World Mission Philosophy and Program Review
1989 Church of the Brethren Statement
The following three queries came to the 1986 Annual Conference meeting in Norfolk, Virginia. The delegate body responded to the concerns of the queries:
- Foreign Churches and Persons Wanting Association with the Church of the Brethren
- Review of World Mission Philosophy and Program Statement
- Mission Strategy as it Relates to Existing and Emerging Churches
QUERY: FOREIGN CHURCHES AND PERSONS WANTING ASSOCIATION WITH THE CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN
WHEREAS: the Church of the Brethren has made world missions part of its work in this century,
AND WHEREAS: many congregations and individuals from diverse parts of the world including South Korea, Brazil, Japan, the Philippines, Ecuador, and others have shown interest in joining the Church of the Brethren in spreading the gospel with Brotherhood support,
AND WHEREAS: this is a rather new form of evangelistic mission for our Church which differs from the traditional missionary forms and from the present interpretation of the World Mission Philosophy paper,
AND WHEREAS: Annual Conference has made evangelism a priority for the Church, we, the Poplar Grove congregation, in council session, ask Annual Conference how do we, as the Church of the Brethren, relate to these individuals and congregations who wish association with us and what are the guidelines used for determining their membership or association with us
Earl McCombs, Moderator; Wavelene Denniston, Church Clerk
Action of the Southern Ohio District Conference meeting October 26, 1985 at the Donnels Creek Church of the Brethren: Passed to Annual Conference.
Wilbur Mullen, Moderator; Doris Shank, Writing Clerk
QUERY: REVIEW OF WORLD MISSION PHILOSOPHY AND PROGRAM STATEMENT
The Glendale, California Church of the Brethren, in its congregational council meeting on July 21, 1985 sent its request for a review of the Mission Philosophy Policy to the 1985 delegate assembly of the Pacific Southwest Conference for approval.
WHEREAS: our denomination’s World Mission Philosophy and Program Statement was adopted by Annual Conference in 1981 at the end of an era when we had sent white Americans to other nations to establish “foreign” missions; and
WHEREAS: in more recent years, a growing number of people of other nations see our denomination as a church which takes the New Testament seriously and, with its historic emphasis on peace and justice rooted in solid Biblical faith, is uniquely fitted to reach them; and
WHEREAS: many of these peoples are asking us to permit them to establish the Church of the Brethren in their own lands; and
WHEREAS: our work with ethnic minority groups in this country, in instances, is directly related to our openness to receiving people of the same background in their own countries;
THEREFORE: we, the Glendale, California Church of the Brethren in council meeting, July 21, 1985, ask the Annual Conference meeting in Norfolk, Virginia, June 24-29, 1986, through the Pacific Southwest Conference delegate assembly, meeting in McFarland, California, November 8-10, 1985, to review the Mission Philosophy and Program Statement to see if it needs to be reinterpreted or revised to allow for the establishment of new congregations and districts beyond the borders of the United States.
Ed Hamilton, Board Chair; Gertrude Binion, Clerk
Action of the District Board of Administration, August 17, 1985: Passed to go to delegate assembly, November 8-10, 1985.
Marlin Heckman, Chair, PSWC Board of Administration; Myrna Wheeler, Secretary
Action of the Delegate Assembly, Pacific Southwest Conference, McFarland, California, Church of the Brethren, November 9, 1985: Passed to 1986 Annual Conference at Norfolk, Virginia.
Dwayne Brubaker, Moderator; Elaine Harmon, Recording Secretary
QUERY: MISSION STRATEGY AS IT RELATES TO EXISTING AND EMERGING CHURCHES
BACKGROUND REGARDING MISSION POLICY
- During the decades in which the Church of the Brethren was establishing churches outside of the continental United States, in countries such as Denmark, China, India, Nigeria, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, and Canada, the overseas congregations were either members of American districts or constituted one or more districts of their own, being overseas districts of the one Church of the Brethren. This could be called “Stage One” in our relationship with overseas congregations.
- Annual Conference mission policy since 1955 (Grand Rapids Conference) has been to “encourage the building of indigenous churches abroad,” and to support local decision-making in our historical overseas mission areas. Since that time, congregations and districts of the Church of the Brethren in Canada, Ecuador, and India have merged into united churches in their countries; the congregations in Puerto Rico have become part of an expanded District of Florida and Puerto Rico, and districts in Nigeria have formed an autonomous Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. The nature and extent of our covenant relationship with these churches have been set by past Annual Conferences. This could be called “Stage Two” in our relationship with overseas congregations.
