In 2012, Dave Hearn, President of the C&MA in Canada, shared his vision for this movement:
My vision for the future of our denomination is to encourage an ENVIRONMENT that EMPOWERS the family of churches of The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada and around the world to be a Christ-centred, Spirit-empowered and Mission-focused movement in which God-given dreams, visions and passions can be unleashed with life-transforming power.
Alan Hirsch has declared that “our Christology informs our missiology, which in turn determines our ecclesiology.” After 125 years, our ecclesiastical structures can become so embedded in our thinking that we can begin to limit our missiology and even truncate our Christology. The great tragedy is that we can end up with an organization that functions well but could minimize the power of Christ that transforms an organization into an unstoppable movement.
Simpson and our early Alliance leaders understood this well. The Fourfold Gospel was Simpson’s attempt to present a full and rich Christology that would inform and empower everything else about the Alliance. The emphasis that Simpson placed on Christ as our Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King established the Alliance theological ground rules that set the stage for a movement of God. I am convinced that our churches must proclaim, with a new boldness, a full Gospel, centred on the power, person and presence of Jesus Christ. When people attend our churches, the central focus of our existence should be no mystery. Simpson believed in the total sufficiency of Christ to fulfill all God’s expectations for every believer. Christ must be exalted above all else!
At the very core of our Alliance heritage is the firm belief that it is “Christ in us, the hope of Glory.” In other words, our ministry effectiveness is in direct relationship to the Spirit’s control over our lives. Simpson declared, “When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you can no longer live for yourself […] you want to give your life away in service and sacrifice the same way Jesus Christ gave his life away.” I am convinced that the death nail for the consumerism that is devastating our churches is a dynamic and unapologetic call to the surrendered life. “Simpson saw the deeper life as ‘recognizing the indwelling Christ transforming his life through the Holy Spirit by substituting His strength, His holiness, His joy, His love, His faith, His power, for all our worthlessness, helplessness and nothingness, and making it an ACTUAL LIVING FACT!’” This is our hope for the future, if we are really serious about becoming a movement again. It will not be in new models or some amazing innovative governance structure, but in a new and radical call for our people to enter into the “deeper life.” Samuel Stoesz, a profound Alliance theologian, declared, “Out of sanctification emerges deeper worship, richer fellowship, fuller equipping in nurture and training, a more effective evangelism, and power in missions.” Arnold Cook, a past president of the C&MA, put it this way, “In the book Much More there is this helpful reminder: “Many believers stopped with the experience, the step, the act (of conversion) and have never gone on to maturity. They have lived a life of spiritual poverty and defeat, always under the suspicion--that there was “MORE.”’” Throughout our history, the Alliance has boldly asserted that there is MORE! My heart cries out to our leaders across the land to preach the message of the Spirit-filled life with compelling compassion.
Out of a Christ-centred and Spirit-empowered environment will emerge an unquenchable passion to be on mission with God. From the very call of Abraham in Genesis 12, God has invited his people to be on mission with him. We have been blessed to be a blessing to the nations. Lesslie Newbigin states, “‘As the Father has sent me, so I send you’ defines the very being of the Church as mission. In this sense everything that the Church is and does can be and should be part of mission.” In other words, mission is not the ACTIVITY of the Church; it is the IDENTITY of the Church. In the early years of the Alliance, it was very obvious that every program in which the church engaged had to have mission as its focus. Simpson passionately taught that “we are all Missionaries, every one of us with a commission and a trust just as definite as those we send overseas.”