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2021 Annual Report, EFCA Central Leadership Conference.
Our mission is to work together to see our congregations become, more and more, Life-Giving Churches, who multiply Life-Giving Churches. As our team labors toward this glorious end, it is my privilege to invest in both sides of this equation. That is transformational Churches and Church multiplication.
Gospel Dependent Leaders:
Life-Giving Churches that display the gospel in clarity, boldness, compassion, and humility; need leaders who are overflowing with new life in Jesus. We have seen growth in the encouragement of pastors who are living out of the overflow of the gospel from a heart dependent and renewed. It has been encouraging to see how Pastors are connecting and sharing life on a heart level as they lead the people of God under there care. It has been rewarding to work alongside the EFCA Central team to see our Ministerial Community gatherings function more effective in seeing these values impact our pastors. My prayer is that this Leadership Conference will be another one of these connection points as we gather in March. In 2021 I was trained in Keys to Deep Change, which is another path to seeing leaders live out an overflowing life in the gospel, by making sure to address unfinished business of the heart. I will be looking for new ways to call pastors and other leaders to this kind of life coming out of this heart overflow. Closely related to this, is the EFCA Central process of credentialing. One of my new roles for 2021 was giving leadership to our credentialing systems. The pursuit of an EFCA credential, is a tangible way for our leaders to take a step of obedience to “pay close attention to their life and doctrine”. It feels like there is a rising interest in the pursuit of credentials and this is encouraging. It is a joy to help people succeed in this important step of ministerial development.
I don’t think it is much of an overstatement that our effectiveness in making disciples from the harvest is one of the biggest indicators of church vitality, and therefore a failure to effectively reach the lost around us is the main obstacle to church reproduction. I am so thankful for my teammate Larry Austin’s commitment to multiplying disciples. This illustrates how our whole team labors together in the multiplication process. One of the things I am excited to execute in 2022 is the Multiplying Kingdom Communities methodology that several of us were introduce to in January of this year. I am praying that many congregations will see increasing fruit as we trust God for his gospel to reach the lost.
In 2021 we wrapped up the first Multiply Cohort, which has replaced Church Planting Bootcamp in training church planters and in preparing congregations to multiply themselves by birthing new congregations. I am working with the national director of church development (preparing existing churches to plant) to adjust the Multiply training to be deliverable to churches I am hoping to have something deliverable for this soon. This will help EFCA Central congregations prepare their leaders for multiplication.
I also serve on the national ReachNetwork team, which oversees multiplication and the supporting systems across the country. I am always energized by my times with this group of exceptional servants. Together we are guided by these values—
GOSPEL-CENTERED: We are committed to planting churches that faithfully proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ as the necessary means for the salvation of those who are lost and the ongoing transformation of every believer.
PRAYER DEPENDENT: We are committed to planting churches dependent on the Lord in prayer, who pray diligently to the Lord of the harvest to advance His mission through the Holy Spirit by mobilizing workers and making disciples from the harvest.
COLLABORATIVE (KINGDOM MINDED): We are committed to work together humbly as one body of Christ across cities, networks, districts and denominations, believing that the work of God to advance His Gospel will require an unwavering commitment to collaboration and unity.
INNOVATIVE: We are committed to nurture and celebrate a culture of innovation that embraces and encourages the planting and multiplying of churches of every size and model, in every context both in the United States and around the world.
DIVERSE: We are committed to plant all kinds of churches for all kinds of people, churches rooted in the belief that God is glorified when disciples from every race, culture, education and economic-level are unified through the Gospel as adopted children in God’s family.
MULTIPLICATION-DRIVEN: We are committed to planting and developing churches that embrace a culture of multiplication at every level by intentionally and continually multiplying disciples, leaders, churches and networks.
We have been working to increase the capacity for multiplication both nationally and as we work to implement these strategies in Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, and South Dakota. In EFCA Central we are leaning more and more into a team approach. I have valued doing this work with Paul Bauman during the past seasons and am sorry to see our collaboration rearranged as he walks through a new season of transition. Mark Farran will be giving leadership to northern region multiplication. We anticipate continuing to emphasize team and collaboration. Mark will likely give focus to coaching while I emphasize training.
Some bright spots in Church multiplication from the past year—
- Greenbelt Community Church—Clive IA
- Working hard on defining membership
- Anticipates electing elders this summer
- Anchor Church– Lance Lefler- Hot Springs Village, Arkansas.
- Has made a soft launch
- Growing momentum
- Cornerstone Marion, IA.
- The prayer initiative in Anamosa continues to grow and gain momentum. Uninvited visitors have checked it out which was so encouraging.
- They are actively looking to call a planter.
- Kings Table—Fairview Heights/O’Fallon IL
- Focusing on listen for God’s direction for a season as they figure out how to gain fruitfulness in disciplemaking.
- This will be a micro-church model in partnership with Great Lakes Dist.
- GLD thinks it will be an EFCA Central church.
- Northwest Iowa Partnership
- Early stages of cooperation among congregations to plant in the region
- Prayerfully, more to come soon
2021 was a rough year on the family health front, though everyone is doing well now. As I have shared before I am still realizing the blessing that the local church is in the midst of times of need. This convinces me afresh the need to multiply the body of Christ. There is no Plan B.