- At the present time, overseas churches—whether from Church of the Brethren mission background or not—are choosing to relate to the Church of the Brethren (USA) not in “dependence,” or “independence,” but in “interdependence.” The development of a world-wide affiliation of Churches of the Brethren in which autonomous churches from different countries establish fraternal relationships of equality (perhaps with periodic delegated conferences) might become a “Stage Three” in our relationship with overseas congregations.
- In 1969 (Louisville Conference), we encouraged and supported the decision of the congregations in the two districts of the Church of the Brethren in India to join in the newly-being-formed Church of North India (CNI), inaugurated on November 29, 1970. We pledged “the Brotherhood’s continuing prayers, support, and love” reaffirming the 1955 statement that “it is to be expected that the fellowship between our church in America and the churches abroad will continue throughout the years through exchange of spiritual leadership and the sharing of resources.”
- In December, 1978, a portion of the Bulsar congregation decided to separate from the CNI. In 1980 (Pittsburgh Conference), we decided not to give consideration to granting their (Bulsar’s) request for reinstatement in our denomination. Our commitment to support the vast majority of the former Brethren who, at that time, remained in the CNI was a major reason we rejected the Bulsar congregation’s request. We pledged our help in trying to reconcile the separated portion of the Bulsar congregation with the CNI.
- There are now portions of eight former Brethren congregations and several mission centers that have separated from the CNI, functioning together as a separate denomination. This represents a different situation from that faced by the 1980 Annual Conference delegates.
- The Brethren who have left the CNI request recognition by the Church of the Brethren (USA) as a denomination separate from the CNI. They wish to use the name “Church of the Brethren in India.” (See their letters of request dated August 25, 1984, Appendix).
- The Church of the Brethren (USA) wishes to continue our covenant relationship with and to fulfill our financial and resource commitment to the CNI.
As of 1984, Onaldo Pereira was calling two congregations in Brazil by the name “Church of the Brethren.” These churches have embraced the philosophy of the pacifist stance of the Church of the Brethren and are close in identity to our worship and beliefs. They would like for us to relate to them in some official way.
The Pacific Southwest Conference now has Korean congregations and is actively involved with a mission program in Korea.
THEREFORE WE PETITION ANNUAL CONFERENCE
Therefore, we, the members of the West Richmond Church of the Brethren, assembled in congregational business meeting, October 13, 1985, petition Annual Conference through the Virlina District Church of the Brethren, to appoint a study committee to review the broad issues of our relationships with overseas churches desiring recognition by or relationship with the Church of the Brethren, with special focus on India, Korea, and Brazil.
We suggest that a sub-committee of three persons be appointed to visit India and immediately address concerns of the Church of North India (CNI) and the group of persons with Brethren heritage who have separated from the CNI.
- The sub-committee’s primary task would be exploring the issue of how we should relate to those two groups and report to the 1987 Annual Conference with recommendations.
- The sub-committee should be open to the possibility that both sides might request to meet together with the sub-committee playing a mediating role.
- We further suggest that the sub-committee be comprised of: one person to represent the World Ministries Commission; one person with prior India experience who is known and trusted by both sides of the India issue; and, one person to represent the perspective and concerns of the Brethren who have separated from the CNI.
Nancy Crawford, Moderator; Faye Reber, Church Clerk
Recommendation of Virlina District Board to District Conference: We recommend that the Query be passed on to Annual Conference with the understanding that the suggestions (in section E beyond the first paragraph) are not meant to be directive as an answer to the query, but are offered as the result of careful thought by the West Richmond Church and the District Study Committee.
Action of 1985 Virlina District Conference meeting at the Cloverdale Church, Roanoke, VA, November 9, 1985: The query was approved, including the Recommendation of the District Board to District Conference to be passed on to the 1986 Annual Conference.
Edith Griffith, Moderator; Joanne Cassell, Writing Clerk
Action of 1986 Annual Conference: C. Truman Reinoehl, the Standing Committee delegate from Western Plains district, presented two recommendations from Standing Committee to the 1986 Annual Conference.
