Roots & Fruits of a Global Family

A unifying word from the newly elected AWF President


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 will meet next March in São Paulo, Brazil, to develop a joint long-term plan for global missions. We 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 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.

Just as you may be surprised to know AWF exists, many more brothers and sisters in Christ attending Alliance churches around the globe 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 protected]. We need at least 20 translators and 10 reviewers for each language to work on translation on a voluntary basis. 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,
Jura Yanagihara

Passing the Torch

Rev. Arie Verduijn stepped down as president of The Alliance World Fellowship (AWF) in January 2017 after three consecutive four-year terms. The worldwide C&MA family expresses its deep gratitude for Arie’s enormous commitment and dedication to the cause of Christ. He will continue part time as AWF’s regional coordinator for Europe and the Middle East.

In addition, Arie will lead a local church in the Netherlands, where he lives with his wife, Jansje. “The local congregation is the highest agency in God’s Kingdom,” Arie wrote in his final AWF e-Bulletin. “It is on that level that the Body of Christ is manifest.

“While serving since 1980 in different roles in the global Alliance network, it has always been my intention to empower regional and national leaders to facilitate the local church in its high calling to make Christ visible and reach out to people in need, just as He did when He walked with us during His years on earth.

“I pray that the Lord will give me what it takes to serve Him on that high local level. It is so good to know that He promised to be with us until that glorious moment when He returns.”

During the 2016 AWF Convocation in Bangkok, Thailand, Dr. Jura Yanagihara was elected the new AWF president. “I believe that [Jura] has the God-given skills and attitude to lead us to a next level as we seek to serve God more reverently and to share the gospel with the nations more effectively,” Arie says.

Jura is an ordained pastor of the Brazilian C&MA. He was seminary president and national church president of the Brazilian C&MA and member of the AWF Regional Committee for Latin America. Jura and his wife, Mami, have three grown children.

2 responses to Roots & Fruits of a Global Family

  1. Thank you for your ministry Arie. We are truly blessed through your life. May God continue to use you greatly.

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