John Stumbo Video Blog No. 7
February 24, 2014
John Stumbo shares how God has raised up The Alliance to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to every segment of human society. And we must have all hands of deck—fully passionate, fully committed, and working together for what He is calling the C&MA to be and to do.
Hey team, I’m back at Colorado Springs with you, again, today. This is actually the room that we do a lot of our brainstorming in for future Communications projects and things like Missions Conference promotions, that kind of stuff.
Since I was with you last month, we’ve had quite a bit of prayer going on here in the National Office. We had a morning of prayer with the entire staff. And, in fact, every morning that the National Office opens, we open in prayer, and often, we are praying for you—the half million people who call The Alliance their church family throughout the United States, the 5,000 licensed workers, the 2,000 lead pastors, the 700 international workers. We are praying for your marriages. We’re praying for your ministries. We’re praying for your leadership. We’re praying that the Word of God will be honored in your churches.
And so I just wanted to let you know that we’re starting every day in prayer here. In fact, I mentioned last month we’re having another live stream, prayer and praise kind of event February 26, coming from North Springs Alliance Church here, again, in Colorado Springs. Love to have you join us either live on February 26, or pick it up as a download after the fact; but more information for that is on the Web site.
In last month’s video blog I invited you to join me in prayer for who The Alliance is becoming, what God is saying to us at this point in time. Thank you for doing so. I have received some great responses from you, and I just appreciate the partnership in this. I tried to summarize last month, not words that are original to me, but that a denomination could be described as beliefs that we hold, a mission that we share, and relationships that we value. That . . . I think that is a great summation of why denominations exist in the first place.
I want to get more specific, though, today at this moment—that in my heart, God has been stirring a phrase that is getting a lot of resonance. And as I have shared it with others, I’m curious if it will have resonance with you as well. That when we think specifically about who The Christian and Missionary Alliance is and who we are called to become, I’m thinking that this might be a phrase that would capture some of the essence of what God is saying to us—that we are a Christ-centered, Acts 1:8 family. Let’s talk about this.
The first word that I want coming out of our mouths when we speak of The Alliance, the first thought that I want coming to our heads when we speak of The Alliance, when we think of The Alliance, is actually a name—the most beautiful of names—the name Jesus, or some form of that glorious name. I want us remembering and just incorporating it into our DNA that we are a Christ-centered movement. This is who we are. From our earliest inception in Simpson’s heart and way before that in the heart of God for this universe, we are to be about Christ. I think we have full agreement on that.
If you think about verses that have impacted who The Alliance is up to this point, if I were to ask you what have been some of the foundational texts that have been formative for who The Alliance has become, I think that you would agree with me that Matthew 24:14—“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached to all the nations, and then the end will come”—has been significant in our history. I think you’d argue that Matthew 28, the Great Commission to “go into all the world and preach the gospel”—that has been formative for us, and I celebrate that, and I’m glad for that. I would argue that at this point in our history, we need to elevate another text, not above others but as a defining passage for who we are to become increasingly in these days, and that would be the text Acts 1:8.
Two reasons that I’m bringing that to us, to the forefront. One is, if there was ever a time in human history when we needed to think of every segment of human society, it is now. The whole idea that Acts 1:8 describes, calls us to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the world, as the nations come to our neighborhoods and this fascinating intermingling of human society is taking place, I’m calling us to be the kind of leaders that think of every segment of human society and how the gospel needs to get to every segment of this society.
But that is not the only reason that I want to be a champion for this passage at this moment. The other reason is because the verse clearly describes that the power for what we do must come from the Holy Spirit, that we are people who are dependent upon the Spirit of God for any character of our own lives and effectiveness of our ministries. We are people who must seek after the Spirit, the filling of the Spirit, to walk in the Spirit, to be led by the Spirit. My own personal leadership is no better than the level of the influence of the Spirit of God through me.
