Posted: 12/13/18 at 12:45pm.
As part of the executive director report at the BGAV annual meeting, John Upton announced a recent, formal partnership with Missio Alliance, a centrist group whose mission is to resource churches and individuals who share the belief that diversity of thought within denominations is a strength.
Missio Alliance is a public gathering place of sorts—a safe space where believers from more than 30 denominational groups can support each other and challenge each other by discussing and addressing the tough issues facing the North American church today. They do this primarily through events such as their national gathering, a biennial meeting where church leaders can come together for discussion, leadership, and fellowship.
At their last gathering, over 1,000 people came together around the topic of the Holy Spirit and its place in the Church. Their website, MissioAlliance.org, provides a wealth of resources for individuals and churches that explore topics and issues relevant to their mission and purpose.
The BGAV’s relationship with Missio Alliance is certainly not new; one of its founders is Jim Baucom, senior pastor of Columbia Baptist Church in Falls Church (a BGAV-member congregation). Baucom said during his part of Upton’s report, describing the BGAV’s growing partnership with Missio Alliance, “It’s like finding the family you didn’t know you had.”
Missio Alliance began as an initiative of Ecclesia, a relational network of missionally-minded churches and leaders that takes a primary interest in encouraging and equipping church planters.
Over the course of several years and through untold hours of conversations, there emerged a strong sense that perhaps there was a need for a broader fellowship – one that could incorporate not just leaders and churches, but other networks, denominations, schools, and still other groups that shared a desire to engage in dialogue and work around the most pressing theological and cultural challenges facing the North American Church in mission amid its rapidly shifting cultural context.
In a recent interview, JR Rozko, national director of Missio Alliance, reflected on the new partnership with BGAV:
How did Missio Alliance’s relationship with BGAV begin?
The influence of the BGAV was present at the earliest stages of the conversations that gave rise to Missio Alliance. This influence came in two primary forms. For starters, any initiative that envisions bringing a diverse array of influential leaders together to dialogue and pray about creating a new form of ministry to equip the church takes financial resources.
The generous support of the BGAV made it possible for us to get these leaders around tables together. At the same time, there was a core of BGAV pastors and other leaders who lent their own voices and relational connections to help us develop an initial network and create our first national gathering in spring 2013.
What intrigued you initially about partnering with BGAV?
Beyond the historical involvement and support of the BGAV along the way, two specific things made advancing our strategic alliance with the BGAV an exciting possibility.
First, there is an incredible theological and missional fit between Missio Alliance and the DNA of the BGAV. We each understand ourselves as grounded in the historic orthodoxy of the Christian faith while wanting to boldly contend with the unique challenges of joining in with God’s mission in our time and place as we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Second, there’s a relational and visionary synergy that seemed impossible to ignore! As a leadership team, we looked at the fruit of our relationship with the BGAV over our early years as well as the future we sensed God was leading us toward. Taking steps to partner together in even more strategic ways seemed obvious and natural to all of us.
In a very, “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us” sort of way, our sense was that there were kingdom opportunities worth pursuing that could best be engaged by a tighter alignment of our efforts.
How would you define the relationship between BGAV and Missio Alliance, and in your opinion, what strengths do the two entities bring to each other?
I feel like Missio Alliance has been grafted into a loving and supportive family that’s enthusiastic for us to flourish as a ministry with a unique identity and gifts.
Whereas Missio Alliance brings strong and growing partnership-driven platforms that are engaging a diverse array of church leaders at a national level, the BGAV brings a rich ecology of kingdom-focused ministries and churches that can help strengthen and further influence the ways God is continuing to shape our initiatives.
The Church in North America finds itself at a virtually unprecedented place—needing to navigate the complexities of (re)evangelizing a previously evangelized context. Ultimately, Missio Alliance is seeking to forge new kinds of togetherness, advance fresh conversations, and create essential resources for church leaders looking to journey into that future together. Some of the primary ways this finds expression is through our conferences, web-based publishing, webinars, and online discussions—to all of which we warmly welcome church leaders.