John Stumbo Video Blog No. 26

September 12, 2015


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John shares several stories from this summer of the Alliance family living out our Christ-centered, Acts 1:8 calling of loving, proclaiming, reaching, and launching.


Hey, Team!

At Council this year, I presented that as a Christ-centered, Acts 1:8 family, I believe God is calling us together to be a more loving, proclaiming, reaching, launching church. Four priorities that I am setting before us are to love, proclaim, reach—people of all ages, people lacking access, people on the move—and launch—launching people, dreams, resources.

It wasn’t just a Council presentation; it’s a direction that I believe the Lord is leading us on, a legacy that I would actually like to leave as president and some themes that have brought agreement with the district and the national leadership of The Alliance. So it wasn’t just a presentation; it’s a passion that I have for where we are going as the Alliance family.

In the months and years to come, we will expand and explore those kinds of themes together, as I’m trying to move us forward together, as a family.

There were 1,400 churches who weren’t able to be at Council, and so we took the summer video blogs to recap those Council presentations on this theme, and so you will be hearing more as the months and the years roll on.


A few weeks after Council, we were invited to go to an Alliance church in Omaha, not realizing it was the most expensive week of the year to travel to Omaha, because of the college world series. So we made a road trip out of it.

My wife and I enjoy road trips anyway, and we decided to take a back road so we could see some of the gorgeous scenery but also visit some of our Alliance churches in small towns along the way, towns of 50 to 300. We have some vibrant expressions of the church in those locations.

We got to Omaha, had a great weekend for their missions conference where Pastor Mark stood before his large congregation and said that he was praying that there would be 200 first-time givers to the Great Commission Fund to rise in their congregation.

“Last week I told you we were praying for 200 people to give to the Great Commission Fund for the very first time. Today, if you have never given anything—just a dollar, $10, $100, whatever God leads you to give—give that for the very first time.”

And 118 responded just on that day.

On the way home, we stopped by one more of those small towns, a community of about 300 where the Alliance church is three years old. I asked the elders and the pastor to tell me the story of the church. Well, they said how there are only two churches in town—the Catholic and the mainline church—and how they had been in the mainline church but had watched that church drift away from historic Christianity and the inerrancy of the Scripture. They started to teach about the motherhood of God, and some of their missions’ giving was going to a board of practices, and they could no longer support the local church that they were part of. So they met together and said, “What are we going to do? We just want a church that unapologetically preaches Jesus.”

They went down the road 30 miles or so to an Alliance church where they found out about the Alliance family, and so this church is now meeting with 30, 40 people. They have bought their first piece of property, baptized their first person into the name of Jesus, and had missions conferences, donating regularly to the Great Commission Fund. And it gave me such pleasure that although they were sad, they had tried to change their mainline church from the inside. They had tried to go to the district and national conference level kind of events to see if they could influence. They had been unsuccessful in doing so, and so here they are.

But I drove away thinking about that church. It matters to them that we as the Alliance family get it right. They actually sent their pastor to Council this last year to make sure that The Alliance was not going to drift away theologically from our historic stance.

I got back to the office, and summer is a time for tour groups. We love having tours come through—families or individuals that want to see the home office of the U.S. Christian and Missionary Alliance. And two groups came through on this same day—about 40 people total—and I asked, “What’s going on?”

He said, “Oh, we are a family reunion from St. Paul/Minneapolis that have come down.”

I said, “How did you choose Colorado Springs?”

And he said, “Well, Grandma,” pointing to an elderly woman in our midst, “Grandma came to know Jesus through The Christian and Missionary Alliance as a Hmong people. It was The Alliance that brought the gospel to us, and before Grandma died, she wanted to see the home office of The Christian and Missionary Alliance out of her gratitude and appreciation for the gospel having come to her through us.”

I was moved by that moment, and it took me back to Council where I sat with some of the national leaders of our churches from Syria, the Middle East, Australia, Colombia, South America, and we had a conversation about the Church, and the Colombian leader said, “You are aware, are you not, that we are translating the video blogs into Spanish?”

I was surprised. I said, “No, I had no idea.” I said, “Well, why?”

