Advocates International


As a network of lawyers, judges, and related professionals, Advocates International connects colleagues of like mind in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America. Activities include seminars and conferences on religious liberty, conflict resolution, professional ethics, and related topics. Advocates also provides counsel to government officials, courts, legislatures, religious organizations, and individuals who face a variety of legal problems globally.

Advocates is solely dependent upon the financial contributions of those who believe in its mission, thereby enabling it to serve "clients" ranging from heads of state seeking to implement new constitutions to persecuted believers sentenced to death for their faith.

Contact information

Mailing address:
9691 Main St, Suite D
Fairfax, VA 22031-3754


Phone: (703) 894-1084


Organization details

EIN: 541646669

CEO/President: Mr. Brent McBurney

Chairman: Mr. Lynn R. Buzzard

Board size: 10


Year founded: 1992

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 12/31

Member of ECFA: Yes

Member of ECFA since: 1996


Advocates International is guided in its mission and methods by Christ's Good Samaritan parable. Working relationally, professionally, and spiritually with those in law and related professions, Advocates seeks to encourage and enable a global network of skilled advocates committed to religious liberty, human rights, conflict resolution, reconciliation, and professional ethics. It puts into practice at all levels the Samaritan Strategy as well as the Golden Rule which Jesus taught as summing up the law. Advocates identifies those "innkeepers" within a nation committed to advancing these objectives and connects them globally with those of like heart and mind. By the end of Year 2000, Advocates expects to have a network of skilled advocates in over 100 nations. Advocates is solely supported by friends committed to its mission and methods.

Advocates International:

1) Takes a long-term relational rather than a short-term confrontational approach; 2) Works toward systemic solutions through proactive rather than reactive means; 3) Integrates both the outward and inward dimensions of law and life, recognizing that law reform without ethical and spiritual reform is insufficient; 4) Pursues servant leadership rather than power brokering; 5) Is concerned with justice, which focuses on what is right, rather than politics, which emphasizes who has power; 6) Seeks local partners to take responsibility for their nation or region; 7) Implements in practical ways the universal Golden Rule: to treat others as one would want to be treated.

Mission statement

Advocates International is guided in its mission and methods by Christ's Good Samaritan parable. Working relationally, professionally, and spiritually with those in law and related professions, Advocates seeks to encourage and enable a global network of skilled advocates committed to religious liberty, human rights, conflict resolution, reconciliation, and professional ethics. It puts into practice at all levels the Samaritan Strategy as well as the Golden Rule which Jesus taught as summing up the law. Advocates identifies those "innkeepers" within a nation committed to advancing these objectives and connects them globally with those of like heart and mind. By the end of Year 2000, Advocates expects to have a network of skilled advocates in over 100 nations. Advocates is solely supported by friends committed to its mission and methods.

Statement of faith

Transparency grade


To understand our transparency grade, click here.

Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Advocacy

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating283 of 58618 of 32
Fund acquisition rating475 of 58625 of 32
Resource allocation rating122 of 5866 of 32
Asset utilization rating296 of 58623 of 32

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$0$800$6,759$2,700$2,700
Short-term investments$50,559$90,002$107,530$150,665$0
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$158,292$192,063$276,482$303,111$271,232
Long-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Fixed assets$2,579$4,258$5,936$5,092$21,112
Other long-term assets$193,640$163,640$145,140$0$0
Total long-term assets$196,219$167,898$151,076$5,092$21,112
Total assets$354,511$359,961$427,558$308,203$292,344
Payables and accrued expenses$0$0$0$0$0
Other current liabilities$863$771$688$2,811$2,611
Total current liabilities$863$771$688$2,811$2,611
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$5,000$0$0$0$0
Total long-term liabilities$5,000$2,818$3,534$0$2,811
Total liabilities$5,863$3,589$4,222$2,811$5,422
Net assets20192018201720162015
Temporarily restricted$48,866$57,358$79,358$267,024$252,420
Permanently restricted$0$0$0$0$0
Net assets$348,648$356,372$423,336$305,392$286,922
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$384,788$256,971$446,478$337,688$400,156
Program service revenue$0$0$0$0$0
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$392$1,505$2,264$621$65
Other revenue$3,540$1,157$5,146($10,171)$1,889
Total other revenue$3,932$2,662$7,410($9,550)$1,954
Total revenue$388,720$259,633$453,888$328,138$402,110
Program services$350,139$298,056$305,982$269,571$244,212
Management and general$3,019$2,231$1,640$869$785
Total expenses$399,790$326,597$335,944$309,668$267,305
Change in net assets20192018201720162015
Surplus (deficit)($11,070)($66,964)$117,944$18,470$134,805
Other changes in net assets$1,391$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets($9,679)($66,964)$117,944$18,470$134,805

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.


