The Church We’re Called to Be


In my earlier days on the Alliance communications team, one of my favorite tasks was to travel to U.S. Alliance churches and film stories of the imaginative ways they were building bridges to their communities: a church in Murrysville, Pennsylvania, that opened its doors to a growing biker community; a congregation that formed just outside of Las Vegas to help walk casino workers through the darkness that lurks beneath garish lights; members of an Alliance body in Arlington, Virginia, who stood in harm’s way to pump gas for fearful motorists during the 2002 D.C. sniper crisis; a group of lumberjacks from an Alliance church in Salem, Oregon, who provided firewood for those in need during the chilling winter months. And the list goes on.

There’s nothing more glorious in heaven than the Church fulfilling its purpose on earth. When outlaw bikers cross paths with the gentle Jesus, God chuckles. When citizens under siege find themselves shielded by Christ-following strangers, angels ready a curtain call. When casino workers encounter the one true Light in a sea of counterfeits, heaven begs an encore. And when a dear widow stays toasty in January, courtesy of the “Royal Order of the Red Suspenders,” eternity glows warmer and brighter.

In the following pages, you’ll delight in the love labor of a dear old Cambodian woman who hand built a home church and provides for her congregation through food service businesses she runs (p. 6). You’ll cheer on an Alliance pastor in Alaska who accepted an official’s invitation to establish the state’s first ever, in-prison church plant—an “oasis of hope” to its inmates. You’ll amen a church leader who re-imaged himself and his ministry to form the church his neighborhood truly needs. You’ll applaud the efforts of several Alliance congregations that banded together to establish an inner-city church that genuinely represents the longings of the people it serves.

So let’s not be shy about celebrating God’s progress in and through us as we aspire to be the Church He’s called us to be. But please hold your applause until the end. Otherwise we’ll be here all night.

Past Alliance Life Issues


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