Who is The Alliance? Well one way that you can describe us would be we are a Christ-centered, Acts 1:8 family. I have chosen the word “family.” There are lots of other words that we could use to describe who The Alliance is: denomination, movement, body, team, army—there is lots of other words that have been thrown around and good words as well. This isn’t supposed to be an exclusive list; this is more of an outline for me of how I’m viewing lots of communication and where God is taking us. But I have chosen “family” because of the interrelationship of that and the mutual commitment of that.
Yeah, there is a lot of dysfunction within families. Yes and yes, the whole word “family” is being redefined by American culture right now, but I want to capture that again in a holy kind of way because, as a Body of Christ, we are a true family that Christ has brought together and as a local church. Frankly, as a lot of people’s own personal nuclear families are being downgraded or disintegrated, that’s um . . . they’re looking to the local church to be their true family. And so I’m feeling increasingly confident that one healthy way to express who The Christian and Missionary Alliance is would be to call us a Christ-centered, Acts 1:8 family focused on Jesus, empowered by the Spirit, sent to the whole world, and doing so together with one another in relationship.
We got way too much independent spirit out there in the American culture that we need to just take on as not healthy and to increasingly bind together as one family unit connected, not exclusive of other people by any means. We’re very participant, we’re very engaged with other communities of faith or want to be so, but we have been called together for significant Kingdom purpose, and it has encouraged me that, as I asked you for response, that there was a lot of confirmation of what you wrote back to me this last month.
For example, when I asked you to prayerfully consider who God is calling The Alliance to be and what He is calling us to do at this moment in history . . .
“To return to a glorious pursuit and passion of Jesus so that He will truly be our focus —not just in words but in reality. Allow His glory and His beauty to literally transform our ministries.”
Well one of you are fully agreeing that we are a Christ-centered, Christ-focused ministry.
“To return to an unrelenting passion for the lost. We have become comfortable and complacent. We are more concerned about having nice churches and surviving.
The burden for lost people must drive us to constant prayer, innovative outreach, and become a primary focus of our churches. Return to vision of the world; we have become focused on ourselves not the nations.”
And so this idea of Acts 1:8, a call to all peoples.
“A movement of the Holy Spirit to reach the world for Jesus. Every tribe and tongue is the ultimate goal; we must be about this.”
“We as a denomination must become aggressively, intentionally, and sacrificially engaged in the mission of evangelism and discipleship of our Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and all the way to the uttermost parts of the earth. This can only happen out of the filling and empowering of the Spirit.”
Acts 1:8 all over that.
I’m not asking us to use this as some key phrase in our churches, or logo, or letterhead, or that kind of thing. I’m calling us, though, to a refocusing on Christ, empowering of the Spirit, being seriously intentional about evangelism and discipleship of every segment of society and to do so in community, in relationship, as a family.
So this conversation is going to continue. I know that I’m doing the odd and risky thing of not waiting until the whole vision is revealed within my heart and the hearts of the leaders around me and then bringing you the whole package at once. This is a real-time, live, experiencing-it-together kind of journey that we’re on right now.
But I do know that the next steps of this conversation, that I’m seeking God for in community and in private are, “OK, Lord, what are the specific steps then that we must take? What are the priorities we must establish in 2014 and beyond? As You’ve called us to be a Christ-centered, Acts 1:8 family, as You’ve raised us up to be one of the key players that You are using in this world, what are the specific things that we are to give ourselves to now, in this era?”
So another level of specificity and prioritization must come to this. And that’s the thing that I’m going to ask you to pray for me next about, that God would continue to lead us in what specifically now am I calling us to be and to do.
But the bottom line is this: God has raised up The Christian and Missionary Alliance to be one of the key players that He is using in this world to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to every segment of human society, because His eternal plan is that there will be representatives in heaven from every tribe and tongue and language and nation. This is His plan. We are part of His plan. And we must have all hands of deck—fully passionate, fully committed, and working together for what He is calling the C&MA to be and to do.
God bless you in this journey.