We will provide developing churches with a biblical philosophy of ministry. From the first days of Christianity, the model for the spread of the church has been simple. Vibrant assemblies are to send gifted, called, and trained men out of their midst for the purpose of encouraging, edifying, and establishing Christ’s church (Acts 11:19-26). As was the case in Antioch, these men were sent out with a firm grip on the distinctives of biblical ministry (Acts 13:1-3). These distinctives serve as our heartbeat – our philosophy of ministry. We desire to instill this biblical philosophy by establishing or revitalizing local churches where the Word of God is faithfully taught, and the congregation is shepherded according to carefully cultivated biblical principles and practices.
We will provide fellowship for developing churches with like-minded ministries. The advance of the church requires that bodies not live in isolation, but fellowship with one another for encouragement and stability. Churches ought to care for one another, and seek to do all within their power to bolster and establish other churches (1 Cor 16:1-3). It has become increasingly clear that various geographical regions of the United States do not have local churches that emphasize a biblical philosophy of ministry. While we are not starting a denomination, we nevertheless recognize the critical need for churches to plant churches, and to establish networks that facilitate the fellowship of these local assemblies (Acts 14:21-28).
Finally, we will provide pastoral candidates for church leadership. Ministry cannot be geared towards the accommodation of culture, personality or style. Church leadership is about men called by God and ordained by the church working to shepherd people who desire to be nurtured and linked with the redemptive history of God. While many ministries are lowering the bar in order to admit desperately needed leadership, it is our desire to raise the bar and provide developing churches with men of God whose character and calling qualify them to lead the people of God (1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). There can be no substitute for having holy men in the leadership of the church. Because it is difficult for many developing churches to find a man qualified for the work, it is our desire to provide such churches with a biblical leadership in order to execute a biblical philosophy of ministry.
It is also the purpose of GAMA to endeavor to provide protection from things that threaten the church. We will strive to shield developing churches against the dangers of cultural accommodation. The overwhelming trends in the American church are away from doctrine, biblical philosophy, and preaching. Churches once defined by a strong heritage are rejecting theological tradition for the accommodation of secular society. In a world that no longer honors the past and lives only in the moment, the sole criterion for establishing a church is its level of cultural embrace. Nowhere does Scripture challenge the church to win or change the culture by pragmatically tailoring its methodology to attract or infiltrate that culture. In fact, Scripture does quite the opposite when it commands men of God to simply “preach the word” in the face of those who want their “ears tickled” (2 Tim 4:2-3). It is the purpose of GAMA to protect churches against such accommodation through the promotion of a biblical philosophy of ministry tempered by sound theology.
We will endeavor to protect churches from historical isolationism. Many local churches remain content to exist without an awareness of the triumphs and failures of previous eras. Their focus is only on the present with no thought given to developing men qualified to carry sound doctrine into future generations. The lax mindset towards church history is evidenced by the reality that denominations are essentially gone or breaking down altogether. Individuals and entire churches no longer stand for anything, and don’t care about their connection to history. The great history of redemption that remained untarnished in the days of the New Testament, and was recovered in the Reformation, holds great ramifications upon the life of the church in the present day. Good ecclesiology demands that there is a historical awareness of and connection to the flow of redemptive history. GAMA realizes that the church does not exist in isolation, and seeks to establish churches with one eye fixed upon the patterns of church history, and the other upon defending and preserving the truth for future generations.
We will endeavor to protect against the danger of entrepreneurialism within the church. Many ministries are being built upon the back of a whimsical personality rather than upon the rock of God’s word. Such an approach is foolish and wrong because it is enormously damaging to the long-term health of the church. The compelling objective in ministry is not to build ever-expanding ministries to the monument of self, but rather to simply shepherd the people of God to the glory of God. Many church leaders have forgotten the reality that the ministry and its mission are significant – they are, as individuals are not. Because the Lord builds His church using His church, pragmatic innovation stemming from personality should find no place. We hold that churches must be doctrinally oriented and biblically designed having been set apart from the personality of the leader.
Finally, we will endeavor to protect against the danger of imprecise doctrine. Many churches refuse to take stands on important contemporary doctrinal matters. Such churches hold the attitude that it is superior to not have a doctrinal statement, than to be divisive through stating one’s beliefs. Worse yet is the prevalent idea that any aspect of life is fitting for the spiritual instruction of God’s people. The defense and promotion of comprehensive doctrinal accuracy as revealed by the Scriptures is a crucial activity of the church. Historically, intrusion into sound doctrine typically begins with compromise on issues deemed to be secondary in importance. Where the Word of God is clear on issues of theology, churches ought to be clear as well. It is a travesty for congregations to remain ignorant in the name of unity or in favor of more entertaining methods of communication. GAMA understands and seeks to promote the reality that the people of God must be instructed accurately in the truth of God.
To view our doctrinal statement, click here.