I met a lot of really impressive pastors and church leaders at the conference. The Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) is a genuine movement of God’s Spirit in North America in the 21st Century. This is not to say that everyone in the movement is wonderful or even truly following the Spirit. There are a fair amount of disgruntled ex-Episcopalians who really just want a haven from the liberal US Episcopal Church and have no interest in being on mission with the AMiA. But, fortunately, these folks don’t seem to be the ones guiding the direction of the mission. The conference sent a message loud and clear to everyone there: We are first and foremost passionate followers of Jesus Christ who happen to be Anglican and we are secondly passionate about sharing the Gospel message with others through missional church planting and incarnational ministry.
Here’s a little recap of some of the highlights:
Todd Hunter had a fantastic presentation on reaching people in a postmodern culture and he postulated ways that the church might adapt to a postmodern culture. Interestingly enough, postmodernity, which the church tends to fear, might actually help lead Christians back to a truly biblical model of church (community, discipleship, interdependency, intimacy, mission, incarnational living, etc.). Todd is also joining AMiA as a network leader and church planting director on the west coast. He is a major asset to the AMiA and to the Kingdom.
Margaret Feinberg spoke about reaching 20-30 year olds. This sent the message to everyone there that the AMiA is especially committed to reaching young people with the Gospel.
Thaddeus Barnum did a series of Bible studies each morning that centered on understanding the Gospel and the mission of the early church. I was amazed by his passion for the Gospel and his knowledge of the Scriptures. Listening to him might have been a little like listening to John Wesley preach 250 years ago.
There was a panel session on urban church planting featuring leaders from Church of the Resurrection in Washington, DC. Let me just say that I have never been more impressed by a church in my entire life. They appear to be successful in the way God defines success: discipleship, faithfulness, witness, and service.
What especially ministered to my heart was the picture of the Church that I saw. It looked a lot like God’s picture of the Church in Scripture. AMIA is a missionary movement within Anglicanism in the United States, but the Archbishops who helped to ‘father’ it are Rwandan and Asian. I can’t tell you what it did for me to hear white, middle class pastors (some with serious southern drawls) genuinely revering and respecting these Asians and Africans as their (functional or postional) superiors. It was clear that the Americans were deeply grateful to God for providing such godly spiritual over site for this new movement. And no one cared that they were not white.
I left there impressed by what I had seen. I left there thinking, ‘This is one of the few times in my life when something looked as good up close as it did from a distance.’ May God increase their tribe!