Our Advancing Mission – John Stumbo Video Blog No. 88

November 12, 2020

12:07

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John shares four significant updates from the October board meeting.

Transcript

Hello, Alliance family. Our Board of Directors has just met for our fall meeting, and I’m eager to give you updates of significance for all of us in The Alliance. I don’t know if you grew up in Sunday school or if your Sunday school class sang the same songs as ours did, but from the echoing walls of our cinder block church basement, you could hear our Sunday school singing, “Untold millions are still untold, untold millions are outside the fold. Who will tell them of Jesus’ love?” And on the song went. Decades later, I find that that’s still the passion of The Christian and Missionary Alliance. So, we have this C&MA DNA built into us: that God has so loved this world that He has given us His only Son, that this gospel of the Kingdom is to be preached to the whole world, that this is just part of who we are. These are core verses of The Christian and Missionary Alliance 130-plus year story. We are to make disciples of all nations because Christ is in us—Christ in you, the hope of glory. The heartbeat of Christ is in us, and His passion spills over us to the world, because we look forward to the day when we gather together in song and celebrate that “With your blood you purchased . . . persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” This is what the Scripture declares. And this is just who this Christ-centered, Acts 1:8 family is: Focused on Jesus, empowered by the Spirit, sent to every segment of human society—and we do that together as a family. So, as a Board of Directors like The Christian and Missionary Alliance meets together, it’s under this banner and it is with this purpose of bringing all of Jesus to all the world.

Yes, we have pragmatic matters and policy matters and fiscal matters to deal with, but it all points toward the singular mission of wanting to bring everything of who Jesus is to every place on this planet. So, as I give you an update of the Board of Directors’ meeting, it is like the practical aspects of The Christian and Missionary Alliance—a board that serves you, elected by Council, so you deserve reports back. But it’s more than just a board report. It’s a declaration of an advancing mission. And so, it’s with joy that we celebrate that again, at this board meeting, 16 new IWs were released. They’ve been vetted, they’ve been prepared, they’ve been prayed over, and now we appointed them to go into places like Japan, Cote d’Ivoire, Germany, Spain, Kosovo, and the place we call the Highlands, to be one more wave of Kingdom carriers, gospel-advancers. And so, we prayed over them. They weren’t with us in person—and only a portion of us were together socially distanced, all the appropriate things, others by way of Zoom call—but tearful prayers and faith-filled releasing of these individuals. And for at least seven consecutive years, 21 consecutive board meetings, the Board of Directors has had the privilege of doing that very thing—releasing wave after wave of international workers. So, we rejoice that we continue to be a sending family.

A second category that I want to bring to you today is on our polity. You know that we are in these national conversations, and we are discussing men and women in leadership, and that our policies were written decades ago when we were primarily an English denomination in single-cell churches with solo pastors. And that, today, we’ve outgrown a lot of our policies where we have multi-site, multi-staff, multi-language—38 languages and all represented among us. And I keep coming back to a core question: When is The Alliance best when we call for a national uniformity? (Let’s all do this in the same way.) And when are we at our best when we allow for local autonomy?

We encourage local churches to exegete the Scripture and exegete their culture in such a way that we are best living out the gospel. So, you know that we’re this odd blend in The Christian and Missionary Alliance where we have a Constitution and a Statement of Faith that we all come under, yet we have local bylaws and local decisions we get to make. And so, we’re already a blend, and we’re continuing to look for where is the perfect balance of that blend, including things like who gets to give away titles? And how do we express ourselves by way of the positions that we have in our local churches? We have some policies that limit that right now. And so, we continue to look at that and continue to report that to the Board of Directors. And we’ll be having a meeting with the district superintendents in a few weeks by way of Zoom where we continue to process these things, honoring the Scripture and honoring each other as we have different interpretations of various passages of Scripture. So, it’s an ongoing conversation. I’m delighted that it’s being held in a very respectful and positive manner. We’ll continue to press forward on those issues.

Another major topic of discussion at our board meeting was the Statement of Faith. We are excited about the developments that have happened after 40 national conversations involving 2,500 participants from across The Alliance. We’ll have more for district superintendents and our Licensing Ordination and Consecration Committees in the months coming up in preparation for the February board meeting, in preparation for Council 2021. But at this moment, I can say to you, if you would like to see the latest edition of the Statement of Faith, the revisions that are currently under consideration, then please feel free to view them at cmalliance.org/nc—standing for National Conversation. There you’ll be able to find the latest edition and know that it’s not the final form, and nothing gets approved until it comes to Council, and that not until two consecutive Councils can anything actually be changed in our Statement of Faith. But this will keep you up to date on where we are at as of our last board meeting and the conversation since.

The fourth and last topic I’d like to talk about today from the Board of Directors is the relocation of the National Office. You know in previous video blogs I announced that the board had given us permission to relocate away from 8595 Explorer Drive, and this property will be listed in the commercial real-estate market very soon. But with great sense of trying to wait on God and listen to God, our team went to 90 different sites—buildings, empty lots—with 120 separate visits, because some of them required more than one visit so we really understood that location. And after months of that wrestling together, we as a leadership team came to the Board of Directors with a unanimous recommendation for a particular site—a 15-acre property of ideal real estate that is within the broader region of the city of Columbus.

I can’t wait to get to tell you more details of that dream, but at this moment I just have to say, because of property negotiations that we’re just entering into, I can’t give you any more specificity other than to say that the Board of Directors unanimously approved for us to pursue the purchase of a particular property. And it’s with great enthusiasm that we move forward, seeing the hand of God in this. So, we’re excited about what the new location will hold, and we want to be there by summer of 2021. We’ll have to have temporary officing, because we won’t be ready with a new building by then, but to begin to get our team established in our new site and begin to live out our dream. We’re looking forward to that after Council of 2021 to begin that relocation process. And I need to also mention that no GCF dollars have been used nor do we intend for any to be used in this. There’s individual donors that have already given to this cause and others that will continue to do so. So, we are excited about the fact that our mission-advancing Great Commission Fund will not be in any way hindered by this. In fact, as this dream unfolds, it’ll only be assisted by this in the end as we seek to take all the National Office occupancy expenses out of the Great Commission Fund. So, rather than it being a drain to the GCF, we look forward to it being a benefit to the GCF.

I look forward to telling the stories of how God is leading among us and give more details of the dreams that are unfolding. But for this moment, can I just say, I am fully aware that my leadership can be disruptive—that all of these changes that are under discussion can be unsettling for many people. I get that. I don’t do any of it lightly. The Statement of Faith conversation alone is of such gravitas that I feel it acutely and have cried over it and pray over it often. But I’m firmly convinced that if we get this right—if we do the right things with our polity, if we make the right improvements with our Statement of Faith, if this moving of the office not just in location but in concept is done well—that we will in very practical ways, for a very long period of time, do a better job of bringing all of Jesus for all the world. That’s just . . . We’re going to be better at that if we make positive changes right now. Untold millions are still untold. I’m happy to announce that since I sang that song as a child, millions of people have been reached through this Christ-centered, Acts 1:8 family. And millions more have been reached by other Jesus-preaching, gospel-advancing ministries. But as we all know, the work remains unfinished. There is more for us to do. But it’s a beautiful work, it’s a Kingdom work, it’s an eternal work. Our opportunities are great, and our call is too clear for us to do anything less than give our best. Let’s fully engage. It’s an honor to serve with you.

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