How I've Seen "One EFCA" Lived Out

As he transitions into his new role at Trinity International University, Kevin Kompelien reflects on his nine years as EFCA President.

April 04, 2024

In 2015, when I was elected president of the EFCA, I did what Jesus often did in His ministry—find solitude and pray. I took a week away to seek out God’s direction for the EFCA in this season. After much prayer and reflection, I turned to the idea of “one EFCA.” 

One EFCA means local, regional, national and international ministries working together toward common ministry objectives with shared values and trusting relationships.  

In the EFCA, we value church autonomy; God has used this element of our ethos to allow the movement to flourish. But God spoke to my heart in those precious moments to see the vast opportunity of cultivating growth in interdependence and partnership.  

One of the earliest articles I wrote as EFCA president highlighted this idea on seeking one EFCA: 

“Christianity isn’t lived out individually, it isn’t built on superstars and it allows freedom in nonessentials. It’s the outworking of ordinary men and women using their unique gifts to serve God and serve others. We are in this together and we are better together.” 

As I reflect on my time as EFCA president, I praise God for how we’ve lived out one EFCA during these last nine years. Here are a few ways I’ve seen one EFCA lived out. 


At the core of the EFCA’s mission to glorify God by multiplying transformational churches among all people is church planting. From its founding, the EFCA has lived and breathed multiplication.  

One EFCA means local, regional, national and international ministries working together toward common ministry objectives with shared values and trusting relationships.

Out of this heart for church planting, EFCA leaders created ReachNetwork, a gospel-centered, prayer-dependent church movement for church planters. While ReachNetwork is a national ministry, I’ve been blessed to see how local, district and even international leaders have collaborated to plant more EFCA churches. In the last twenty years, EFCA national, district and local church leaders partnered to plant 650 churches.

One example of this is Pastor Daniel Perez and Encuentro Church (EFCA) in Odessa, Texas. In the 1950s, the EFCA sent missionaries to Venezuela who introduced Daniel’s family to the gospel. Decades later, when Daniel sensed God calling him into vocational ministry, he worked with EFCA district leaders to plant a Spanish-speaking church in a community that was deeply hurting. This is God at work in one EFCA—disciplemakers multiplying disciplemakers across every level of ministry.  


God has called all people to use their gifts for His kingdom purposes. When we provide opportunities for disciplemakers to learn sound doctrine, pathways for discipleship will increase. Out of this heart for equipping disciplemakers, EFCA national ministries in partnership with districts, local churches and several ministry leaders developed Prepared. Here’s what I wrote around the time Prepared launched: 

“We need opportunities for all people in the EFCA to use their gifts toward the fulfillment of our mission. Women and men, young and old, black and white, everyone working toward encouraging and discipling the body, sharing the good news of Jesus and multiplying transformational churches among all people.” 

In the three years since we launched Prepared, we’ve already heard powerful stories of God at work through this ministry, and I’m excited to see the fruit it will produce in the years ahead.  


In 2019, leaders from the EFCA and ministry partners in other Free Church denominations in Asia prayed and sought the Lord’s leading in opening a mission field in Taiwan.

Through trusting relationships and continued conversation, leaders sent missionaries into Taiwan with the goal of establishing bilingual church plants. Through these church plants, ministry leaders will advance evangelism and discipleship efforts.  

And, in 2022, when Afghan refugees came to the United States, EFCA ministry leaders from every level of ministry came together in Houston to provide support for a local church that was directly serving the Afghan population. This story beautifully captured the movement’s impact when leaders collaborate together toward the fulfillment of our mission.  

God has called all people to use their gifts for His kingdom purposes. When we provide opportunities for disciplemakers to learn sound doctrine, pathways for discipleship will increase.


In 2020, COVID-19 caused vast separation across the country, both physically and spiritually. Suddenly, we couldn’t gather, and many of us had to put ministry plans on hold. Many in the local church and their communities also saw significant disunity and separation in cultural and political shifts. We discovered that one EFCA wasn’t something that just happened, it was a choice. Here’s what I wrote during that time: 

“...Paul makes it clear in these six verses [Ephesians 4:1-6]: We have a choice. We have an option to choose unity. While God gives us “the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace,” it’s our decision to keep it—and it requires both intentional choice and intentional effort. Unity is not just going to come, especially in the middle of tension and conflict. It's going to take some hard work." 

Despite these trials, I felt truly blessed to see how churches and leaders adapted and found creative solutions to build connections while serving their communities. God doesn’t waste things, and I believe He used those difficult times for ministry fruit later, which was evidenced at EFCA One 2023. 

EFCA One 2023 

EFCA One 2023 was a beautiful picture of the EFCA family reconvening after a long time from being together. Consider this reflection: 

"For four years we’ve waited to gather again as one EFCA family. After EFCA One 2019, no one could have predicted what the next years would bring. From the pandemic to cultural shifts and political tensions to pastoral burnout, the last four years haven’t been easy. I could sense anticipation on everyone’s faces as we were finally together. Even through tumultuous years, God has done great things in and through local churches, districts and national and international ministries, and I’m deeply grateful for everyone who contributed to this gathering where we encouraged one another and celebrated God’s faithfulness." 

From ReachGlobal to ReachNational to local church leaders and leaders from Trinity International University, more leaders at EFCA One 2023 were paving pathways to work together toward common ministry purposes. Not only did I see leaders build relationships, but I also saw significant unity in the EFCA’s mission.   

EFCA One 2023 was a climactic moment for me as EFCA president. I thank God for the powerful preaching and teaching during the main sessions, the equipping at the training labs and the opportunities to connect and build stronger relationships. But I’m also grateful to take part in and witness a moment that will resonate for a long time in the EFCA.  

During the Business Session, I read the document, “Where We Stand in the EFCA: Denials and Affirmations.” This document was approved by the EFCA Board of Directors and the Board of Ministerial Standing, and later affirmed by the EFCA district superintendents. It articulates who we are as a movement, and I pray it will help the EFCA navigate social and cultural shifts that may cause division among us. You can find the document and additional resources here.

Honored to serve 

During my time as president, I have seen God work in so many ways. What I’ve described above is only a small taste of how God has blessed the EFCA. I’m deeply grateful and honored to have served the EFCA as president for these nine years.  

I am thrilled that Carlton Harris is stepping into the role of acting president of the EFCA. He’s a dear friend and someone I wholeheartedly trust to lead our movement through this season of transition. 

I’m deeply grateful and honored to have served the EFCA as president for these nine years.

On April 1, I transitioned into the role of president of Trinity International University. I look forward to a renewed partnership between the EFCA and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and I ask you to join me in prayer for our shared responsibility to develop ministry workers for service in the EFCA and the evangelical church worldwide.  

In closing, Becky and I want to express our sincere gratitude for the trust you have placed in us. Your kind words, devoted prayers and sincere encouragement have blessed us more than you know. We also want to thank the many EFCA ministry leaders we've had the privilege to serve alongside—for both your invaluable leadership and meaningful friendship.   

While I say farewell to my role as EFCA president, I will remain active in pursuing deeper partnerships between TEDS and the EFCA and look forward to connecting with EFCA leaders in the future.  

Allow me to say farewell with this passage of Scripture that I believe best expresses my heart for the EFCA:  

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:3-11).   
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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