The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada has just embarked on a significant endeavour to fulfil its mission, “To glorify God by making disciples everywhere by proclaiming and practising the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.” In November 2013, the general superintendent, assistant superintendents and General Executive met to discuss the spiritual, theological and missional vitality of our family of churches and ministries. From this prayerful conversation arose a clear picture of what we could trust God for in a shared initiative as we moved towards 2020…
This initiative, which we are calling the 2020 Initiative, is rooted in both a healthy dissatisfaction regarding the current state of our discipleship and church/ministry planting. It is also an acknowledgement and an expression of appreciation for the missional impulse we do see in many of our churches and people. Our General Executive reviewed research from the years 2008-2012, which indicated that we have had 81 churches close, merge or disaffiliate. In that same time period, we have had 104 new church plants, satellites and other missional initiatives. Overall, this leaves us with a slight decline in affiliated assemblies but an incremental increase in our churches, satellites, campuses and missional initiatives.
Thus, with healthy dissatisfaction yet with appreciation for our evident missional impulse, the national leadership was firm in their desire to see a renewed season of church revitalization and multiplication. Think of it—by 2020, 1 per cent of Canadians (350,000) serving Christ within 1,500 Pentecostal disciple-making communities. What does that require of us?
In our discussion, we recognized that spiritual and theological vitality are essential in order to be effective missionally, whether here in Canada or globally. This involves leaders and congregational members who are intimate with God through prayer and Scripture engagement, and who, empowered by the Spirit, lead generous and just lives where Jesus is shared daily in word and deed.
In spring 2014, I held individual meetings with each of the PAOC’s eight districts’ leadership teams, to determine next steps in seeing this vision become reality across our nation. Consultation and planning has been taking place towards the development of a church multiplication fund.
The opening business session of the PAOC’s General Conference 2014, held in Saskatoon, SK, from April 28 to May 1, gave opportunity for me to share this vision for church multiplication and revitalization with our larger body of PAOC leadership. The General Conference theme of “Every Day in Every Way” gave conference attendees opportunity to consider in practical ways:
•Churches and leaders who are intimate with God
•Scriptural and theological engagement for effective discipleship
•Practices and attitudes that create a culture of generosity
•Leaders and churches who share Jesus in word and deed
Post General Conference, district superintendents and the executive officers came together for further dialogue, including meeting with church leaders and planters from other organizations. Discussions were also had with the presidents and deans of our PAOC Bible colleges in Canada.
In fall 2014 and spring 2015, we will be hosting two complementary tracks of conversations across Canada with pastors and congregational leaders that will focus on:
1.Spiritual and theological vitality
2.Missional vitality, locally, nationally and internationally
For further information regarding next steps for the 2020 Initiative, its goals, and the PAOC Conversations Tour, please download and reference the attached October 2014 Update document.
We know that our total dependence must be on the Lord for His leading and direction. We stand united, believing that we will see an unprecedented harvest of souls and believers who are strongly committed to following Christ every day … in every way. Please pray with us, and let’s move forward in faith together.
Rev. Dr. David R. Wells