“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the FAMILY of believers THOUGHOUT THE WORLD is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:8-9
WE ARE FAMILY is the inspirational theme for 2016 for the SoldOut Movement! Building on this moving theme is the title for the 2016 City of Angels International Christian Church (CAICC) Winter Workshop – FAMILY THROUGHOUT THE WORLD! However, before we venture into this new year, let us take a moment to reflect on the darkness that engulfed all the nations of the world in this past 12 months, so that we can better appreciate the light of the Kingdom expressed by God through His incredible miracles during this same time in 2015!
During the past year on every news outlet, headlines were made by the deadly Paris attacks and the growing ISIS threat; the migrant crisis confronting the European nations; the racial unrest in America and the ensuing intense distrust for law enforcement; the Supreme Court of America upholding same sex marriage; the confusion over the transgender community; the escalation of tensions between the super powers of the United States and Russia; the growing number of teen suicides; and the senseless debate motivated by greed among the nations about “if” man’s influence on climate change has effected planet earth.
Contrast all of this with the fact that 2015 was God’s new movement’s best year… yet! In Los Angeles at their Bring Your Neighbor Day in September, they set an attendance record of 1,610! Equally amazing, this great congregation is now averaging 1,200 at every Sunday Service! These “new heights” have been attained because the Lord in 2015 has graciously added to their number 508 souls: 369 baptisms, 58 restorations, and 81 place memberships – several of whom came to us directly from our former fellowship seeking revival!
These remarkable accomplishments surely came through the power of the Spirit working even during the leadership transition of the CAICC from Elena & me to our dear son and daughter in the faith Tim & Lianne Kernan! The Kernans have selected four stalwart and dynamic couples to serve as the new Super Region Leaders of the CAICC: Cory & Jee Blackwell, Blaise & Patricia Feumba, Lou Jack & Cathi Martinez, and Luke & Brandyn Speckman! This transition now “frees up” Elena & me to pour ourselves into forcefully advancing our movement’s international Crown of Thorns Churches and to
devote time to writing articles and books that will likewise encourage disciples.
Highlights of the year for our congregations around the world included: The 2015 Winter Workshop – THE UPWARD CALL, our Women’s Days – most of whom were entitled LET IT GO, the third season of the CAICC Basketball League, the first season of the CAICC Women’s Volleyball Tournament, a myriad of retreats, The First Annual African Missions Conference, The Labor Day Picnics And Fun Days in America, The European Missions Conference, and our Annual Christmas Services! In addition, an unprecedented number of key churches were planted! The six new churches are: our Eighth Crown of Thorns Planting – Moscow, Russia (February); our Ninth Crown of Thorns Planting – Manila, Philippines (June); Abidjan, Ivory Coast (July); Sacramento, California (September), Stockholm, Sweden (September) and Korezouzoua, Ivory Coast (November)!
Another extraordinary highlight was in August at our Global Leadership Conference (GLC) – SAVIOR OF THE WORLD – where the Spirit gathered over 2,100 on Sunday morning to witness the Third Commencement Ceremony of the International College of Christian Ministries! 86 received Bachelor’s Degrees; two Master’s Degrees were granted; and one Doctorate Degree was awarded to my dear wife of 39 years – Dr. Elena Garcia McKean! Another marvellous moment in the GLC was the presentation: The History Of The SoldOut Movement from its roots in Portland in 2003 to the present day! We now mark the beginning of God’s new movement with the planting of the City of Angels Church in May 2007 by the 42 sold-out disciples from Portland. Therefore, in the SoldOut Movement’s short eight year history, God has spread His new movement to build 61 churches with 4,000 disciples with almost 6,000 in attendance on Sundays in 31 nations on all six populated continents of the world!
So encouraging as well was the Fourth Annual IGNITE Program hosted by the San Francisco Church! This nine day event gathered 32 of our strongest teens from around the world for a special time of bonding through spiritual strengthening, community service and fun activities. Special thanks to Ricky & Coleen Challinor for overseeing this momentous event! In the summer of 2016, IGNITE will be held in Los Angeles, California!
