Wednesday, September 05, 2007

What does it mean to be a GCPN church?

The call to initiate a church network has been more of an Abraham calling than a Moses calling. When Moses was called by God to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt he clearly understood the history and heritage of a chosen people. There was a specific geographical location that held the promises of God. His job was to lead his people from captivity and back to the land of promise. His journey was no less an act of faith than Abraham's - only more specific. Abraham on the other hand was told by God, "...go to the land I will show you". He was on a faith journey into uncharted territory. If you had asked Abraham along the way, "Can I join in on your caravan?" - I think he might have said, "Sure...but I have no idea where we are going...only God knows."

Pastors and church leaders ask me almost daily, "What does it mean to be a GCPN church?" If you have ever been in on the development of an endeavor newly birthed, you know the answers to developmental questions are always couched in process. There is a dream given by God and then there is the reality of where you actually stand. Many times the chasm between the dream and reality seem miles apart - particularly if you are an idealist. I don't mind confessing my idealism. Jesus was the ultimate idealist. The dreams God has given me for GCPN are dreams of the Church and the Kingdom in their purest form...absent of skepticism, free from historical baggage, abounding in generosity, cooperative in nature and compliant with the will of God. GCPN is a new thing and we know that God is the daily Creator of all things new.

Pardon me if my answer to the question, "What does it mean to be a GCPN church?" sounds a bit idealistic. My temptation is to avoid answering that question at all because I think it is a question about labels, categorization, institution and form. I think God is less interested in organizations and institutions and more interested in movements of the Spirit. He has already instituted the one organization through which He intends to reach the world - the Church. The question I prefer to ask is one of essence and substance - "What are the characteristics and qualities of a GCPN church?" I hope the answers to this question are characteristic of your own church.

A GCPN Church...

  • characterized by leaders who shepherd their local body to seek and embrace the revealed will of God and to obey regardless of cost.

  • characterized by leadership with an unmanageable passion for God's glory among every tribe, nation, people and tongue.

  • ...recognizes its corporate gifts within the Kingdom and offers them to the Kingdom at large.

  • not self-focused or competitive. It considers how it may use its resources to strengthen other churches even to the point of sacrifice.

  • ...does not seek to control the network, but to be an equal partner in the world-wide mission of God.

  • ...values history and heritage, but does not consider them something to be grasped. It faces the future and values the eternal.

  • ...realizes that resourcing God's mission could possibly mean fueling some movements that are neither North American nor Baptist.

  • willing to initiate change within the local body toward missionality, realizing that the process may take time and an investment of spiritual energy, particularly if starting at ground zero.

In case you think I have managed to avoid the original question by being theoretical, I encourage you to join the network of GCPN at any or all of the following levels:


  • Join in a conversational community that contributes ideas and resources through the blogsite.

  • Invite pastors and missions leaders within the network to share their experiences and expertise with you as you seek to grow your church into a missional congregation.


  • Contribute your mission expertise to network churches by being willing to serve as a consultant to a less-experienced church.

  • Seek strategic guidance for healthy missiological practices from experienced missiologists within the network. Don't just do something. Do it well.

  • Contact the network office for assistance in designing a spiritual formation series for your church that will lead them to a greater understanding of God's desire for the nations.

  • Channel members of your congregation toward network causes in their area of giftedness.

  • Begin the process of altering your church's financial contributions to more accurately reflect God's vision for your congregation.


  • Assist in the development of network direction by offering your service to the GCPN Board of Directors.

  • Designate a portion of your church's mission offerings toward direct support of missionaries being sent from GCPN churches.

  • Enable experienced missiologists to offer their time to network churches through financial support of the GCPN.

  • Watch for on-line coaching materials for cross-cultural training within your congregation (to be posted this fall).

  • Contribute toward the financial support of 12 regional networkers in 12 regions of the world to assist churches and sending organizations in strategic involvement.

I hope these are tangible first-steps toward you assisting GCPN in becoming all God intends for it to be. I am praying for you and you seek God's wisdom for your church.

Cindy Wiles, Director