Join the Journey


To What End? Part 3

Posted by donna on October 2, 2018

church reproduction.jpgI love being a grandfather, albeit a very young one, at least in my mind! I’m “Papa” to three beautiful little girls, Ava, Audrey & Elia, and we are eagerly anticipating the arrival of our first grandson at the end of October! Before I was Papa, I was “Daddy” to three very special little girls who grew up far too quickly. Yet, before I was Daddy, I was and hope I still am, “honey” to a very special lady.  This in a sense describes what church reproduction is all about. The natural outcome of a loving and nurturing relationship is children … biological, adopted or even those specially cared for and included as members of the family. My girls saw and experienced our love as parents, our commitment to the Lord and in some way, it set a model for them to follow with their own families. Yes, there were many bumps along the way, as no family is perfect.

I often hear the question; Does the AGC plant churches, or do churches plant churches? I believe it should be the missional activity of each local church to multiply itself in a new community of faith, like parents having, loving and caring for children and eventually, perhaps grandchildren.

There is a South American fable called The Charcoal Seller that goes something like this; “A charcoal seller was asked; What do you believe? I believe what the Church believes, he responded. And what does the Church believe? It believes what I believe.” I recently googled “church reproduction.” There were immediately 34,100,000 results! It’s a popular topic. And like the fable of the charcoal seller, many would say that they have a value for church reproduction without being able to define or describe what it is. There are many definitions and good ideas. But what does it mean for us in the AGC? The third END that I want to focus on this month is CHURCH REPRODUCTION.

The activity of Church Reproduction in the AGC as a strategic END is to provide resources and help to local churches as they launch initiatives that result in new communities of faith. You can do it and we want to help!

Whether you call it church reproduction, church multiplication or just good old church planting, there are some common indicators we look for in developing new church reproduction initiatives;

  1. Distinct, called and approved leadership (commissioned to lead the new work)
  2. Distinct ministry focus and specific target audience (cultural niche, distinct from mother church)
  3. Distinct On-site or Off-site gathering (not over-flow service, could be traditional daughter plant, multi-site, campus model or home church)

The key to successful church reproduction is not just the ability to remain fluid in adapting to an ever-changing ministry environment.  The key lies in the ability to develop a loving and nurturing environment in which others see and experience a love for the unreached, a concern for those in need and a willingness to engage to see lives changed and transformed by the Gospel. Why is Church Reproduction a strategic END in the AGC? It’s not about starting new churches or even trying to increase the number of current churches. It’s about winning people to Jesus. It’s about discipling new believers to become disciple-makers. It’s about launching the called to reach the unreached.

Happy parenting and grandparenting!     

Bill Allan first name.PNG 

Bill Allan
AGC President                                                                                                                         


To What End? Part 2

Posted by donna on September 4, 2018

lincoln.jpgI laugh every time I read this quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln: “don’t believe everything you read on the internet.” You cannot turn on the news, internet, or social media without being bombarded with the term “fake news.” How do we evaluate what is being reported as true? As Christians, we are called to biblical truth. Unfortunately, the concept of truth is changing and often becomes whatever people want it to be in the new world of relativism. We need biblical wisdom to engage our world with both the hope and the truth of the Gospel.

 


To What End?

Posted by donna on August 1, 2018

Over the next several months, I’d like to talk about the ENDS. Not the END, but our AGC ENDS – the strategic ministry initiatives by which we accomplish our stated purpose as an Association. With the recent change in our AGC structure, we are focusing on four primary areas of ministry activity that give substance to our vision of being … A Movement of Healthy Reproducing Churches.

Kaemingk book.jpgNATIONAL COMPASSION & JUSTICE:  This is a new END for us. It was birthed from a deep compassion to address the heart-wrenching plight of Syrian refugees. Our Syrian Refugee Initiative has been the framework enabling several AGC churches to sponsor Syrian refugee families as they arrive in Canada to begin a new life, free from the sufferings of war, persecution and destitution that many have experienced.

As Christians, and as an Association of churches, compassion must be a part of our ethos. Throughout Scripture we see the compassionate heart of God.  God’s compassion is extended through His Son, who took the world’s punishment on the cross that made it possible for us to be reconciled to the Father.


