Feature

The Council Connection

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It is difficult to come up with only one reason Alliance people attend General Council every two years.

Some delegates view Council as a time to connect with friends—to fellowship and network over meals and between plenary sessions. Others need a change of pace from their ministries, and Council provides a refreshing time of renewal with God as they worship and receive encouragement from the speakers. Many delegates treasure the opportunity to speak into our denomination’s direction in the ministry strategy sessions and enjoy connecting with the vision and values of The Alliance.

Whatever the reasons, General Council in Kansas City, Missouri, met the needs and exceeded expectations for more than 2,300 delegates. Linking us with our rich heritage, our founder, A. B. Simpson (expertly acted by Rev. Don Dillavou), opened the week by presenting “the international workers, chaplains and church planters of The Christian and Missionary Alliance.” They entered the auditorium, dressed in traditional ethnic clothing and uniforms—displaying country and state flags—representing more than 100 ministries from the United States and around the world.

Dr. Ravi Zacharias challenged delegates with four messages on the theme that through the power of Jesus, we can push back the darkness in our lives, our communities, our country and the world. Drawing from his experiences and insight as an apologist, Ravi’s messages provoked thought and discussion for everyone in attendance.

Dr. John Stumbo shared his 18-month journey of physical challenges and how God is working in every area of his life. In a packed auditorium, John encouraged attendees to allow God to bring light into the darkest areas and times in their lives. John Soper, outgoing vice president for Church Ministries, led the Communion and healing portion of Saturday’s ministry session.

General Council 2011 provided plenty of fuel for discussion in open-microphone forums and ministry strategy sessions—at one point delegates were even evacuated to the tornado shelter! Morning prayer and popular seminar leaders contributed to a week filled with opportunity and rich blessing. Worship with singer/songwriter/author Michael Card on Friday evening was a highlight for many.

Council week concluded with a commissioning service for new overseas workers and a live video interview with a team in central Asia. It was stimulating to watch retiring overseas workers as they presented a lantern—representing the call to push back the darkness—to the newly commissioned workers. Surrounded by family, friends, church planters and delegates, Jonathan Schaeffer, chairman of the Board of Directors, led the assembly in prayer, dedicating these excited new workers to locations around the world.

Council ended as it had started, with the appearance of A. B. Simpson. He marveled at the growth of the C&MA over the past 120 years, rejoiced at the decades of service represented in our retiring overseas workers and then turned to the globe to pray for areas of darkness in our world yet to be reached with the light of the gospel.

Lost people matter to God. He wants them found. Luke 19:10
Prayer is the primary work of God’s people. Phil. 4:6–7
Everything we have belongs to God. We are His stewards. 1 Chron. 29:14
Knowing and obeying God’s Word is fundamental to all true success. Josh. 1:8
Completing the Great Commission will require the mobilization of every
      fully devoted disciple. Matt. 28:19

Without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we can accomplish nothing. 1 Cor. 2:4–5
Achieving God’s purposes means taking faith-filled risks. This always
      involves change. Heb. 11:6

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