by Dr. John W. Lucas
When I was first introduced to the Fellowship of Christian Assemblies in the early 1960’s two things impressed me the most:
– The emphasis upon the sovereignty of the local church vs. denominational authority and it’s ownership of church properties.
– The Fellowship’s strong missionary emphasis.
This strong missions emphasis was tremendous and was seen all over the FCA!
Congregations such as the Duluth Gospel Tabernacle (under the leadership of the late E.C. Erickson) and their investing of funds and manpower into the Liberia, West Africa field which has continued for more than 80 years.
Philadelphia Church in Seattle, Washington (under the late Roy Johnson) in church planting efforts throughout the Seattle area, purchasing of a radio station in Uruguay, South America, pioneering missions in Japan and their increasing involvement in Mexico.
The Philadelphia Church (Chicago) with their investment in Fred Weinberg’s Honduras missions and the Madison Gospel Tabernacle in providing faithful support to Jane White in Korea.
John Kennington in his insightful book “God’s House our Home” indicates in Chapter 12, “The Mission of the Local Church,” that “the FCA has 2.6 active missionaries per church” while the largest Pentecostal denomination in the U.S. has one missionary every 6.6 churches” (pp 175-176).
While I was privileged to serve the Canadian Fellowship as the National Coordinator, we endeavored to emphasize ministry to the ethnic groups who have been immigrating to Canada. As a result, the Canadian Fellowship currently enjoys an increasing membership of non-Caucasian pastors and local churches with weekly ministry across Canada in 21 languages. Children born abroad or immigrants to Canada in early childhood want to be Canadian. They appreciate their roots but prefer an English language church service. To address this unique situation, we have simultaneous services in other languages on our church premises. Parents enjoy their service in their mother tongue while the children join in the English Sunday School and youth activities with their adopted Canadian Christian family.
I was recently at a supper meeting in Toronto, Ontario with 50 FCA Filipino pastors and spouses in attendance. The speaker’s emphasis was to “maintain our ministerial focus” and not to go off on tangents. We also need to maintain our ministerial focus! We need to reach the nations coming to us too! The foreign university students during their study time in America; the immigrants and refugees who are trying to make new lives for themselves within our borders, the least reached in the world are now in our own backyard!
It is also reported that there are 78 million ex-church attenders in America. This is also a fertile mission field of reconnecting church drop-outs back into fellowship with God and with the local church. Millions of dollars have been invested in missionary efforts to other countries. Now we have the opportunity of reaching people who don’t know Christ here on North American soil. Don’t leave it to the parachurch agencies here and abroad. Let every FCA church accept this evangelistic challenge: Let’s stay focused on reaching EVERYONE with the Good News!
Dr. John Lucas has served in pastoral ministry for over 50 years and is the former National Coordinator of The Fellowship of Christian Assemblies of Canada and is now an Elder Emeritus of FCA Canada.