About once every five years, Charis leaders from around the world gather together to discuss matters that affect the entire organization. On March 5–10, the Charis 2023 Forum was held in Nairobi, Kenya. At this meeting, 64 people met to refine our Common Mission Statement, brainstorm how our churches can practice interdependency, and discuss the implications of our complementarian view of gender roles. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to allow abundant fruit to grow in the coming years as a result of this gathering.
Below are the daily recaps the Charis Alliance shared throughout the week. See more photos on the Charis Alliance website here.
Day One: Worship, Orientation, and Unification
It’s Sunday night at the CHARIS2023Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, and representatives from twenty countries are wrapping up an amazing opening day. We began with a worship service where we sang simultaneously in three languages — and it was incredible! A pastor of a French congregation led worship and challenged us about the tender heart of our God. Two other sessions focused on preparing us to get the most out of the week by breaking down barriers of language and culture, agreeing to pursue a common agenda, and by prayer. An interesting case study of how misunderstandings can lead to a breakdown in relationships between churches helped set the stage for the Bible studies on interdependency that we’ll feature throughout the rest of the week. Praise God with us for the safe arrival of over sixty participants, and pray that God grants us a great night of sleep, as many are fighting jet lag.
Day Two: Interdependency, CCCM Clarification, and Country Updates
Did you know our movement has documents that outline who we are and what we do?
One of those documents is called the Charis Commitment to Common Mission (CCCM). This morning our delegates voted to amend the CCCM. The new changes help clarify our theologies of planting churches, training leaders, and doing good.
Then we looked at the Apostle Paul’s third missionary journey to see how churches should relate to each other. There was a divide between the Jewish churches and the Gentile churches, but Paul taught them to proactively and voluntarily help each other. That’s how we want to operate today.
We also got to hear how God is at work in a handful of our countries. Our church in Germany has an archery outreach. Our church in Cameroon has a clean water project. Our churches in Argentina sent a missionary to Colombia. We are so grateful to be a part of what God is doing through our brothers and sisters around the world!
Day Three: Interdependency, Gender Roles, Country Updates, and Communion
This morning Dave Guiles continued his teaching series on interdependency. Because all our churches are in Christ, we are equals.
Our leaders attended three sessions focusing on biblical gender roles. They affirmed that God created mankind in two distinct genders. They discussed biblical eldership and celebrated the crucial roles of women in the church. They broke out into discussion groups where they discussed how to apply these doctrines to their local churches of different cultures.
Throughout the day we heard updates from the USA, Chile, and the Philippines. The USA has 8 nation-wide ministries. The church in Chile is ministering to many Haitian and Venezuelan immigrants who have been coming into the country. One of our leaders in the Philippines is considering moving to a more unreached province to plant a church.
In the evening we participated in a tender time of taking communion together and washing each other’s feet. God is so good!
Day Four: Safari
Today we took a break from our normal conference to go on a safari together. We saw hippos swimming in a lake, and then took boats to an island where we got surprisingly close to zebras, impalas, and other African wildlife. The animals were originally brought there for the 1985 film “Out of Africa.” We were thankful to be able to strengthen our friendships with each other while enjoying God’s unique creation together.
Day Five: Brainstorming, Praying, and Country Updates
Today our leaders continued learning about interdependency and brainstormed realistic next steps they can take towards it. They shared their burdens together and prayed for each other. A handful of Charis representatives from different nations presented updates on their countries. Trinidad and Tobago are implementing a discipleship strategy of “each person should reach and teach one person.” Mexico has a dream to have at least one Charis church in each of its states. The church in Canada has a need for leaders because society there is very agnostic and secular. The Charis Alliance Executive Committee prayed for Dave Guiles as he will soon be serving the Charis Alliance in an even greater capacity.
Day Six: Last Day of the Conference
This is the last day of the CHARIS2023Forum, so we really want to make the most of our time together. Our biggest goal for the day is for every attending leader to outline clear, practical action steps for applying what we learned here to their local church. We also want to wrap up any pending decisions and consider any final business items before returning home. Please pray for God to lead us in our next steps as the churches in our movement advance in interdependency.