Mission to North America (MNA) exists to celebrate the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the United States and Canada, providing leadership and encouragement to the local and regional church in church planting, missional partnership and church renewal.
Our Core Values
- Centrality of the gospel – We find the gospel in the person and work of Jesus, who came to seek and save the lost. (Luke 19:10) And we learn Jesus and the good news of his kingdom through Scripture, God’s holy and inspired word. It is through the gospel of Christ that we worship God; it is through the gospel that we experience the joy of sins forgiven; it is through the gospel of Christ that we grow into his likeness and vibrancy; and it is through the gospel that we live in resurrection hope.
- Call to evangelism – To know Christ is to make him known. (Matthew 28:18ff.) Celebrating the gospel involves sharing it. We share joyfully that which we treasure deeply. We look for the gospel to run out wide, bringing many new converts to Jesus and into the life of his kingdom through our witness, and down deep, penetrating the hidden and dark spaces of our lives and bringing healing to the wounded and broken joints of our being.
- Power in prayer – Jesus tells us: “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” But, whoever abides in him and depends upon him will bear much fruit. (John 15:5) At MNA, we abide in Christ through prayer. We want his way, life, his path, and his fruitfulness, rather than our own. We challenge everyone in our organization to become a person of prayer. Prayer should be our first and primary action as a ministry.
- Unity and diversity in the church – We have “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:5-6) in Jesus, and are one body made up of many different members, with differing spiritual gifts, experiences, backgrounds, and endowments for ministry in his kingdom. (I Corinthians 12:4ff.) This diversity in unity is not artificial, but will flow from the movement of the gospel. At MNA, we celebrate this diversity in the one church, looking for many different kinds of peoples to come into the church through the one historic gospel and living by the only rule of faith and practice, Holy Scripture. We look for these different kinds of people, from different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, with differing gifts and talents, to come into the church and rise to leadership, so we become more of that living tree Jesus spoke about, which grows to be the tallest tree in the garden, with branches jutting out everywhere, so that all the birds of the air can come perch in its shade and find rest. (Ezekiel 17:22-23; Matthew 13:31-32)
- Multiplication of ministry – At MNA, we do not wish to see the church grow merely by addition – a church plant here, a pocket of conversions there, a movement of renewal over here, and a missional partnership established out there. Although we give thanks when these additions occur, we pray and work for multiplication of ministry and gospel fruitfulness to come through leaders of leaders being raised up, trained, mentored and coached. (2 Timothy 2:2) We look for MNA staff to be movement leaders in church planting, church renewal, and missional partnerships. At all levels of MNA and in all avenues of our ministry, we seek to work collaboratively, rather than independently or individually. On our staff teams, we will empower leaders, pressing ministry down and out, which seems to be the approach our Lord favored and modeled for us. And all of our ministry is connected to and for the flourishing of the local church. This approach should feed the multiplication of our ministry efforts.
- Energy from clarity – There is an old saying in business: “Clarity brings energy.” Scripture would seem to support this concept. Jesus: “Now that you know these things, blessed are you in doing them.” (John 13:17) At MNA, we will seek to be clear about our reason to exist, our vision, our core values, our ministry goals and objectives, all in submission to Scripture. And we will pray for a Spirit-filled and directed energy to empower us in the work ahead.
Our Avenues of Ministry
Certainly, the church is not inclusive of all of Christ’s kingdom activity. We are to take every thought captive to Jesus (II Corinthians 10:5); whatever our hands find to do, we are to do with all our might, to the glory of God. (Ecclesiastes 9:10; Colossians 3:23) And yet, the advance of the kingdom of God in any sustained fashion will always be connected with the growth of the church, for the church is the steward and herald of the gospel. (Matthew 16:18) And the church grows as new churches are planted, even as a forest of oaks grows as acorns fall into the ground and new seedlings begin to sprout. In the Book of Acts, when we hear about conversions being multiplied or breakouts of justice and mercy occurring in the culture, the planting of new churches is never far removed in Luke’s narrative.
Reproduction through church planting is, therefore, of the very essence of the vibrant church. MNA seeks to make church planting more and more a prayed for and sought after, yet expected and normal, part of congregational life, just as having children is a prayed for and sought after, but an expected and normal, aspect of married life for most couples. Church planting should be the norm for PCA congregations, as we celebrate the gospel and pray for the fruitfulness of our worship, community and missional engagement. Saints growing in the likeness and beauty of Christ, new converts coming to Jesus, surrounding communities becoming more just and beautiful places, and new congregations birthed should all be the expected fruits of ordinary, healthy church life.
MNA will seek to connect meaningfully every PCA congregation to church planting (“every church a church planting church”) by encouraging the following steps:
- To pray for church plants,
- To give to church planting, locally and regionally, as well as to church planting initiatives in underfunded and underdeveloped regions,
- To join or form a church planting network (city-wide, presbytery/region, affinity group),
- To launch a daughter church or additional worshiping site,
- To be prayerful about and active in pursuit of becoming part of a church planting eco-system.
