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Compelled by Christ

The Alliance vice presidents on calling, the Spirit and grace

By Anonymous

1 WHAT FORMED YOUR SENSE OF CALLING INTO YOUR FIELD OF MINISTRY?

2 HOW HAVE YOUR EXPERIENCES SHAPED YOU FOR THIS ROLE?

3 WHAT QUALITY IS MOST EVIDENT IN THOSE WHO ARE IMPACTING THE WORLD FOR CHRIST?

4 WHAT SPIRITUAL FOUNDATIONS ARE ESSENTIAL FOR MINISTRY?

5 HOW HAVE YOU BALANCED FAMILY LIFE WITH YOUR MINISTRY?

6 WHAT ABOUT THE ALLIANCE GIVES YOU JOY?

Tim Crouch

Vice President for International Ministries

1 Having grown up in an Alliance church, a concern for peoples of the world lacking access to the gospel was part of my developing spirituality. But a personal sense of call to live cross-culturally for the sake of this need took shape during my first year at Nyack College.

2 During years as a college administrator, a church planter in the United States and an international worker in Russia, leading others in coordinated strategic endeavors was fruitful for me. Prayerfully identifying and articulating results or changes to pursue, designing means to focus efforts and accomplish goals and organizing and encouraging people for the task—with big doses of love and fun along the way—have been joyful contributions God has enabled me to make.

3 The apostle Paul said “the love of Christ compelled” him in his passion to take the gospel to the world. Being absolutely overwhelmed by the miracle of grace through which we gained access to the good news of Jesus is the secret power that gives us “beautiful feet” to run to the ends of the earth!

4 Without being thoroughly emptied of self-interest and worldly distraction and then filled to overflowing with the expanding, pulsing life of God’s own Spirit, our ministries are simply straining efforts to make a dent in a hard-shelled world. Key pathways to the emptying and filling we need are prayer, naked encounters with God’s Word and the vulnerability of committed relationships in His Body.

5 Ironically, the greatest challenges have not been the activities of ministry that can pull me away from quality time with my family (though I’ve spent my share of time on the road). Tougher have been the times of being lost in intense thought about ministry goals or problem situations, times I allow the needs of others to rob my wife, Shelly, and our kids of the focus and sensitivity they deserve from a husband and dad. I continue to grow in intentionality and emotional availability to my closest ones.

However, a wonderful part of being international workers is the joy of being on the journey together. When a whole family makes the big jump to an amazingly different context, the results can be joyful, terrifying or hilarious—probably some of all three. But everyone experiences them together. We cherish the memories of new cultures that we have shared as a family.

6 I find joy in the things that make Alliance people vary from the norm. How refreshing to be part of a group that has a higher-than-average concentration of believers who care about things—and people—beyond themselves and their own interests! I love the creativity with which Alliance churches find ways to do more than just attract people into our own world, but rather move into the worlds of those untouched by the gospel. I’ve seen this through the gifted ministry of our international workers. I am attracted to an Alliance characterized by action that flows toward places and peoples least impacted by the good news that’s changed our lives.

Ken Baldes

Vice President for Operations / Treasurer

1 After I graduated from Houghton College, God birthed a desire in my heart to use business in a ministry context. God led me into the marketplace for what would eventually be a nearly 20-year career in financial services. At the same time, God provided invaluable opportunities for lay ministry at Kenmore Alliance Church in Tonawanda, N.Y. In the summer of 2005, God called me to work for The Alliance and confirmed His calling through John 15:16: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”

2 My career in the marketplace and lay ministry in the local church was a training ground for my role as vice president for Operations/treasurer. Many business and leadership principles have been transferrable from the marketplace to the C&MA. And being a treasurer and ministry leader in a local church provided the context for service to treasurers, as well as reporting and explaining finances to people without a financial background. My leadership has been shaped by a number of people I have worked for and with over my career. Nothing about my previous experiences was random; they helped to equip me for my current role.

3 Very simply . . . a genuine follower of Christ who loves God, loves others, is faithful in obeying Christ’s commands and gives glory to God.

4 A few years ago, a friend told me that it takes a steady hand to hold a full cup. As the chief financial officer, I am consistently reminded of my need to maintain an unshakeable grip in the midst of financial and economic uncertainty. While knowledge, experience and competence help, my steadiness results from prayer. Additionally, I treasure my time in the Word and expectantly listen for the next instructions.

5 While not something I’ve mastered, I try to “be emotionally present” in the evenings, leaving work at work. I’m also grateful to be home most weekends throughout the year to be with my family. With a son still in high school and active in soccer, I plan ahead to be at his games whenever possible. I also enjoy date nights with my wife, Christy, and meeting regularly with our life group at church.

6 Over the past eight years, I have had the privilege of seeing ministry first hand in the U.S. and around the world. I am grateful that The Alliance continually looks for ways to bring the gospel in word and deed to people who have yet to hear about Jesus Christ. Also, I rejoice that The Alliance is leveraging the gifts of both clergy and laypeople in order to complete the Great Commission.

