Extending ministries

A Light Has Dawned

Partners with the President with Kevin Kompelien.

The first Christmas came during a time of great unrest. In the first century A.D., the Holy Land was in a state of instability. The death of King Herod the Great fractured the region and a boiling tension rose between the Jews and their occupiers, the Romans. The Jews longed for a messiah to overthrow the Roman government and establish a new kingdom. 

Despite the unrest, God sent His Son, Jesus, a baby boy, into the world as the Prince of Peace, the one who would save His people from their sins. As Matthew writes in his gospel, Joseph and Mary expected their newborn son and fled from Herod the Great when he learned that the messiah was born. Even when Joseph and Mary returned after the death of Herod, they still evaded the notice of the next ruler, Herod Archelaus.  

“After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead. So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene” (Matthew 2:19-23). 

Jesus stepped into human history during a time that resembled a spiritual tomb with the mission of calling people out of darkness and into His glorious light. Today, just like in the first century, we need this Jesus to fix our spiritual brokenness.  

That’s why at the EFCA we take hold of His command to make disciples of all nations. It’s what drives our movement, and it’s why we pursue our mission to glorify God by multiplying transformational churches among all people.  

As the year comes to a close and you consider year-end giving, would you prayerfully consider sending a gift to the EFCA Fund to help us finish the fiscal year strong? Your financial partnership enables the EFCA to strengthen churches, guard the theological convictions of the movement, support the work of global missions and much more. If you would like to give, visit efca.org/fund. Thank you for considering partnering with us. 

Jesus stepped into human history during a time that resembled a spiritual tomb with the mission of calling people out of darkness and into His glorious light. Today, just like in the first century, we need this Jesus to fix our spiritual brokenness.

How God has worked in the EFCA in 2023 

I’m deeply grateful for the gift of fellowship God gave us this summer in Fullerton, California. For three days, leaders from across the country and around the world gathered for the EFCA’s national conference—EFCA One.  

This year at EFCA One, 833 people, including 120 ReachGlobal staff, were in attendance, 557 delegates gathered to vote on important matters in the EFCA and 241 EFCA churches from 37 states were represented. These numbers are significant, revealing the rich engagement in the EFCA. We reflected on the history of the EFCA and heard stories of new church plants in the movement. In 2023, the EFCA planted 22 new churches, and I pray God will continue to bless us with more church plants in the years ahead. 

Leaders gathering at EFCA One in Fullerton, California.
Leaders gathering at EFCA One in Fullerton, California.

Recently, cultural trends and social movements have risen that may cause division among us. Many questioned where the EFCA stood regarding these issues. As EFCA president, one of my duties is to guard the Statement of Faith and the ethos of the EFCA. I felt the Lord clearly put on my heart that it was time to put a stake in the ground at EFCA One and say, “This is who we are in the EFCA.”  

That prompted multiple conversations with the Board of Directors and the Board of Ministerial standing which led to the creation of the document, “Where We Stand in the EFCA: Denials and Affirmations.” If you have not read the document, I recommend you take a moment to read it, and I pray you will be encouraged by it.  

Leaders worshipping God at EFCA One.
Leaders worshipping God at EFCA One.

I have been to every EFCA national conference since 1984, and looking back, this EFCA One ranks in my top three. I am honored and blessed to have shared in this significant moment. God used those three days in Fullerton in powerful ways, unifying EFCA leaders in our shared values and commitment to the mission God gave us. I thank God for the time we spent together in fellowship, worship and the Word, understanding what God would have for us moving forward. 

ReachGlobal Initiatives 

ReachGlobal, the international mission of the EFCA, has spearheaded several initiatives this year. Two district superintendents invited Mike Edwards, a former ReachGlobal City Team leader in Berlin, Germany, to consider launching a city team in San Francisco, helping equip local churches to share the gospel in their communities. The EFCA has a heart to see San Francisco and the Bay Area come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. I pray God will bless and strengthen this important initiative through individual and church partnerships in the year to come. 

