From this call, Anglican 1000, the first provincial church planting initiative, was born to teach the value and importance of church planting and keep it at the forefront of conversation during our seminal years. Through the work of Anglican 1000 and our faithful dioceses, almost 500 new churches were planted in our first half-decade.
In 2014, The Rt. Rev. Foley Beach was elected as our second Archbishop to carry the torch of leadership in our Province. At his investiture, Archbishop Beach very clearly called us to press onward with the mission of the church and the call of planting new congregations. His clarion call was, “Forward. Always Forward. Everywhere Forward.” Archbishop Duncan’s challenge was for the starting of something new and unknown, Archbishop Beach’s call is for the carrying on of what was started to continued maturity, effectiveness, and fruitfulness.
Thus, with a new leader and a new season within the Anglican Church in North America, Anglican 1000 has grown into our new church planting initiative, Always Forward. What began as an initiative focused on inspiration and education has grown to also include practical strategies, resources, and collaborative work in support of a long-term church planting effort. Always Forward is our next step in maturing in our life as a Province and as a missionary movement in North America.
A Provincial Church Planting Team has been assembled representing multiple dioceses from across North America. This team has helped articulate the vision of Always Forward and determine strategies for the next steps.
The prayer of Always Forward is to see every diocese become a church planting network, which we define as a diocese with four primary components for the support of church planting: conviction (that church planting is a command of Jesus for the church), culture (one that values risk, celebrates innovation, and pursues mission), constructs (we define seven needed planting systems- a leadership pipeline, assessment, training, coaching, ongoing support, funding, and strategic oversight) and collaboration (as Anglicans we believe we are stronger working together than we are apart).
In support of this vision, Always Forward will help provide the practical tools to assist our dioceses and planters to achieve this goal. We are working to develop a church planting playbook, a guide to help new church planting networks as they form and organize. We are also building a new online planting resource library on our new website www.always-forward.com. A third significant effort of this initiative is facilitating equipping events. Our next major event will be the 2016 Always Forward Conference, August 25-27, 2016 in Denver where we will focus on the uniqueness of our work in planting sacramental, missional churches. We hope you will be able to join us!
Always Forward is an exciting development within our Province as we seek to practically, prayerfully and relationally support our church planters on the front lines of ministry. We covet your prayers, your ideas, and your participation. Check out our new website, attend one of our events, donate if you are able, drop us a line and let us know how you would like to get involved. Above all, pray for this initiative. May the Lord allow us to continue to grow into a strong missionary movement in North America, and by his Spirit may we see many churches planted, many lost found, and the glory of the Lord be made known. “Forward. Always Forward. Everywhere Forward.”
-By The Rev. Cn. Dan Alger