As we close our thoughts on 2015, the World Sector Leaders and Elena & I want to commend the entire movement for your tremendous weekly sacrifice of $112,000, as well as an almost unbelievable 2.6 million dollars collected from our two Missions Contributions! This sacrifice not only gave us the “seed money” for the six 2015 plantings, but your incredible sacrifice is also serving to sustain the Lord’s work in Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe, North America and South America!
With this year’s theme – WE ARE FAMILY, the World Sector Leaders have set before the Lord the following Prayer Goals for 2016:
1) “Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness… But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14-15) Accordingly, our first goal is to call every disciple to refocus on their personal relationship with God thus experiencing new heights of faith and deeds. For 2016, we are encouraging every disciple to read through the entire Bible.
2) “God sets the lonely in families; He leads out the prisoners with singing.” (Psalm 68:6) During the 2015 year, the congregations in God’s new movement have been privileged to send out approximately 125 of our most well-trained disciples to plant and to strengthen our sister churches around the world! Given this phenomenal sacrifice, our overall goal is once again “to win as many as possible.” (1 Corinthians 9:19) However, this sacrifice of sending out so many has “orphaned” even more disciples in particularly the older congregations. Therefore the World Sector Leaders are calling every church to dedicate themselves to rebuilding effective Bible Talks – family groups modelled after Jesus and the Apostles. Lord willing, this focus will dramatically reduce the number of fall aways “orphaned” and “lonely” by so many leaving for the mission field. As well, this will keep disciples faithful when they struggle as “prisoners” of sin. Prayerfully the Bible Talk family will love them to repentance and to “singing” God’s praises again.
Therefore, we need to be more effective in our discipling and to keep calling as a standard of maturity for every disciple to someday become a Bible Talk Leader. (Hebrews 5:11-14) With an ever-increasing number of Bible Talk Leaders (and Bible Talks), this in turn will not just add but will multiply our disciples. All congregations are being called to have specific prayer goals for growth for this coming year. Already, the City of Angels Church – with now 138 Bible Talks – has their prayer goal for 2016 of “1,000 (disciples) for the Lord!”
3) “Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said: ‘Who am I, Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?’” (1 Chronicles 17:16) David learned that leadership in God’s family is a grace and a privilege. A danger of leadership is not to appreciate this grace and to think that we are “entitled” to this wonderful experience. That said to grow and multiply our congregations, dynamic Evangelists, gifted Women’s Ministry Leaders, and competent Shepherding Couples must be raised up in every congregation. Therefore, we are praying that from the around the movement at least seven Evangelists and seven Women’s Ministry Leaders will be appointed in 2016. This will allow the Spirit to plant seven churches this calendar year: Bogota, Colombia; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Lagos, Nigeria (our Tenth Crown of Thorns Church); Seattle, Washington; Tampa, Florida; Dubai, United Arab Emirates (our Eleventh Crown of Thorns Church); and Bangalore, India. Also, we are praying for the Holy Spirit to raise up seven new Shepherding Couples! (Acts 20:28)
4) “[Cornelius] and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly… as memorial offerings before God.’” (Acts 10:2, 4) Many religious groups spend the majority of their finances on building facilities which in time just become empty monuments. In the SoldOut Movement – in both our weekly and missions contributions – the vast majority of these “memorial offerings [to] God” is spent on supporting Evangelists, Women’s Ministry Leaders and raising up even more full-time leaders. Therefore, our financial goals this year are to generously increase our giving from $112,000/week to $130,000/week!
In 2015, most SoldOut Movement Congregations gave a minimum of 27X for missions – 20X in May (1X went to local weekly needs) and 9X in November (1X went to local weekly needs). In 2016, we have laid a plan for each church to give 25X for missions – 3X in February (1X to local needs), 20X in May (1X to local needs), and 5X in November (1X to local weekly needs).
