I recently attended a series of semi-annual meetings with our six regional leaders from Evangelical Friends Church-North America (EFC-NA) and the governing board of Evangelical Friends Mission (EFM). I must confess that board meetings have never been high on my list of favorite activities, but this particular gathering was especially fruitful and life-giving.
It didn’t hurt that both meetings were held at Quaker Ridge Camp, located in the high country of the Colorado Rockies, in the shadow of majestic Pike’s Peak. But by far the best part of this week was having the privilege of spending time with a group of spiritual leaders from across our extended family of Friends here in North America who share a common love for Jesus and a deep passion for “equipping the whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world” in Jesus’ name.
One of the greatest blessings for me, personally, was the fresh realization that EFC-MAYM continues to play a critical role in the fulfillment of the Great Commission through the ministry of EFM. This is reflected in many practical ways …
- We have three of our very own, “home grown” missionaries currently serving on three very strategic EFM fields in Africa (Carpenter), Asia (Linville) and Latin America (Hughes).
- We have several other missionaries serving around the world who were equipped and sent through our strategic partnership with Barclay College.
- We have invested over one million dollars in the work of EFM during the past two years alone, which represents nearly 1/3 of the EFM annual budget.
- We have 41 churches and 319 individuals who are currently contributing to the work of EFM, as well as 14 Friends Women groups.
- We have offered a portion of our office space at the Ministry Center in Wichita as an interim headquarters for EFM, and will do so as long as needed.
During our time together at Quaker Ridge, I was also impressed by a growing sense of unity among our six yearly meetings here in North America. We have been entrusted with a shared vision for making disciples here in our own country and around the world.
We are part of an extended family of Friends here in North America that includes more than 300 churches representing at least 40,000 people in six regions (Alaska, Eastern Region, Mid America, Northwest, Rocky Mountain and Southwest). We are developing new leaders together, we are planting new churches together, and we together we are supporting a gifted team of cross-cultural missionaries serving on at least nine foreign mission fields (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Ecuador, India, Ireland, Mexico, Nepal, Rwanda and the Philippines).
Clearly, we are better together and after our recent gathering in Colorado, I have renewed confidence that the best is yet to come!