John Stumbo Video Blog No. 64

November 12, 2018

11:56

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This month, John shares a leadership challenge and an opportunity. A record 60 Alliance workers are trained and ready to be sent overseas—an answer to prayer. Meanwhile, the Great Commission Fund is $1.2 million behind for the fiscal year. John appeals to U.S. local church pastors and individual donors to give generously to the 2018 Year-End Offering to send these new workers to the field. “The God of this universe cares about the people of this planet, raises up people to be His spokespersons, and some of us have been called to be the senders. Let’s rise to that at this moment,” he concludes.

Transcript

Hello Alliance family. It’s November. I’m in the beautiful state of Indiana. I’ve entered this season with a fascinating leadership challenge and opportunity, and it’s a leadership challenge and opportunity that I would like you to share with me as well. So let me explain in the next few minutes of this blog.

Every meeting of the Board of Directors of The Christian and Ministry Alliance for the last five years, we’ve had the privilege and joy of appointing new international workers. You know that the C&MA family is a sending family, and way to go Alliance churches that on the local level have raised up, trained, and now are sending new workers to go out to serve Jesus as ambassadors for Christ across the globe.

We are a sending mission, and the Board of Directors has the privilege, after careful vetting has taken place, to put our approval upon those newly sent ones and say, “We believe that God has raised them up for this time and purpose.”

This fall I’ve received the news from our international worker teams that we now have a record number of people that are feeling called to go and serve as international workers. Sixty people have now been vetted, prepared, and are ready to be released. And this is exciting; this is twice as many as we have had in recent years. Could 2019 be our greatest sending year in recent memory for the number of international workers that are released by us? This would thrill me if we could rise to this opportunity, because what it means is our teams across the globe would be strengthened, the gospel would be taken to homes and hearts and communities and even new people groups and languages that have not yet had the opportunity to embrace the loving message of our Christ. The impact of the gospel going beyond its current borders. I am thrilled by the possibilities of what it would mean to send five dozen new international workers on behalf of The Alliance to be His ambassadors to the globe.

Meanwhile, while we receive this news of a record number of people ready to go, I’ve also received the financial records, and we’ve started this fiscal year a million dollars behind. We’re 100 days into the new fiscal year, and to be exact, we’re 1.2 million dollars behind in the GCF (Great Commission Fund). So while we have this new wave, a large wave, of people that are ready to be released, we have a weak start to the new year financially.

So you see why I’m talking about this as a leadership challenge and opportunity. What do we do as the Alliance family? Say to these 60 people, “Sorry, stay home or go with some other mission. We can’t send you.” No, that’s not what we do as the Alliance family. As the Alliance family, we pray to the God of all provision that He would raise up the resources needed. Because really what this is at this moment, this is an answer to prayer. We’ve been praying for years that the Lord would send forth laborers into His harvest field that we could reverse this downward trend of the number of people that are going out, and so the prayers have been answered in the people category.

And now it’s time for us to pray the prayers and respond in obedience on the financial category. Because it’s simply not satisfactory for us to have trained, ready, called, vetted, willing, prepared people eager to go, and for us as the Alliance family to say, “Well, we can’t send our own family to do the very thing that God has raised us up to do.”

We are one of God’s end-times families that He has raised up to complete the Great Commission. Matthew 24:14—this command and plan of our Christ and this prophecy and promise of our Christ. All four in one, I believe—command and plan, promise and prophecy—that “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached . . . as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

So we’re at this moment in time in Alliance history when we get to once again carry out the calling to which He’s raised us up. The people are ready to go; now let’s raise the funds to send them. We didn’t orchestrate our Year-End Offering with this knowledge. We plan our Year-End Offering many months in advance so that the graphic and design and video teams can be doing their work well ahead. But it just so happens that our Year-End Offering theme is to send the new workers that God has raised up. And unknown to us at the time, we would have this number and this convergence of people ready to go and lack of funds to send them. So yes, I am appealing to you, local church pastor, to give your congregation an opportunity to take a special offering or series of offerings for the Year-End C&MA thrust so that we can send new workers.

