GAFCON 2018 – Part 1

Dear Friends,

It is no secret that the Anglican Church is in crisis. As a Global Church we are shrinking, we have abandoned our historical and theological moorings and we have little vision for what we should be doing in the world. In many ways, everyone appears to be doing what is right in their own eyes. This is an enormous problem. It is almost like the reality and authority of God has been methodologically excluded from many Anglican churches and leaders’ theology, thought and life. Churches have left God and his Word out in the cold.

It is for this reason that in the second half of June, I will be heading to Jerusalem for the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON). GAFCON is an opportunity for like-minded Anglicans from across the world who believe in the authority of Scripture, the evangelistic mission of the church and the resurrection of and uniqueness of Jesus to gather, to pray, and to strategise. The GAFCON movement is a global family of authentic Anglicans standing together to retain and restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion.

Our mission is to guard the unchanging, transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ and to proclaim Him to the world. We are founded on the Bible, bound together by the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration of 2008, and led by a Primates Council, which represents the majority of the world’s Anglicans.

GAFCON works to guard and proclaim the unchanging, transforming Gospel through biblically faithful preaching and teaching which frees our churches to make disciples by clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ in all the world.

The GAFCON journey began in 2008 when moral compromise, doctrinal error and the collapse of biblical witness in parts of the Anglican communion had reached such a level that the leaders of the majority of the world’s Anglicans felt it was necessary to take a united stand for truth. A crowd of more than one thousand witnesses, including Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, clergy and lay leaders gathered in Jerusalem for the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON).

The second conference, GAFCON 2013, was held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2013, at which over 1,300 delegates from 38 nations and 27 Provinces of the Anglican Communion were present. The gathering gave the Primates a mandate, through the Nairobi Communiqué and Commitment, to take forward the work of the GAFCON movement.

This year, almost 2000 will gather to encourage each other and pray for the work of authentic Anglicans around the world.

Over the next few weeks I want to share some stories about the faith and faithlessness of Anglicans from around the globe so you might be able to see the crisis clearly and pray. If you have any questions about GAFCON, please feel free to ask.

In Christ,
Nigel

Are we doing what we should do?

One of the hardest things a minister ever has to do is close down a ministry – particularly one that people love! But sometimes it’s the best thing to do because it has stopped working or is not actually something a church should do.

In a previous church I was involved in closing down a much loved and cherished church service. The process was long, arduous and heart-breaking. The people who went along loved being together and loved the style of service. It’s just that no new person had joined them in years and they were not really interested in what the church as a whole was doing in Mission or Maturity. They had become an island that neither allowed embassies nor sent ambassadors. The ministry team decided that serving the few compromised effective ministry to the many.

Closing it down was the right thing to do as that ministry was disabling the church from moving together to reach its community.

As we move forward embedding the 5Ms into our church, we may need to face up to heart-breaking realities. It is possible that some of our ministry activities are no longer effective. It is possible that some of our ministry activities exist as islands and need to be reconnected. It is possible that some of our ministry activities do not fit in with our vision and strategies.

We need to evaluate all our ministries to see how they fit and whether they are being effective as we seek to be a growing Christian community devoted to maturing in Jesus for the glory of God.

Let me illustrate using Krafty Kritters. On a Friday night once a month, a group of people meet to do craft together at the church. The group is coordinated by a highly motivated volunteer who makes sure gatherings are advertised and that the room is set up and ready with tables and supper before people arrive. The group is open to new people from both inside and outside church and members actively invite friends who don’t know Jesus so they can be engaged in Christian conversation while sharing a hobby. Doing craft has a large following in our culture and this group provides an avenue for those with a reclusive hobby to connect with Christians and prayerfully, with Jesus. The leader has enquired of staff as to how to make the most of the opportunity and some ideas and training have been made available.

I see in Krafty Kritters an effective ministry providing opportunities for Membership and Mission. I say, may the group continue on!

It would be great to see all our ministries and groups use the 5M framework to evaluate what they are doing and perhaps change, sharpen or focus their energies. It may even be that some groups take the courageous step to think “We could be using our energies more effectively in another way to achieve the plans God has for us!”