Program accomplishments

Advocates International held seminars, conferences, and other activities during the following times and places.

1999 South Africa: On August 9-13, the African Christian Lawyers Network held a seminar near Johannesburg. The theme of the conference was Christian Reconciliation and Mediation. A presentation was made by Gary Friesen, Peacemaker Ministries of Billings, Montana.

Romania: On August 27-29, Advocates International sponsored our first weekend conference for Christian lawyers in Bucharest. Over fifty lawyers attended. Plans are underway by Romanian lawyers to begin a Christian lawyers association.

Bulgaria: On September 3-5, Advocates International sponsored a conference on Finding Common Ground -- Conflict Resolution: Law, Culture, and Faith in Sofia. The seminar featured both national and international speakers from Bulgaria, Greece, Switzerland, Portugal, and the United States. The seminar was held in conjunction with the Rule of Law Institute, Sofia, Bulgaria.

Washington, D.C. and San Antonio, TX: From October 23 - November 5, Advocates International held its second International Convocation in conjunction with the Christian Legal Society's annual convention. Meetings were conducted in both Washington, D.C. and San Antonio, Texas. Representatives from 43 nations attended.

2000 Israel: A seminar was conducted February 9-11, 2000, in Haifa, Israel on conflict resolution and peacemaking by Gary Friesen, Executive Vice President of Peacemaker Ministries. The seminar was attended by about 40 lawyers and church leaders.

Kenya: The Kenya Christian Lawyers Fellowship conducted an Africa-wide seminar on August 9-13, 2000. This was a follow-up to last year's successful meeting in South Africa. The theme was "Christian Lawyers Impacting Africa for the 21st Century." There were 70 participants from four African nations in attendance.

Albania: A judicial seminar was held in Albania September 19-20 for Supreme Court justices and other judges. Advocates' Board Member Roger Sherrard participated.

Armenia: An international seminar on "Christianity and Law" was held in Yerevan October 4-5, organized by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Armenia and the Mother See Holy Echmiadzin. Topics of discussion included the Christian worldview and the basic principles of constitutionalism, theological sources of law, human rights in the Bible, the Biblical view of justice, the jurisprudential value of canonical decisions of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the modern individual's Christian and legal worldview, and Christian principles for the legal profession. Advocates' Board Member Lynn Buzzard made a presentation.

Washington, D.C.: The third annual Advocates International Convocation was held from October 26-November 5, 2000 in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with the Christian Legal Society annual conference at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City. There were 160 participants representing 66 nations. Attendees participated in international seminars, a conflict resolution seminar conducted by Peacemaker Ministries, meetings with the federal judiciary and Members of Congress, and other exciting events. Time for shopping and sightseeing was also included.

2001 Expanded the Network In the year 2001, Advocates International increased the number of nations represented among its Convocation alumni from 75 to 99.

Conducted Regional Conferences on Biblical Conflict Resolution on Six Continents: At the 2000 International Convocation, delegates from six continents met to begin plans for 2001 regional conferences. These conferences drew together Advocates' alumni and their national and regional colleagues who are not yet part of the network. Advocates co-sponsored special training conferences with Peacemaker Ministries in South Africa, Zambia, Kenya and Israel. Peacemaker Ministries also provided training for 250 participants at the Convocations in 1999 and 2000. In 2001, as part of the regional conferences, Advocates and Peacemaker Ministries provided training seminars for over 500 lawyers, judges, pastors and national leaders from over 75 nations.

Help Link 7,000 Christian Law Professionals: Advocates strengthened its base in 2001, linking Christian law fellowships representing 7,000 lawyers, judges, parliamentarians and national leaders. These fellowships include the 3,500-member Christian Legal Society (USA) and similar groups in the UK (1,500), Bulgaria (100), Canada (300), Kenya (300), Pakistan (75), South Africa (300), and South Korea (300). The network is used to help ministries locate competent professionals and facilitate advocacy on behalf of persecuted believers by appealing personally to local ambassadors representing the offending nations.

Bridge to Law-related Groups: Advocates International strengthened its role as a bridge for law professionals worldwide to access organizations engaged in law-related issues such as Peacemaker Ministries, International Justice Mission, Prison Fellowship International, Helsinki Commission, UN Commission on Human Rights, Jubilee Campaign, US Commission on International Religious Freedom and the World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission.