And he said, “Well, the Christ-centered, Acts 1:8 family theme is very significant to us, and the themes that you address in your blogs are very relevant to us.” I had no idea.

Then the president of the church of Syria spoke up and said, “I hope you realize how significant it is that the evangelical church of the United States of America stays faithful, that you persevere, that you stay steady in preaching the gospel and don’t drift away from faithfulness of the Word of God, because we in the Middle East find strength from the American evangelical church.”

He wasn’t just saying, “We find encouragement,” although I am sure that is partially true. He was saying, “Our validity for existence, our viability for continuing as a church, finds strength from the American evangelical church.”

It matters. It matters to unreached people groups. It matters to existing churches around the world that we stay faithful, that we stay steady, that we proclaim the Word of God, that we get this thing called the Church right.

I can happily report that it has been a very active summer for me. I love being outdoors in the summer time; got in a little fishing with some friends that was joyful, renewing; climbed the incline a few times. I’ll tell you those stories in some future blog. And I got to go out to Pennsylvania at the invitation of the Daybreak Church to do a 5K and then preach without a shower shortly thereafter that morning.

It was a joyful time to stand before the congregation and explain to them why it was such a significant day for me, having not run in a competitive race since 2008, as a direct answer to those of you who continue to pray for my ongoing recovery and healing. I was able to stand before the congregation and say while it was a significant day for the world, because all the proceeds from that 5K went to the Great Commission Fund, and almost $14,000 was raised through that event, being able to further expand our work in the United States and around the globe.

And I believe it was a significant day for that local church to have an increased understanding of their participation not only in their Jerusalem but throughout Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the world as they join together with the Alliance family in carrying out the mission that God has given to us.

I say within the story of one of our international workers having a clandestine Bible study in her home in the Middle East. Muslim women heavily garbed and robed snuck into this home and gathered secretly around a single copy of the Scriptures, and one of those Muslim women interrupted this study saying to our international worker, “I must have misunderstood your Arabic. You’re still just learning our language, and you may not realize it, but what you said was that I could be forgiven of everything that I have ever done. Certainly, I misunderstood you.” And our international worker said, “No, that’s exactly what I said! That’s exactly what the gospel is. Jesus died on the cross and rose again to provide forgiveness for us, of everything.”

Don’t miss the significance of that story. Here is a woman who has no concept of forgiveness, living in a culture that has no conception of forgiveness. Revenge, retaliation—that they understand. We believe that is a justice issue. We believe it’s not right that there are still people living on this planet that don’t have access to that message of forgiveness.

It matters. It matters to the unreached peoples. It matters to the existing churches around the world. It matters to that Muslim woman and the people that she lives among that we get this thing called the Church right.

Two more highlights this summer were the almost three dozen international workers that we commissioned at Council. They came to Colorado Springs for their final pre-field orientation, and to get to eat with them and hear their hearts one more time and send them off with one more prayer was so joyful. They were almost immediately followed by Resonate. One hundred seventy of the new official workers in The Alliance—some of them second careers, some of them right out of college or seminary, but all of them coming like a new wave of passion, a new army among us. One hundred seventy new workers that now represent The Alliance in chaplaincy, in youth ministry, and worship ministry, and lead pastor roles, and all sorts of ways that the Alliance family is out there expressing the gospel.

Pastor Kelvin Walker gave us one of the messages that was powerful as he called us to reflect on what kind of names have been placed upon us, what kind of labels do we carry. And so one by one, the participants acknowledged that the name and label that they carry is “shame,” or “never measure up,” or “not good enough,” or “perfection is the minimum standard,” or “I’m the exception to God’s grace. God has grace for everybody but me.”

One by one, we named these awful labels that the condemner of our souls wants to place upon us. And then rebuke them, renounce them, and ask God to replace that with a better name: loved, accepted, redeemed, forgiven, chosen, mine.

So I think you can tell I’ve had a great summer since Council watching the Alliance family live out our Christ-centered, Acts 1:8 calling of loving, proclaiming, reaching, launching.

As I said, we will continue to expand and explore those things more in the months and years to come, but for today, can I say that I’m encouraged and I’m challenged? It matters that we get this right, this thing called the Church.


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