Editorial

Seeing and Believing

By

In November I caught a glimpse of the future. In Senegal I saw a slice of the Kingdom operating as God intended—a body of diverse parts working together for one purpose. The future I beheld was both the future of The Alliance as we represent our Lord until He returns, and that gathering, prophesied in the book of Revelation, of people from every tribe and nation.

But my peek into the future would not have been possible apart from the Holy Spirit restoring brokenness from the past. Because of former policies (which have since been changed) African-Americans were not given opportunity to serve in the same way as Caucasians in Alliance ministries around the world. I was in Senegal with a short-term missions team from the African-American Association of Alliance Churches (AAAC), and part of the purpose of this trip was to observe a time of repentance, forgiveness and co-ministry.

Representatives from The Alliance and the AAAC shared a tearful, yet joyful, reconciliation service in a country that in the past had been known more for separation than for bringing together. The remnants of buildings used in the slave trade on Gorée Island bear witness to Senegal’s disturbing history. Yet after concluding worship, everyone agreed, “It is finished.” It is time for a new day.

That new day followed as ministry teams assembled and then disbursed to various sites. The teams integrated classic international and Compassion and Mercy Associates (CAMA) workers. Clergy and lay workers, African-American short-term team members and Senegalese Christians partnered with Caucasian ministry teams to serve and share the gospel in a country with a Christian population of less than one percent. These partnerships reminded me of Psalm 133 and the principle, “where the brethren dwell together in unity, the Lord will pour out His blessing.”

The people of the U.S. Alliance have been praying and investing for several years to make this day possible. When I arrived in Senegal, I heard of the special ministry by members of the College of Prayer, led by Fred Hartley, lead pastor of the Lilburn, Georgia, Alliance church. Response to the Holy Spirit birthed a unified ministry movement. I was reminded again that the power of God is released through the prayer of His people and that prayer is the primary work of the people of God.

My Senegal experience also reminds me that achieving God’s purposes involves taking faith-filled risks. This always involves change (one of our core values). It encourages me to look to the future make-up of Alliance worker teams around the world. As we move into countries in north and central Asia, North Africa and others where the darkness is great and the light is scarce, our methods and the make-up of our ministry teams will change.

At Gorée Island, the “door of no return” through which the people of Africa left home against their will—never to return—is a horrific monument to the evil that humans are capable of inflicting on each other. But God has a plan. As Bob Fetherlin, vice president for International Ministries at the U.S. C&MA National Office, said, “Could God redeem that image —buy it back— as the sons and daughters of Africa return to spread the gospel?”

Future Alliance work will push the envelopes of creativity and faith-filled risks. Ministry teams will include a mixture of traditional international and CAMA/IFAP workers, clergy and lay people, U.S. citizens and workers from Alliance national churches around the world. The U.S. Alliance may or may not take the lead in teams engaged in pushing back the darkness in the least-reached areas around the globe. But our leadership is committed to opening the door of missions to people of every race and background whom God has called into His service through The Christian and Missionary Alliance.

These initiatives must be bathed in prayer. Please join me in seeking the Lord’s wisdom for the next steps.

Gary M. Benedict
President of the U.S. C&MA

Past Alliance Life Issues

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