Great Commission Ministries (GCM) joins the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) as Associate Member. Tom Mauriello, Executive Director of GCM, introduces their vision and mission – and why they joined the WEA.
What is Great Commission Ministries and what do you do?
GCM is a next-generation missionary mobilization agency for the new and networked world of university churches, missional church planting, and city-focused ministries.
Our founders’ heartbeat was for college campuses, but they also had a theological conviction to stick close to church planting and not create another para-church agency. Trouble was, student-focused churches were strategic for pouring the gospel into the next generation, but they wouldn’t survive on a tithe model of funding. In 1989, we asked Campus Crusade for Christ to help us learn missionary-style fundraising for use in missional church planting.
For about 16 years we served as the mission agency for Great Commission associated ministries (today including Great Commission Churches, Great Commission Europe, Great Commission Latin America and the Collegiate Church Network—groups that remain friends but are governed independently). In 2006, GCM expanded our mission to partner with additional like-minded evangelical ministries. We found that we met a need for many new post-denominational networks who don’t have their own missionary mobilization capabilities. We could help make their vision a reality.
As a mission agency, we provide careful missionary assessment, comprehensive fundraising training and coaching, gift processing and donor care, human resources, benefits, and trusted financial accountability, all in ministry partnership with local churches or ministries.
How did GCM decide to become a member of the WEA?
While GCM has been a member of evangelical organizations in the US like the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability (since 1991) or Missio Nexus (formerly the EFMA & IFMA) for many years, we think this is the time to affirm our desire to be partnered broadly with Christians who are rooted in historical, Biblical Christianity across the globe.
Some of this comes with the slow organizational change that God has steadily been leading us in over the last seven years: we have moved from a focused ministry – serving our founding networks of churches – to a group capable and called to partner more broadly.
One of the charter characteristics of the WEA is its doctrinal confession. Recognizing GCM’s broadening partnerships, our board of directors recently decided to affirm the historic Apostles & Nicene Creeds and the WEA’s Statement of Faith as our declaration of belief. We felt this best communicated our desire to be faithful to scripture, united with evangelicals worldwide, and also allow for the theological diversity that can come from working across gospel partnerships.
How will GCM contribute to the WEA’s mission of being a voice, connecting and equipping the evangelical community?
At just over twenty-four years old as an ministry, we’re finding we have enough experience to be well established, and yet we’re youthful enough to represent a somewhat younger generation of missionaries. The average age of the missionaries and church planters we on-boarded last year was 26 – and our overall average is 34 years old. We hope we can be part of mobilizing and engaging with the next generation of evangelicals who see God’s mission in the world as vibrant and real, church unity as more important than denominational difference, and innovation in creative incarnational ministry.
Where do you see the greatest potential in partnering with the WEA and its constituency?
While GCM is intentionally joining the World Evangelical Alliance, our global mobilization is neither our largest nor strongest suit. While we have missionaries in Latin America and Europe, the Indian subcontinent and elsewhere, 75% of our focus has been in the United States for supporting missional church planting. We hope that our partnership with the WEA will help us better connect and learn from those friends and ministries who have expertise and wisdom living out the gospel in various parts of the world.
Learn more about Great Commission Ministries at: www.gcmweb.org.