The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
In looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas each year, I find myself anticipating these seasons with an ever-greater expectation that God’s Spirit will do a great work in my heart, in my family, my church and in our work together. And one of my favorite ways to express that work of God is using the phrase “cultivating beautiful community.” This beautiful community is already a reality. The redemption of the world has been accomplished by the victory of God when Christ rose from the dead. Hence, the church is called to be a sign of the unity of the human race that will one day be perfectly achieved. The Fall destroyed union and unity with God and each other; reunion, therefore, is the story of Scripture.
These words that we find in Scripture — renewed, reconciled, united — reveal the reversal of the fractures, divides, breaks, partitions of life in this world and before God that were/are so desperately needed. We are stamped from the beginning for beautiful community — for unity and union, for wholeness and shalom. We receive this great gift of wholeness and shalom with Thanksgiving because of the great salvation that God gives us in Christmas, For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6
MNA’s calling is that of Strengthening the Church to Serve, Grow, Multiply. We look for God to be at work through the PCA as He has been at work since the days of the early church, So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily. – Acts 16:5. Will you please join me in prayer that those of us called to work with MNA will be faithful to that mission? Please pray especially for me, having been called by the MNA Committee just this past September 1, to serve as MNA Coordinator. Pray that I will be blessed by God’s Spirit to lead well in God’s next steps for MNA.
Recent years have brought us unprecedented challenges in the experiences of illness, political turmoil, racial conflicts and even natural disasters. What I hope you will remember as you think of MNA during this time is that God has led and provided for MNA staff members to rise to new levels of creativity in training and provision of services to our churches and presbyteries.
Here are a few highlights of God’s work through MNA:
- 26 church planters began new works during 2020 in the United States and Canada; that’s about half the usual number, but a strong showing in the midst of pandemic constraints.
- Church planter assessment numbers were also down during 2020, but we expect to finish 2021 on pace with pre-pandemic years.
- Income has remained steady for the MNA General Fund and has increased in designated support for MNA Staff and projects.
- Engaging Disabilities with the Gospel, ESL and other MNA Ministries developed high-quality Zoom training that will expand their training capabilities for the future.
- Metanoia Prison Ministries added 200 Correspondence Ministry students during 2020.
- The PCA Unity Fund awarded 2020-2021 seminary tuition scholarships to 53 minority men seeking ordination in the PCA at $2,200 per recipient, more than double the 2019- 2020 award level.
- African American Ministries is actively working to place PCA African American campus ministers on HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) campuses. There are 6 men preparing for that calling now, doubling the number of PCA HBCU campus ministries within the next two years.
- MNA Korean Ministries encouraged personal relationship growth among Korean Pastors through virtual technology during the limited travel time of the pandemic, resulting in a record number of Korean Teaching Elders attending the General Assembly.
- MNA Disaster Response mobilized thousands of volunteers to respond to the needs of people experiencing hurricanes, tornadoes, fires and floods throughout 2020. Warehouse service was expanded by opening a new site in Dallas TX.
- Chaplain Ministries currently has the highest number of endorsed chaplains ever, with 219 PCA chaplains, and a total of 312 in all the PRCC denominations combined.
Those are just a few highlights. Please join me in Thanksgiving for these and many more great advances in the Gospel. As we celebrate our Lord’s birth again this Christmas, please join me in prayer that he would be pleased to bless our work with MNA for even greater advancement of the Gospel through the PCA. Pray that we will indeed be blessed by God in Strengthening the Church to Serve, Grow, Multiply.
I also encourage you to prayerfully consider also making a financial contribution to God’s work through MNA. Everyone receiving this letter has given to the support of MNA either on a regular basis or at some time during the past several years. I am deeply grateful for your support. God uses your faithful and generous giving to advance His kingdom work through MNA. We welcome your participation along with your giving, as we seek to be faithful stewards of the time, talent and treasure that you entrust to us. Click here to give a special year-end gift to MNA.
During the coming year, let us pray together for the Gospel to go forward with greater boldness, grace, and love through the PCA, by the power of God’s Spirit.
Warmly in Christ,
Irwyn L. Ince, Jr.