What’s an Alliance Church? Lets go back a bit…
Here in Canada (and around the world) we are part of a large family of churches called “The Christian & Missionary Alliance (the C&MA). We‘re Christian because we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our Saviour & Lord. We’re Missionary because we’re committed to reaching people worldwide with the good news of Christ. We’re an Alliance of believers from various backgrounds working together to achieve a common cause…to serve as the Church where we are, and take the Church where it is not.
So what is the C&MA?
The Christian and Missionary Alliance began in the heart of a Canadian!
In 1843, Albert Benjamin Simpson was born in Prince Edward Island of Scottish Christian parents. From the age of 10, Simpson had a secret desire to become a minister. In October 1861, he entered Knox College (a Presbyterian seminary) and graduated in April of 1865. He became a Pastor and served churches in Hamilton, Ontario / Louisville, Kentucky and New York City.
In 1881, Simpson resigned as pastor of the Church in New York City in order to focus his energy & attention towards more intentionally reaching others with the gospel. He began to hold meetings in various New York halls, tents, and theaters. A group of Christians quickly formed around him, whose primary concern was evangelism and missions. By 1887, a permanent facility had been built and dedicated which really became a center of evangelism and training in New York. In all of this activity there had been no thought of forming a new denomination, but as the ministry progressed a simple church organization was the natural outcome. This church (called “The Gospel Tabernacle”) became the forerunner of the Alliance.
A.B.. Simpson envisioned an alliance of Christians from all churches and missions. Consequently, in 1887, two mission societies (the Christian Alliance and the Evangelical Missionary Alliance) were formed. The Christian Alliance was the “support arm” for the “sending arm” of the Evangelical Missionary Alliance. Members of the Christian Alliance were urged to remain loyal members of their evangelical churches. The Evangelical Missionary Alliance would focus on recruiting, training and sending missionaries. The two societies operated separately until 1897 when they merged to form the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
Simpson had an almost overpowering sense of the lost state of people without Christ and a tremendous burden for their salvation. A colleague recorded a revealing glimpse which he caught of Dr. Simpson; one day, through his partially opened study door, he saw Dr. Simpson, while in meditation, draw the globe which sat on his desk toward himself, put his arms around and his head against it and agonize for the unenlightened lost of the earth. All the while, his tears flowed down over the globe. The Alliance began and exists to tell individuals around the world of the good news of forgiveness, salvation, life and hope in Christ.
On January 1st 1981, the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada became autonomous from it’s US counterpart. In Canada, there are currently 431 churches, 1611 official workers, and 211 international workers. Globally, there are 66 countries that are home to Alliance workers.
As a family of churches, it’s so exciting to think that we get to be a part of what God is doing in and around the world!