Aligning our Church for Mission

December 8, 2023

Dear Friends and Partners in the Ministry of the Allegheny West Conference,

Greetings in the name of Jesus!

It is my prayer your celebrations of Advent and Christmas will be filled with hopeful anticipation—as you remember the ancient prophesy:

“Unto us a child is born, and unto us a son is given…” (Isaiah 9:6a)

The child born prophesied by Isaiah and other prophets was Jesus—God’s Son.  He was born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, and lived a perfect and sinless life.  He died a sacrificial death on a Roman cross as an atonement for our sin, was buried in a borrowed tomb, and was resurrected on the third day.  He appeared to His disciples for forty days—and before He ascended to heaven to take His rightful place at the right hand of God the Father, Jesus commissioned His followers to:

(Jesus said) “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

The words of the Great Commission have shaped and focused the mission of the “Big C” Church of Jesus Christ ever since.  When disciples in “little c” churches have been intentional to go and make disciples—among all people groups—baptizing—and teaching them to obey Jesus—the church has flourished.

A Movement to Equip Discipleship

At our core, we desire that the Global Methodist Church will not only reclaim accountable discipleship (as I wrote last month)—our goal is to be a movement committed to equipping our people to go and be as disciples who make disciples who make disciples wherever they live, work, study and play.  The orientation of our congregation’s mission is outside the walls of our church building into our communities, region, nation and world.  This is the kind of mission engagement Jesus told his disciples they would engage in on the day He ascended into heaven saying:

(Jesus said) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Preparing our people and engaging them to live on mission is part of our denominational DNA. We’re a movement of congregations aligned in mission, and I encourage every local church to develop mission partnerships in their community, region, and outside the United States.  I know many churches are already engaged in their communities (their Jerusalem)—supporting food ministries, thrift stores, after school tutoring, partnering with a local school to provide support, etc.  The same is true for mission partnerships in their region (their Judea and Samaria)—prison ministries, campus ministries, supporting foster care families, disaster response teams, etc.  I celebrate the churches who engage in mission with other cultures around the world—sending short term mission teams, supporting missionaries and pastors, building church buildings, schools, and clinics, digging wells, etc.

For years, we’ve focused our mission efforts at the churches I’ve served by challenging our people to PRAY, GIVE, and GO.  Everyone can pray!  Everybody can give—something!  And while not everybody can go—every church can send people to go serve in mission in their community, region, and world. I encourage all the Global Methodists in the Allegheny West Conference to embrace a life of living on mission and find way PRAY for, GIVE to, and GO to serve and support mission partners. For those who need help, our Conference Mission Team is developing a webpage on our Conference website where they will share mission “best practices” and potential partners.  You can visit the webpage under construction here.

As a conference, we want our circuits and the churches in them to begin to share some of this missional DNA.  Therefore, I’ve asked each Presiding Elder to work with their circuit to help the churches on the circuit to align each church on a circuit to partner with a local, national, and international mission partner.

The model for international mission partnerships on a denominational level is the development of Conference Mission Partnerships.  This effort is being led by our bishops and partnerships are being developed between conferences—and the circuits, and churches in those conferences.

Conference Mission Partnerships

At the December 12 Conference Council meeting, I’ll request that we begin the process of entering into a Conference Mission Partnership with the Kenya Provisional Annual Conference (PAC). If approved by the Conference Council, the Kenya PAC will receive part of our miracle offering next May (to support the operating the conference office in Kenya).  It is our hope that many of our circuits will partner with a circuit in Kenya—and each church on the circuit will relate to a church on that circuit.  You would be amazed at what providing a $100 per month or purchasing a motorcycle can do for a pastor—or how inexpensive it can be to build a church building or dig a well where there are none.

Sometime this year, we will send an advance party from our conference to develop relationships, assess needs, and formalize the covenant relationship with our partners in Kenya. If you are interested in being a part of an advance party to visit and help formalize the partnership, please send me an e-mail at jgreenway@alleghenywestgmc.org.

I invite all of us to begin to PRAY—consider what we might GIVE—and get ready to GO and live on mission. It’s likely that with 585 churches (as of today) the Allegheny West Conference may have Conference Mission Partnerships with one or two other provisional conferences, but we will begin this year with Kenya.

The strength of the global church will rise or fall on our dependence upon God—and the development and strength of living on mission locally, regionally, and especially in these Conference Mission Partnerships.

I’m blessed and honored to share this season of ministry with you.

Jeff Greenway | President Pro-Tempore