The history of Community Ministries International is virtually co-existent with the history of Quo Vadis Bookstore. Elmer Hiebert, the founder of Quo Vadis Christian Bookstore in Tempe, AZ, established Community Ministries Inc. in the 1980s. (The name was changed to Community Ministries International in 2009 to reflect the current world-wide scope of its ministries.) Elmer chaired the small non-profit with a board of a few close associates (such as Jack Turner) and other Tempe student ministers (such as Ben and Sarah Sanders and Ralph Bethancourt). Together, they established the 501(c)3 non-profit, charitable organization status with the IRS.
One of Elmer’s goals was to support the not-for-profit Christian bookstore, Quo Vadis, with its monthly rent and expenses, allowing for tax-deductible donations to be made to support this outreach effort to the believers and non-believers on the ASU campus and in Tempe. God is faithful and kept the bookstore and CMI going through many lean years. Another goal for CMI involved the vision of helping independent and unique ministries that did not fit denominational or church-commissioning parameters, para-church groups of various kinds: ministries to the mission field in faraway places, ministries to the homeless, to Muslims, to international students, and especially to the students and faculty at Arizona State University.
Since Elmer stepped away from leading CMI in 2005, the board has been filled by ASU faculty and staff, local businessmen and women, and church volunteers. The vision is still loyal to its founders: to assist independent and unique ministers with raising funds for their callings to serve the kingdom of God and to help Quo Vadis Bookstore maintain its thirty-plus year presence as a light to Tempe and the ASU campus.