- Standing Committee saw the concerns of the three queries (FOREIGN CHURCHES AND PERSONS WANTING ASSOCIATION WITH THE CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN, REVIEW OF WORLD MISSION PHILOSOPHY AND PROGRAM STATEMENT, and MISSION STRATEGY AS IT RELATES TO EXISTING AND EMERGING CHURCHES) as very similar in nature with the exception of Section B, “Regarding India,” and related portions of Section E in the query MISSION STRATEGY AS IT RELATES TO EXISTING AND EMERGING CHURCHES. The recommendation presented from Standing Committee and adopted by the delegate body was that the item regarding India be dealt with as a separate item and that the remainder of the query, MISSION STRATEGY AS IT RELATES TO EXISTING AND EMERGING CHURCHES, and the queries, FOREIGN CHURCHES AND PERSONS WANTING ASSOCIATION WITH THE CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN, and REVIEW OF WORLD MISSION PHILOSOPHY AND PROGRAM STATEMENT, be considered as one issue.
In regards to the one issue of similar concerns of the three queries, the delegate body of the 1986 Annual Conference adopted the recommendation with one amendment for which the wording is incorporated in the following text: Annual Conference basically affirms the philosophy of world mission reflected by the Annual Conference statement, WORLD MISSION PHILOSOPHY AND PROGRAM, adopted in 1981.
However, because of the concern of members of at least three districts of the denomination that the mission philosophy is being interpreted too narrowly and that there are additional factors in the changing world scene that the 1981 statement may not address, Standing Committee recommends that Annual Conference appoint a committee of five people to evaluate:
- whether the concerns of the queries (FOREIGN CHURCHES AND PERSONS WANTING ASSOCIATION WITH THE CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN, REVIEW OF WORLD MISSION PHILOSOPHY AND PROGRAM STATEMENT, and MISSION STRATEGY AS IT RELATES TO EXISTING AND EMERGING CHURCHES, with the exception of Section B and related portions of Section E in the latter query) can be accomplished in keeping with the philosophy, especially in regard to a) the establishment of the Church of the Brethren in countries other than the United States and b) the nature of relationships with church groups in other countries.
- whether the statement of 1981 needs to be updated or revised to specifically include situations in which a) ethnic groups in the United States wish to become congregations of the Church of the Brethren, and b) nationals from other countries desire to do mission work in affiliation with the Church of the Brethren in their home countries.
This committee shall report to the 1987 Annual Conference. If its evaluation suggests changes in or additions to the 1981 WORLD MISSION PHILOSOPHY AND PROGRAM STATEMENT, the committee shall bring the recommended revisions in its report.
The following persons were elected by the 1986 Annual Conference delegate body to serve on the Annual Conference WORLD MISSION PHILOSOPHY AND PROGRAM REVIEW COMMITTEE: Charles M. Bieber, Karen Spohr Carter, Robert A. Hess, Roger Ingold, and J. Benton Rhoades.
Glen A. Campbell, a Standing Committee delegate from the South/Central Indiana district, presented the Standing Committee recommendation regarding Section B and related portions of Section E of the query, MISSION STRATEGY AS IT RELATES TO EXISTING AND EMERGING CHURCHES. The delegates adopted the recommendation that stated: Due to the long and unique historical and legal relationship of the Church of the Brethren in the United States to the former Brethren in India (the majority of whom are now members of the Church of North India, and a minority who have withdrawn from the CNI and formed a separate church), and due to the number of very complex issues involved, particularly in relating to the separated group, the Standing Committee recommends that Annual Conference officers appoint a special committee of five people to address the concerns of the query, MISSION STRATEGY AS IT RELATES TO EXISTING AND EMERGING CHURCHES, that pertain to India. This committee should work particularly in the area of fraternal relationships and reconciliation, being sensitive to the feelings and concern of all Christians involved. Any action taken by the special committee or by Annual Conference should in no way endanger or impair the covenant made by the Brethren in India in 1969-70 which united them officially and legally with the Church of North India. This committee shall report its progress to the 1987 Annual Conference with a full report to the 1988 Annual Conference.
The officers of the 1986 Annual Conference appointed the following persons to serve the committee, CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN/INDIA FRATERNAL RELATIONSHIPS AND RECONCILIATION: Glen A. Campbell, Chalmer C. Dilling, Edith C. Griffith, Kenneth E. McDowell, LaVon Widegren Rupel.
Action of the 1988 Annual Conference: The report of the Annual Conference study committee for REVIEW OF WORLD MISSION PHILOSOPHY AND PROGRAM STATEMENT was presented by J. Benton Rhoades, chairperson.
A motion was adopted to recommit the REVIEW OF WORLD MISSION PHILOSOPHY AND PROGRAM STATEMENT to a new Annual Conference study committee to include persons with strong evangelistic interests and at least one with a different ethnic background. The resulting study of this committee should be in harmony with the overall thrust of the Goals for the 90s.
