Ted joined the Avant Ministries home office team in 2008 bringing many years of experience in marketing and public relations in North America, the Middle East and Asia. In his role at Avant he oversees development and communication. As he engages Avant ministry partners, he has the opportunity to hear and share God’s stories, something he has always enjoyed. Ted has a bachelor’s in communication from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (1999); a master’s in business administration from Bryan College (2008) and is currently working on a master’s of theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is also a licensed minister at Graceway Church in Kansas City. Ted and his wife, Kathleen have four children.

  • David Hansen, Vice President Ministry Relations

    David Hansen, Vice President Ministry Relations

    Active in international ministry since 1974, David became vice president of ministry relations at Avant Ministries in late 2007.  He oversees Avant’s initiatives to partner with North American churches, the application process for new missionaries and human resources for the Kansas City staff.  David is a graduate of Grace University in Omaha, Nebraska, and of Radio Engineering Institute, also in Omaha.  David and his wife Judy first joined Avant in 1974 as missionaries to Modena, Italy.  While there they served on loan to Voce della Bibbia, Back to the Bible’s Italian ministry.  In 1984 they moved to Back to the Bible’s headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska, where David served in several leadership roles before returning to Avant.  David and Judy have been married for over 40 years, have two married sons and six grandchildren.  

  • Candace Coppinger Pickett, Director of Member Care

    Candace Coppinger Pickett, Director of Member Care

    Candace joined the Avant Ministries team in 2016 as the Director of Member Care. Candace received her bachelor’s in history and psychology in 2007 from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. After graduating, she was sent to Ecuador as a missionary with SIM. In Ecuador, Candace felt called to pursue missionary care and returned to the States to get further education. She has since graduated with her Masters in Theology and Ministry (2013) and PhD in Clinical Psychology (2015) from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. Candace’s husband, Gerry, is an ordained minister in the Free Methodist Congregation. The two have no children, but look forward to what the future may hold. 

  • Kenn Oke, Vice President Field Ministries (Americas, Western Europe)

    Kenn Oke, Vice President Field Ministries (Americas, Western Europe)

    Kenn became vice president of field ministries for Avant Ministries in 2015. He and his wife, Doreen joined Avant in 1994. They served in Spain as church planters and trained national leaders in a bible institute from 1996 to 2003. Then they left Spain to lead the first Short-Cycle Church Planting team in Poland. After their team planted the church there, he was appointed the European director for Avant. Kenn has a bachelor’s of religious studies from Ontario Bible College and a master’s of cross-cultural communication from Columbia International University. Kenn and Doreen live in Spain with their two sons.

  • Don Weaver, Chief Financial Officer & Vice President Shared Services

    Don Weaver, Chief Financial Officer & Vice President Shared Services

    Don was named CFO and vice president of shared services for Avant Ministries and Crossworld in 2013. He joined the Avant home office team in 1985 and served as controller. In 2009, Avant began sharing services with Crossworld and Don took on the role of controller for both organizations. Don has a bachelor’s of science from Houghton College (1974) and has since done post-graduate study at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and at William Jewell College. He is a member of the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants and of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Don and his wife, Dorcas have two daughters and seven grandchildren.