Global Missions

Alliance Missions, 7 February 2021

Series—40 Days of Prayer with The Alliance

Series Big Idea: We are beginning—and spending—the year on our knees seeking God’s direction, protection, passion, and unity.

Big Idea: God invites each of us to participate in His mission…here and around the world.

You were made by God.
You were made for God.
You were made for God’s glory.

The same can be said about First Alliance Church. When Albert Benjamin Simpson came to Toledo in 1887, it wasn’t about making a name for himself. It was about creating a God-glorifying community that would impact our city, our region, our nation, and our world. It’s all about Jesus.

We looked at Acts 1:8 last Sunday. Jesus tells his followers,

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Toledo is our Jerusalem. It’s where we live, work, and play. We are all called to be missionaries here, to make disciples here, to love our neighbors, to serve our city.

Judea is the next ring as we move outward. I like to think of it as our Home Missions partners who serve beyond our church campus to impact the region.

Last Sunday we talked about Samaria, the marginalized people who struggle to fit in, perhaps because of their ethnicity, country of origin, language, marital status, education, or wealth.

Today we finish our emphasis on Acts 1:8 by talking about the ends of the earth. The Christian & Missionary Alliance has always been about missions. It’s our middle name!

Missions is in our Alliance DNA. What’s remarkable about that video is it’s not from an American. The Alliance is now a global movement. We send international workers from the US to other nations, but other nations have their own Alliance churches who are also reaching other countries.

In the US, we have 1913 churches with 427,680 worshipers that speak 38 languages and dialects.

We presently have 734 international workers serving 70+ people groups in 138 cities. Last year we added 39 new international workers.
aXcess missionaries proclaim the gospel and multiply networks of faith communities among the least-reached of the world.
  Alliance Missions also includes
Marketplace Ministries which facilitates marketplace professionals who bring their expertise to a community to disciple those around them. CAMA—Compassion & Mercy Associates—responds to disasters globally and partners locally to restore communities and alleviate poverty.

Envision identifies and develops missional leaders through short-term missions experiences and innovative ministry strategies in 22 locations around the globe.
When you give to the Great Commission Fund, you are supporting all four of these ministries who are reaching the ends of the earth.

The Global Alliance

Because of the great work done by previous generations of Alliance workers, 90% of our Alliance family lives outside of the United States! The Alliance World Fellowship represents over six million people speaking 180 languages in over 22,000 churches!

  • Every four minutes, someone prays to receive Christ.
  • Every hour, three patients receive physical and spiritual care through Alliance medical ministries.
  • Every day through 43 radio broadcasts, people without a gospel witness hear the good news.
  • Every week, over 3,500 new believers are baptized.
  • Every month, 250 new groups or churches join the Alliance worldwide family.
  • Every year, 10,000 students are trained and equipped for ministry through more than 125 Alliance theological schools.
Imagine what God will do in and through our Alliance family in the coming years as we plant more churches, send more workers into the harvest, and make disciples of all nations. That’s what Jesus commissioned us to do.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

We are to make disciples of Jesus here…and beyond.

That’s why our church mission states:

We are a Jesus-centered family
Restoring God’s masterpieces
In Toledo and beyond
For His glory.

To God be the glory!

Why Missions?

You might ask, “Why worry about the ends of the earth? Don’t we have enough problems here? Don’t USAmericans need Jesus?”

Yes, of course, but Jesus’ commission in Acts 1:8 was not an either/or, but a both/and. There are nearly eight billion people on the planet and each one is a masterpiece God loves. Each and every life—black, white, brown—matters.

All Christians are called to be missionaries. God calls some to be missionaries in Toledo…in homes, schools, and businesses. Some of us are called to serve through the Pregnancy Center, Cherry Street Mission, Water for Ishmael, or other Home Missions Partners. God has sent our Faith Missions partners to northern Michigan, the Dominican Republic, and to other people groups through the Jesus Film Project. He calls some of us to distant lands, learning new languages, and introducing Jesus to people who have never even heard his name. I pray God will call some of you to become international workers with The Alliance. Over the years, more than 125 missionaries, pastors, pastors’ wives, and other full-time Christian workers have been called to ministry and “sent” from this church. We’re not done yet! I’d like to think we’re just getting started!

We have said the gospel—good news—needs to be shared. We can’t keep Jesus to ourselves! We can’t be selfish with our faith. Our world—our whole world—needs Jesus. This is why although I love our country, I get uncomfortable when Christians put too much emphasis on our nation while ignoring our current and future brothers and sisters abroad. I want God to bless America, but I also want God to bless Bolivia, Belgium, Bangladesh, Brazil, and Burundi.  We are not all called to travel overseas, but we can be involved in reaching the ends of the earth through giving to the Great Commission Fund…and through prayer. After all, this is a series on
prayer! Paul wrote to the church in Corinth,

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Corinthians 3:6-9)

Some are called to stay, others are called to go. Some plant the seeds, some water, some harvest the fruit. Some pray, others give, and still others go. Everyone plays a role in God’s Kingdom. As I said, all Christians are called to be missionaries.
In Luke 10, Jesus gathers a group of his followers and as he sends them

He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. (Luke 10:2)

All ministry must begin with prayer. The work we do—here and abroad—cannot be accomplished without a miraculous move of God. Only God can cause a human heart to change, to submit, to surrender.

