This is one of the most common questions we are asked—with good reason. While GCM and FAI are two completely distinct ministries, we consider FAI—its leadership team and staff—to be some of our dearest friends and co-laborers for the Gospel throughout the Middle East. Joel Richardson, who formerly served on the GCM board and is presently contracted by GCM, also currently serves as the chairman of the board for FAI. FAIStudios, a branch of FAI, under the leadership of Dalton Thomas, who produced the film Sheep Among Wolves II, which highlights the work of GCM. No money was exchanged for this work and FAI continues to donate to the underground church.
Sheep Among Wolves is the message of the underground church (GCM), and not a ministry. It’s based on Matthew 10:16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.” and represents the posture of not just surviving persecution but thriving in any circumstance and environment. In 2019, FAIStudios produced Sheep Among Wolves II. The film primarily highlights the work of GCM, one of the most viral underground church networks in Iran, Afghanistan, and several other Muslim-majority nations. Many of you learned about GCM through this film. In 2020, several of GCMs underground leaders felt strongly that the Lord was impressing upon them to begin coaching western believers with lessons they gained from making disciples in extremely restricted nations. With the rise of persecution in the west, these lessons will help strengthen the church.
GCM is a registered 501-(c)3 non-profit with IRS-designated tax-exempt status and is further classified as a Public Charity under IRS code section 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) since its formation in 2014. We also have ECFA accreditation, which is very difficult to accomplish as well as Excellence in Giving certified transparent and Guidestar gold transparency You can download financial statements and audits under our financials tab. As the underground church, secrecy, and security is an accomplishment, however, we have nothing to hide but ourselves. Test the fruit and pray for peace.
Disciple-making is our core strategy. GCM’s disciple-making message of calling believers to live as Jesus told us to live, “sheep among wolves”, is rooted in sound, evangelistic doctrine, and obedience to Christ. The methodology goes beyond bringing people to Jesus and bears lasting fruit. Based on Christ’s instructions in Matthew 10 and Luke 10, this approach is scriptural, relational, and in-depth.
GCM is a disciple-making nonprofit organization that makes disciples in the darkest places and beyond by bringing relief to build relationships with the lost, loving the lost to salvation in Christ, coaching believers to launch churches, and planting churches to create movement. We don’t just raise money for or tell stories about the underground church…we are the underground church across the world.
GCM was founded in 2014 by a legal Board of Directors to protect the identity of the Underground Church planters for the security risks involved with working in persecuted nations with restricted Christian access, and became a registered 501-(c)3 non-profit with IRS designated tax-exempt status since its formation.
GCM is composed of a legal Board of Directors, an Executive Staff Team, US Based Administrative Staff, and Global Underground Church Pastors and Field Contractors. Most of whose identities can’t be revealed because of the nature of the areas we operate in and the cancel culture movement that has been de-platforming. In the last 2 years, we have been de-platformed from numerous services because of the statement “Muslims coming to Jesus”. Rest assured, we have an active Board of Directors filled with individuals responsible for overseeing the activities of Global Catalytic Ministries. These are businessmen and women with over 100 years of combined ministry experience. This unique team has diverse backgrounds and skill sets including entrepreneurs of large companies, a food and agricultural farmer who produces resources for one of the largest markets in the US, a theologian, a doctor who owns his own practice, and a financial advisor for a large public company. This diversity allows them to approach each problem with spiritual wisdom and tested experience. The decisions made by this board are crucial due to the security risks our GCM family faces on a daily basis.
GCM is a 501(c)(3) organization and is further classified as a Public Charity under IRS code section 170(b)(1)(A)(vi). IRS does not require an organization with this classification to file a 990. GCM supporters including foundations, churches, major donors, and potential donors have been satisfied with a copy of our annual financial statements prepared by an outside CPA firm. Western believers don’t truly grasp the daily risks our teams face. To share identities means death or at the very best a loss of access from not being able to operate in that place. If this is a real issue for you, we are asking you to consider testing the fruit and praying for peace.
GCM meets and/or exceeds financial standards of integrity and accountability from agencies such as the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability (ECFA), Excellence In Giving (EIG), and others. Additionally, GCM has an outside firm that conducts financial audits each year and recently brought on the very reputable Cedarstone Financial to run the financial operations of GCM. Since Afghanistan and the rapid growth of the underground church, we have made some very significant strides to be as financially transparent as we can and even provide a private web portal for all donors. If you go to the Financials tab on the website, there you can download the financial reports and audits to see for yourself.
Because GCM operates as a family and not a corporation our organization doesn’t operate in a traditional hierarchy you may see in a Western Local Church. We seek to have a central message with decentralized action on the ground. Our Organizational leaders are ministry executives that hold ministerial credentials and give organizational and pastoral oversight to the areas of discipleship, evangelism, church planting, worship, prayer, and compassion ministries. “Frontline workers” are also called “in-country leaders” or “Core Disciple-makers” who are full-time underground disciple-makers who work closely with our coaches. To see the full GCM org chart, please click the “About” tab on the website.
