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Preparing For Meaningful Witness

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“All of Jesus for all the world takes all of the Alliance!”

No statement better underscores the spirit behind the changes announced during Alliance Council 2019 than this proclamation by international worker Sharon at the Thursday morning President’s Report.

Preceding this statement, John Stumbo walked attendees through a timeline highlighting some of the significant changes the Alliance family has experienced together over the past 50 years. He then initiated what he described as a two-year discussion about some changes he believes God is prompting us to consider—addressing the language we use to describe ourselves, our theology, and the way we conduct our ministry today—that could ultimately help determine our effectiveness as one of God’s end-times families.

“Living organizations have to take a step back and ask, ‘Are we doing what we need to do to the best of our ability with the fewest barnacles attached to the ship to be a forward-moving, mission-advancing, Kingdom-declaring Body of believers with as few things slowing us down as possible?’”

Change for Mission’s Sake

Name changes, new structures, reworked funding models . . . all the change can seem overwhelming—if change were only for change sake. But moving forward to new opportunities in places where the gospel has never been, change begins to look a lot like obedience to God’s leading.

“Coming together” is at the heart of much of the change. International Ministries (IM) now becomes Alliance Missions (AM). Formerly separate components for accomplishing our international work now come together as one ministry with four equally valued strategic structures: CAMA; marketplace ministries; aXcess; and Envision. Alliance ministry here in the States and throughout the world is uniting under three common strategic themes: serving communities, multiplying church networks, and developing people. Vice President for Church Ministries (CM) Terry Smith affirmed this united approach, saying, “CM is for AM. There are no ‘ors’ in Acts 1:8, and there is no competition in Acts 1:8.”

Great effort is also being poured into simplifying our funding structure. “Would anyone argue with me that giving to The Alliance has been a bit complicated over the years?” asked John, with rumbles of agreement from the audience.

Creating a funding structure that honors every gift reinforces the “coming together” of the Alliance family. “Any gift of any designation or no designation is important; it’s all part of the whole,” emphasized Tim Crouch, vice president for AM.

Witnesses to a Watching World

John urged the Alliance family to assume good intent of one another as we enter into these discussions from diverse perspectives. “Family, would we learn to trust and stand with each other? [Can we] not assume someone who disagrees with us is automatically in the heretical category?” 

“I raised the corporate blood pressure by announcing it’s a season of change,” admitted John. “As I launch into a new season of conversation, [I pray] we can show the world how to disagree in a gracious manner.”

Reminding the Alliance family of the underlying reason for these changes, Vice President for Development Tim Meier best captured the “why” behind the “what”: “We’re doing this for breakthrough . . . People have to have access to the gospel—and we must mobilize more workers.”

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