The words “One Team, One Dream” resonated in the hearts and minds of over 2100 people from 104 countries who participated in GACX Forum 2021, September 28-30. The event encouraged those working in God’s mission to pursue collaboration and work as one to realize the vision of one church for every 1000 people everywhere.
This forum was GACX’s first fully hybrid event, providing an opportunity to participate both online and, where possible, in person at a local site in different countries. In Togo, for example, 137 participants gathered at one of twelve different meeting places. Komla Gle, who coordinated the sites, shared, “All the participants appreciated the forum and they want to have a national GACX [expression] in my country.”
All participants, regardless of location, had the ability to participate in the three live main sessions and one of 13 different equipping workshops. The main sessions were translated live from English into eleven other languages, and many of the workshops were selectively translated into a more limited number.
“Both the plenaries and the workshops were very helpful,” wrote one participant from Venezuela. “They inspired me, helped me evaluate myself, challenged me and trained me in some aspects that I was unaware of in my ministry.”
Larry Freed, serving with One Mission Society, participated at the forum in Orlando. “The greatest joy for me was what my Philippines Leadership Team experienced,” he said about their ability to attend virtually. Larry continued:
It was exciting to be sitting in a workshop and look at the screen and see the faces of some of the leaders I work with attending the same workshop virtually. When we debriefed two weeks ago, everyone was able to share what they had learned. They connected with new people. But one of the best experiences was the online Philippine conversation that took place after the forum.
Chad was another country where people could gather, a total of 189 grouped at five different locations. “The presence of the leaders of the three evangelical [groups] side by side was a great encouragement for the participants who saw the demonstration of the unity of the body of Christ,” writes Benjamin Imbo Kou, the national facilitator. “The climate was fraternal.”
Leaders from many GACX members and other global organizations gathered on-site in Orlando as well. In addition to the global mains sessions and workshops, multiple other planned and open opportunities were scheduled to encourage connections and the pursuit of effective collaboration.
“The ability to be in-person with other people passionate about the Great Commission was such a blessing,” shared one participant. “It was so refreshing after the challenges that COVID has brought. My vision was renewed, and I was blessed by the fellowship and connections.”
“From North America to Africa, Asia to South America, co-laborers were challenged to collaborate so that God might accelerate the multiplication of disciples and churches, especially in the least-reached places,” shared GACX Executive VP Nate Vander Stelt. “It seems that GACX members are more ready than ever to engage in deeper, specific projects and initiatives with others where goals can be set, tools and training can be offered, and results can be measured.”
The last day of the forum marked the tenth anniversary of GACX’s founding. GACX President Bekele Shanko was joined on stage by representatives from the five original member organizations: Global Church Movements, Dynamic Church Planting International, The Timothy Initiatives, Christ’s Commission Fellowship, and Northland Church. After cutting a cake together, each organization was also presented a small award recognizing 10 years of GACX membership.
As the forum came to a close, Bekele Shanko shared how GACX’s vision complements the effort being led by Finishing the Task Coalition and others to complete the Great Commission by its 2000th anniversary in AD 2033. It will involve many different strategies, but a significant part is deepening multiplication-focused collaboration between GACX member organizations and others at the regional and national levels.
“There’s beauty in organizations coming together, and GACX is helping us step outside of our silos to move forward together,” notes Renita Reed-Thomson, who leads Discipling Marketplace Leaders.