Gafcon's Strategic Plan
by Gafcon's General Secretary, Archbishop Ben Kwashi
Peace and greetings to you.
Last month we began looking at Gafcon’s Strategic Plan, and I listed the seven key ways and areas of ministry in which I believe God is calling Gafcon to move. The first of these is crucial and goes straight to the heart of the gospel and so of our lives.
TO DECLARE A DECADE OF DISCIPLESHIP, EVANGELISM AND MISSION
The exciting thing about following Christ is that he calls us to be alive, moving and active – not just maintaining the past or sitting complacently in the present, but positively moving forwards into God’s future! “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph.2:10). God created us and calls us to follow Christ in his mission. Mission, therefore, is not something “extra,” it is not something to be afraid of, it is not something for a select but crazy few. Mission is what the gospel is all about!
God’s mission is a far larger project than merely opening new churches or attracting a few new members. The vision of this mission is that creation and the whole human race, which has been spoilt by sin, are to be restored. A redeemed humanity, living in a new heaven and new earth, is to be the end result. This is the big scene, the ongoing story, the heartbeat of God. We are a part of this story, and the part we play now will affect the lives of those around us, and of those who come after us. Moreover, it is the amazing love of God, working in our hearts, which is the catalyst impelling us to love God in return and to express that love in our relationships with all other people.
The Jerusalem Declaration, issued at the end of the first Gafcon meeting in 2008, ends with the words:
We believe the Anglican Communion should and will be reformed around the biblical gospel and mandate to go into all the world and present Christ to the nations.
Discipleship, evangelism and mission are at the heart of Gafcon. That is why we need a Decade of Discipleship, Evangelism and Mission. It should not be thought, however, that these goals can be achieved simply by the issuing of a directive from the leadership. Experience has proved that the most effective movement is for an impetus to catch fire at the grassroots level, and from thence it will move upwards. This is the way in which Jesus worked. He did not sit with the religious leaders and draft a resolution concerning the Kingdom of God; he went out into the villages, the highways and byways, healing the sick, casting out demons, teaching, showing love and compassion to all people, including the lepers, the outcasts, the poor, the children, the women, the “publicans and sinners”, and in this way not just by word of mouth, but in and through his very life, proclaiming that “the Kingdom of God has come near”. This is the pattern for Gafcon to follow!
The gospel is God’s compelling, attractive love so working in our hearts that our one desire and determination is to love him in return and to live out that love by walking in his way and showing his love to all others. In Romans 1: 16-17 St. Paul puts it this way:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, ‘The one who is righteous will live by faith.’
The gospel leads to faith and action, to the radical transformation of lives from sin, hell, and eternal death to the restoration of lives in Christ Jesus. This leads to actual and visible transformation of communities, relationships and of the environment. It is good news for the poor, the downtrodden, the brokenhearted, the handicapped, widows and orphans. The gospel – if it truly is the gospel that is being proclaimed – will assuredly bring life, light and growth; because of the gospel, structures will be developed for the building of life together in communities and for the care of the environment; and at the same time, the power of the gospel will militate against all forms of dehumanization, degradation or discrimination. This is the gospel which every member of Gafcon is called to proclaim and live out in all places, at all times and to all people.
In Acts 2:42 we read of the practice of the early church. Having started well, some soon strayed from the path, as many of our churches have done today. The pattern of life they followed was to devote themselves to the teaching of the apostles, to fellowship, to breaking bread together and to prayer. The result was that “the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (v.47). Clearly, the young Christians talked to others about their newfound faith in Jesus! This is the pattern for us to follow so that discipleship, evangelism and mission are at the centre of our lives.
There is an urgent need for good discipleship. Giving one’s life to Christ is only the first step in the journey of a lifetime. Thereafter we all need to continue to grow. Unless people are taught and discipled, they will not know who Jesus Christ is and so they will not live transformed lives; they will not see the importance of mission, and we will soon be thinking about closing empty church buildings!