A subsequent motion was adopted directing the Annual Conference officers to establish the guidelines and give direction to the Nominating Committee in the preparation of the study committee ballot.
The committee of five (5) members elected by the 1988 Annual Conference were René A. Calderón, Phyllis Noland Carter, Wendell P. Flory, Duane H. Ramsey, and Anet Daniel Satvedi.
Secretary's Note: The report as it is now printed includes three (3) amendments from the study committee and is the text as presented by the committee to the delegate body for debate.
1989 COMMITTEE REPORT
A STATEMENT OF MISSION THEOLOGY AND GUIDELINES FOR PROGRAM
The 1989 World Mission Philosophy and Program Review Committee understands its task to be twofold:
- To review and evaluate the 1981 Annual Conference Statement on World Mission Philosophy and Program and recommend changes in that statement wherein it may need to be updated or revised.
- To provide guidelines for the Church of the Brethren mission work in the United States and other countries.
Our committee concurs with recent Annual Conference responses that the 1981 statement basically expresses a sound theology of mission and that many of its guidelines remain valid as we plan our ministries for the 1990s. There is, however, as was reported to the 1988 Annual Conference, “a broad spectrum of faith positions” related to the theology of mission held by the membership of the Church of the Brethren, and a strong interest throughout the denomination which does not reject the philosophy and guidelines adopted in 1981, but which does endorse a more extensive program of mission in other nations as well as in the United States.
In submitting the following report, the committee does not attempt to identify specific areas of mission for the Church of the Brethren in the 1990s. Rather, we present a theology of mission and guidelines for the establishment and development of programs that are faithful to God’s presence in the world, and to our commitment as disciples of Jesus Christ and members of the Church of the Brethren.
A THEOLOGY OF MISSION
The Christian mission is God’s mission on earth. By definition, Christian mission means all God-motivated efforts to make Christ known, loved, and obeyed, so that the good news may result in discipleship in our personal and family lives, in the institutions of society, and in the whole range of human relationships. The ultimate objective is to redeem, heal, and lift all of life.
The root word for mission is mission, a Latin term meaning sending, or sending forth. For Christian believers to be in mission is to be responsive to the mandate placed upon them by God.
The Biblical Imperative
Throughout the scriptures the people of God are called to venture to the ends of the earth to fulfill God’s purposes for history. The call is an invitation to be partners with God in mission and is a promise of new life when the church is faithful. The Holy Spirit plays a primary role in each venture of mission. It is God’s mission, not ours. The church that has accepted God’s redemptive act in Jesus Christ must also accept the call of Jesus to be witnesses in his name to all people.
The biblical narrative lifts up a number of themes that help us to clarify our mandate.
- Mission is bringing persons to a new awareness of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. It is the commitment of our lives within the Body of Christ to witness and service.
Mission is a calling to live for the sake of the world, not for our own sake alone. “. . . I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach out to the end of the earth” (Isa. 49:6). These words given to a community of Jewish exiles call God’s people to a global vision of mission. God’s yearning that all the peoples of the earth know and accept divine love instructs each of us to look beyond our own salvation, across cultures and languages, in the United States and abroad.
Christ calls us to be the church which knows no human barriers. We are called to reach out and receive our neighbors beside us and beyond us. John 3:16 proclaims “God so loved the world . . .” Our love and ministry must embrace the total world which God loves.
- Mission is a going forth into the world, empowered by the Spirit who guides us. “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). We are called to move out into the world, always remembering that Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem and died on a cross outside Jerusalem. We are to be with people where they are, especially the poor and the oppressed. “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us” (2 Cor. 5:20).
- Mission is inviting others to become disciples, to respond to the reign of God announced by Jesus. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20). We are sent into the world to invite people and nations to accept the true rule of God which brings life and hope. We go, therefore, to baptize persons into communities of disciples who teach and practice the message of Jesus.
- Mission is something we both practice and receive, a mutual enterprise on the part of all God’s people. “As a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their want, so that their abundance may supply your want, that there may be equality” (2 Cor. 8:14). Chapters 8 and 9 of 2 Corinthians refer to an offering which Gentile believers on one continent gave to minister to the needs of Jewish believers on another continent—Jewish believers through whom the Gentiles themselves received the gift of the gospel! Mission flows both ways, a process of mutual giving and receiving.
