Category: Missions

Articles and updates to encourage and equip ministers as they seek to see God’s Kingdom advance as the Gospel is preached to all nations.

FCA Connections in Africa

The U.S. FCA lead elder, John Sprecher and Beau Lee, a church planter in Manhattan, NY, recently returned from attending the Nigerian FCA conference.

Beau Lee, missionary from LifeChurch in New York City, teaches at the Nigerian FCA Conference.

“I believe this was a very significant trip—on many levels,” reports Sprecher. Two primary areas of significant impact were in the teaching ministry at the conference and in the developing relationships among the delegations from various African nations.

Sprecher and Lee spoke and taught at the convention. Lee taught the concept of “tent-making”—working for pay in the community while serving in ministry at no charge. The fact that Lee is “tent-making” himself in New York City added to his credibility. He was touched by the similarities between Nigeria and Haiti, having previously spent seven months there seeing poverty firsthand. Besides helping pastors, the “tent-making” approach is hoped to encourage business people to use spiritual gifts in developing more ministries.

They also addressed theological distortions and extremes in Nigeria—such as the “seed faith” teaching where pastors urge people to give everything in hopes of receiving material blessings, as well as the principle of tithing the increase and not “eating the seed.” Lee has set up a closed Facebook group as a forum for their ongoing discussion and interaction.

Another significant development at the conference was the increasing connections between FCA ministers from various African countries. Five Liberian leaders were present—as well as delegates from Ethiopia, Cameroon, and Ivory Coast—further integrating what God is doing through various FCA connections in Africa.

Pastor Kelvin Leo Seneh from Liberia, preaching at the Nigerian FCA Conference.

African FCA leaders met to determine the next steps in their developing relationship. Some newer members suggested naming an African “secretariat,” but Bishop Success Samuel (from Nigeria) and Kelvin Leo Seneh (from Liberia) explained that would be inconsistent with the character of the FCA. The group then decided that the FCA in each nation would remain distinct and independent—but connected in partnership with each other, similar to the FCA in Canada and the United States.

The attenders were enthused about their new relationships, and many are already planning to be in Liberia in February while also looking forward to another “official” African conference in 2019, possibly in Cameroon.

Bishop Success reported that 13 new members have joined the Nigerian FCA, which now has about 90 churches and 220 ministers.

Some meetings were held in the unfinished FCA Bible School.

The FCA Bible School is now meeting in a building erected with the help of U.S. donations. When completed, it will have five classrooms each holding about 40 students, a double-sized room, two offices, and two bathrooms. The building currently has no doors or windows, but it handles 28 students as they are able to use what they have. Another dozen students or so meet at another site. Additional monies have been made available for some students as partial scholarships as matching funds when they pay their own tuition.

Sprecher observes, “Without question we are seeing a coming together of a truly African FCA, and I am honored to have the opportunity to see it develop.” He notes that while there will undoubtedly be ongoing challenges and much work to be done, there is far more to be encouraged about.

Lead Elder John Sprecher and Bishop Success Samuel.

—This article was drawn from information provided by John Sprecher, U.S. FCA Lead Elder

Joint Missions Venture Announced

Hope Expeditions, which works with FCA churches to send short-term teams to assist FCA missionaries with various projects, recently announced a reasonably priced trip this August  that promises tremendous impact.

“We’re hoping for a larger, multi-church team of people who can do manual labor and youth ministry for this trip,” says Chris DeLaughter, director of Hope Expeditions.

Plans call for a team to work with Pastor Drew Brattrud at Riverside Christian Assembly in California, for a few days doing youth ministry before then heading to Tijuana, Mexico, to work with a La Fuente church for a few more days. The church has a reputation for exciting and innovative youth outreach—like using sporting activities such as karate or dodge ball to attract an audience.

Riverside Christian Assembly uses innovative approaches—in this case, karate—to bring in the kids.

DeLaughter says, “If you have a heart for young people, feel confident teaching the
Word of God and are ready to serve, this is a trip for you!” He encourages people to take time to pray to see if God would lead them to be part of this adventure. More information is available by checking out the Hope Expeditions website.

Extending Hope

New ministry seeks to link long- and short-term missions

The mission field has often been relegated to two types of missions: short- and long-term missions.  Some feel the call of God to take up permanent residence in the nations they are sent to, and to live and minister there.  Others go on week- or month-long trips to help with a specific project or participate in a ministry overseas.  Both types of missions are powerful in their own way, and God has used both to impact the world.

However, the majority of the Church have never gone on a missions trip or participated in missions in any significant way.  Some provide financial support and prayer ministry for long-term missionaries, of course, and that is incredibly important. But even those roles are filled by only a very small percentage of Christians.