What plans do you have for evangelism? God is calling us to this work in the power of his Spirit. How will you help people to see the opportunities and the need for every church and every member to be involved? Discipleship, evangelism and mission are all necessary and complementary parts of the one gospel initiative of proclaiming Christ faithfully to the nations. Let us consciously concentrate our efforts, and give this gospel top priority in our churches, our communities and our individual lives – and see what God will do in the next ten years!
The Lord be with you,
Our Gracious God, we pray that you will help us to proclaim our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, so that everyone around us will hear His call to repent, trust and serve Christ in love, and be established in the fellowship of His disciples while we await His return.
May we continue to pray, to depend on your Holy Spirit, and to glorify you.
Over the coming months, I will be elaborating Gafcon’s Strategic Focus. This focus, also known as our Strategic Plan, was originally endorsed by the Gafcon community in Jerusalem in 2018 and after a few minor updates, the Primates resoundingly endorsed it again in April 2021.
In Romans 16: 25 following we read:
Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith— to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.
These verses lay the foundation for what we approved in Jerusalem 2018 when we stood and together declared “we will proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations!”
In the original, the word έθνη, is used meaning the nations. Gafcon continues to focus on the proclamation of Christ to the nations. Our strategic plan is undergirded by three principles which we see time and again in the scriptures – proclamation, undergirded by prayer, for the glory of Christ Jesus our Lord. Will you join with me in praying for a reawakening of all Christians, so they proclaim Christ faithfully? And will you pray with me that the Holy Spirit will prepare hearts and minds to hear the gospel of Christ as it is spoken by his faithful people across our world? We want to see a Bible centred revival break out everywhere! And lastly, will you pray with me that Jesus Christ will be honoured and glorified by the faithful work his servants are engaged in?
Hallelujah! What a glorious thing it will be to see Jesus worshipped and people living in obedience to him. As this happens, we will see our societies transformed and our world will be greatly blessed.
The Gafcon Strategic Plan
There are six goals within the plan
1. We want to be a praying people who are immersed in and informed by scripture
2. We want to be a well-connected, committed grassroots movement
3. We want to be a mission minded and outward looking people
4. We want to have robust accountable governance
5. We want to have well taught and well-equipped church leaders, and
6. We want to become financially self-sustainable
And there are seven focus areas:
1. A decade of discipleship, evangelism and mission
2. A focus on the next generation of leaders
3. A focus on youth and children
4. A focus on the ministry of and to women
5. A focus on mercy ministries
6. A focus on bishops – their role and ongoing training, and
7. A focus on the primates of the Gafcon movement
Over the next seven months I will delve into each area and explain what is envisioned. Of course, none of this will be possible if you and your church do not become involved. We want to know how Gafcon can serve you, how you can serve and encourage your brothers and sisters in other parts of the world and how we can work together in each church, diocese and province to make these things happen. None of this will be possible if we are not a praying people. Please implore the Holy Spirit to hover over the world and prepare the hearts and minds of people to receive the faithful proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ in Word and Spirit.
Please pray that the Holy Spirit will empower and embolden those who proclaim the truth, so that it is received, lives are changed, and people are transformed from the old to a new creation in Jesus. Please pray for your preachers for the Spirit to work through them to glorify Jesus, to sanctify Christian people, to build up and edify the church and so that the world will be evangelised.
We need to have good discipleship programs in place so that those who turn to Christ can be discipled in the faith. We need to have good church planters in place so new churches can be established. We need to have good leaders trained so these new churches can be well taught. Through all this, Jesus will be honoured and glorified.
Have you started to capture a glimpse of what might be possible if we work together in faithful proclamation of the truth and disciple people well? I am excited! I want to spend my remaining days in this world engaged in faithful gospel proclamation. I want to encourage you as you encourage people in your diocese. And I want to hear the wonderful stories from you of people coming to faith. Oh, how Jesus will be glorified. He is indeed our glorious Lord, Saviour and King. No wonder Paul says “to the only wise God be glory for ever through Jesus Christ! Amen”
This is why I want to spell out one part of the Strategic Plan each month.
Are you with me? Do you want to see Christ glorified? Do you want to see lives and communities changed? Let’s get to praying and then proclaiming.