It’s the Church that Lasts

Editorial

It’s the Church that Lasts

By

Regarded as one of the foremost missionary statesmen of the modern missions era, Louis L. King, the seventh president of the U.S. Alliance, was a notable catalyst in the forward momentum of the worldwide indigenous church planting movement. Under King’s leadership, The Alliance empowered national churches throughout the world by training leaders to start new communities of faith in key urban centers and send their own missionaries beyond their borders. As a result, there are now more than 23,000 Alliance-affiliated churches throughout the world with more than 6.3 million worshipers.

In 2009, Peter Nanfelt, the U.S. Alliance’s 10th president, echoed King’s urgency for church multiplication: “Many missions do exemplary things, and the C&MA engages in many different ministries as well: medical work, relief work, radio ministry, literature, Bible translation, etc. But the most effective way to evangelize the world is by planting churches. The Alliance has always made it a goal to gear all of its ministries toward this primary objective.”

Nanfelt continued,

In 1975, there were 125,000 Alliance believers in Vietnam. The church was well established with good leadership and a strong pastoral training program. Then the government fell to the communists, and our missionary team was forced to leave. It was a terrible time. Christians were persecuted, some pastors were put in prison, the Bible schools were closed, and the seminary was turned into an army base. But now, 30 years later, there are over one million* Alliance Christians in the country. This happened because the Church lasts! While starting orphanages and passing out literature is important, these efforts can never take the place of planting strong churches.

Current U.S. C&MA President John Stumbo is committed to continuing The Alliance’s distinct church-planting movement. “We have a long history of establishing networks of churches that fund themselves, lead themselves, multiply themselves, and educate themselves,” he says. “This isn’t just good economics; this is good missiology.” (Hear more from John about church planting on his 78th video blog, due out January 12, 2020.)

For more than 130 years, the Alliance family has joined together in bringing the gospel to our neighborhoods and the nations by serving communities, multiplying church networks, and developing people. But we aren’t done. Today, more than 3 billion people—41.6 percent of the world’s population—have little or no access to the good news. By establishing church networks among them, we help them and their descendants evade the grasp of sin and death and abide with Jesus forever in paradise. Look what we get to be a part of!

*As of 2017, there were 1,322,740 Alliance believers in Vietnam’s Tin Lanh Church and 447 missionaries sent by non–North American Alliance churches worldwide.

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