We were all challenged by the importance of radical discipleship as a lifestyle from which we must teach and mentor a younger generation. The perception is that Evangelicals in Latin America have grown in number but not always in maturity and influence in the surrounding society. The mission movements has grown although, but there is much more potential in churches for and even stronger involvement in world missions.
The week was full of fellowship, new friendships, challenges from God and reaffirmation of the commitment to serve His kingdom through the Ibero-American mission movement. Jose Luis Ramirez of Mexico was elected the seventh president of COMIBAM. He will provide leadership for the movement together with the Executive Director Decio de Carvalho for the next three years.
The strategic plan of COMIBAM includes concrete actions that will promote deeper commitment by God’s people in Ibero America and will support that commitment by walking together with the very diverse missional initiatives.
As part of the Silver Jubilee of COMIBAM several of the former leaders were present. Here the new elected president (to the left) together with five of the six former presidents of COMIBAM.
As Latin American evangelicals continue to become effective in missionary outreach, the realities in which COMIBAM does its work have also changed. At its General Assembly this week, COMIBAM announced initiatives that continue to mark it as a pioneer in a new phase of global missions based on south-south partnerships.
Victor Ibagon de Colombia, outgoing President of COMIBAM, opened the assembly by challenging participants to listen to God together to understand the future of the movement.
The daily themes were
- Together in the Word
- Together in Prayer
- Together in Fellowship
- Together in the Task.
Each theme was applied to the administrative challenges of COMIBAM. I had the privilege to share about the Centrality of the Word of God in the first evening.
Victor Ibagon spoke about Prayer in the morning session of the second day.
In his Presidential report, Victor Ibagón described recent changes in COMIBAM, In the past, COMIBAM saw its primary task to be challenging national movements to become mission minded. These efforts have been largely successful. In each country of Latin America there is now a national movement with sufficient maturity to develop their own plans.
The new focus is on mobilization toward unreached people groups. And it is this new focus that has led COMIBAM to turn to partnerships with non-Western initiatives. COMIBAM announced plans to participate in the Ethne to Ethne Network. COMIBAM has also worked out a co-operation with MANI in Africa.
We look forward to hearing from you about how the MC can encourage even more of these kinds south-south connections.
I am in the Dominican Republic this week. COMIBAM is holding mportant meetings involving missions movements from around Latin America. COMIBAM, the Ibero American Mission Cooperation, is having their General Assembly in Santo Domingo. It has now been 25 years since the seminal conference in Sao Paulo in 1987 when missions from Latin America became a movement. Time to celebrate!
I was reminded that Sweden is indeed not the centre of the world. It took me 30 hours of travel until I landed in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. It takes a long time to get from Sweden to nice places like the Caribbean. Even at 2 AM, the hospitality of the region was evident. They picked me up at the airport and took me to the hotel where I will stay during this week.
This week will be dedicated to COMIBAM. I will come back with brief reports from what are actually two events.
First, there is the General Assembly, in which new leadership and new directions for COMIBAM will be discussed and decided.
The general Assembly will be followed by a leadership conference.
The Dominican Republic is significant for me about when remember being president of COMIBAM. It was outside Santo Domingo that I led my first board meeting in 1998. Together with David Ruiz we started to re-structure the way COMIBAM was functioning. We had just come out of the second COMIBAM Congress in Acapulco, Mexico, 1997. Rudy Giron had stepped down as president after some excellent years of leadership. Inspired and strengthen by the conference, it was time to consider a more active involvement of national leaders in the structure of COMIBAM itself and to facilitate the formation of national mission associations and alliances in many of the 25 Ibero American countries. That work was carried out primarily by David during his years as Executive Director of COMIBAM.
For those who read Spanish there are a couple of places on the web where you can get information about what is going on with COMIBAM in the Dominican Republic this week. A temporary website has all the information about the Leadership Summit that includes information about the General Assembly. And more information about the General Assembly is on the COMIBAM site itself.
I am really looking forward to these days, meeting good friends and listening to what God has prepared for the future of the movement.
Knud Jørgensen of Areopagos wants the WEA MC Associates to know about the Regnum Edinburgh 2010 Series. Rose Dowsett believes these are books that many MC Associates ought to be reading. Since they tend to be quite specialized and are not written at a popular level, Regnum books may appear to be quite expensive. As a result, they do not always get the high profile they deserve. Several of them are available for free download from OCMS
You can read more about the series here: Regnum Edinburgh Centenary Book Series
The Mission Commission is about relationships more than anything else.
From time to time we convene global opportunities for people to meet, focusing on fellowship, mutual sharing and strategic reflection.
In between gatherings, task forces and networks
meet primarily over Skype and email.
The MC recognizes the value of adapting our communications style to take advantage of new tools that are available to us. Technology is changing the way people around the world relate to each other and changing the rules of communication and cooperation.
That is why our internal communication with MC Associates will be through this new Agora Newsletter reborn as a blog. This blog is the first step in a journey for the MC to be more intentional, constant and flexible in our communication. Compare it with the old Agora Newsletters, if you want. We will find new ways to make the bulletin Agora more frequent and interactive. MCA’s will get e-mail alerts whenever new content is posted on Agora.
We have decided to stop producing the magazine Connections. There is a treasure of excellent thinking about the missionary task in past issues of Connections. We are making sure that they will be available to you soon in a more useful format. This is just the beginning of rethinking and re-designing our communication strategy.
The current Mission Commission websites are being closed and redirected to the WEA/MC page. From now on you can find us by going to www.worldevangelicals.org. Look under “What we do” and there you will find the Mission Commission. There is still some updating to do on that page. It would have been done by now, except for the weather damage in New York City. The electricity is still off at the WEA office as it was affected by Hurricane Sandy. Please pray for WEA staff and their families. And, if you want updates, you can look at Geoff Tunnicliff’s Twitter feed.
But most of your news will be right here at agoraweamc.com
Our desire is also that communication in the MC will be multi-directional. Eventually there will be a place where who are connected with the MC can post their own messages and participate in a global dialogue regarding missional issues. More information about that will be available in a near future.
This is where MCA’s (Mission Commission Associates) can keep up with the news of the MC, as I see it. From now on, this blog will take the place of the Agora Newsletter
The Mission Commission envisions the proactive, synergetic, enabling of the global mission community to fully live, proclaim and extend to all peoples the transforming message of the kingdom of God in Christ Jesus through the power of the Spirit.
- Bertil Ekstrom
The leadership of ReachGlobal, Evangelical Free Church of America’s missionary arm, convened their missionaries and mission leaders from several of their partner organisations to GlobalShift a unique consultation in Budapest, Hungary, from 15 to 18 of October.
They worked together on strategic changes related to mission in Europe in light of global issues affecting mission today. Participants expressed appreciation for the importance of the theme. David Ruiz, who is partially seconded by ReachGlobal to the MC led the consultation together with his European leadership team. Dr K Rajendran, also member of the MC leadership team, was one of the main speakers, together with Dr Rene Padilla from Argentina. On behalf of the MC we express our gratitude to ReachGlobal and its Executive Director Gary Hunter, for the privilege of being part of the event and for the seminal example of convening such a consultation.