(May 28, 2009) If Wednesday at the FCA Convention focused on nearby stresses, Thursday was the day for facing global needs.
Rob Morris, president and founder of an organization that fights child-sex trafficking, shocked the convention with the reality of 27 million slaves in our world today. “Two children are sold every minute into the sex industry,” he declared—an industry that now rakes in $32 billion a year.
“I hate the default mentality that says, ‘Well, it will never end,’” Morris continued. “William Wilberforce in the early 19th century wouldn’t give up until the trans-Atlantic slave trade was banished. We can do the same. That’s part of what the Lord’s Prayer—‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’—is about.”
Morris’s organization is called Love146 (www.love146.org), named after his first research trip to a Southeast Asian capital confronted him with brothels where young girls were displayed behind a glass window and identified for customers only by numbers pinned to their dresses. One girl, No. 146, especially caught his attention by the flicker of hope still in her eyes.
“In our ministry, we’re seeing that more and more churches are awakening to justice issues—despite the recession,” Morris said. “They are reading Micah 5:8 again and determining to take action.”
In the convention’s evening missionary service, Ron Frances of YWAM highlighted the challenge of what he called“unengaged unreached people groups”—some 639 of them across the world. These are populations that have no functioning church—and no mission group trying to establish one. He handed out materials to guide FCA churches in making the connection.
“In order to thrive, we as Christians have to give away what we’ve received,” Francis said. “We have to walk in humility with other mission leaders, who may not be North American. We have to intentionally mobilize.
“And we can do it. After all, there are 600 charismatic / Pentecostal churches in the world for every unreached people group. It’s time to step up.”
Between the plenary sessions was another hour of workshops, two concurrent luncheons (for men, for women), and the annual business meeting. Board selections emerged as follows:
Retiring from the board, mainly due to term limits: Mark Brattrud, Rich Doebler, Tom Flaherty, Dan Hammer, Harry Schmidt
Continuing on the board: Floyd Nicholson (New City, N.Y.), special missions representative Rich Collingridge
Elected to the board: David Carlson (Moreno Valley, Calif.), Dan Eide (Arlington, Wash.), Carl Johnson (New City, N.Y.),John Sprecher (Rockford, Ill.), Carol Warner (St. Paul, Minn.).
(The board subsequently chose Eide to be president, Sprecher to be vice-president, Warner to be secretary, and Nicholson to be treasurer.)
The rest of the board’s 21 member positions are to be filled within 60 days by regional representatives, using the following allocations based on number of churches:
Northeast (NY), 3 seats
Lower Midwest (IL), 2 seats
Central Midwest (WI), 2 seats
Upper Midwest (MN), 2 seats
Northwest (WA): 3 seats
Southwest (CA): 2 seats
In other business:
–A budget similar to last year’s was approved.
–The Heritage Committee has added a sixth member: John Lucas III (Calgary, Alberta).
–Funds raised over the past year for church planting will now be disbursed to four start-up efforts underway in suburban Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Phoenix.
–The governance and operation of Fellowship Press is moving to a new model, with just six board members (three American, three Canadian) and direct line-item funding from the two national budgets, instead of relying on voluntary subsidies from assorted local churches. The national boards will appoint the Fellowship Press board members.
–A new standing Convention Committee has been formed to organize U.S. conventions in the future (replacing regional committees that change from venue to venue). Members of the new committee include Jim Hilbur, Harry Schmidt, Carol Warner, and two others to be named later.
–An American study of Canada’s recently installed structure, which utilizes national elders, is underway. A two-page assessment of this, written by Dan Hammer, will be attached to the minutes, and the U.S. regions should give careful review to this. The topic will come to the convention floor in 2010.
–During the open-comment period, former national coordinator Bob Forseth expressed his concern about ongoing loss of FCA member churches—why do they disconnect from the Fellowship? Various reasons and remedies were then discussed.
–Paul Vallee (Red Deer, Alberta) issued a warm invitation for the next convention, a joint effort of the two countries, to be held in his city April 20-22, 2010.