Hello AGC Family

Posted by donna on June 14, 2018

Bill and Michele June 2018.jpgThe word “hello” has a welcoming ring to it. It opens doors, builds relationships and offers encouragement. It’s an expression of joy and gladness.  It has the power to overcome suspicion and make the stranger feel accepted and valued. We use it when meeting someone for the first time. It’s a friendly greeting, which allows an opportunity to engage on a personal level. We also use it when reconnecting with old friends, those we haven’t seen in a while. Michele and I wish to say “Hello AGC Family! We always love to make new friends and reconnect with old, some of whom we spent many years serving alongside in Peru and in mission leadership in Canada.

Our National Conference was a great time for us to reconnect with one another and rejoice together in what God is doing through our various church ministries and new church plants. It was an opportunity to make new friends and rejoice with old ones. It was also a time to look back at God’s faithfulness.  We gave thanks for the leadership of Willem & Lois, their many years of faithful service and the example they have left for us as we continue the journey.


ABIDE

Posted by donna on May 3, 2018

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Growing up in a missionary family, our children learned the full meaning of the word “goodbye.” We lived in remote areas of central Thailand and twice a year our kids had to fly off to attend boarding schools in Malaysia. They knew that goodbyes were part of the often-unwanted aspects of missionary life.  Fortunately, for the most part, it was a positive experience. Often, it was Lois and I who had the meltdowns as we watched the plane take off. Yet, goodbyes are part of saying hello.

This historic AGC National Conference May 31st -  June 2nd, will be both “goodbye” and “hello.”

Having had the privilege of serving the AGC these past fifteen years, it is time to say our goodbyes, and hello to Presidential Candidate Bill and Michele Allan. The Allan’s have served as missionaries and mission leaders and have also served in one of our AGC churches these past years.  I am delighted to see the way God has led the Allan’s to accept this great challenge and opportunity.


"The Cup of God's Wrath"

Posted by donna on April 5, 2018

Capture.PNG(Revelation 14:9-10)

Not Enough Options

While attending Engineering College, I was growing in my awareness of biblical truth and theology. I remember as if it was yesterday having informal debates with my classmates and professors about the nature of life, death, heaven and hell. On one occasion I declared that there is only one true way to God and heaven, through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We were all close friends by this time and there was free and open communication. Yet, the response from one of my friends was a simple, “there aren’t enough options.”  In other words, there must be other choices.


Discipleship - Love ... The Foundational Principle

Posted by donna on March 6, 2018

love.jpg“Beloved let us love one another for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7) ESV.

The early church father, John Chrysostom (345-407 AD) in his sermon, “Dying to Sin” writes, “For God is not so well pleased with being our Master as He is with being our Father….  God’s exceeding desire to be loved comes from loving exceedingly.”

God loves us extravagantly! He wants us to learn and grow to love Him with extravagance. He desires that we love others as the Golden Rule stipulates.


grapes.jpgOK, … let’s do a quick review.  When we study the life of Jesus, we observe four challenges that outline His discipleship process.

  1. Come and see
  2. Follow me
  3. Fish for men
  4. Go and bear much fruit.

Although there are many nuances in the discipleship process, (and certainly the process is rarely completely linear), the discipleship journey can be seen in these four steps, or, for the sake of our illustration, these four chairs.

As leaders, our role is to create an environment conducive to making disciples. We do that by using relationships and programs to help people move through the discipling process. These four chairs correspond to the kind of people who may be in our ministries.


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Are we there yet? – by AGC Quebec Director, Del Gibbons

Writing about disciple-making makes me stop and think.  It reminds me of family car trips.  You know what I’m talking about … the voice from the back of the car …  “Are we there yet?”  I can imagine that very question being asked as we look at Dann Spader’s “third chair” illustration of disciple-making.  Are we there yet?  How are we doing, and are we truly disciple-makers? 


"For Unto us a Child is Born..."

Posted by donna on December 6, 2017

Christmas 2017.jpgRecently, I received an email from a family in our AGC Association.  With great fanfare and accompanying photos, they were announcing the birth of their new child. “It’s a BOY!” read the caption. I can totally relate to the wonderful feeling and excitement of welcoming a newborn son or daughter. The sheer relief, especially when the new life has safely arrived, brings such joy. There is also that sense of future and destiny for this new life and for the family itself. The family is growing, and the future looks brighter.  It is a mystery wrapped up in a reality.