USA (MNN) — The African Methodist Episcopal Church has possibly been through more pain and growth than any other American church denomination in the past 200 years. And this year, they want to focus that all in on reaching the rest of the globe with the Gospel.
Today is day six of the 49th quadrennial General Conference for the 190-year old AMEC, the oldest African American church denomination in existence. This year's June 27-July 4 conference is host to 20,000 people, including U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama as a keynote speaker, in Nashville, Tennessee.
Wycliffe Bible Translators is honored to have been the only Christian mission organization invited to the Assembly to move participants toward a new goal.
"[AMEC's] motivation is to establish global mission as a primary goal for their denomination," explains Wycliffe's Don Erickson, who has been speaking at the conference.
Being able to focus globally is a significant milestone for a denomination that's come against so many obstacles. Erickson points out, "Through institutional racism over the past 2+ centuries, the African American church was prohibited from participating in global mission."
The AMEC members have sustained everything from slavery to civil rights abuses within the body of Christ over the last two centuries. But the denomination has overcome so significantly that they're now able to focus more and more attention on spreading the Good News to every corner of the earth.
"[They] are now saying they want to be active partners in global mission, not simply local mission–which has been their focus up to this point," explains Erickson.
Wycliffe's translation work is an important way to help meet those global mission goals. "You cannot plant a church and sustain it without the translated Word. You can't evangelize sustainably without the translated Word. And they've understood that," says Erickson.
During the General Conference, Wycliffe's goal is to help broaden the understanding for the need of Bible translation and potentially even open more people to the idea of joining in the work God's doing through Wycliffe.
During the last couple days of the conference, Erickson asks you to pray.
"[Pray that] the folks that are participating in this conference will hear the call of the Holy Spirit to join this global work, and that they will see their necessity in the work. We cannot do this without them."