We have felt the call to minister to and assist long-term missionaries, but we also hope to motivate others. We want to get as much of the Church as possible involved in missions in some way.  Hope Expeditions was birthed from this idea: take the everyday believer and give them the chance to serve and minister in unfamiliar territory.  Let them not just see what God is doing around the world, but participate in it as well.

Hope Expeditions is a young ministry based in the Chicago area. We are committed to taking the Gospel of Christ to every nation by taking teams of believers on short-term trips to help long-term missionaries with their ministries.  Long-term missionaries are some of the toughest and most devoted members of the Body of Christ, and it is our privilege to serve them.  No matter how much support they have from home, they always have more work that needs to be done  and more people to be reached.  Our mission is to help missionaries fulfill theirs.

When Hope Expeditions sends a team, they are sent to serve and minister in whatever way is needed.  They are given training, information, and encouragement. Most importantly, however, they learn to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to direct and sustain them.  Our teams are always made up of dedicated, hard-working believers who, regardless of the limitations of their experience, are ready and willing to help in any way they can.

Short-term trips have come under plenty of criticism for many reasons.  It is said that they do not leave a lasting impact or that they simply don’t foster the types of close relationships God uses among his people.  Hope Expeditions is devoted to developing lasting, long-term relationships within the Body of Christ and to focusing on projects and ministries that will have an impact long after the team departs.  Furthermore, we grow our relationships with the people to whom we minister and return to the same places on subsequent trips.

Our projects all have a long-term focus as well.  We don’t just build churches, dig wells, fix houses, or run evangelism meetings.  We foster relationships, discover the greatest needs of the people we are going to serve, and we work to meet that need, both on our trips and from home.  We partner with our long-term missionary contacts to complete projects in the way they need.  The goal is to serve them while getting the entire Church more involved in missions.

Going on one of these trips has a profound impact in the lives of our team members.  It changes them.  As one team member from last year put it: “It was so much fun and every day was packed with something. But most importantly, I grew closer to God’s people. I fell in love with helping and serving, because that’s what God has called us to do. I love people because God loves me.”

After a trip, most team members are eager to go on another.  Many continue to develop and grow their new friendships with people they met and ministered to overseas, and many more continue to support missions after their trip.  Some become close, long-term friends with the people they met and use social media to stay in contact.  One couple has continually supported and been in close contact with a pastor they served with on a Hope Expeditions trip.

The effect on each team member is long-term.  They don’t view missions as just another ministry anymore; it becomes a part of them.  They tell their family, their friends, and their church.  The Gospel is spread, God’s people are served and encouraged, and he is glorified through it all.  We are honored to be a part of the work he is doing all around the world.

by Christopher DeLaughter, Director of Operations, Hope Expeditions

 

A Call to Missions

David Rice, missionary to Mexico, delivered a timely and impassioned word to ministers at the 2017 US FCA convention, held in New York last week.

David Rice, missionary to Mexico.

“The Holy Spirit does not anoint a method or a machine or an organization,” he said. “The Spirit anoints men and women!” Men [and women] are still God’s method—and planting them to plant churches is still God’s mission, Rice said. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is still the means God uses to accomplish his mission.

He challenged the churches of the FCA to take John 4:35 to heart. “Lift up your eyes and look,” he said. “See the need; see what God wants to do!”

Rice listed what he called some “worrisome trends”: sending others versus sending us; sending money versus sending people; sending short- versus sending long-term missionaries; and substituting projects for people.

Hear Rice’s entire message by clicking here.

Floods Devastate Parts of Tanzania

Twenty-three families lost loved ones, homes, or their personal possessions—and some lost everything. Many flood victims from Kasansa now live in a public building intended for storing crops after harvest. The FCA can give them hope.

On March 31, flash floods in western Tanzania transformed small streams into piles of rocks, trees, and rubble as water and mud came blasting down the mountain. Six deaths have been confirmed with a seventh yet to be found.
Missionary Tori Rasmussen, who had helped build a dam complete with holding tanks and pipes to supply water to the village of Kasansa, tells of many houses being totally leveled, leaving only foundations. “Burnt brick is no match to tons of water and rock!” he said.
Prayers are needed as Tori works to provide basic shelters for 23 families who lost homes and/or possessions. He also aims to restore the village’s water supply. Estimated costs for both projects together are about $12,000. Donations may be sent using gofundme.com/cz7zex-flood-disaster-relief

Many houses were washed away by the flood, leaving only ruined foundations and bricks in the mud and water.

A raging surge of water 4½ feet high smashed into this house.