Monday, May 29th – Friday, June 2nd was the most recent biennial General Council for The Alliance! Held in Spokane, WA, it was great to see so many of our district pastors, wives, and laypeople present! Below is a brief report regarding that gathering that included some good services, the state of The Alliance via the President’s Report, and important elections and business sessions.
- Due to the RMD Council Grant ($1,000/per official worker ~ $750 for one lay accredited delegate per church), we had at least 54 pastors and 12 lay delegates who received the grant. A special RMD Dinner was held on Tuesday, May 30th with over 185 people present including many special guests.
- Attendance at General Council was quite strong with 1,915 accredited delegates and 624 corresponding delegates.
- Vice-President of Advancement, Dr. Tim Meier, shared the Alliance Missions Around the World tour at the end of one morning’s session. It was a great encouragement to all as was the commissioning of 36 new International Workers (IW’s) at the Friday evening Missionary Rally!
- Dr. Meier also shared five goals for the remaining two years of Dr. John Stumbo’s presidency. These included:
- One new opening for Alliance Missions advance per year.
- One new IW per week sent on average.
- One new U.S. church plant per week on average.
- Completion of Phase One of Alliance Place (new National Office) in Reynoldsburg, OH.
- Raise $100,000,000, each year, for the next two years, for the Great Commission Fund ($75m) and One Alliance Place ($25m).
- Six revisions to the Statement of Faith which were first approved at Council 2021 were ratified, word for word, by a 2/3 vote of the delegates present in the session they were considered. This process is intended to make the Statement of Faith hard to change.
- The remaining five articles, of the Statement of Faith, with suggested revisions, were also considered. Four passed including the article holding to the premillennial return of Christ. A preamble to that article was inserted. One article, regarding Sanctification and the filling of the Holy Spirit, was not agreed to and was sent back to the Board of Directors for further work. These current five articles all remain the same and the four that passed will have to be considered again, word for word, at Council 2025 in Columbus, OH.
- Elections were held resulting in Dr. Ted Kang (San Jose, CA) being elected to a four-year term as Vice-President. Dr. Thomas George (Ann Arbor, MI) was elected to a four-year term as Secretary of The Alliance. Mr. John Thomas, from Evanston (WY) Alliance Church, was re-elected to a four-year term on the Board of Directors. Mrs. Kimberly Thomas, from Evanston (WY) Alliance Church will Chair the 2025 Nominating Committee and 2025 Presidential Search Committee.
- After four years of “conversations,” accredited delegates finally had the opportunity to speak to various proposals brought by the President through the Board of Directors regarding men and women in ministry. Among the understandings and decisions:
- Reaffirmed that a lead pastor must be a male and is considered an elder.
- Re-affirmed that only male members, elected by the membership of the local church, may serve as lay elders.
- Agreed that unless specified in the local church bylaws, male official workers are not automatically elders in local C&MA churches.
- Agreed that the designation, “Consecrated and Ordained” will be used for all official workers, both male, and female, who meet stated qualifications and have successfully completed the consecration and ordination process outlined in the Manual of The Christian and Missionary Alliance.
- Agreed that the title pastor, except the lead pastor, may be used by a local church to refer to its male and female official workers if the biblical understanding of the local elders allows.
- Agreed that the designation of “Reverend” shall be issued by the LO&CC to all official workers who serve in roles inside and outside the local church, and who have completed the requisite process. Each local church may determine the use of this designation as appropriate in their context.
While much remains to be seen as to how things unfold, going forward, as the workout of all the polity decisions proceeds, I for one, am really looking forward to getting back to a focus on the Gospel, the lost — across the seas and across the street — and growth in Christ. I remain committed, along with the Dexcom, LO&CC, Chris, Scott, and Mary to work hard at continuing the vision of being mission-minded, discipleship-driven, connected churches. The task is too great, the stakes are too large to continue in “neutral” with little engagement and little fruit. Frankly, this whole season we have just come through has caused me to rethink and re-evaluate many things in my own life and ministry. The Lord has been so kind, so gracious, and so loving to carry me along in this time of searching, challenge, and decision. I am thankful for the encouragement of God’s Word, the quiet whisper of the Holy Spirit, and the example of many Godly people.
Many times, in the past eleven years, as your District Superintendent, I have said something to the effect, “I do not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future!” I cling to this even stronger in this hour. Not one of us knows what a day will bring but we know the One who does. I am asking the Lord of the Harvest to do an even greater work in my life and in the life of our District in the next thirteen months that we may have together if Christ doesn’t come first or call us heavenward!
I am thankful for each of our lead pastors, assistant pastors, lay leaders, members, and attendees. I ask for God’s best blessing upon us all as we serve Christ together, in the power of the Holy Spirit, in the days ahead. As always, when questions or concerns arise, feel free to contact me at your convenience!