Missio Alliance began as an initiative of Ecclesia, a relational network of missionally-minded churches and leaders that takes a primary interest in encouraging and equipping church planters. Over the course of several years and through untold hours of conversations, there emerged a strong sense that perhaps there was a need for a broader fellowship – one that could incorporate not just leaders and churches, but other networks, denominations, schools, and still other groups that shared a desire to engage in dialogue and work around the most pressing theological and cultural challenges facing the North American Church in mission amid its rapidly shifting cultural context.
As this conversation moved beyond Ecclesia to those in a wide range of cultural contexts and representing many different theological traditions, God confirmed that many others were cultivating an imagination and vision for precisely this kind of fellowship.
In 2011, a committed and diverse group of leaders representing different tribes and organizations began having more specific conversations and meeting to pray and discuss the formation of an “Alliance” that might help address the needs that so many Christian leaders were expressing. These had mainly to do with seeking fellowship in theological conversation, identifying resources for theologically reflective ministry practice, and considering the shape of formal approaches to training men and women as Christian leaders in North America as a mission context.
In April of 2013, Missio Alliance held its inaugural North American gathering, entitled, “The Future of the Gospel: Renewing Evangelical Imagination for Mission,” at Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA. Over 700 leaders from across North America participated in ground-breaking conversations regarding the connection between a robust understanding of the gospel and the practical life of the Church and believers as we participate in God’s mission.
Over the course of the next two years we continued to add partners, established a new blogging platform anchored by a team of theological practitioners from across an array of traditions and ministry contexts, and held regional gatherings where we continued to bring church leaders together for networking and conversation around shared interests. These events also provided continued space for the ongoing discernment of the on-the-ground issues, needs, and opportunities facing church leaders across a wide range of geographic and cultural contexts.
In May of 2015 we reconvened at Alfred Street Baptist Church for our second North American gathering, “Being Truly Human: Reimagining the Resurrectional Life.” This conference provided space for presentations and dialogue around some of the most pressing issues facing Christian leaders with respect to human identity and the embodied witness of the Church today.