A Q&A with President Rick Thompson

Reflecting on the Last 25 Years

1. When did you first connect with Global Action, and how was that connection made? What drew you to the ministry?

It was in 2004 when the tsunami hit Sri Lanka. Our church wanted to do something tangible to help and Global Action was spearheading a campaign to get buckets of supplies to as many people as possible who had been devastated by the floods. Our church raised several thousand dollars in one Sunday to help. I developed a relationship with our founder, Lars Dunberg, through that effort and began traveling to various regions to teach in the program.

2. You previously served on the International Mission Board (IMB), which is the largest missionary sending organization in America. What did you learn in that role that impacted your approach to global missions in general and your leadership of Global Action in particular?

I served 8 years on the IMB board focusing on North Africa and the Middle East. We had several hundred full time missionaries in that region. I got to know many of them and saw first-hand their struggles and challenges in attempting cross-cultural ministry. I became close friends with many of our leaders in those regions and listened to them talk of the biggest challenges on the mission field in hard-to-reach places. I became acquainted with the house church movements and national pastors who led them. At the end of my tenure there I came away thinking, “The greatest need in world missions is equipping pastors and leaders. Our resources are better spent finding leaders and pastors who are already in the countries we are trying to reach and providing the discipleship and theological training they so desperately need.” That is what drew me to Global Action and our mission to train leaders in hard places.

3. What stands out in your mind as the greatest example of God’s faithfulness over the last 25 years?

There was a time when we did not believe Global Action would survive. I remember vividly a conference call between me and Phil Long, the president at the time, and Bob Smith, our current chairman, in which we all agreed that we could not sustain the ministry based on our financial realities. Phil Long finally said, “Let’s give it another six months. I will work without a salary.” Those six months were pivotal. I still don’t know how we made it! Our organization turned the corner, and we were able to survive one more year. Since that time, we have sensed God’s hand on our work, we have trained thousands of pastors and leaders and God has provided for us above and beyond what we could imagine!

4. As a pastor yourself, what excites you the most about opportunities for the future?

It’s very simple. To impact a church, you must have a leader. If the church is impacted, the community around the church is impacted. If communities are impacted, then cities are impacted. If cities are impacted, then nations are impacted. If nations are impacted, the world is reached with the gospel. It all starts with the leader. It is a very simple model that was mandated by Jesus Himself at the Great Commission.

5. What advice would you give someone wanting to get more involved with Global Action and mission work but aren’t sure how they can make a difference.

Come partner with us! Our model for sustainability is to reach networks of friends around the world who believe as strongly as we do in our mission and partner with us for this wonderful mission!

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