Leaders in the EFCA and multiple Free Church denominations around the world have been praying for God to move in Taiwan. Of the 24 million people living in Taiwan, only four percent profess to be Christians. Leaders, including myself, see this as an opportunity for missionaries to support existing churches and to plant new churches. To accomplish that, ReachGlobal launched the Taiwan Initiative, a new mission field to start bilingual church plants. Candidates have already expressed interest in serving in Taiwan, and we’re prayerful that God will continue to send more missionaries there. 

Ken Law and several leaders drinking coffee in Taiwan.
Ken Law (Right) meeting over coffee with several leaders in Taiwan.

We’re mobilizing more missionaries to send into the field. This year, God has blessed the EFCA with the largest number of missionary candidates in over a decade. In the new year, I’m eager to see what He will do in and through the EFCA in the work of missions. If you are interested, visit efca.org/reachglobal. 

National ministries 

For one week in September, district superintendents, missionaries, pastors and ministry leaders gathered at the national office for equipping, training and planning for ministry. I saw one EFCA lived out at this gathering in significant ways, reflecting our shared partnerships and deep commitment to moving the ministry of the EFCA forward. I wait with eager anticipation to see how God will continue to work in and through the partnerships we have with district and local leaders for His glory. 

District superintendents, pastors and missionaries praying at Missional Summit.
District superintendents, pastors and missionaries praying at Missional Summit.

As I’ve written about previously, we’re in a season where God is lifting up the next generation of leaders to advance His kingdom around the world. For the EFCA, that means several new leaders this year have filled positions at national and district levels. After a nationwide search, the EFCA national office introduced Paul Miller as the new director of ReachStudents, the EFCA’s student ministries. Paul comes with a wealth of church leadership experience with students and student leaders. He also has a deep connection with the EFCA and will begin his role at the start of the new year. 

I’m thankful for the leaders God has raised up in the EFCA, and I pray He will work in powerful ways through their ministries. 

Looking ahead 

Like the first Christmas, we live in challenging times. From social and political unrest to wars and natural disasters, the local church and ministry leaders face significant pressures. I believe one of the greatest challenges of our day is for us to hold on to the truth and to do so with grace and love. 

Leaders talking during a break at Missional Summit.
Leaders talking during a break at Missional Summit.

A concern is that churches may focus more on the cultural moment, rather than reflecting their Savior. As the Church, we can’t afford to be swept away by cultural trends; it loses the incredible opportunity to bring glory to God. This is the Church’s moment to be the Church and to demonstrate Christ, full of grace and full of truth.  

When Jesus came into this world, God planted His own stake in the ground with a message of hope and truth and love.  

“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased’” (Matthew 3:16-17). 

This is the hope that we hold on to this Christmas season: Jesus is the Son of God and in Him, the Father is pleased. As one body, let’s hold on to that hope, together, reflecting Christ's love to a weary world. We can’t do it in our own power. So, let’s cry out to Him in prayer, asking for the Prince of Peace to bring about spiritual revival to a land desperate for His grace and His truth. 

This Christmas, I pray God will meet you and your family in a powerful way, helping you shine His light to the world and giving you every opportunity to point back to Him.  

The EFCA Fund has a financial shortfall of $161,638. Your financial and prayer partnership makes a significant kingdom impact. Please pray that God would provide for EFCA ministries and send your most generous gift to the EFCA Fund to enable us to serve and support districts, local churches and missionaries. Give today at efca.org/fund 

Kevin Kompelien

President Emeritus, EFCA

Kevin Kompelien served as the president of the Evangelical Free Church of America from June 2015 until April 2024, and currently serves as the president of Trinity International University. He previously served more than 20 years as a local pastor in the EFCA and then nine years as international leader of the Africa division with EFCA ReachGlobal. He and his wife, Becky, are members of Hillside EFC in San Jose, California.

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