(This is the first of a three part series on actually experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit for life and ministry/ aka baptism and filling, from a fresh perspective.) Imagine me bent over my desk trying to come up with a powerful sermon. In spite of seeking to communicate the power of the Word, […]
In 2002 I was hired by the church I serve to develop some kind of “learning church” thing. I had no clue about what this really meant and my subsequent networking connected me with some very gifted people and resources. Early on, after one of my scouting trips, I reported to the consistory recent findings […]
So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s […]
Be Intentional! As a pastor of a multi-ethnic church, many have asked me what can I, or we as a church do, to become more multi-ethnic. My short answer is always one word… Intentionality. Almost every church in America has on their church sign “All Welcome.” However, the reality is that you are really welcome […]
Our definition of what an “established” church is often carries with it mental images of an old stone church with stained glass that has been around for decades, or possibly centuries. Sometimes we consider an established church one that has reached a level of financial sustainability or critical mass in weekend attendance. Sometimes, “established” merely […]
If it’s alive it’s meant to multiply. This sentence is close to my heart. It’s a gospel sentence. Gospel multiplying, reproduction, evangelism, and discipleship are our greatest allies in the Reformed Church in America. The greatest hope for renewal and revival in the RCA is not returning to our biblical, orthodox, Reformed, conservative theology (although […]
This post originally appeared on bransonparler.com on 4/18/17 it is being republished here with the author’s permission. To my sisters and brothers at Fourth Reformed Church, the North Grand Rapids Classis, the Regional Synod of the Great Lakes, and the Reformed Church in America, Grace and peace to you. As the covenant people of […]
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures, we might have hope. May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another in accordance with Christ Jesus so that together you may with one […]
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” Philippians 2:1-2 Paul’s affection for the church at Philippi came […]
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” Philippians 2:1-2
Paul’s affection for the church at Philippi came from their unity in Christ that fueled a vision of like-minded joy, “one in spirit and purpose”. This is the kind of community we all long for, yet we experience something very different in the RCA too often.
“I don’t feel at home in the RCA anymore”.
I have heard this sentiment often from a diverse cross section of the RCA and I have certainly felt it myself at times. This increasing sense of homelessness emanates from all corners of the RCA, from ministers who have devoted decades of their lives to the RCA to church planters who joined the RCA recently and are witnessing a startling shift of focus.
The mission of the Gospel Alliance is to create a sense of home for churches and ministers within the RCA who are eager to be a part of a community focused on the Gospel message and our Gospel mission together. The core values of the Gospel Alliance are unifying and life giving with the potential of achieving the like-minded joy Paul envisioned for Philippi.
The Gospel Message
The Gospel message – as summarized by the 5 Solas of the Reformation – is a timeless expression of the foundation of our faith announcing the unchanging biblical truth of forgiveness and eternal life received by faith through God’s grace in Jesus Christ for the glory of God. The Gospel Alliance enjoys a steady foundation on the message of the atoning work of the crucified and risen Christ.
Our Gospel Mission
The Gospel mission naturally flows from this Gospel message. The Gospel is an announcement of reconciliation by God’s forgiving grace, so our mission is centered on reconciling the world to God thereby unifying all of humankind in Christ, where “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28. This Gospel mission of reconciliation with God and humankind is realized by healthy, diverse, disciple-making churches that multiply effective leaders, ministries, and church plants that announce the good news of Christ and practice the life of the kingdom of Heaven by advocating and laboring for justice and peace on earth.
Marriage is a beautiful mystery that is a “flesh and bone” expression of the Gospel message and the Gospel mission. While it is “not our business to judge those outside the church” (1 Corinthians 5:12), we know that marriage as solemnized within the church is the great metaphor of Christ and His Church. God “blessed” them, “male and female” and gave them the mission of pursuing perfect unity (cleaving). This mission of unity in the midst of our differences through mutual love and submission is the mystery of the sacred union of marriage that reflects the mystery of the unity between Christ and His Church. (Ephesians 5:31-33)
Our Gospel vision of reconciliation and unity fuels the common mission of the Gospel Alliance.
The Gospel Alliance
The Gospel Alliance is a network of RCA churches and ministers in relationship together celebrating the Gospel message and equipping one another for our Gospel mission. So imagine a fun, energetic, celebratory, life-giving, and unified community of churches and ministers that live what Paul envisioned for Philippi, “thanking my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,” (Philippians 1:3-5). This joy filled partnership in the Gospel can be a reality in the RCA through the Gospel Alliance. This joy filled partnership in the Gospel can be the culture of relationships and ministry equipping in the RCA through the Gospel Alliance.
The constitutional work in the judicatories are important and we will fully engage in the important work of our Classes, Regional Synods, and the General Synod, but in this season there is a need for new network to encourage and equip like-minded Gospel ministries within the RCA. The Gospel Alliance can be that sense of home as the future of the RCA denomination plays out in the coming months and years.
I am praying every day for the RCA and for the Gospel Alliance, looking forward to the formal launch in Dyer Indiana on September 12-13. I hope you’ll join me there.
Rancho Church and Christian School