- Mission is one throughout the world. There is one gospel of salvation and one Lord and Savior who is the Light of the World. “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who are to believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, . . . so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:20,21). After prayer for his disciples Jesus prays for the Church, the company of the faithful to be won from the world by their faithful witness, and for its unity under God. Mission is not divisive or fragmenting but upbuilding and unifying, proclaiming oneness.
- Mission is striving for the victory of God’s righteousness through peace and justice. It is God’s righteousness that liberates the human family from injustice and oppression. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me . . . to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18,19; see also Isa. 61:1,2). This is a recurring concern for justice and mercy in human relationships (Isa. 42:1-4; Amos 5:14,15; Mic. 6:6-8). From this imperative Jesus moved into his ministry:
- He saw people in poverty and despair and gave them good news.
- He saw people in bondage and oppression and called for their liberation.
- He saw the sick, blind, prejudiced, racist, and sexist, and offered wholeness and healing.
- He saw unjust systems and challenged them.
- He saw persons whose understanding of God’s ways was inadequate and opened their eyes.
- He saw people struggling under the burden of sin and offered them forgiveness and abundant life.
Through Jesus, the Word made flesh, God moved into history to bring shalom to all. The same God guides and directs the Body of Christ through the Holy Spirit to bring shalom, now and in the time to come.
Jesus’ Mission, Our Mission
Through the biblical imperative to “go, make disciples, baptize, teach,” Jesus’ mission clearly becomes our mission. The church and each member of it is called to be “in mission,” under the constraint of the Holy Spirit reaching out to all people by word and deed.
In the coming decade and beyond we are called:
—to reach out and receive as sisters and brothers all who are near and far, to proclaim the gospel, to bear witness to our faith in word and deed.
—to invite people to the Person and church of Jesus Christ.
—to embody the Word diligently and prayerfully.
—to bring healing and wholeness within our personal lives, our families, our communities, our society and beyond.
—to extend compassion and care to those in need.
—to become peacemakers in whatever capacity we can, renewing the ministry of reconciliation as Christ has reconciled us.
—to nurture a deep prayer life and openness to the Holy Spirit, and to receive the gifts of spiritual renewal that are offered to all those who love God and humanity.
—to live more fully according to the pattern of Christ’s life with reverence for God and all creation.
As Jesus entered this world, we the church, the body of Christ in the world, enter into the world’s pain and suffering to bring new life and hope.
Let us seek “to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1-3).
The World Context in which the Church of the Brethren is Called to Mission
- Political divisions continue to foster distrust and fear. Nationalism and lingering resentments that originated in imperialistic times divide nations and peoples. Legal and political restrictions hinder travel for the sharing of the Christian faith.
- Worldwide urbanization is altering life in dramatic ways. Hundreds of millions of people have moved from rural to urban areas. The consequences of the urbanization process are phenomenal: enormous unmanageable cities, appalling squalor in slum living, massive unemployment, rampant lawlessness and crime, millions of rootless, landless, homeless people.
- The world is experiencing a resurgence of religions competing with one another. The development of secular, scientific, humanistic and political ideologies, and the tremendous spiritual and moral needs of people present an awesome challenge to the church in mission.
- Militarism continues to expand in ways that threaten to destroy our world civilization. Nations spend billions of dollars for armaments, squandering resources that should be used to provide for basic life needs of the human family.
- Poverty, misery, and illness oppress a majority of the world’s population. Hunger and starvation are widespread. Illiteracy, discrimination, and violation of fundamental human rights, often based upon unchecked racism continue to exploit large numbers of God’s people.
- Spiritual hunger is widespread in affluent and technological cultures as well in countries where poverty and oppression abound.
- The church is present in most nations of the world. Early missionaries made disciples and established congregations. In this we rejoice, knowing that Christ Jesus continues to be confessed and served. We are called to support and extend this witness.
For the Church of the Brethren, as part of the Body of Christ, that is actively present in the world and that desires to extend the gospel of Jesus Christ to others, these guidelines shall be followed:
- We are called to plant the church and proclaim the full gospel, preaching, teaching, healing, baptizing, evangelizing wherever we are able to go. The Church of the Brethren has a message and ministry much needed in the world today. Our purpose is to establish new missions and new congregations, beginning “in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
- We will continue to share the “cup of cold water” in Christ’s name (Matt. 10:42). We will work for peace, justice, and equality at home and abroad. We will continue to be ministers of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18). Christ has entrusted to us compassion for all who are oppressed and downtrodden (Luke 4:18,19).
