Frequently Asked Questions
- What is AMEC?
- Why was AMEC formed?
- What are Amec's goals?
- What does Amec believe?
- How can a church join AMEC?
- Can an individual join AMEC?
- Can I help support AMEC?
- Who is the Alliance Leadership Team?
- When does the Alliance meet?
- What is AMEC's heritage?
- Is AMEC a regional or national group?
- How can I find out more about AMEC?
AMEC is congregations and individuals who have chosen to partner with one another for a common biblical witness to the unchanging truth of God's Word, rather than trying to stand alone when the foundations of the Christian Faith are under attack. To maintain a Biblical, Evangelical and Believers' Church heritage, we purposed to develop a partnership as a voluntary association of congregations with a common commitment both to the doctrinal foundation of evangelical orthodoxy and to the worthy tenets of historic biblical Anabaptism. While we believe each congregation has a degree of autonomy, we believe the New Testament pattern demonstrates partnership under the Lordship of Christ as head of the Church, not congregational isolation or the kind of independence that is not concerned about sister congregations. We believe we can benefit from affiliation with those of "like precious faith" and mutually encourage one another through fellowship and mutual accountability.
In a world of change where postmodernism is advocated as the answer to modernism, where all views are tolerated as though they are equally valid, where all standards are considered relative, and no truth may be called absolute, the Christian faith is being uniquely challenged or conveniently ignored. When church leaders are reluctant to defend historic standards, when theologians replace an authoritative Word with academic speculations, when persons appealing to Truth are considered a nuisance and when sound doctrine is accused of being divisive, Christians must decide where they will take their stand. AMEC seeks to provide a place and a partnership within which to stand firm and faithful.
The need for an AMEC kind of partnership exists wherever Christians find the foundations of faith threatened by non-biblical worldviews, wherever God-given standards of truth are threatened to be eroded by the opinions of men, or the Authority of Scripture is eclipsed by human theories. Wherever Believers desire to be faithful to Biblical Truth, holding Evangelical convictions from biblically Anabaptist perspectives, AMEC has a reason to exist.
We found some of the more recently adopted "Confessions of Faith" problematic in their modifying of the language in reference to the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture, wording that greatly weakens the Authority of Scripture as the Word of God. Also unsatisfactory was the ambiguity of the eternal Sonship of Jesus Christ and degree of confusion concerning the substitutionary Atonement in contrast to that declared by Scripture.
The Alliance of Mennonite Evangelical Congregations was formed to be a fellowship comprised of committed Christians in committed Congregations who desire to embrace an evangelical identity within the bounds of the orthodox, apostolic teachings of Scripture, teachings which were re-affirmed in the ministries of the biblical Anabaptist reformers. But we are not only focused on the issues faced by the church in past centuries. We believe the Bible is the same Word of God and is as applicable to today's issues or tomorrow's challenges as at any time in the past. We believe the power of the Holy Spirit is still working through the preaching, teaching and proclamation of that revealed Word and is as adequate and effective in redeeming lives, reviving the church and, in turn, transforming cultures as ever.
The purpose of the Alliance is to Partner as Congregations in order to faithfully Preserve, Promote and Propagate the Biblical Christian Faith as Believers from an Evangelical Anabaptist or Believers' Church perspective. We seek to provide mutual support and biblical fellowship which can enable congregations to cooperatively pursue the objectives of missions, evangelism, discipleship, credentialing, nurture, and biblical ministries of witness and reconciliation with its commitment to a unity in Christ based on the truth of the Scriptures and summarized in a basic Statement of Doctrine.
We believe the final commission and instruction of Jesus Christ to His redeemed followers still stands. Thus we seek to become Great Commission Congregations, producing Great Commission Christians who will be equipped to make disciples of Christ, forming additional congregations and teaching all that He has taught in His Word, learning to cross whatever barriers are necessary to take, proclaim and live the total Gospel in truthful word and loving deed wherever needed and whenever doors are open.