And individual donors, would you join my wife and I in making a special gift here at year end? Joanna and I are going to donate some stock that’s just been sitting in the market. It’s gained a little bit, so why not just give it away to The Alliance so that we can send more workers and save some capital gains taxes in the meantime?

Whatever the method is, our heart is stirred personally—my wife’s and mine. I know that many leaders around me are responding the same way when they’ve heard this news—”What’s my part in this?” We would never ask you to do something we’re not participating in ourselves. This is everybody in, all-in kind of mission that we’re a part of.

But this 130-year passion of The Alliance to fulfill this 2,000-year command, plan, promise, and prophecy of our Christ—that this gospel will be preached as a testimony to all the nations before the end can come. We want to continue to passionately and boldly be part of fulfilling that plan. So join us at this moment in time to rise to this challenge and opportunity where we have more people and fewer dollars. But Alliance family, there’s plenty of funds out there.

If we were already over stretched in our missions giving, then I may not dare ask for this at this moment. I may say this is a time to pull back. But we’re well below 10 percent of our local church offerings going to advancing the name of Jesus to the globe, and years ago that was established as kind of a baseline for those of us that have missionary as our middle name to be a mission-sending movement.

And while we will not back off at all on church planting here in the States—or reaching our Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria—we will always include the “ands” of Acts 1:8 and keep “the ends of the earth” as part of that commission as well. Jerusalem, and Judea, and Samaria, and the ends of the earth. So this is what we’re part of.

One side note: I’ve received news that we have had the joy of planting more churches here in the United States this last year than last year. There’s an upward trend of church planting that gives us great joy to see a greater movement. Also, to see churches responding to the Samaria calling, where people who are in our region but who are not like us culturally or ethnically or linguistically—more churches rising to that challenge—that gives me great joy.

So, I see us living out the “and, and, and” of Acts 1:8 and ask us at this year-end to make sure we can send these 60 workers in 2019 that are prepared and ready to go. So join Joanna and I, and join the Alliance family in making this happen.

I’ve had a great weekend in Indiana. I had the privilege of speaking at the Breakfast Church, an Indianapolis Alliance congregation. Wonderful multigenerational family who have a true impact on their Jerusalem, Judea through church planting, Samaria—other congregations who meet in their building of different cultures—and ends-of-the-earth kind of passion of a long history of praying, sending, and strong financial giving to send people to the farthest places of the world.

I’m also here in Indy because Eagle Church was host to our fifth SEEK Conference, this deeper life and missions event that we’ve been hosting around the nation; we’re planning to do it again in 2020. But the point being as the Alliance family, we have this long history of in our DNA—it’s interwoven that we are to be people who seek after the heart of Christ. I want to lead out of a place that isn’t just about the “go” of mission, but it’s the “come” of intimacy with our Lord and walking in the Spirit and what it means to be led by Him, the One who does, as we walk with Him, take us to the peoples of the world. So this intertwining of two themes of a deeper walk with Christ who sends us on mission, that’s what the weekend was about, and that’s what The Alliance is about.

And as I come to this Thanksgiving season, my heart is full of gratitude to you—Alliance church pastors, leaders, laypeople, who understand this theme well and live it out every day of your lives and every time that you gather, longing to walk more intimately with Christ so that you can make a greater difference in your world for the King.

I’m grateful. I just am as I come into this Thanksgiving season. I’ve been in 200 of our local churches now as president and met thousands and thousands of our Alliance family, and I find myself saying when somebody outside The Alliance asks me, “How do you like being president?” I say, “I love it because I get to be with generous people.”

The Alliance either tends to disciple and raise up or draw in people whose hearts are large to the world. I’m not just talking about financially generous, although that’s part of it. I’m talking about generosity in spirit, a generosity of life. That I get to be with generous-hearted people all the time. Stingy people are no fun to be around, but generous people are a lot of fun to be around. And Alliance family, I’m grateful for you as we enter this Thanksgiving season.

And so, if you’d express that generosity one more time by supporting the Year-End Offering, that would be fabulous, but really the storyline here is bigger. The God of this universe cares about the people of this planet, raises up people to be His spokespersons, and some of us have been called to be the senders. Let’s rise to that at this moment. A great Thanksgiving to all of you, and God’s peace.

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