The heart of ACTION's governance is the autonomous member country. To date, there are seven separate Action International Ministries corporations: USA (incorporated in 1975), Canada (1980), Philippines (1990), Colombia (incorporated in 1992 and admitted to the International Council in 2001), the United Kingdom (1996), Zambia (member), and Brazil (unincorporated full member). Each country has a Board of Trustees or equivalent, which selects a Director (CEO) who, in the case of sending countries, recruits missionaries and hires staff for the sending base. The receiving countries likewise have a Board of Trustees and a Director with employees to assist in the field ministry.
ACTION's International Council, which meets annually, is formed by the CEOs of each of its seven member countries plus their board chairmen, regional coordinators, and other members as deemed appropriate. This body elects an International Director and an Associate International Director. The member missions do not cede their autonomy, but rather agree to cooperate, harmonize procedures, enact common policies, and plan together. The International Director is the chief spokesman, mentor, and encourager for the whole mission.
When new fields are opened, they are placed under the direction of one of the regional coordinators. At some point, the mission in the new country may incorporate and become a full member, but in some cases, the ministry continues under the supervision of one of the regional coordinators as a permanent arrangement. Countries with several missionaries but without a board and director have a Team Leader appointed by the regional coordinator responsible.
ACTION takes great care not to become a top-down or authoritarian-type mission society. The initiative, energy, goals, and direction which our missionaries possess under the guidance of the Holy Spirit are what drive ACTION. Our people are self-starters with strong calls from the Lord and there are many in our midst with an unparalleled work ethic. The directors and team leaders serve as coordinators and administrators, and of course, as in any human organization, there are times when problems need to be addressed. But for the most part, ACTION missionaries carry out their God-given responsibilities with considerable freedom, knowing they can draw on someone in the mission structure if assistance of any kind is needed. Having this type of structure serves to attract high-energy people and results in the amazing diversity of fields and ministries which our medium-sized mission offers.