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Fulfilling the Great Commission…Anglicanly

BY THE REV. CHRIS ROYER

One day, a newly baptized Christian from a Muslim background asked me, “Chris, now that I’ve become a Christian, would you tell me what our religious holy days are?” You see, Muslims have more than 40 religious holidays every year. There is a rhythm to their life. Their religious tradition both regiments and celebrates time. So, he was curious about the feasts and fasts in Christianity. 

As a low-church non-Anglican at the time, the best I could serve up was two: Christmas and Easter.  This new Muslim-background believer looked at me incredulously, as if to say, “Is that all Christianity’s got?  What’s wrong with it?”  

God used this brief conversation, among other things, to launch me into an examination of Anglicanism’s contextualizability in the majority (non-Western) world. I discovered that not only does Anglicanism have a rich and ancient tradition that orders time, which is important to majority-world peoples, but also other “treasures” (Matthew 13:52) like liturgy and sacraments to which many new believers coming from other world religions of varying cultures naturally gravitate.  I began to get excited about Anglicans’ unique role in making disciples of all nations – how elements we treasure in our tradition can truly bless the nations! 

The Global Mission Initiative is one of the five marquee initiatives in the Anglican Church in North America. It is led by New Wineskins Missionary Network in partnership with groups like the Anglican Global Mission Partners, an association of over thirty Anglican mission organizations, churches, dioceses, jurisdictions, and theological institutions.

The Global Mission Initiative is committed to doing both domestic and global missions Anglicanly, not just because we are Anglicans, but also because we are convinced that distinctive elements of Anglicanism – tradition, liturgy, and sacrament – are treasures God has given us for spiritual formation, both in our culture and every culture.

Our work of “doing missions Anglicanly” takes many forms and still requires different approaches and foci. For example, the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders (SAMS), a founding member of the AGMP, comes alongside the church here to send missionaries to serve the global Anglican Church, partnering together in making disciples. Since 1976, SAMS has supported churches that have sent 212 missionaries to 42 countries on six continents. SAMS, first known as South American Missionary Society (USA), built upon the foundation laid by SAMS-UK created in 1844 to share the Gospel with the unreached in Patagonia. In 2010, SAMS became known as the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders to reflect both a global scope and a commitment to encourage all Anglican provinces in making disciples of all nations. 

Alternatively, Anglican Frontier Missions, SAMS’ younger cousin, focuses on the “frontiers” in missions, sending missionaries to regions with little or no Christian presence. Last year, AFM saw a groundswell of new missionary candidates whose hearts are called to go to where the Church is “not yet,” to the truly unreached. One plenary session of the 2019 New Wineskins Global Mission Conference highlighted the current state of fulfilling the Great Commission. Speakers like David Garrison of Global Gates along with Tad de Bordenave, AFM founder, and myself, shared that there are over 2 billion people in more than 7,000 distinct people groups who still have no access to the Gospel. Cross-cultural mission remains vital and great strides are being made through disciple-making movements and church planting movement among these groups. 

Now, more than ever, partnership in global mission is key! 

The theme of the New Wineskins Conference was Better Together which deeply resonated with the more than 1,200 attendees from 60 nations. The Anglican Church in North America’s Global Mission Initiative was created to expand and deepen our Anglican global mission partnerships for greater effectiveness. Save the dates for the next New Wineskins conference scheduled for September 22-25, 2022 in Ridgecrest, North Carolina! New Wineskins Missionary Network now serves as the missions hub of AGMP’s network and resources.

If you or someone you know senses a call to serve as a global missionary, contact one of these three Anglican mission organizations to learn more about the benefits, blessings, and missiological rationale for fulfilling the Great Commission Anglicanly.    

 

Special note from Jenny Noyes, Global Mission Initiative Leader, on COVID 19 Response:  I am pleased to report that out of the relationships God has formed over the past half century, many of the Anglican Global Mission Partners (AGMP) have been positioned to respond quickly and effectively to help meet the enormous needs of the vulnerable impacted by the pandemic.  Please click here for a full listing of AGMP members you can contact directly. At the same time, these partners are prepared to help your church share the Gospel in your community and around the globe, especially with those who have not yet had a chance to hear about Jesus.

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