INTRODUCTION TO THE IAM
The International Association of Ministries (I.A.M.) is an association of ministers, churches, and ministries which was formed to help provide relationship, fellowship, accountability, and covering for independent, or nondenominational ministers who see the importance of being connected with the larger body of Christ. The I.A.M. is Charismatic/Pentecostal in its beliefs and experience. At present there are over 150 licensed or ordained members. These include local pastors, apostles, prophets, traveling evangelists, and missionaries in various nations. For those who desire to have their ministry or church come under the legal covering (501c3), this type of covering is also provided. About 20 have done so at this point. The I.A.M. holds two fellowship meetings annually for all members, along with other regional meetings. The general fellowship meetings are usually held somewhere in Minnesota and Iowa, although other locations are sometimes chosen. These meetings consist of worship, ministry of the word, personal ministry, updates from individuals, and, of course, eating together. Although the I.A.M. is centered in the Midwest of the U.S.A., there are members on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. It is the goal of the I.A.M. to be more than a credentialing organization; our goal is to be a means for real relationship in the body of Christ. Therefore the I.A.M. does not actively recruit new members, but seeks to serve those who desire this type of connection.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE IAM
EDITED BY PAUL R. TUCKER
In the mid and late Seventies, the Charismatic Renewal was bringing awakening and spiritual refreshing to lives and church groups among various denominations all across America including Minnesota and other parts of the mid-western States. A small group of Pastors including Denver Jones, of Princeton, Minnesota, Wallace Johnson from Brainerd, Minnesota Stanford Raleigh from Des Moines, Iowa, Ray Anderson from Hamilton, Missouri, Gerald Cummings from Port Wing, Wisconsin, Gary Nelson of Duluth, Minnesota and myself Paul Tucker from Duluth, Minnesota, who’s hearts the Holy Spirit had dynamically touched; met for fellowship and prayer in Princeton, Minnesota. Out of this meeting was birthed a hunger for more of God’s presence and supernatural power, and a desire to covenant together in relational accountability and mutual edification. At this point none of us knew exactly what the Holy Spirit would challenge us to do or what would develop out of this gathering.
And then late in the fall of 1982, a small but larger group of ministers met in Winona, Minnesota for fellowship and prayer with the idea of discussing the possibility of starting a new Ministerial Association for the purposes of Spiritual and relational fellowship, relational accountability and relational covering. For several years this group which had loosely related and worked together in various ministry functions from several States, without having any official ties to each other. We all were from varied denominational and traditional; mostly Pentecostal backgrounds; with common beliefs but desirous to recognize all those with valid ministries whom had recently been influenced by the charismatic renewal and needed covering both spiritually and legally which would be recognized by the Federal Government. At our first meeting, we prayed about and discussed vision, goals and purposes and laid the fundamental groundwork of who we would become and what and why we believed we had a legitimate need for such a fellowship. Based on our then present scriptural beliefs, practices and understanding, the whole group present agreed we would uphold firmly the Bible standards for ministerial ethics and accountability to each other, and recognize all the Fivefold Ascension Gift Ministries as existing and valid in our present Church government structure. We as a fellowship of Ministers and Churches would covenant to work together in assisting any legitimate ministry, men or women, to fulfill the great commission of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations and people groups.
The name, International Association Of Ministries, Inc. was chosen and steps were taken to Incorporate in the State of Minnesota and begin the process of applying for recognition from the federal government. Paul Tucker was chosen and appointed as the President of the Association, Denver Jones as Vice President, Gary Nelson as Secretary and Stanford Raleigh and Ray Anderson as our first Board members. Other present and future ministers were very helpful in the first stages of formulating our fellowship and a powerful infusion of genuine brotherly love, respect for one another and unity of the Spirit kept us on track to face and pursue the challenges maintaining the goals that were formulated in the beginning. As I recollect those past days of early and simple beginnings, I am reminded of the scriptural principles recorded and found in the Bible which are relevant to what has happened up to the present;
For who has despised the day of small things;
Though your beginning was small, Yet your latter
end would increase abundantly
Overseer, Dr. Paul R. Tucker
ADDENDUM: HISTORY OF THE IAM
Dr. Paul R. Tucker, Overseer
March 1, 2012
After much prayer and heart searching over the past ten months, I have been led by the Holy Spirit to reconsider, re-evaluate and clarify the original vision and purposes in forming the fellowship of The International Association of Ministries, Inc. approximately thirty years ago. Of those who originally met to discuss the possibility of forming an official fellowship, only Gerald Cummings, Gary Nelson and myself, Paul Tucker are surviving members of the fellowship as of this date. I wish to express personal appreciation for the convictions, persistence, undaunted courage and spiritual advice given by the original group who met with us who have gone on to their eternal reward. The following spiritual principles which have governed our fellowship since that time have never changed although we have modified and expanded some of the original intentions as needed. This document is intended to clarify the inspired passion and uncompromising convictions we all embraced that gave us the motivation and tenacious persistence to formulate and defend our scriptural beliefs that I wish to reaffirm while I still have opportunity.
As stated in a previous document a small group of Pastors from various denominational structures had been working together for several years without having any formal ties together other than recognizing each other as Brothers in Christ. Several of us were members of a recognized Pentecostal Fellowship of which I personally had been assigned as Official Secretary over Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin and also a “Board Member” of the Fellowship. We discovered a definite lack of genuine relationships, accountability to one another and commitment to a high standard of righteous lifestyle and integrity in ministry. As an example, as my responsibility, I was my assigned to investigate any reports of inappropriate behavior of a minister within our Fellowship. In so doing it was discovered that an ordained individual within the fellowship was not legitimately involved as a Minister but was actually working tending a Bar in Wisconsin. When I gave my report, I was told it was none of my business to judge another ministers lifestyle. Since the Mother Fellowship met only once a year at a National Convention, we then requested a stronger relational accountability one with another and also requested to conduct local Fellowship Meetings in our area which was met with great resistance and viewed as divisive. As a result after several appeals to reconsider our request and receiving the same response, we realized, we had only three options;
1- Ignore silently any apparent flaws and continue compromising our spiritual values.