MNA will promote gospel unity and diversity in our church planting efforts as we:
- Stay anchored to Scripture as our only rule of faith and practice, stay committed to the historic means of grace (the preaching of God’s word, the right administration of the sacraments as God’s mystery revealed, and the prayers of God’s people), and stay focused on sharing the gospel, making disciples of Jesus, shepherding them in the faith and equipping them for mission. These commitments will bind us together and keep us on mission.
- Raise up, recruit and send to the field many different kinds of church planters/church planting teams – multi-form in race and ethnicity, in socio-economic and educational background, in previous ministry experience, and in commitments to worship style and philosophy of ministry.
- Mainstream and integrate our minority church planting initiatives into a coherent whole – a multi-ethnic church planting movement under multi-ethnic leadership at all levels.
- Creatively promote various kinds of church plants, with diversity in church formation strategy (multi-congregational and multi-site, mother-daughter, presbytery or network launch; existing core group or parachute drop; solo planters and church planting teams; mono-vocational or bi-vocational pastoral leadership), in church style, ethos and philosophy of ministry (coming from various points of the compass in the PCA – e.g. Redeemer/City to City, Twin Lakes Fellowship, New City Network; RUF or Campus Outreach DNA; neo-liturgical, old-school Presbyterian, blended, or racial reconciliation models of worship; attractional or missional approaches; resource church or parish church models; etc.); and in church location (city-center; urban; suburban; rural)
- Multiply and diversify our recruiting and church planter assessment processes, and rework so that church planter assessment processes are more effective in assessing church planter candidates for diverse ethnic, cultural and socio-economic contexts.
MNA’s Missional Partnerships provide church plants, established congregations and presbyteries with skills and avenues to serve people in their surrounding communities, making visible the invisible Christ and creating opportunities to share the gospel in a wide variety of community contexts. The gospel comes alive in fresh ways as we combine word with deed, even as our Lord Jesus was mighty in both word and deed. (Luke 24:19) The kingdom of Jesus typically makes its strongest advancement as word and deed are flourishing together in the life of the church. (Acts 6:1-7)
The cultural questions of our time seem not to be so much “What is true?” or “What is authentic?” but rather “What works?” and “What makes a difference in our world?” Our missional partnerships become crucial in this sort of cultural moment. Through these missional engagements, MNA seeks to come alongside the church in answering these sorts of questions, which both world and church may be asking:
- Where is the church when there is great physical and spiritual need after a disaster? (Disaster Response)
- Where is the church for the alien and stranger among us? (ESL; Refugee & Immigrant Ministries)
- Where is the church when there is radical racial injustice, inequity and tension on display? (Urban & Mercy Ministries)
- Where is the church for those serving in our military, police force and as first responders and for their families? (Chaplain Ministries)
- Where is the church for those in prison and their families? (Metanoia Prison Ministries)
- Where is the church for those with special needs and their families? (Engaging Disabilities)
- How is the church expressing care and a prophetic voice in our centers of government? (Ministry to State)
- How I can use my gifts, skills and experiences to make a difference? (Second Career)
These missional partnerships represent some of the best ministry the PCA has to offer, because of the strong combinations of word and deed and the incarnational approach and movement inherent in them. But, many of these ministries are also among our best kept secrets in the denomination. MNA will integrate these missional ministries more fully – there are some nine partners currently under the MNA banner – and make the opportunities for ministry that they offer more knowable and accessible to the churches and presbyteries of the PCA. It is important to remember that these ministries are not efforts to replace the church, but rather efforts to equip the church more effectively in our mission, and to extend and express the gospel and its kingdom applications within the broader cultural context.
Renewal is a way of life for all Christians and all congregations. (Richard Lovelace) Scripture speaks of the hope of our ongoing renewal through the gospel, according to the mercies of God. (Psalm 51:10; 103:1-5; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 4:13-18; Ephesians 4:17-24; Colossians 3:5ff.) This hope of renewal is not just personal and tied to our own piety before God, though this is wonderful and crucial, but it is also corporate and missional. (see the Pauline corpus throughout; The Letters to the Seven Churches in Revelation 2-3) Such a focus on church renewal seems crucial at this juncture for the PCA, as we approach our fiftieth anniversary as an established part of Christ’s church across the ages. Few seem to question this as a great need of the hour. The question is “How?” How should we pursue church renewal most effectively?
MNA seeks to provide a leading edge within the PCA to encourage gospel renewal as a way of life among our members, congregations, presbyteries and the entire denomination:
- Renewed individually and collectively in our faith and repentance toward Christ;
- Renewed in our first love for Jesus and his mission;
- Renewed in vibrant worship,
- Renewed in authentic community,
- Renewed in fruitful witness,
- And renewed in a multitude of beautiful kingdom expressions, all because of the gospel of Jesus.