The Church Engagement (CE) Department of the World Evangelical Alliance held its first strategy meeting in 2023 from February 14-17 at the historic Highbury Centre in London, UK. Bringing together the leaders of the various networks that focus on arts, business, children, family, women, youth, and other areas, the department “shares in common a passion for disciple-making for healthy churches and for churches that make a difference in their community.”
On the first day, the CE team was joined by WEA Secretary General Bishop Dr Thomas Schirrmacher who shared about the overall vision of the WEA as well as the important role the department plays for establishing healthy churches.
He spoke on the desire to follow the exhortations of the Apostle Paul in Romans 12:1-2: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Emphasizing the importance for evangelical Christians to live their whole lives as a sacrifice to God, he said: “We do not want to be Christians only on Sunday, only in private life, but worship and sacrifice our life working with young people, in business, everywhere.” And living as a sacrifice means not conforming to the patterns of this world. “Calvin said if you have no church discipline and you are not willing to distinguish holiness from the worldly life, then after some time the church will no longer exist,” Schirrmacher commented.
After the opening session, Deputy Secretary General for Operations Dr. Peirong Lin who joined the meetings for the full four days, introduced some of the recent changes within the WEA structure and how each department can contribute their unique strength as the WEA serves its constituency of Evangelical Alliances in nine regions and 143 countries.
On the second day, the CE team visited the Evangelical Alliance of the United Kingdom (EAUK), one of the strongest national Alliances with a history dating back to the same origins as the WEA in 1846. Meeting with the EAUK’s CEO Gavin Calver and a delegation of several leaders from the EAUK and other ministries, the time of sharing and networking proved fruitful to better understand the needs and opportunities, and how to support national Alliances like the EAUK.
Finally, the CE team also spent time reviewing the different areas represented in the department, discussing the current challenges within the global sphere and how they can together better respond to those now and into the future.
The Church Engagement Department works with Evangelical Alliances and the broader WEA family, providing programs and resources to enable them to develop healthy disciple-making churches that make a difference in their communities. It includes Art+, WEA Business Coalition, WEA Children’s Network, Converge, WEA Family Challenge, Pastoring of Pastors Task Force, WEA Women’s Commission, Discipling Nations Alliance, Global Children’s Forum, and World Without Orphans.