CEO of Partners International brings business expertise
After 27 years of corporate business experience, Larry Andrews felt God was calling him to do work that was more faith-based.
Since February 2013, he has been president and chief executive officer of Partners International (PI) at its headquarters in Spokane at 1117 E. Westview Ct.
He is working to revive, refocus and cast a new vision for the organization, which connects the global church by partnering with indigenous leaders through 59 ministry partners in 37 countries as they bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ “to the least resourced and least reached people in the world.”
“We accomplish this by engaging in Christ-centered partnerships with indigenous ministries that spread the Gospel, build the Church, transform communities, and empower women and children. Our focus is to create accelerated, multiplied Kingdom impact by engaging the whole Body of Christ in building up and strengthening the indigenous Church and planting churches,” he said.
Originally formed as the China Native Evangelistic Crusade (CNEC), Partners International was born out of a conversation between a lay leader, four businessmen and a missionary in China. When they met in a Seattle living room in 1943, they agreed that if China was to be reached with the Gospel, the work would have to be done by Chinese Christians, Larry said.
At the time, the idea that indigenous believers could be entrusted with the resources to do God’s work was not common.
PI’s first partnership was with a Chinese evangelist, Calvin Chao, and his “preaching bands” that took the gospel into China’s interior.
“That initial transformational partnership has led to hundreds of partnerships in more than 50 countries,” he said.
“PI’s partners around the globe are local Christians who have a visionary passion to share God’s love with their own people,” Larry said. “They speak the language, understand the culture and live at the same economic level as the people they serve.”
The organization focuses on capacity building that helps the ministry partners become successful, sustainable organizations to transform their nations for Christ.
In Spokane, Partners International is building community connections to have impact on global ministries.
Some examples are placing volunteers and interns from Whitworth University, partnering with Union Gospel Mission to reintroduce women into the workforce as PI volunteers, and partnering in ministry with more than 18 churches in Eastern Washington and Idaho.
PI recently received a major donation from Life Center Foursquare Church for ministry partners in the Philippines to do community development and outreach after the recent typhoon Haiyan there.
For nearly seven years, Partners International has been working on a church-building ministry in Ghana with Whitworth Presbyterian Church.
Gifts of prayer, time and funds from U.S. partners help build the church, empower women and children through education, economic empowerment and spiritual care, and transform communities through health care, clean water and micro-enterprises.
“We have reached about 1 million people with the light and love of Jesus Christ in 2013, saw 56,307 new believers, planted 1,595 new churches and trained more than 16,842 local leaders,” he said. “The Lord has given us a vision to reach more than 10 million people over the next 1,000 days, all in the least reached places on earth.”
Having grown up Catholic, Larry said he “walked away from faith” when he went to college, but his senior year in 1982, he began attending a 2,000-member, non-denominational church.
After three months, he made a commitment to accept Jesus and was baptized. He bought a guitar and music became part of his gift in worship.
“I felt a conviction that every place I would go in life, I would serve, and there would be a ministry for me,” he said.
Over the years, he has been involved in such ministries as church planting, worship leading, men’s ministry, small group leadership, prison ministry, financial stewardship ministry, children’s ministry, outreach ministry, camping ministry and Bible study leadership.
Larry studied business operations management and management information systems and earned a master’s degree in business from California State University, Chico. He began at Procter and Gamble, moving to Ohio and working 17 years with that firm.
His work in information technology (IT) with Proctor and Gamble, led to his move to Hewlett Packard where he developed general managerial skills with information technology as the “core competency.” Along with working in Ohio and California, his 27-year-career included six years in Singapore.
Larry’s journey to Partners began after awareness he wanted to retire from the corporate world and fulfill a deeper calling to serve the Lord more completely.
“In December 2011, the Lord told me that 2012 was going to be a transition year,” Larry said.
He took an early retirement opportunity, effective Oct. 31, 2012.
For nine months after that, Larry felt God sharpened his vision to find an executive servant leadership role with a Christ-focused organization that had a global mission to reach the poor, orphaned, enslaved and neglected with sustainable solutions and support, and equip local churches.
Through reading, he sharpened his objective. He also hired an executive coach and participated in a five-month structured process.
Larry views the opportunity with Partners International as “a divine calling,” one that God had prepared him to do for almost 30 years.
He began by conducting 50 interviews with employees, asking them to fast and pray as they looked at every aspect of the organization.
They developed a set of values and code of conduct. Larry said 2013 was about looking at the end-to-end mission, re-tooling, re-equipping, re-visioning and re-energizing the organization.
“We exist to seek out and create lasting, meaningful, respectful partnerships with courageous Christian leaders around the world, and to fuel, fund, serve and support their God-given vision,” Larry said.
“My prayer is to lead us to continually expand our passion, vision, reach and effectiveness by extending the same passionate partner relationships we have in the hard places of the world with every investor that gives their time, talent and treasure to support our vision for ministry,” Larry added.
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