Meet an Agency: Engineering Ministries International (EMI)

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We heart this new, ongoing series–a virtual trip to the coffee shop with organizations to help you go there, serve Him, and love them even better. (For more thoughts about why you might join an agency–and a handful of reasons you might not–make sure to check out He Said/She Said/You Say? “Should I go overseas with an organization?”, both the pros and the cons.)

Today, we’re grabbing a chai with Engineering Ministries International (EMI). You’ve seen them in posts like these:

And get this: they’re not just looking for design professionals. Read on.

Tell us what your organization specializes in. What are you passionate about?

EMI is passionate about involving design professionals in the Kingdom of God. We specialize in showing architects, engineers, construction managers, surveyors, and others how to use their God-given professional talents and training to serve communities and the Church around the world.

Our vision is “People restored by God and the world restored through design.” You will find EMI teams coming alongside Christian charities and groups seeking to live the gospel in unreached communities. These teams use their technical experience to support God’s work of spiritual restoration.


How long have you been around? How large is your organization? What reach does your organization have globally?

EMI was incorporated as a 503(c)3 in Colorado Springs, USA in 1983 with a handful of people. Our second location was in north India in 1998. EMI has grown to over 150 staff in 11 teams at 10 locations since.

A few other stats:

  • Staff work in teams located in Canada, Cambodia, India, Nicaragua, Middle East-North Africa, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, the UK, and the USA. These teams are a blend of local and international staff.
  • EMI staff and project teams work on roughly 90 projects per year – projects like schools, hospitals, ministry centers, children’s homes, water projects, disaster response, and more.
  • There are various levels of engagement at EMI. Internships and Fellowships are a way for students and professionals-in-training to join EMI for a period. EMI’s short-term project trip model allows seasoned design professionals to make a significant contribution in a 10-14 day design trip.

Tell us one story that excites you from what God is doing through your organization?

We could talk about hospitals being built in North Africa, Ugandan construction workers taking baptism, growth of EMI’s design professional network in India, or how God has upheld our team in Nicaragua over many recent challenges. But the story behind the banner photo above is exciting in a different way. It’s not because of its uniqueness or sweeping impact, but because it is so common at EMI.


Photo by Paul Grandinetti, Kenya

Here we see two old friends. Volunteer water engineer Bruce Burton (left) first met Tenwek Hospital’s water treatment manager Shadrack Langat during a previous EMI project trip to Kenya in 2011. Since then he’s been keeping up with Shadrak, who would sometimes ask Bruce’s advice as he manages the Hospital’s water treatment facilities. Joyfully reunited at Tenwek in 2018, the two were inseparable – sharing joy, laughter, burdens, and engineering skills to build one another in Christ.

It is through little interactions of humility in friendships like these that God builds strong community despite the distances and differences between His people. This is a picture of discipleship at EMI in its simplest, most typical form. We are the body of Christ at work in the microcosm of the design professions–and it is exciting!

5 words to describe your organizational culture. Go.

A Civil Engineering intern teaches an Architectural intern at a recent survey seminar in Cambodia.

  • Design.
  • Discipleship.
  • Diversity.
  • Team.
  • Service.

What is distinctive about your organization?

Our mission starts with developing people. Design professionals are job- and task-oriented. EMI made discipleship and professional mentoring a core value because we want be generous with the skills God gave us. We do want to see the job done, but we know God has called us to build others up spiritually and professionally as we do it.


Workers raise the frame of a temporary clinic in Bangladesh. EMI designed the Master Plan for the Primary Health Centre at this site.

We are breaking the divide between our professions and serving God. Many design professionals do not view their technical skills as very relevant to God. Few design professionals include their technical skills in their idea of what they consider it means to ‘serve God.’ We want to show design professionals that they have a key role to play in what God is doing among His people in the nations. We want them to understand that God has purpose and vision for their technical skills.

Let’s talk Brass tacks. Give us the 411 on your application process and training?

  1. Are you a design professional? Visit our website to learn how to join an EMI Trip. Not a design professional? Contact us for other ways to explore organizational fit with EMI.
  2. Apply and Interview. This may include travel to the potential assignment location(s) for interview and exploration.
  3. Attend EMI Orientation.
  4. Develop financial and prayer support.
  5. Attend Pre-Field Culture Training and Security Training.
  6. Engage in Language Acquisition (if applicable – likely includes relocation).
  7. Mobilize to assignment location with EMI.


EMI mobilizes Architects, Engineers, Surveyors, Construction Managers and other technically minded professionals related to the design and construction industry who love Jesus and want to use their technical gifts and spiritual passion to serve around the world.

EMI also has need for other talented individuals who can contribute business functions and organizational skills for increasing EMI’s impact and service.

While extensive discipleship or mentoring experience is not required, we are looking for those who have a passion and interest in growing their ability to mentor others professionally and spiritually.


EMI looks for people

  • who will work in team, navigating conflict and difference in values
  • willing to serve and build relationships cross-culturally
  • with a seasoned, mature faith in Christ


While EMI generally is looking for staff who are considering EMI as a career, EMI also mobilizes people for one-year assignments in a more expedited manner to serve in one of our 11 teams. Such assignments are great for people with a sabbatical, or for those with a limited amount of time to serve with EMI in a full-time capacity.   


A group of teachers from Guatemala’s Colegio Horeb school pose with a sketch of their newly-unveiled master plan.


Don’t try to discern this on your own. Engage your church, spiritual leaders, and other wise and intimate companions in your life. Bring them in early as you explore – they will help you in your decisions.

Recognize it takes a community to send you, and your going affects your community. Proceed with compassion and high regard for others around you who will have to sacrifice to send, support, and encourage you along the way.

EMIInterested in learning more about EMI? Contact Gary MacPhee, with EMI Recruitment and Volunteer Development:

Like this post? You might like our whole meet an agency series! Click here!
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