‘It’s been a busy time of building a fruitful team, establishing a vision, consolidating our identity as a movement, focusing our departments to better serve our churches and donors, strengthening our Regional partnerships, and building new alliances along with being a listening ear to our leaders. Some of the things I’m particularly grateful for over the past five years are:
• The amazing National Staff I get to serve alongside. I’ve learned one of my most important tasks is discovering the right people, adequately resourcing them and championing their missional dreams and initiatives.
• Spending the first three years establishing Direction Documents for each of our National departments and ministries. These documents provide clarity of purpose and focus to our ministries in support of our churches.
• The creation of our “We are the Fellowship” direction document which involved hundreds of Fellowship leaders over three years (2012-2015) and helped to settle some of our identity issues (who are we?). Also, our “20/20 by 2020” strategic plan (2016-2020) that helped clarify our National mission mandate (“what we do”).
• I believe our membership-baptism issue (2014-2017) has been another identity issue being worked out in a healthy way.
• Witnessing churches gain health through consultations and the establishing of more than four dozen church plants in the past five to six years has been especially gratifying.
• Watching the strengthening of our Regions in these past five years to more effectively serve our local churches.
• Especially gratifying has been the current recruitment boom following a season of clarifying vision among our National departments. We are seeing more missionary and chaplaincy appointments than in previous years.
• Revisioning of our Fellowship International department to be involved in disciple-making movements globally means exciting days ahead.
• Retooling our chaplaincy department and witnessing a 100% increase in new chaplains in three years (2014-2017).
• Retiring the Fellowship French Mission in 2014 and implementing a new approach to Francophone ministry. This was difficult to do, but we have seen 108 partnerships between English churches and donors established with French church plants in a two year timespan (2015-2017).
• Establishing our FAIR ministry as a standalone department (2015) due to our churches’ growing passion for involvement in humanitarian relief, development, and justice issues. Response to recent FAIR appeals has been remarkable along with an increase in the direct involvement of churches in projects overseas.
• Establishing the Fellowship Foundation (2015) has been a dream come true; response has already been wonderful from the Fellowship family.
Each year I have identified a specific verse and theme for our Fellowship family. They have been as follows:
• 2012 (Hope: Romans 15:13)
• 2013 (Faith: 2 Corinthians 5:7)
• 2014 (Love: John 13:35)
• 2015 (Outreach: Luke 19:10)
• 2016 (Devotion: Titus 2:12)
• 2017 (Discipleship: Colossians 2:7)
• 2018 (Prayer: Romans 12:12).
At varying degrees we have pursued these and witnessed God’s continued faithfulness and fruit. My hope and prayer that in the years ahead our churches will experience the “much fruit” Jesus talks about in John 15.
—Steve Jones, Fellowship President