Watch highlights from the 2019 forum – click the image above to play.

The 2019 GACX Global Forum brought 306 people from 148 organizations to Denton, Texas, from September 24-27. Inspired by 2 Corinthians 5:14, this year’s theme challenged participants to be compelled by the love of Christ to share, collaborate, and multiply towards seeing a healthy church within reach of every person. At the end of the forum, one participant shared, “God performed cataract surgery on my clouded eyes.”

Bekele Shanko, GACX president, shared in the opening session how the alliance has grown from 6 founding members in 2011 to over 86 today, and the forum itself had grown from about 20 people to over 300 this year.  “The biggest value is finding people with like mind and like purpose moving in the same direction, desiring the same end result,” shared Dan Brokke, president of Bethany International. “We discover areas of common action and application. We discover points of common need and share common values.”

Helping leaders connect and identify potential partnership opportunities was a key outcome for the 2019 forum. One opportunity for this was the strategy intensives that focused on topics such as leadership development, movement metrics, and digital strategies. Tom Harley, a vice president for OneHope, noted that there were only two children-focused leaders at the first GACX forum he attended several years ago. This year, over 30 signed up to be part of the Children and Youth Intensive.

John Becker, GACX VP for Global Networking and Partnerships, spoke to both the benefits and challenges of forming local and regional alliances focused on church multiplication. Regional meetups on the last afternoon of the forum allowed participants to connect with others working in the same geographical areas. While regional meetings have been part of the past three forums, feedback from this year’s meetings has illuminated several opportunities to improve such meetings. 

Nicolas Lombardi, a vice president for International Cooperating Ministries (ICM), shared with participants that after attending a previous forum, “I was truly compelled to join in this process to see a church planted for every person. But being compelled without being equipped is scary.” Partnerships found through GACX helped transform ICM’s approach. “It took us ten years to get to 15,000 churches with the old model,” says Lombardi. “With the new principles we have learned through GACX, we have doubled this number of churches to 30,000 in just three years.” 

A new facet of the 2019 forum was the involvement of six GACX members as co-hosts: Antioch Ministries International, Christ’s Commission Fellowship, e3 Partners Ministry, East-West Ministries International, Global Media Outreach, and GAiN. In addition to helping underwrite some of the costs, each organization also provided input and logistical support for the forum.

“The palpable excitement and energy at this year’s forum points to the growing momentum of the GACX movement,” noted Nate Vander Stelt, GACX Executive VP. “We’re seeing new partnerships popping up all over, new regional and national alliances getting started, and most importantly, greater capacity and focus on seeing a vibrant church in reach of every person.” 

The 2020 GACX Global Forum is planned for September 15-18, 2020, in Orlando, Florida. Additional details will be shared on the GACX website before the end of 2019.

Bill Sundstrom serves GACX as a writer/editor and also contributed to this post.