BY THE REV. J. PHILIP ASHEY, AAC CHAPLAIN & COO
Renewing orthodox Anglicanism worldwide. Developing faithful leaders. Equipping the Church for mission.
|AAC Chaplain & COO the Rev. Phil Ashey |
speaks at an AAC conference.
In October, the American Anglican Council (AAC) Board of Trustees unanimously adopted an ambitious three year plan to seize this "Nehemiah moment" we are in, to help build up and defend Great Commission Anglican churches in North America and throughout the Anglican Communion. As I have written elsewhere, we are in a Nehemiah moment. While The Episcopal Church (TEC) continues to decline as its gives way to false teaching and exports a "false gospel" to the rest of the Communion, an extraordinary and miraculous coalition of Anglicans from across the spectrum of orthodox Anglicanism has come together to form the Anglican Church in North America (AC-NA). As I write from our first AC-NA Provincial Council meeting in Toronto, I am excited and encouraged that Anglicans in North America are unified in building a biblically faithful, Holy Spirit empowered, missional movement that will reach the unchurched with the good news of Christ!
Just as Nehemiah called his leaders and co-laborers on the wall to carry a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other (see Neh. 4:17-18), the American Anglican Council recognizes that we must both advocate for and defend orthodox Anglicans in distress on the one hand, and with the other hand build up and encourage Great Commission Anglican churches. This is not new for us; at our founding we pledged ourselves "to build a society of Great Commission churches." We matched those words with action as we helped organize the Plano gathering in 2003, regional conferences to equip local churches and leaders, the GAFCON gathering in Jerusalem, and now as we help equip TEC parish affiliates and AC-NA congregations for mission. Fulfilling the Great Commission is deep in our DNA!
Our goals and objectives have up-to-the-minute relevance for the realignment of Anglicanism in North America and the renewal of orthodox Anglicanism worldwide. Let me share a few of the highlights from our three year plan.
Our Mission: By the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, the mission of the American Anglican Council is to build up and defend Great Commission Anglican churches in North America and worldwide through advocacy and counsel, leadership development and equipping the local church.
Our Vision: The work of the American Anglican Council will result in a vibrant, reformed, confessional and missional Anglican Communion where leadership structures are orthodox and undeterred by false gospels, where local churches are fulfilling the Great Commission as given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ through evangelism, discipleship and mission, and where peoples' lives are being transformed by the Holy Spirit.
The American Anglican Council operates with the following strategic priorities in mind:
Focus on the Anglican Communion: Over the next three years we will continue to build and strengthen our relationships with orthodox Primates and bishops throughout the Communion. We will continually update our Primates Report ("Tearing the Fabric") and make sure that orthodox Anglican Primates, bishops and leaders all over the world are informed of TEC actions and statements that convey a false gospel and/or contradict 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10. Bishop Anderson and I will also be serving on the AC-NA Inter-Anglican Relationships committee to strengthen AC-NA's relationships with Anglicans worldwide.
Focus on North America: We will continue to help lead and support the realignment of Anglicanism in North America in every way we can. Specifically, we will focus on equipping the local church to grow in evangelism, discipleship, mission and church planting. With Archbishop Duncan's blessing, we will help AC-NA churches reach "bench marks" over the next three years that include: developing a clearly identifiable process to grow inquirers into followers of Jesus Christ who introduce others to Christ, launching a local outreach ministry to the poor and needy, establishing a mission partnership with a Global South diocese, and developing the vision and resources to plant a new church. We will also help several of our TEC parish affiliates reach these same benchmarks over the next three years.
Based on the results of a survey of congregations in the AC-NA and TEC, we will address such priority needs as how to do evangelism through the local church, foundations and best practices for congregational growth, and "good governance" (including best practices for vestries, staff, stewardship and capital development).
Focus on Leadership Development: Faithful leadership at every level is foundational to our efforts in the Anglican Communion and North America. Over the next three years we will design, develop and launch a Leadership Training Institute (LTI) for clergy and other church leaders for the purpose of providing ongoing formation of leadership skills for mission, good governance, conflict resolution, congregational planning and development. This post-seminary training will include ongoing pastoral care and continuing education between sessions through small groups, peer coaching and individual coaching. In the second half of 2010, we plan to launch our first regional LTI, with more to follow.
In addition, our staff continues to help forge and maintain a working consensus among orthodox Anglicans in North America. Bishop Anderson serves on the Executive Committee of the AC-NA Provincial Council, chairs the Budget, Finance and Stewardship Committee, and is a member of the College of Bishops. I serve on Provincial Council, the Governance Task Force (Constitution and Canons), the Budget and Finance Committee and the Court for the Trial of a Bishop. Mary Orr, director of human resources, continues to serve on the AC-NA Benefits Committee, and Robert Lundy, communications officer, works closely with the AC-NA communications team.
Of course, we will continue to do what we have always done well-to contend for the faith and to guard the faithful. We know what is at stake in the realignment: nothing less than people coming to know the uniqueness and universality of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of all, and especially of the Anglican Communion. We will continue to offer practical counsel and guidance to orthodox Anglicans in distress, especially in regards to canonical persecution and litigation.
Our plans are ambitious - but we serve a great and awesome God! We have been blessed by many friends and intercessors who have bathed our listening, thinking and planning with prayer. We know that with God all things are possible (Matt. 19:26), but we need your help. Please pray for the American Anglican Council. Please tell your church and your friends what we are doing. Please pray for the Lord to open doors of provision - and please give generously to this great Kingdom work! †