“There is a groundswell of new plants/initiatives that are arising across the country. These are identified and tangible realities, not just wishful thinking!”
Our national and district leadership, along with congregational and ministry leaders across the country, are actively committed to the goals of our 2020 Initiative and are trusting in God to see them fulfilled. We are exercising that trust in God with faith, prayer and obedient action. Our desire is to be a Fellowship of churches, ministries and leaders who experience spiritual vitality, theological vitality, and missional vitality.
We believe for the following to be true of the PAOC by December 31, 2020:
2020 Missional Initiative – Canada
“With a shared vision for church revitalization and multiplication, we are believing God for 350,000 Christ followers (1% of Canadians) by 2020 within our Canadian churches. We are also calling all of our healthy churches to reproduce themselves within Canada in the next seven years by planting, partnering and/or providing for a new disciple-making community so that in 2020 we will have 1,500 disciple-making communities.
—PAOC General Executive Motion, November 2013
Here is where we stand as we move into 2016:
- The 2020 Initiative is being strongly embraced by churches, districts, international and national missions, and leaders throughout our Fellowship. The goals/outcomes of the 2020 Initiative are, more and more, becoming the metrics for evaluating current activities and new initiatives.
- There is a slow but steady increase in the number of what we call “disciple-making communities”—affiliated churches, satellite congregations or missional initiatives. In 2013 there were 1,118. In 2014 we had increased to 1,172. We are currently at 1,190. There is a groundswell of new plants/initiatives that are arising across the country. These are identified and tangible realities, not just wishful thinking! Our constituency grew by 2.6 per cent from 2013 to 2014, with 239, 267 Canadians now being affiliated with us. That said, our average primary worship service attendances remain plateaued. A number of Canadian church organizations have noted that it actually takes an increasing number of people in a church community to maintain the same level of weekly attendance.
- The Spiritual and Theological Vitality Conversations that took place across the country in 2015 stimulated not only healthy interaction, but also steps of action by churches and leaders. A summary of the input and insights gathered from the conversations is available by going to www.paoc.org or contacting our office. The Strategic Vision Group continues to provide input as we do appropriate followup, especially in the areas of prayer, Scripture engagement, and the equipping of believers to live Spirit-empowered lives.
- The Theology Study Group continues to be very active, providing resources and facilitating conversations to enhance our theological vitality. The latest gift book, Nexus, focuses on where theology and mission meet. It has been published and distributed to PAOC leaders in order to stimulate our theological and missional vitality. The book is available at http://wordcom.paoc.org/products/paoc/books. As we seek to be a people of gracious truth, the General Executive has asked the Theology Study Group to lead us in a process to review and refresh our doctrinal statements so that our engagement of truth is living and active. They will be facilitating this process in contexts such as our General Conference, our colleges and seminaries, and in regional settings.
- The Missional Vitality conversations are occurring regionally and are focusing our leaders on church revitalization and multiplication. This will be a crucial 2020 Initiative activity throughout 2016 in our various districts as churches and ministries participate in strategic thinking and take steps to enhance their missional effectiveness.
- The Church Multiplication and Church Revitalization networks are in place and operational. They are co-ordinating our efforts nationally to achieve the missional goals of our 2020 Initiative. Throughout 2016 they will be active in the above-mentioned Missional Vitality conversations, they will participate at our General Conference in May, and will meet regularly to discern and prioritize any next steps. We are also partnered with other church multiplication networks and revitalization initiatives; i.e., the Global Alpha Campaign (http://www.alphacanada.org/alpha-inside-track).
We believe these core activities will help us achieve an ethos of spiritual, theological and missional vitality. The theme of our General Conference in Montreal, Quebec, May 2-5, is “Vitality.” The program for the conference has been developed with these three areas in mind. Speakers and presenters will challenge and equip us regarding spiritual renewal, scriptural engagement, and missional involvement. There will be a clear focus on areas such as church multiplication and revitalization, our shared mission in Quebec, and the call of the Spirit to recover our “first love” for Christ. Come join us!
I am inviting you personally, as well as your church, to be prayerfully and financially supportive of the 2020 Initiative. Funding may be designated specifically to the 2020 Initiative or to the Church Multiplication Fund online at www.paoc.org.
Thanks so much for your partnership in the gospel. I believe we have heard, and will continue to hear, what the Spirit is calling us to do together.
Let’s pray: Jesus, You have called us to a rich and satisfying life. Lord, we want to remain in You and Your Word so that we are bearing much and lasting fruit, both in our individual lives and in our churches. Breathe Your life upon us. For Your glory. Amen.