Meet Tania Martin, Converge International Ministries’ new director of mobilization
For more than a decade, Tania Martin, a Jamaican-born woman who grew up in New York City before attending college and joining the corporate world in Maryland, lived in Ukraine. The former Soviet state, which became an independent nation in 1991, was full of people who didn't understand what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus, but were thirsty for the life he wanted them to have.
Martin was serving as a Converge global worker there, ministering to others — women and teens, especially — sharing the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ and growing disciples. Her ministry's success meant that new leaders and disciple-makers had emerged. Her time there, she acknowledged, was coming to an end. However, she was clear that she would only leave under one condition.
Her condition — that her next position would activate many other workers to take the gospel around the world — was met when she was named director of mobilization for Converge International Ministries department. She began working in her new role on June 22.
The seeds for the move were planted in July, 2019, when Converge missionaries and international leaders from across Europe and Africa gathered in Germany. That was when Converge International Ministries’ bold new mission — We are asking God to create a gospel movement among every least-reached people group in our generation — came to life for her.
Tania is a very good leader. She is godly, committed, highly responsible and a get-it-done kind of person. She’s critical to our mission since she is the leader of finding, assessing and sending new global workers into the world.
“They unfolded that mission and vision, and God just really touched my heart,” Martin said. “I went back to Ukraine asking myself how I could be more involved in that. I thought whatever I did, it would be in Ukraine. I started asking how I could do this there, but as I asked around, nobody really knew the answer.”
“Tania had basically worked herself out of a job,” Ivan Veldhuizen, executive director of International Ministries, said. “She has had a very fruitful ministry in Ukraine (video), making disciples who make disciples and leaders who raise up leaders. She realized she needed to get out of the way and let others lead as she trained them to do.”
At that point Martin was willing to make a change, with her one condition in mind. This past November, Veldhuizen called to gauge her interest in the newly vacant director of mobilization position, starting the long and winding path to her move to Orlando and a new opportunity to mobilize gospel workers around the world.
“I never saw it — until now.”
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
Tania Martin was first introduced to Jesus and was baptized as a child in Queens, New York, where she and her brother moved to from Jamaica to be with their dad when she was 7 years old. But even though she met Jesus, Tania said she didn’t have a close, personal walk with him.
“I just didn’t know how to do that,” she said. Looking back at that time in her life, she believes it is why discipleship is so important to her.
After graduating from the University of Maryland-College Park, she moved into the corporate world. She longed for a deeper relationship with God. Just going to church, she said, wasn’t enough for her.
Soon, she began attending First Baptist Church of Glenarden, a Converge MidAtlantic congregation in Maryland pastored by John K. Jenkins Sr. One of the nation’s largest churches, just getting a seat inside the main sanctuary at First Baptist Glenarden back then could be a challenge. Martin spent her first few weeks at the church watching in an overflow seating area.
As an African-American person, I can speak to people of color and challenge them in a different way,” she said. “I’ve taken that path as a global worker and I’ve gone through that process, so I bring a different kind of credibility to my conversations with culturally diverse churches.
Still, God began speaking to her through Jenkins’ messages. She became active in the church, first as an usher, then teaching Sunday school. Later, she led a women’s discipleship group. Martin also took classes at First Baptist Glenarden’s Bible Institute. That was where global ministry jumped onto her radar.
“During that time I was reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren,” she said. “In one section, he writes ‘You were created for mission.’ I was like, ‘I didn’t know this. I need to be doing this. I need to be involved in some way.’”
And so began her ministry in Ukraine, first through two-week mission trips. On her fifth trip there, she stayed for five weeks.
“That was when God really confirmed my call there, and he did it through Scripture. In Genesis 12:1-3, God told Abram to get out of his father’s house and go to a land that God’s going to show him. God said he would bless Abram, make his name great and make him a blessing to others.My going was always Spirit-led, and God continued to confirm it in different places and in different situations.
“And even when I got to Ukraine, and it was difficult, God confirmed my call,” she said. “‘This is where I called you to be,’ he would remind me.”
More than a decade later, God was confirming a move back to the United States to the only role she would leave her current position for. It was no coincidence that a familiar verse helped make it happen.
“I read the rest of the verses that God had spoken to me many years before,” she said. “I guess I didn’t really see this before because I thought it didn’t apply to me. Back then, I just kind of threw it away. I kind of felt like he just threw verse 3 in there as something extra, but back then, I felt like it didn’t really apply to my situation.
“Verse 3 says, ‘I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’ I was like, ‘That’s the other part!’ Before, I would think that I couldn’t do that, I’m just in Ukraine. It’s not possible for all the people on earth to be blessed through me from Ukraine.
“So, I never saw it — until now. That was the final confirmation for me.”
“I understand their fears. I understand their hopes.”
During her time in Ukraine, Martin served in many capacities, from women’s discipleship to youth ministry to leading a program for women in ministry at a local Bible college to assisting with administrative tasks at a local church. But along with her proficiencies and service, she also learned what it means to live in a foreign land, build relationships with people of a different culture and share the gospel with those who don’t know Jesus.
The fact that Martin was able to draw on her own experiences was helpful. She remembers what it was like to be a third-culture kid trying to adjust to a different country and a new lifestyle after moving to New York as a child.
Now, she’ll be drawing on her experiences as a Converge missionary to help her relate to potential new missionaries.
“Experiencing all the things that they’ve experienced — and will experience — gives me a different level of sensitivity toward them,” Martin said. “I understand their fears. I understand their hopes. I understand some of the qualities that will help them be successful.
“I’ve interacted with a lot of global workers from outside of Converge who were not successful for a variety of reasons. I think that’s allowed me to be more sensitive to some of the issues that will be facing these candidates as they go through the mobilization process.”
In her new role, Martin is responsible for developing and leading a team that will mobilize as many as 300 new global workers in the next six years.
“The team that is already in place is doing an incredible job,” Martin said. “My job is to help improve what we do and make those processes even more effective so we can fully staff all of our initiatives. We need to find the tweaks we need to make to improve our sending capacity.”
She mentioned building upon existing partnerships like what Converge has with Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville, Florida, and adding new partnerships like it across Converge's 11 districts spread throughout the United States. Helping Converge global workers recruit new workers from their location onto the mission field and diversifying Converge’s global workforce are also on Martin’s radar.
“As an African-American person, I can speak to people of color and challenge them in a different way,” she said. “I’ve taken that path as a global worker and I’ve gone through that process, so I bring a different kind of credibility to my conversations with culturally diverse churches.”
Veldhuizen believes Martin is crucial in helping move Converge International Ministries closer to its God-given mission and vision.
“Tania is a very good leader,” he said. “She is godly, committed, highly responsible and a get-it-done kind of person. She’s critical to our mission since she is the leader of finding, assessing and sending new global workers into the world.
“Our goal is to have 20 initiatives fully staffed and fully funded by 2027. Tania’s leadership will be critical in helping us see this goal accomplished for the glory of God.”
Ready to learn more about how you can take the gospel to the world?
Converge connects the right missionaries to the right opportunity and equips them with the right tools they can take to the field. We provide support-raising strategies, training, prayer and encouragement to effectively share the gospel. God has gifted potential missionaries in your congregation. Are you one of those people? Start the conversation >
Mickey Seward, Contributing writer
Mickey Seward is a freelance writer and editor. He served as Converge's director of communications from 2017-23.