POPE Initiatives is committed to bringing together the collective, experienced intellect grounded in multiple disciplines for the purpose of developing the best possible approaches to unreached people group initiatives. The following people make up our “Think Tank” of highly-qualified consultants. They have agreed to assist with strategy formulation in the specific area indicated, but also with overall shaping of global Great Commission efforts.
Alan Anderstrom – Leadership Development
Al was raised on his parents central Minnesota dairy farm, and he is grateful that from his earliest memory there were conversations about God’s love for him and about his need for a Savior. So, in those early years Al recalls a desire to know God and to be in a right relationship with Him. It was during his college years that this faith became more than something that his family believed, rather it became more personal, along with a conviction that he desired to follow God’s leading in his life in the years that were to follow.
It was also during this time that Al met the young woman who would one day become his wife. Joyce and Al met and dated through their college years and were married following graduation. The Scripture verse on a banner Joyce made for their wedding comes from Psalms 34:3, “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together”. That verse has been the foundation of their marriage – 41 years and going strong – regardless of their location or vocation.
Following college, Al and Joyce spent two years with Athletes in Action as part of their basketball ministry based out of Indianapolis, IN. Then they moved back to Minnesota, and Al spent 26 years in the business world in banking and business consulting. During these years they were blessed with four sons and were actively committed to the local churches they attended. In 2003, in the midst of a great job, with a great company, doing work Al very much enjoyed, God began to draw his heart away from the business world and toward full-time vocational ministry. By 2005, the call was undeniable, which ultimately led to an opportunity with their local church to serve as an associate pastor.
In the years that followed, they poured themselves into this local ministry, with a special focus on discipleship and the training of lay leadership. In 2010, while on a mission trip to India and France, God began to birth a vision for joining Him in what He was doing outside the U.S., particularly in the area of developing pastors and leaders. This led to a three-year role as VP with BILD International, a ministry that focuses on church-based leadership and theological training, with an international focus. It was during this time that Al began to better understand the needs and opportunities to intentionally pursue the remaining unreached and unengaged people groups, and for the next three years he was privileged to serve as the COO of Reach the Rest.
Then unexpectedly in 2017, in His love and in His sovereignty, God led Al and Joyce down a new path as Al was diagnosed with cancer. After a challenging season, health wise, he is now able to reengage, and Joyce and Al desire to use the experiences drawn from life, from the business world, and from years in ministry to advance God’s Kingdom however He would choose to use them in global missions.
Tom Smith – Sub-Saharan Africa Region
Born and raised in the mountains of western North Carolina, Tom is now retired with his wife Shirley and living in the same area where he was born. At the present time, they both are looking after aging parents, but were also looking for meaningful ways to stay involved in the effort to reach the unreached peoples of the world, especially in Africa. They welcome the chance to speak to churches, small groups and nonprofit organizations about needs and opportunities to impact unreached peoples in Africa.
Tom graduated from NC State University with a degree in chemical engineering and in 1973 started working in Babcock and Wilcox’s Navy Nuclear Division designing a nuclear power generation system for US Navy submarines. Sensing God’s call, Tom and Shirley left Akron in June of 1975 and went to Louisville, KY where Tom enrolled in the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He graduated in June of 1978 and he and Shirley were appointed as missionaries of the International Mission Board (SBC) to Liberia. They served 10 years in Liberia planting churches in both rural and urban settings. Tom also directed a community development project that included building a bridge, drilling wells, community health and agriculture.
In 1989 Tom and Shirley had to return to the US for medical care for their daughter. During the two years needed to take care of Carla’s medical issue, Tom pastored Mount Rachel Baptist Church in Dalton, Georgia. In August 1991, Carla was given medical clearance and the family moved back to Africa to Sierra Leone. Tom again did church planting, but he also taught at Jui Bible Institute and Shirley directed the Sierra Leone Baptist Convention’s Bible correspondence course. In 1996, because of the ongoing civil war, Tom and Shirley requested they be allowed to move from Sierra Leone. They relocated to Senegal and were assigned as church planters to the Fulani people living in the northern part of the country.
In 2006, Tom joined the IMB’s West Africa Regional Leadership Team and provided supervision and strategic direction to missionaries serving all over West Africa. In 2008, after a major International Mission Board reorganization, Tom became the leader for IMB work in eight West African countries. He served in that role until 2012 when be became the administrative associate to the leader of IMB work in all of Sub-Saharan Africa. Tom and Shirley retired in December of 2015 after a total of 36 years with the IMB.
Tom and Shirley have been married for 44 years and have two children, Carla and Nathan.
Lisa Pak – Youth and Millennials
Reverend Lisa Pak currently serves as the Director of Global Engagement with FTT. Her previous experience includes serving as the Regional Director for Ontario and Nunavut at the Canadian Bible Society in addition to 14 years of pastoral ministry. She is ordained by the Korean Association of Independent Churches and Missions (KAICAM) and holds a MDiv and a MABL from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She has extensive church experience in South Korea, Singapore, and Canada. Lisa has travelled globally and is passionate about diaspora communities and mobilizing the young generation for the Gospel.
Alex Agha-Khan – Scripture Translation and Distribution
Samuel Whitefield – Prayer Mobilization
Al Fadi – Arab Region
Dr. Charles Madinger – Orality