“We are living through the greatest coming to Christ in the history of Christianity today.”
This was RCA director of Global Mission Doug Leonard’s message as he delivered the Global Mission report to synod on Friday, June 9.
Leonard continued, “We are so focused on the decline of the church in North America that we are missing what is finally happening around the world. We are living through the largest coming to Christ, the greatest great awakening in the history of humanity.
“This global movement of Christianity needs us. Now, more than ever before in our 233-year mission history, is the time to be doing global mission.”
In this exciting time for Christianity, RCA Global Mission has a big vision.
“Our goal is to bring the knowledge of Christ to the world and to nurture faith in his name,” Leonard said. “Our aim is to see a global sanctification—billions of people not only coming to Christ and giving their lives over to his transformative power but growing in Christ, maturing in Christ and giving themselves in sacrificial service for the remaking of this world.”
Since taking over as director of Global Mission last year, Leonard said he has been amazed by the “incredible work” RCA missionaries are involved in around the world.
Leonard called on all members of the RCA to join in living out this vision.
“RCA Global Mission is not a denominational office in Grand Rapids, Michigan. RCA Global Mission is you. RCA Global Mission is me. It is all of us,” he said.
Leonard shared that Global Mission is about to embark on an ambitious goal: to plant 1,000 churches around the world. He believes that it is by focusing on mission goals like this that the RCA can move past its current divisions.
“We can be part of the global great awakening that we are living through today. We can be part of it. And we can advance it. And when we do, our divisions will heal,” Leonard said. “God is not finished with the RCA. The best days are ahead for the Reformed Church in America.”
The synod passed a resolution to honor the ministries of retiring missionaries and Global Mission staff: Jhonny Alicea-Báez, Ken and Marcia Bradsell, Duncan Hanson, Tom and Liz Stewart, and Marlin Vis. The report requested that synod increase the Partnership in Mission (PIM) shares to $6,700 as well. This recommendation passed.
Leonard introduced the following new missionaries: Lois Wanyoike (South Africa), Filipe and Janelle Silva (Romania), Michael and Carrie Johnson (Scotland), and Larry Austin (California).
Megan Hodgin, coordinator for Global Mission church engagement, invited churches to develop a plan for mission through a process called Re:Forming Missions. Contact Megan (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to learn more about this process.
The final section of the Global Mission report focused on RCA mission work in Nicaragua, one of the RCA’s strategic impact areas . RCA missionaries and mission partners shared stories of their ministry in Nicaragua. They also showed a video excerpt about the RCA’s mission in Nicaragua. Watch the full video here.
Read the full Global Mission report.