A unifying word from the newly elected AWF President
By Jura Yanagihara
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Your Alliance family is much bigger than you think.
The Alliance World Fellowship (AWF) represents more than 6 million believers who attend more than 22,000 Alliance churches in 60 countries. If you walk through the streets of Temuco in Chile, Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire, or hundreds of other cities in the world, you will find churches with the familiar C&MA logo, name, and welcoming atmosphere.
Before becoming AWF’s president, I was the seminary president and national church president of the Brazilian C&MA and a member of the AWF Regional Committee for Latin America. You and I and millions around the globe have the same spiritual roots: Alliance roots. We cherish this common background not only because it unites us but also because it propels us to proclaim the good news of salvation to all peoples.
The Christ-centered message of The Alliance is relevant today. We can significantly influence this world that so desperately needs Jesus. Imagine what 6 million believers can do if they engage in the Kingdom’s work around the world!
AWF is a strong network of national churches that conducts joint missionary enterprises, pastoral training programs, development projects, and international conferences. The AWF Global Network of Missions Leaders, established in a meeting in São Paulo, Brazil, will share the vision for the future of Alliance missions and build a roadmap to reach our common goals.
From now on, all AWF-related meetings, such as the AWF regional conferences, will be designed to emphasize global missions and to encourage greater commitment from national churches to the missionary enterprise. All national churches will be inspired and challenged to participate in fulfilling the Great Commission.
AWF will work alongside national churches to challenge young professionals to engage in missions. There are a lot of exciting projects to join that have entrepreneurship and missions associated with social and economic development.
One way mature national churches can help is by training pastors of young national churches. Entry-level pastoral and missionary training is a great need. In the advanced level, there are already good examples of partnership in place, such as FATELA (Latin America) and FATEAC (Africa). Both offer master’s level programs in their own contexts.
It is important we reach a minimum level of commonality in terms of doctrine and practice among our national workers if we wish to collaborate in church planting and missions. Ideally, an accredited pastor of one national church can be automatically accepted by another national church on the grounds of generally agreed upon accreditation processes. Although some hurdles need to be cleared, such as differences in culture or level of maturity of the national churches, this is a worthwhile process.
All of these initiatives depend on how people are connected. The AWF family has many networks: regional leadership, missions leaders, theologians, young leaders, and women. Some of these networks are already functioning while others are works in progress. We want
The Alliance family is not only about church leaders. It is about brothers and sisters in Christ who share the same root and fruits, attend Alliance churches around the globe but do not know about this family connection. Communication is difficult when you are part of a family that speaks dozens of languages.
We need people to bridge the language and cultural gaps between AWF member churches. If you are fluent in Spanish, French, Chinese, or any other major language and want to help serve the ministry of AWF, please e-mail email@example.com. The more information and inspiring stories we have translated into many different languages, the more connected as an AWF family we will be.
The Great Commission is a big deal for the big AWF family. And you have a big part in it!
Connecting people and proclaiming Christ
PS: This is a slightly modified and updated version of the article that appeared originally on the March/April issue of Alliance Life (https://www.cmalliance.org/alife/roots-fruits-of-a-global-family/).