Summer 2015

Letter From the President

Looking Forward With Anticipation by William J. Hamel

I write this letter with some emotion, as it is the last one I will pen after some 18 years serving in this role. I have a deep love for the Bride of Jesus—the church—and it has been the greatest privilege of my life to have served the EFCA as a pastor, district superintendent and senior vice president, and then as its leader. I will continue to serve the Bride even as I retire.

It is appropriate that this issue of EFCA Today features disciplemaking, because that is the essence that God calls each of us and our congregations to embody. Disciples are those who have been so captivated by Jesus and His gospel that they are compelled to follow Him with a wholehearted devotion. We are praying in the EFCA that God would raise up at least 1 million disciplemakers in this movement to impact those around them with the good news of Jesus.

I believe that a true disciple is one who understands grace and therefore extends it to others, who has learned to think through issues in light of God’s Word, who aligns his or her life with God’s priorities, and who sees people and loves people as God sees and loves them.

Can you imagine the power of a movement of disciplemakers like that? When we look like Jesus, that likeness within us helps attract others to Him—new disciples who go on to make other new disciples.

The truth is that there are some who call themselves believers whose lives have not been much transformed. For many, that’s because they have not been challenged to bring their whole life into alignment with the life of Christ. It is why the church often has so little impact in the community at large.

If I have one dream for the EFCA movement I love and have served, it would be that each of our congregations would focus on what it means to make disciples of Jesus—the essence of the Great Commission. By reflecting that priority of Jesus, we would constantly be looking for people who need the good news and always helping others take the next step in their own followership of Him.

In doing so, we step into God’s eternal plan of redeeming the effects of the fall and bringing hope and healing to every corner of the world.

It has been an immense privilege to serve you and the EFCA movement as its president. I look back with great thanksgiving, but I look forward with even greater anticipation. I pray that, in the words of the apostle Paul, God will do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine through this family of EFCA congregations.

Thank you for the privilege of serving as your president for these years. Together, let’s focus on becoming a movement of disciplemakers.