Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,
I am pleased to announce that the board of Assembly Care Ministries unanimously selected Mr. Paul Morris to take over the directorship of Assembly Care Ministries Inc. on August 1. Brother Paul, and his wife Jessica live in Augusta, Georgia with their two young sons. They are currently in fellowship at Martinez Bible Chapel. Paul will be taking over all of the work I have been doing at ACM.
It is still hard to realize that I have been directing ACM for nine years! It was back in late 2006 that I agreed to be something like a volunteer office worker, and the sole one at that, for a project to help commended workers find health care. Little did I foresee how the work would progress over the next nine years. In 2007, there was literally nothing to ACM other than a board and a clear sense of a practical need among commended workers. We had no history, no office, no website, and no baton that anyone could pass on to us. That has all grown, from the ground up through the guidance of our board and (for better or worse) my own efforts! As Paul takes over directorship it is nice to be in the position to hand him some established tools, routines, projects to forge ahead with. However, this transition also marks a new chapter for Assembly Care.
Although ACM was begun to address the issue of worker's healthcare, it has become clear over the years that there is room for a ministry to focus on commended workers more broadly - specifically those that serve within North America. While many of us grew up hearing about CMML as the "go to" ministry regarding assembly missions work(ers) there has not been (for many years) a corresponding ministry for workers serving inside the continent. From the 1950's through the 1980's ministries like Stewards Foundation and Interest Ministries filled that role. Today (as far as we can tell) this roll is filled primarily by Assembly Care, albeit indirectly. It is our desire, with the start of Paul Morris' leadership of ACM, to announce that Assembly Care will shift its primary focus to the general care of commended workers (i.e. homeworkers) and prioritize healthcare to a secondary status. We will continue launching our telemedicine project (and providing info about health care) but there is much general work to be done in helping a new generation of assemblies support workers serving inside this continent. We feel that many of the resources that CMML has put out to help believers know about workers outside our borders, could and should be available to help them also know about those who serve inside our borders. Who will fill this gap? ACM is the natural answer at this point in time. We are not, however, a ministry with 50 years under our belts (as many of the better known assembly ministries are). We will not be able to produce resources, handbooks, videos, and conferences without the support, prayers and participation of men and women like you!
About Paul Morris: The board of ACM feels that we connected with Paul at just the right time. Paul comes to ACM with a variety of experience among assemblies on the East coast. Paul has familiarity with the medical field, health insurance, web design, social media and the military. (Few people realize that there are actually military chaplains commissioned as Plymouth Brethren chaplains.) Paul, just as I was back in 2007, is eager to support New Testament patterned assemblies and their workers. As would be the case with a "next generation" of elders at an assembly, new leadership means changes of some sort (it would be odd if it didn't). I am eager to see what strengths and new emphases Paul brings into the work. This July/August Paul and I have been working to train him to take over my work (this is the first time this has happened!) and I hope to be available to him as he steps into the role that I have filled until now.
What's next for Jesse Gentile? Some of the readers will know that I was commended to the Lord's work in 2011 as an itinerant Bible teacher. My commendation was not to work at ACM. None the less, I did not leave my position ACM, but instead did both simultaneously. I believe that was a good decision. When I began with ACM in 2007 I was eager to connect with the wider work among N. American assemblies. Little did I imagine that the Lord would put the entire commended workers directory in my lap a few years later. He certainly can give us the desires of our heart. As a result of my work with ACM I gained a much broader familiarity with so called "assemblies" in North America than I ever would have in five years otherwise. One of the main reasons I am moving on from ACM, is that this May I was awarded a full ride "scholarship" to cover the entire cost of my PhD in theology. I would love to tell you the amazing story of our lives over the last four years and how the Lord has led down this path, but that will have to wait for another article. I plan to continue teaching at a smaller number of LA area assemblies (Lord willing) as I finish these four years of PhD work.