- The gospel of Jesus Christ knows no boundaries. We will, however, seek to follow the legal and political guidelines of each country in open and honorable ways, careful always to respect the integrity and culture of other peoples. In all actions we will seek to be guided by the will of God and the leadings of the Holy Spirit.
- The principles of indigenization, mutuality, and interdependence will guide our efforts. We will cooperate with other Christians. We will be alert to possibilities for integration of personnel and other resources by offering and receiving persons with specialized gifts.
- We will seek to maintain vital ties with churches abroad. The Church of the Brethren will seek to facilitate world meetings of like-minded Christian bodies (especially those that have resulted from Church of the Brethren mission efforts) as equal planners and participants.
- It is precisely because of the world context in which we live that we believe the Church of the Brethren has a message that is critical for our world. The Church of the Brethren with ministries of evangelism, agriculture, education, disaster relief, medical and other services, is called to carry God’s message of love to all the world.
- The responsibility for aggressively exploring new programs in mission and ministry lies with our denomination’s congregations and boards or councils and staff designated for that purpose. When a new congregation is established or another Christian group that wishes to associate with the Church of the Brethren is located within the United States or Puerto Rico, authority for defining and developing those and future relationships lies with the districts. When a new congregation or church group is located outside of the United States or Puerto Rico, authority for defining relationships lies with Annual Conference.
To live faithfully in mission, proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ:
- We call upon all members of the Church of the Brethren to understand that each member is a minister of Christ. Hands have been laid upon us at baptism, and we are called to be ambassadors, evangelists, and friends of Jesus expressing our faith in winsome ways with those we love, live next to, with whom we work or go to school or know even casually.
- We call upon each congregation to see itself as “in mission.” Every congregation in the Church of the Brethren is set in the midst of a mission field. In the communities where we live there are people who are lonely, lost, and in need of a Savior. We urge each congregation to take seriously the imperative to share the gospel with those close at hand and to actively support the planting of other congregations. Living as God’s friends we will share hospitality and a Christian witness to overseas students in colleges and universities near our homes and churches.
- We call upon every congregation to join in ministry with ethnic groups who are in sympathy with our basic theological positions, sharing facilities for meetings, encouraging leadership development, respecting each other’s language and customs, participating in the life of each other’s congregations at all points possible, and nurturing one another in the Church of the Brethren anabaptist heritage.
- We call upon each district to provide training for congregations and individuals for evangelism and other mission work within their districts. We urge the district executives and boards to identify opportunities for mission, to develop responses, and to become strong advocates of a congregational-based commitment to a strong mission program.
- We call upon the denomination to develop study materials and to select and train persons for mission. Training for witnessing to the total gospel of Jesus Christ is extremely important whether witnesses serve abroad or at home.
- We call upon Church of the Brethren educational institutions and the denomination’s program staff to institute courses for intensive training in mission and church planting.
- We call upon the leadership of the church to recruit persons from other cultural groups who may become leaders in the planting of the Church of the Brethren in the United States, in Puerto Rico, and in other nations.
To respond to the biblical imperative for mission, we call upon every member of the Church of the Brethren:
—to renew their dedication to Christ and the church
—to join in personal and corporate confession and repentance
—to continue to search the Scriptures
—to be open to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit
—to be fervent in prayer, and
—to give sufficient financial resources
that we might become all that Christ intends the Church to be in this age.
The Christian mission today is a word of hope to all people. The church exists primarily for others. We as Church of the Brethren need to act in open response to God’s will by supporting and being supported by individuals, congregations, and districts with our prayers, presence, and skills so that all might live toward God’s shalom, experiencing power and redemption in an ever-widening covenant community, and serving as agents of the Holy Spirit, communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ for the blessing and salvation of the world.
Duane H. Ramsey, Chairman; René A. Calderón; Phyllis N. Carter; Wendell P. Flory; Anet Daniel Satvedi
First committee’s expenses related to travel, lodging, and meals from 1986 to July, 1988 total, $12,200
Present committee’s expenses related to travel, lodging, and meals from 1988 to March 15, 1989 total, $2,245
Estimated additional expenses, $700
Action of the 1989 Annual Conference: The report from the Annual Conference study committee for a REVIEW OF WORLD MISSION PHILOSOPHY AND PROGRAM STATEMENT was presented by Duane A. Ramsey, chair, with other members of the committee present. The report was adopted with two amendments from the committee and six amendments by the delegate body, all of which have been incorporated in the wording of the preceding text.