2- Leave the fellowship and locate another fellowship of similar values to connect with.
3- Consider starting a totally new Sovereign Fellowship of like hearted Brothers and Sisters who would embrace and practice the core values so precious to us.
After much consideration, I made the painful decision to resign my position with that Fellowship, follow our convictions and we together made the decision to start a new fellowship of ministers.
The following five (5) values became the foundation of purpose for starting the I.A.M
1- We as a Ministerial Fellowship would be, a “relationally” based fellowship recognizing one another and accepting one another as equals and yet giving recognition to, respecting, honoring and embracing oversight of those who displayed special leadership qualities of maturity and who had been in ministry for longer periods of time. There would be no “big shots” or others of “lesser importance” but the spirit of serving one another and assisting those of lesser gifting and experience to achieve higher levels of maturity and excellence in their calling. Controlling or placing limits on relational development between brethren would not be an acceptable practice in the I.A.M. Fellowship. Once accepted and given the right hand of fellowship each person was invited and encouraged to intermingle and share one another’s relationships unrestricted with each other. Cross pollination of friendships, callings and gifting became a positive password to intermingle interests and support for each other and their churches. In relationship we could cover for weaknesses of others with personal strengths but gain the special strengths of the weaker brother to cover our own weaknesses. It was our belief and core value that the developing of more relationships would be an asset rather than a liability. The I.A.M. would not tolerate a hierarchy system in mentality, spirit or practice. Paul’s admonition in Philippians 2:1-5, would become the polarizing pillar of the I.A.M. structure. In the infant formation of the Fellowship, anyone chosen and appointed in leadership understood emphatically that they were “servant examples” and their total purpose of existence within the Fellowship was to lift up, hold up, firm up, encourage, give opportunity to and assist others in becoming and achieving a more mature ministry than themselves. The true spirit of scriptural leadership would operate from the bottom rather than the top, just as Jesus taught. Also by example, we in leadership roles understood we would share our relationships with other ministers who had no relationships knowing, that in so doing they may become closer bonded to each other than we had been in the past. Over the years our intention has been to maintain that same spirit as we have grown numerically.
Having made clear my above convictions concerning the original relational freedom we must encourage within the I.A.M Fellowship, I would heartily recommend that each minister should demonstrate the utmost respect for existing relationships and carefully guard against any un-ethical or intentional invasive type attempts which could appear to undermine those present relationships. In particular, I speak of potential “new” applicants applying for credentials within the I.A.M. Fellowship, who are members of a local church, a trainee, or mentored person who may be functioning under the oversight of a Pastor or Ministry Overseer. It should be the mutual responsibility of the Pastor, mentor, or overseeing group with the mentored person, to establish any rules, regulations or restrictive standards ahead of time, before developing relationships outside of the local church; if this is a concern. The I.A.M however will not take responsibility to embrace or enforce any of these established rules, regulations or restrictive standards set by an individual leader or Church within our Fellowship. Because relationship networking is a natural spiritual process within the body of Christ, it would be very easy to quickly develop a relationship which possibly could appear threatening to an established relationship. The mentored persons should know and understand ahead of time if he or she is required to respect boundaries set by the one or group overseeing or mentoring them. Once relationships have been initiated or established it would be virtually impossible to break those relationships without creating division, offence or injury to the body of Christ. Perhaps the words of Jesus would be appropriate and apply to such or similar situations, as recorded in Mark’s gospel, chapter 9:38-41.
2- We as a Ministerial Fellowship would be, open to invite, embrace and receive into the I.A.M. Fellowship, any legitimate minister or ministry regardless of their past affiliation as long as they agreed to the Articles of Faith and practices which we have cherished as important core values. Consideration and acceptance of an applicant would not be necessarily based on past education, size of church or ministry, but rather on evidence of genuine calling, anointing and Christ like character qualities. Normally, most ministers would be accepted only by recommendation of someone within our Fellowship who has already relationally been acquainted with and spiritually bonded to the applicant.
3- We as a Ministerial Fellowship would, hold no prejudices against women being in ministry, truly called of God who have displayed genuine evidences with confirmation of that calling, but would recognize their full right of receiving the same credentials as a male applicant.
4- We as a Ministerial Fellowship would, embrace, not only in principle but in actual practice recognition of all five ministry gifts as listed in Ephesians 4, and make room for their proper scriptural function. It is our conviction that all five are necessary and could and should function in the church today and throughout all generations to bring to perfection the body of Christ, so that ministry to the whole body can be effectively initiated.
5- We as a Ministerial Fellowship would, believe, embrace and practice biblically proven doctrines and practices as taught consistently by Jesus and demonstrated in the Book of Acts. Also, that supernatural activity, including all nine gifts of the Holy Spirit should be a normal result of preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
I trust this document will give better clarity to the original spiritual values we still believe today and we shall endeavor to be certain to better communicate these core values to any new applicant seeking a relational fellowship to identify with. Welcome, to those individuals or couples the Holy Spirit chooses to knit together with us! We desire to work with you to help you fulfill your Divine destiny as well as cherish the valuable gifting you bring into our Ministers Fellowship!
“Each one of us must determine what we are willing to live for and willing to die for”
Your, Servant for Christ’s sake,
Paul. R. Tucker