Dan Wetzel

Vice President for Church ministries

1 I came to faith in Christ as a teenager but gave no thought to God’s will regarding vocation. I had planned a career in forestry. God interrupted my life while I was wrangling ponies at a church camp the summer after high school graduation. His voice was quite personal: “Are you willing to do whatever I ask you to do?” I wrestled with the question for several days before I concluded that for me, life as a disciple of Christ was bound to my willingness to pursue vocational ministry. That calling has only grown stronger.

2 We are all shaped by multiple factors; society, family and, of course, personal experiences form character and impact our ability. Ultimately it is God’s gifting that prepares us for what He calls us to perform. My wife, Iris, and I have been privileged to serve in various roles, including 15 years of ministry among Native Americans and 12 years in congregational ministry. Those experiences have shaped the ministry God has given, but only in the context of His gifting.

3 It is tempting to say that the most impactful people are those who think “outside of the box.” However, I do not believe that to be true. Spiritual impact is dependent upon the believer’s commitment to the gospel. It is that which properly shapes one’s life, and it is Christ’s presence that makes an impact upon the world. True spiritual impact is a result of the Spirit’s work through believers who have learned the difference between working for Christ and allowing Christ to work through them.

4 Without that primary, transforming experience of God’s forgiveness and grace through new birth, no spiritually fruitful service is possible. But after that, it is still necessary to recognize that the ministry is not ours. It is rooted in God’s grace, as Paul points out in Ephesians 3:8-9. Since ministry is a work of grace, it is necessarily spiritual in nature and entirely dependent upon the Holy Spirit’s enabling, the work of prayer and ongoing communion with our Heavenly Father. Those are the foundations upon which Jesus’ ministry on earth were built, and they must be ours as well.

5 Iris and I made two formative decisions when our ministry life began. First, we determined to make the place where God called us to serve Him our home. More importantly, we determined that we would, to the best of our ability, become a “ministering family” rather than a “minister’s family.”

6 I was drawn to the Alliance family because I sensed God’s presence in a way that was new and fresh. The intentional focus upon Christ was appealing. People were not unconcerned about conduct, but conversations were more about strengthening relationship with our living Lord. I believe that is the strongest heritage we have in The Alliance. Our focus is upon both the centrality and sufficiency of Christ. Despite occasional lapses into lesser concerns, we preach “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” That biblical truth captivated our founder, and it gives me the greatest joy in our fellowship.

Dennis Whalen

Vice President for Development

1 I was saved at age 17 in Nyack, N.Y., and I was privileged to attend Simpson Memorial Church. At that time the C&MA National Office was located in Nyack, so many of the men and women in leadership attended my church. One Sunday morning, Dr. Louis King spoke on the lostness of man—he pounded his chest and cried about those who were without hope. I realized the exquisite gift I

had been given and that I could have a part in reaching those who have never heard. Though that role has evolved over the years, it was a watershed moment that has affected every decision in my life since.

2 I was headed for the mission field, so I attended Alliance Theological Seminary, became a pastor, did my required home service and was ordained. Then, after I experienced a life-threatening illness, God in His goodness directed me into a management position that offered wonderful training in communications and leadership development. Five years later, the Lord reopened doors to fulltime ministry—but not the pastorate. It was then that I began to work in the area of development. My heart has always been for the lost, and though I was not able to serve as an international worker, I have had the privilege of supporting those that God has enabled to go. My schooling, church life and work experiences have all shaped me in an unusual way for this particular role today.

3 Those impacting the world for Christ take the whole gospel—both proclaiming the Word to the unreached and caring for the world’s poor—to whatever area God has led them, whether in business or in vocational ministry. They feed the hungry in the name of Jesus, cloth the naked in the name of Jesus, visit the sick in the name of Jesus. They walk the talk and join God in His purposes instead of stepping out and then asking God to join them.

4 A heart for God and His people; knowledge of His Word; a deep, consistent, personal relationship with Jesus—we can only truly trust someone whom we know intimately. And embracing the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. We can only accomplish what God the Father has set before us through the Holy Spirit.

5 With my children grown, it is easier for me these days. However, my wife, Patty, is my best friend and a strong relationship with her is critical to any success in my ministry. Having almost lost my life as a young husband and father gave me a great perspective on the importance of the family God has given me. So, not taking any time I get with them for granted is very easy for me.

6 What gets me excited are the people that God has brought together in this Alliance family—international workers, pastors, laypeople and those with whom I work—people who care about what God cares about. When I hear that every four minutes someone comes to the Lord through the ministries of The Alliance, that motivates me. If I can have even a small part in increasing that to two or three people every four minutes, that is enough to get me moving. What gives me joy is that The Alliance is still a relevant movement that has been making a difference in the world and expanding the Kingdom of God for more than 125 years.

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