Greetings from Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, President Emeritus, Pastor Francis Stephanos
Pastor Stephans reaffirmed his church's stand on Biblical marriage; and went on to reject the stand of ELCA, ELCIC (Canada) and Church of Sweden on gay marriage and non celibate gay clergy.
He pulled no punches and he urged us not to ever yield to the court of public opinion. "It's a sin. Do not be in fear; do not be intimated by name callers, majority voters. Let us only fear the Lord."
My favorite quote: "We understand that no one can inherit the kingdom of God by majority vote."
"All church leaders must come clean on these issues so that people may learn and be taught the truth."
The light shines boldly and exposes the darkness for what it is.
Christians denounce sin, follow Jesus, and make disciples.
The true church is called to teach the true scriptures. As a guide for all people to see and follow.
The church is a beacon of truth in a dark world. If the church isn't a beacon, it has no good news for those who are suffering from the consequences of sin.
The job of leaders of the church is to love, fear, and obey the Lord.
He lovingly but firmly put us in our place. Responding to an article he read by a professor of theology who commented that the church in the south (the third world, basically) had to retrain it's leaders to be truly inclusive. He responded - "the church in the South is growing - yours is dying. You are losing 2.7 million members a year, 3-4,000 churches a year are closing... the South, he said, has the word of God and the Holy Spirit...
As he finished, the congregation rose and gave him a standing ovation.
Pastor Ken Kimball, Mission and Benevolence Working Group
It is the Great Commission, not the Great Suggestion. You either obey Jesus or you don't.
When the church sits back and doesn't take the mission to the world, God will do something, including afflicting the church so that the seeds will be planted. See Acts 8.
Making disciples is:
a.) internal, discipling, spiritual growth
b.) External outreach
If the external isn't happening, we believe, neither is the internal.
In addition to fidelity to orthodox Christian/Lutheran teaching, a competence in fulfilling the Great Commission must be demonstrated by those desiring to become pastors.
NALC hopes to start a network to support both Global and Continental missions.
Part of this network is a virtual community for the exchange of ideas; a forum to share ideas, frustrations, raise the learning curve (we are all going to go through an enormous learning curve in the next few years). Included in this virtual idea is a website, managed, with a list of mission opportunities for congregations looking for mission partners (vetted through CORE and NALC).
There will be a new emphasis on challenging congregations to give... The Great Commission Give Away it's called. It's time to turn away from anger at ELCA, and get generous. This is a spiritual necessity. Do not forget that what God has given us is His not our own. It is believed that this will strengthen the mission of the whole church. Also help congregations to set an example for their own members and to be connected to the Great Commission. This is admittedly going back to the way we did things 50 years ago. Go back to the older model. Let the congregation decide, not the national headquarters. Its about learning that we are the church together.
Pastor Mark Braaten
Congregational Life Working Group
Why do mountain climbers tie themselves together? So that the same ones will go home. Just so, we bind ourselves together to do the work of the church.
There is a list of resources, approved by CORE and NALC. How do we root this adventure of forming the NALC in discipleship? You give congregations a good resource list. Also comes out of loss of confidence in ELCA resources.
Seven regional events around the country are being planned to focus on mission and ministry. They will be using Power Surge acronym from Michael Foss. We want to focus on discipleship, because that will always lead to mission and ministry.
Events focus on networking (local). We hope to clearly and intentional say that we are about Mt 28 and Acts 2. We are going to lift up the name of Jesus Christ in every way we possibly can.
Des Moines is one of the seven sites identified. (Foss's church?)
Some of the old ways we've done things won't be the same any more.
But we will find joy and wonder in the mission of making disciples.