5) “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:10) As the benevolent arm of the SoldOut Movement, the impact of MERCYWORLDWIDE now extends to all six populated continents of the world! This year, every congregation will participate in the global events of the International Day of MERCY on Saturday, June 18th and the MERCY Christmas Toy Drive on Sunday, December 18th!
Coinciding with MERCYWORLDWIDE’s efforts to procure outside funding (corporate, philanthropic and government agency donations), MERCYWORLDWIDE is transitioning from “key” one day projects to “signature” long term programs. Signature programs include: The Red Cross/MERCY National Blood Drive, The Red Cross/MERCY SoCal Disaster Preparedness Program, The Workforce Development Network (WDN – a job placement program in Chicago for people with disabilities), MERCY H2O Water Filtration Systems in Haiti and India, and The ECAM Orphanage Homes/ MERCY Partnership in Santiago.
6) “‘Truly I tell you,’ Jesus replied, ‘no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – along with persecutions – and in the age to come eternal life.’” (Mark 10:29-31) Every disciple is promised a new spiritual family “a hundred times” more than their physical families. To appreciate the hundreds of “family members” in other nations, we are encouraging every disciple to attend one of the following Missions Conferences: The Brazil Missions Conference in Sao Paulo (February 19-21), The Latin America Missions Conference in Mexico City (February 25-28), The Africa Missions Conferencein Lagos (April 23-24), The Eurasia Missions Conference in Moscow (April 28-May 1), The Austral-Pacific Rim Missions Conference in Manila (June 16-19), The European Missions Conference in London (October 27-30), and The South Asia Missions Conference in Chennai (November 4-6).
The 2016 Global Leadership Conference will be held in Los Angeles on July 31 – August 2, 2016. The focus of the conference will be the Book of Acts. Therefore the theme of this life-changing event is REVOLUTION. The registration fee will be $185 and the “early bird special” will begin this week for $160!
7) “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established.” (Proverbs 24:3)The New York Post on September 27, 2015 recorded, “American intelligence analysts have… concluded that nearly 30,000 foreign fighters have travelled to Iraq and Syria [to join ISIS] from more than 100 countries since 2011.” CNN in an earlier article on June 15, 2015 reveals, “Using social media as well as encrypted online communications beyond the reach of law enforcement surveillance (dark space), the terror organization [ISIS] is increasingly reaching new sympathizers and encouraging attacks.” Though the SoldOut Movement has established a presence on the internet with our congregational websites, Livestream Worship Services, and articles such as Ron Harding’s A HISTORY OF THE SPREAD OF CHRISTIANITY IN MODERN TIMES at KipMcKean.com, it is time for us to bring “the light” to the dark spaces of social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and YouTube! Therefore, we are launching two initiatives this February: #ICCTestimonials and #ILoveMyChurchICC. All disciples everywhere are encouraged to post their “personal testimonies” and their positive experiences as to why they love God’s church so much! Prayerfully, the Spirit will use this technology to “increasingly [reach] new sympathizers” – the remnant and a very lost world from all 196 nations!
8) “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in Heaven and on Earth derives its name… [and He] is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church… forever and ever! Amen!” (Ephesians 3:14, 20-21) Our last challenge is for every SoldOut Movement disciple to have at least one personal prayer goal that is “immeasurably more than [anything] we imagine.”This may include being on a mission team, being selected for the ICCM, becoming a Bible Talk Leader, being selected as a Shepherding or Deacon Couple, or even the conversion or restoration of someone close to you.
In all cultures, the beginning of a new year brings hope and resolutions. Since the world lacks the Spirit’s power to transform, so many “new year’s resolutions” quickly fade. However, together let’s determine to “resist Satan, standing firm in [our new year’s resolutions], because you know that the FAMILY of believers THOUGHOUT THE WORLD is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
Let us all embrace this year’s theme – WE ARE FAMILY. And to God be all the glory!
Dr. Kip McKean