We specialize in creating decentralized rapidly reproducing disciple-makers. We focus on reaching and raising up local, indigenous, leaders and equipping them with tools to start and lead movements in their cities and villages. The majority of our disciple-makers are volunteers and as of early 2023, they are embedded across 25 countries around the world.
- IRAQI KURDISTAN
- SAUDI ARABIA
- NORTHERN CYPRUS
- UNITED KINGDOM
- UNITED STATES
- BAHRAIN – New
- ISRAEL – New
- EGYPT – New
- ITALY – New
- ARGENTINA – New
- GERMANY – New
- AUSTRALIA – New
- LATVIA – New
- NORWAY – New
There was a large influx of resources in 2021 for Afghanistan. We disbursed as much of the funds as we could before the end of December 2021, and the remainder was disbursed within the first few months of 2022, which shows up on the 2022 financials. Every November and December, we planned ahead to raise part of the budget for GCM for the following year, as all nonprofits do. We do our best to have three to six months of cash-on-hand for unexpected changes in the economy, decreases in donations, and major events like protests in Iran and Turkey for example, based on the recommendation from a third-party auditor. Nonprofit organizations are typically expected to spend at least 65-75% of their total expenses on programs. For GCM, the last three years fall well within that range. The reasons for a 5.7% increase in operational costs from 2021-2022 and a 5.6% increase from 2022-2023 is due to several common factors. We scaled the organization to help manage the exponential growth and blessing we have seen over the past few years: from 750 to 1400 churches and operating in 10 countries to now 25 as of the first quarter of 2023. New goals for the departments that raise the need to be relational and travel more, monthly services to help streamline our finances and give donors their own portal to track more easily, and healthcare for our growing paid staff. These are a few examples to understand the 5% increase into the operational budget. The numbers for the last 3 years are below.
GCM Program vs. Operational (Management & Fundraising)
2023 = 75% vs. 25%
2022 = 80.6% vs. 19.4%
2021 = 86.3% vs. 13.7%
The annual budget of GCM has consistently grown since its formation. The Afghanistan crisis has created an unprecedented response from generous donors which makes 2021 an unusual year. Through much prayer and consideration, we have implemented an internal restructure of our organization including clearly defining roles for key leadership, promoting from within, and adding a few administrative positions. This has greatly added to our capacity and productivity. There was a large influx of resources in 2021 for Afghanistan. No operational costs were ever taken from the Afghanistan Emergency Relief Funds and can see the numbers below. We disbursed as much of the funds as we could before the end of December 2021, and the remainder was disbursed within the first few months of 2022, which shows up on the 2022 financials. Our 2022 also saw significant growth from 2020 and continue to believe He will provide the resources needed for the underground church.
GCM Program vs. Operational (Management & Fundraising)
2021 = 86.3% vs. 13.7%
“Access ministry” is defined by bringing relief or meeting a need to gain access to a region or person’s life. This is a big part of our disciple-making process. When we meet someone’s need, this helps to go from a simple conversation into a spiritual one quicker and that person’s “God need” is revealed. That starts our disciple-making process. “Relief” or “access ministry” looks different for all countries and disciple-makers. In Afghanistan, it looks like rescue operations and safe houses, in Iran it looks like food and medical aid, in Turkey, it looks like Safe houses and water filters, but in the UK it can look like custom disciple-making playing cards that lead to a conversation and serving American BBQ in Dubai. Context and culture play a big role in the needs of the people we serve and the countries we operate in.
We have a very extensive coaching and data-gathering process, where every disciple-maker is required to fill out a spreadsheet monthly so the coaches can track what they are doing and give some insight to how they can best engage their community. There is a very predominant ministry whose name I will keep hidden that was having trouble verifying their own personal numbers in one particular country we both operated in. They came to us to see how we verified our numbers and were so impressed they asked us to teach them. For security reasons and to get even more accurate and up-to-date information, we are rolling out a new system starting in the second quarter of 2023. It’s very hard to quantify the movement of the Spirit but we also realize the importance to be accurate with our numbers.
The persecuted church cant have large gatherings because they would be captured, tortured, and killed, so we gather in small groups of people from 8-15 in homes. Many times we need to come up with excuses for the gatherings like bringing cake or balloons just in case people are watching and asking questions. We believe the church is defined by the people not the location or size of the gathering. The early church was called the ecclesia which was defined by the people in the gathering. Many scholars believe years later in Germany, the gathering started to be called “kirche” which was defined by the building or location of the gathering. GCM loves all sizes, cultures, locations, and expressions of the body of Christ. From stadium churches, to house churches, and even online churches. If God can speak through a donkey, He can use anything for His glory. The underground church is here to help the capital “C” Church not just survive persecution but thrive and make disciples in any circumstance or situation for the glory of Jesus.