I find prayer so remarkable. First, we can do life with the Creator of the universe! I’m still just amazed that He hears my voice…and yours. I’m also amazed at how we can participate in God’s Kingdom not only here but on the other side of the world…on our knees. We can be a part of the transformed lives of men, women and children we won’t meet until heaven by simply praying.

So we’re going to do that now. It seems pointless to talk about prayer and not do it! On Zoom prayer each weekday at 9 AM I encourage the participants rather than spending most of the time sharing prayer requests, let’s just pray!

Family, I’d like to guide you into some prayers today. This is a little different from what we typically do on Sunday morning, but maybe it shouldn’t be! Let’s pray for

- the lost without Jesus

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)

- unreached people groups (3.4 billion people, 4000 people groups)

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15)

- Alliance International Workers and their families

I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. (Romans 15:30)

- aXcess
- Marketplace Ministries 
- Envision
- CAMA—Compassion & Mercy Associates

- New Workers to be raised up

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)

- Breakthrough for financial support

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:7-8)

You can listen to this message and others at the First Alliance Church podcast here.

You can watch this video and others at the First Alliance Church Video Library

Reflections from Africa, 23 June 2019

Reflections from Africa
Kirk & Heather Schneemann

Big Idea:
God is on the move…here and all over the world.

There’s no place like home!

I love First Alliance Church. I love our tribe, the Christian & Missionary Alliance. We both have a rich history of more than thirteen decades of serving not only this country, but nations around the globe. In fact, about 90% of our Alliance family is outside of the USA. Missionary is our middle name!

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

I love how we have a multi-faceted focus. Jesus instructed us to care not only for our city—our Jerusalem, not only our region—our Judea, not only the outcasts, strangers, widows, and orphans—our Samaria, but also the ends of the earth—the whole world.

Another thing I love about First Alliance Church is its growing diversity. I’ve marveled at how God has continued to bless us with people from so many different zip codes, educational backgrounds, ethnicities, and income brackets. This past week at Sports & Arts Camp, I was thrilled to be in a group with white, African-American, and Asian kids. My love for diversity is not related to political correctness or cultural trendiness. It’s the heart of God! If you don’t like variety in this life, you’ll hate what follows!

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9-10)

They cried out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to
our God.”

People from every nation were claiming God as theirs.
People from every tribe were claiming God as theirs.
People from every language were claiming God as theirs.

And you thought Christianity was an American thing! Ha!
If you’ve never traveled abroad, I encourage you to make at least one trip. It will change your life. This past week I sent a note to last year’s Envision Dominican Republic team, encouraging them to reflect upon our week together in Santiago. It’s a week I thought of often while we were in Burundi.

is a small, landlocked country in central Africa about the size of Massachusetts. Although it is loaded with natural beauty, it is one of the poorest countries in the world as a result of many years of bloodshed and genocide. Many are familiar with the horrific conflicts in Rwanda between the Hutus and the Tutsis. The same tribes live in neighboring Burundi and have had numerous civil wars resulting in massive deaths and widespread devastation. Virtually every person in Burundi has experienced severe trauma.

In 1993, David N. was a pastor training eleven men to be pastors, a mixed group of Hutus and Tutsis. One day while David was teaching, troops ran out of the forest, ambushing the campus, lining his students up and killing them with their bayonets. David fled to a nearby garage where he hid in the oil change bay beneath a car for many hours, listening to the soldiers outside, praying his life might be spared. Miraculously, it was, but later he was involved in the burial of 25 bodies, including 8 of his 11 students.

Needless to say, David was filled with trauma and grief. “God, why is this? Where are you? Why did I not die with them? Is God even real?”

Later, David encountered the man who ordered the soldiers to kill his students. He didn’t plan to do it, but he went to the man and said, “I know you are the one. I want you to know I have forgiven you.” He then realized why his own life was spared: to promote forgiveness in the process of creating healing and peace.

God wastes nothing. He is a master at redemption. What the enemy intends for harm, God can use for good, and David’s horrible ordeal lead him to start THARS: Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services. They say,

The seeds of tomorrow’s wars grow in the soil of today’s unhealed traumas.
The seeds of tomorrow’s peace grow in the soil of today’s healing and reconciliation.

About a decade ago, our friends, Chris & Kim, started talking about Africa. Chris loves to travel, and Kim had been invited to participate in a THARS conference in Burundi, a training for counselors who have little education by our standards, yet deal with trauma every day, both personally and with their clients. A group of Christian counselors from the state of Delaware went to Burundi in 2011, returned in 2013, and had a planned trip cancelled in 2015 due to unrest in the country.

In 2017, David N. wanted to not only train counselors, but also offer a conference for pastors and a leadership training for young adults. He had requested a pastor and someone with experience in drama and working with children to join the regular team from Delaware, and Heather and I knew it was time to go to Africa!

Our trip two years ago was amazing, training young leaders and pastors. Most of you know about my souvenir from that trip—Malaria—yet when we were invited to return to Burundi this year, we both had a clear sense that God wanted us to return. We now know why!

Investing in the next generation.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)

  • - Servant leadership

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45)

  • - Equipping pastors to equip others

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

  • - Make disciples

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

  • - Sustainability and reproduction

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. (2 Timothy 2:2)

So What?

  • - Thank you for the prayers (health, fruit)
  • - Please pray for Burundi, its pastors, its youth, its government (election in 2020)
  • - Ask God to show you how you are to be making disciples
You can listen to this message and others at the First Alliance Church podcast here.