New York, NY - May 23, 2014
The World Evangelical Alliance Mission Commission (WEA MC) concluded its 13th Global Consultation in Izmir, Turkey. The triennial gathering held from May 12-16 brought together 210 missional leaders from 50 nations to focus on the theme ‘Gospel – Church – Witness’. One of the resulting documents is a ‘Letter from Smyrna’ to the Global Church that highlights relevant issues for the Church today.
"This was a unique consultation where we made use of the significant history of the geography to shape the consultation experience, and to inform discussions on the current realities of the Global Church," said Dr. Bertil Ekström, Executive Director of the WEA MC, referring to the location in Turkey that was the setting of the Apostle John’s letter to the seven ancient churches of Revelations 2 and 3.
“The consultation focused on the role of the Church in local and global mission and writing a letter as a recommendation to the Global Church was felt as the most appropriate way of sharing some of the ideas and conclusions from the event held in the context of the letters to the seven churches,” he added.
The letter “to our brothers and sisters in Christ” highlights relevant issues for the Church today and intends to help local churches to a deeper reflection on how the Gospel message should be communicated and to a more coherent action of the Church in its missional task.
This setting has been a profound reminder of the 2000 years of church history to which we are connected, of the struggles to ensure that the apostolic witness should be passed down faithfully, and of the reality that we today receive that witness because men and women laid down their lives rather than compromise the gospel, the letter says, and continues: We have been sobered by the recognition that we must constantly be reminded of what it means to be a child of God, and to remember God’s grace. We have seen that we can drift from love for God, and be taken up with being busy for God.
The Lord calls us to repent, deeply and with tears. He calls us to constant renewal of love for him. He calls us to persevere as joyful disciples, in love with Jesus.
The ancient creedal declaration that the church is “one, holy, catholic1, and apostolic”, speaks powerfully to us today. We call on the evangelical family to repent of competitiveness, duplication, and fragmentation, and to strive for the unity of fellowship, witness, and life that the Lord declares to be a fundamental sign of the credibility of the gospel.
We commit ourselves, and call upon the church, to demonstrate God’s power to transform people into Christ-likeness, to being the passionate disciple of an undivided heart, and the simplicity that encourages holiness of mind and life.
The full letter can be read here.
The consultation was also marked by the use of new technologies and communication tools that provide the WEA MC community with new ways of ongoing engagement in their work to serve the Global Church in general and the Evangelical Alliances and Mission Movements in particular. Furthermore, the work done by different WEA MC task forces at the consultation will lead to new books on the topics of ‘Mission Mobilization’, ‘Mission and Spirituality’ and ‘Church in Mission.’
Serving as an official commission within the World Evangelical Alliance, the Mission Commission is an international and inter-generational community of global mission leaders pro-actively reflecting on shared issues in order to advance God's mission. As disciples of Jesus we stand with national and regional mission movements and global networks as instruments to assist churches to engage in mission.
Over two billion Christians in the world today are represented by three world church bodies. The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) is one of those, serving and representing more than 600 million evangelicals. Launched in 1846 to unite evangelicals worldwide, the WEA continues to be a dynamic movement with 7 regional and 129 national Evangelical Alliances, and over 150 member organizations. WEA's mission is to speak as a trusted voice, to equip members and leaders for global impact and to connect its members and others for common action in the furtherance of God’s reign. For more info e-mail at [email protected] or go to Worldea.org.