John Stumbo Video Blog No. 1

August 12, 2013


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As the new U.S. Alliance president, I’d like to start a conversation with Alliance lead pastors concerning the issues we face together in ministry. During these monthly video blog messages, I may tell a story, share a devotional, issue a challenge, or cast C&MA vision. I will be posting a new video blog message on the 12th of every month.


OK, team, here we go. Video Blog Number One: a new journey begins.

I’m John Stumbo. Seven weeks ago in Tampa, Florida, I was elected as the next president of The Christian and Missionary Alliance. Wow! What a day that was for me. Today is August 1, the first day of my presidency. I’m actually in England of all places. Flew all night to get here to be with one of our teams of international workers, actually from about a half a dozen different countries; they are having a conference here in England. I was invited to be the devotional speaker a long time ago and decided to keep that commitment after the election because I thought it was maybe significant not only to be with a team but also to make a statement that my first day in the office as president I’m not in an office. I’m out with some of our front line teammates.

So I’m coming to you with this video blog because I made a promise that I would do so. I actually made two promises at council. I wasn’t really ready to cast a vision yet in my just elected state, but I did make an announcement that I wanted to have a call to prayer, which we are going to do August 30 to 31 in Colorado Springs. I hope a few will gather for/with us there for a Friday night and Saturday, but frankly I am hoping that more people will join us by live stream video. By live streaming because we found with the Council experience that was very effective and so we would love to have you join the call to prayer in your own church or home on August 30 and 31. But the other announcement that I made was that I would do this video blog—this monthly communication to pastors. And so that is what this is.

Pastors, I’m planning to come to you the 12th of the month for 12 minutes, 12 months of the year as the 12th president of the C&MA. I’m making some of you nauseous right now by all those twelves. Alliteration is bad enough, but I’m trying to get into your head and I’m trying to get onto your calendar. I’m trying to get into your schedule because I truly want to start a conversation. Sometimes I will probably tell a story. Sometimes I will issue challenges or cast vision. Sometimes open the Word, maybe rant or whine once in a while. I don’t know but I want to start a conversation with us, those that are lead pastors, anybody can listen in. I’m hoping, lead pastors, that you will hit forward or share it with your teammates, people that you respect and want to listen in on this. Now not everyone may be of value and that delete button works just fine as well, but I’m hoping to have a conversation with you, where we begin to mobilize the U.S. Alliance churches together as one.

There will be a survey format to this as well—not long and intensive but after each video there will be two, three, maybe four questions to answer so there is some feedback. Frankly I can’t handle 2,000 pastors sending me e-mails every month, so this is our communication feedback method that I think might work and so here it is—Video Blog Number One.

What is it that I want to say today? Well I’ve been thinking in terms of the fact of that it’s my turn. I get a turn at this thing called leadership, significant leadership. In fact the first line of the ministry description says this, “The president is the spiritual leader and chief executive officer of The Christian and Missionary Alliance.” I take those words seriously, and I take the word order seriously as well. The president is the spiritual leader and chief executive officer. First and foremost spiritual leadership, first and foremost leadership of people and then secondly—significantly but secondly—leadership of an organization, the executive kinds of things. I have this significant sense that I’m not qualified. But I find great encouragement from passages like Jeremiah chapter 1: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you,” God says. “Before you were born I set you apart—I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” There is a beauty in that. The fact that He is the God, not only who takes credit for forming us in the womb but acknowledges that before this world was even created your place on this planet was already known and planned for. And that our place on this planet was not just for our own sake but we were given away. “I set you apart. I appointed you,” God says. And Jeremiah’s response was so encouraging to me because he has this gut wrenching “Awwww, God I can’t do this” kind of response, and God assures him that “I will make you what you need to be for this moment. I will make you an iron pillar, a bronze wall, a fortified city.” It’s not who you are right now. It is what I will make you be. That He is the God who qualifies us and gives us the capabilities beyond ourselves. So I’m counting on that. I’m planning on that and I’m trusting God for that.

But I have this sense that it’s my turn. It is my turn to lead. A mantle has been placed upon me that I’ve felt it has come through Gary Benedict and Peter Nanfelt, Paul Bubna and David Rambo and L.L. King. That list goes all the way back to Paul Raider and A.B. Simpson if you drag it back to the beginning of The Alliance, and I sense the weight of that, the holiness of that. It’s my turn. It’s my turn to lead. I want to lead well. But I also have this sense that it’s just not my turn to lead. It’s your turn. It’s our turn. The mantle of leadership has come to you. Right now, this moment, the gospel message of Jesus Christ rests in our hands. The priceless treasure handed off through the centuries has fallen to us. We’re its stewards—we’re its keepers, we’re its spokespersons. Saints through the centuries have given their lives for this cause—the gospel, the church, the Holy Scriptures. They have been received and preserved and copied and translated. The God-breathed Word has come to us at the price of blood, martyrdom, burnings at the stake.

Now it’s our turn. We—we hold—we hold this treasure in our hand. It’s our turn to lead the church. It’s our turn to represent the bride of Christ. It’s our turn. I’m taken by the fact that the current world’s impression of Jesus will largely be determined by their impression of us, that we are the lens through which they see the Christ. It’s our turn.

Now I know I’m stating the obvious. But I believe I’m stating the essential. That just a few sunrises ago the church was in someone else’s hands. My father, our fathers, led preached, prayed, wept, discipled, evangelized. And in just a few sunsets another generation will lead. May we be gracious, skillful, and intentional with a very good handoff. But for this day, for this moment you, my friends, have the mantle of leadership upon you. I have it upon me. We don’t carry it alone. We have boards and prayer warriors and elders and friends and teammates that carry it with us, but hear me—it’s your turn. It’s my turn. It’s our turn—this moment, this day. Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. For as much as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. For God is not unjust. He will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you help his people and continue to help them. Let’s not grow weary in well doing, for we know that in proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. All this is from God who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them, and He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We—we are therefore Christ’s ambassadors as though—hear this—as though God was making His appeals through us.  We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God.

Let’s . . . let’s do this. Let’s do this well. Let’s do this together. Let’s do this for the glory of God alone.

Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory and honor and majesty and power before all generations, both now and forevermore. Amen.


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