Every four years, members of the Church of the Nazarene from around the world come together for what’s known as General Assembly. This year, General Assembly was held in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. With more than 2.5 million members and 30,000 churches worldwide, the assembly is a wonderful time for members to come together in worship, prayer, and planning for the next four years of ministry together as a global church.
As a ministry of the Church of the Nazarene, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries was also there. We were encouraged to witness the church responding to needs around the world, particularly related to child sponsorship and the refugee crisis.
For those who could not attend GA2017, here’s a brief look at what you missed (but can still get involved in):
Child 20/20 Initiative Announcement
During General Assembly, NCM announced a new vision for the global church’s response to the needs of vulnerable children—the Child 20/20 Initiative. By the end of the year 2020, NCM aims to see 20,000 children sponsored around the world, providing brighter futures for children and a hope in Jesus Christ.
The Child 20/20 Initiative invites individuals and groups (churches, youth groups, Sunday School classes, etc.) to sponsor children. We are also inviting you to spread the vision to others as well. By becoming a Child 20/20 Visionary, you can join the movement by encouraging five other people to sponsor a child.
With more than 30,000 local Nazarene churches worldwide, we are confident that as a global church we can do this together! To learn more about the Child 20/20 Initiative, visit ncm.org/2020.
At the Sunday evening service of General Assembly, we heard the story of a former sponsored child whose life changed for the better when a sponsor invested in her.
Benaia joined Dr. Eugenio Duarte, general superintendent for the Church of the Nazarene, on stage for a few questions. The highlight was when Benaia’s former sponsor, Judy Veigl, came out to surprise her that night! The two were finally able to meet in a heartwarming surprise.
To hear Benaia and Judy’s sponsorship story in more detail, watch their video here.
The NCM Exhibit Booth
The exhibitor’s hall at General Assembly was a spectacular show of the diversity of ministries Nazarenes are involved in. If you didn’t get a chance to visit NCM’s booth, that’s okay! Here’s a brief look at what we offered visitors to see and experience:
One of the first items that drew people near was the shelter at NCM’s booth. The shelter was created by the Ikea Foundation in partnership with UNHCR (see bettershelter.org). Although this shelter is currently not being used in any Nazarene disaster response efforts yet, it was a great opportunity to test it out. Many people noticed the beautiful pictures hanging up outside the shelters. These images were painted at refugee camps in Jordan by an artist who wanted to bring color and hope in the form of art to children and families living displaced.
Inside the booth, NCM showcased a few videos that highlighted the ongoing refugee crisis. To watch those videos, visit youtube.com/nazcompassion or for the video titled “What They Took With Them,” click here.
NCM seeks to mobilize the church to respond to the desperate needs in communities around the world. One of the ways we can response to the refugee crisis is through prayer. So that’s what we did!
Children and adults of all ages shared love, hope, and peace to those who are displaced from their homes through simple notes on sticky notes. At the end, those notes were set with church leaders in the Middle East and Europe to take back to share with people living as refugees. Each visitor was also invited to take a key from our booth, as a reminder to continue to pray for those who are displaced from their homes.
We cannot thank you all enough for the positive responses to this exhibit. If you would like to learn more about how you can respond to the refugee crisis and to support people displaced around the world visit ncm.org/refugees.