Open Rule of Law Forum at the United Nations: We believe that Advocates International is the only human rights or faith-based organization with a former UN ambassador serving as its full-time UN liaison. Active at the UN since 1992, Ambassador Slavi Pachovski had developed relationships and gained experiences that are invaluable resources to Advocates' mission. In 2001, we will launch the Rule of Law Forum as a means for diplomats to meet informally to discuss issues of mutual concern impacting religious freedom, human rights, reconciliation, personal faith and ethics. Moderators for the sessions will have expertise in the topics discussed, including former Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Robert Seiple, Advocates' Board member Kenneth W. Starr, author OS Guinness and International Justice Mission President Gary Haugen.

Monthly Internet Articles to 2,300 Parliamentarians: In 2000, Advocates International and the Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Fellowship launched Global Voice as a means of sharing practical articles on religious freedom, human rights, reconciliation and ethics. Global Voice reaches over 2,300 parliamentarians. In 2001, the European Advocates' conference will include a special track on conflict resolution for European parliamentarians. The contributors in 2000 included the current President of Albania, the current and former Presidents of Finland, a UN Ambassador and the Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the Bulgarian Parliament.

Weekly Religious Liberty Reports and Articles to 1,000 leaders: In co-operation with the Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Fellowship, Advocates sends out several reports each week on current religious liberty issues to about 1,000 evangelical leaders, scholars and agencies.

Publish a Practical Cross-Cultural Monograph and Curriculum on Religious Liberty entitled "Striking the Balance": During the past decade in conferences around the globe, Advocates has effectively used a series of diagrams as tools to explain the dynamics of transitioning from closed societies to open societies where religious liberty is protected. Recently, in a meeting with Supreme Court justices from three Balkan nations, the President of Albania used concepts from "Striking the Balance" that he had heard presented in 1996. In 2001, Advocates will publish a 50-page monograph along with training materials with plans to have it translated into French, Russian, Bulgarian, Albanian and Arabic.

Draft a New Law on Religion for Albania: Advocates' President, Sam Ericsson, has been invited to be one of two Americans on the 2001 drafting committee for a new law on religion for Albania. The invitation came from the Chief of the State Committee of Cults who is from a Moslem tradition. They will be working with Advocates for Albania, our national arm in this project.

Draft a New Law on Religion for Bulgaria: During 2000, Advocates and its Bulgarian Rule of Law Institute were invited by the National Assembly of Bulgarian Council of Ministers to help in drafting a new law for religious organizations. The work will be concluded in 2001.

Draft a New Law on Religion for Romania: Advocates has been invited by Romania's Director of Religious Affairs to give input into a proposed new law on religion for Romania. We will be working with the 45-member Romanian Christian Evangelical Lawyers Association that was launched in 2000 following a 1999 Advocates' sponsored conference.

Strengthen our Russian Base: Our "innkeeper" in Russia is Katya Smyslova, a 1999 and 2000 Convocation alumna. Katya directs a small, dynamic religious freedom ministry, Esther Legal Information Center in Moscow that provides competent and affordable legal services to churches, denominations and missionaries. In 2000, she published a Legal Handbook for Church Ministries which was also made in CD format. Advocates funded 3,000 copies of the handbook that are sold for a nominal sold or given free of charge. In 2001, Katya helped to build a wide network of law professionals in Russia that will enable the Center to have an even greater impact.

Encourage and Enable the Balkan Hub: At the 2000 Convocation, delegates from six Balkan nations-- Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Kosova, Macedonia and Romania -- decided that our 110-lawyer member Bulgarian Rule of Law Institute should serve as the hub for the Balkans in promoting religious freedom, reconciliation, ethics and the integration of faith and vocation. Advocates serve as an encourager and enabler to create a regional model that can be replicated elsewhere. The Rule of Law Institute will help host the 2002 Advocates Europe conference in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Encourage and Enable a Central Asian Hub: One of the 2000 Convocation alumni is a retired U.S. Department of Justice official who lives in Kyrgyzstan. Advocates will encourage and enable him in developing national groups in the Central Asian republics focusing on Advocates' mission.

Encourage and Enable a Siberian Hub: Advocates has been engaged in Mongolia since 1996 working with its Supreme Court, Parliament and Council of Ministers. Several Mongolian Convocation alumni are focusing on reaching out to Mongolia's neighbors, including North Korea, Siberia and Inner Mongolia. In 2001, Advocates will conduct its fourth Supreme Court conference in Ulanbaataar and focus on developing the hub for Advocates' efforts in the region.

2002 The Global Network Report: In February 2002, Advocates International assessed its network of law professionals around the world. We compiled a comprehensive report of where we are involved, and listed some of our activities from 2001. The Global Network Report, as it is called, is a valuable tool for both those who want an overview of AI and those who want information on our involvement in a specific country.