It is understood that AMEC does not intend to usurp or replace the functions, responsibilities or biblical autonomy of member congregations or their leadership but rather seeks to assist and enable the congregations to carry out and fulfill their God-ordained Callings, Commissions and Conduct.
The following Statement of Doctrine is a summary of our Faith, the essentials of the Gospel and basis of our Unity in Jesus Christ. It is affirmed as the convictions of the Alliance of Mennonite Evangelical Congregations (AMEC). This statement forms the basis from which the charter churches developed the Alliance. It is not intended to be exhaustive, though it includes what we believe are essentials.
- We believe the Bible to be the inspired, inerrant, infallible, authoritative, written Word of God.
- We believe there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- We believe that Jesus Christ was God in human flesh, at once fully divine and fully human. We believe in His virgin birth, His sinless life, His miracles, His vicarious and atoning death on the cross, His bodily resurrection, His ascension to the right hand of the Father, His present ministry of intercession, and His personal return in power and glory.
- We believe that human beings were created in the image of God but rebelled against God and are therefore fallen, lost, estranged from their creator, and in need of salvation.
- We believe that only those who, by grace through faith, receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are converted, born again of the Holy Spirit, and thus become children of God.
- We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit who convicts persons of sin, brings them to repentance, enables the Christian to pursue a life characterized by personal holiness and faithful discipleship in obedience to Jesus Christ, and gives "spiritual gifts" to the church which enrich worship, provide for spiritual oversight, and enhance effectiveness in witness.
- We believe that the church, the "body of Christ," is composed of all those of every nation who through saving faith have entered into a vital relationship with Jesus Christ. We further believe that the church is at the very center of God's cosmic purpose, and that He has committed to the church and every member of it the task of making Christ known throughout the world.
- We believe that local congregations of baptized believers exist to equip the body of Christ-through such means as worship, teaching, fellowship and prayer-to spread the Gospel of Christ; to extend the influence of the Kingdom of God in the world; and to turn themselves outward to their local communities in evangelistic witness and compassionate service. We further believe that the quality of "body life" among believers in caring congregations is essential for effective evangelism and outreach.
- We believe that the reality of sin in the human heart results in suffering, injustice, strife, and moral decay in society.
- We believe that, in Jesus Christ, the way of love and reconciliation is revealed as God's way for His people and that the people of God are called to value the sanctity of human life, alleviate suffering, reject retaliation and personal vengeance, work for peace in all relationships, and to live as responsible stewards of all of God's creation.
- We believe that God instituted marriage and the family at the beginning of human history. Right sexual union takes place only within the marriage relationship, which is a covenant between one man and one woman for life, and the family formed from such a union is the God-ordained context for the birth and nurture of children.
- We believe in the resurrection of all people, those who are saved unto the resurrection of everlasting blessedness with the Lord, and those who are lost to eternal separation from God.
- We believe that, in the fullness of time, God will bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Congregations who through their constituted leadership are in agreement with the Statement of Doctrine and Principles of AMEC [as set forth in the "AMEC Purposes and Principles" on this web site and available in booklet form] are invited to complete the application form for full Congregational Membership and submit it to the Executive Director or an officer of the Executive Council. An application form is available on this web site. A process of conversation and interview will be arranged, as feasible, for the mutual discernment, understanding and confirmation between the congregation and the Executive Council. The Executive Director and/or other representatives of AMEC leadership will be happy to arrange meetings or presentations with congregations or their leadership to discuss the possibilities of becoming a partner with AMEC. The Executive Council will act on the approval of the application in consultation with the Congregational Leadership and full membership and participation upon approval. New member congregations will also be introduced at the next biennial conference.
Congregations that have a strong desire to identify with the evangelical Anabaptist positions or emphases similar to that of AMEC but for a variety of reasons may still be in a decision making process or exploration to the extent they are not yet able to make a final decision on affiliation, are nevertheless invited to consider an Associate Congregation status with the AMEC Alliance which would grant a provisionary relationship with the privilege of participation and fellowship while discerning the Lord's leading. Associate Congregations would have a voice in discussions but not have voting privilege at conference business sessions until full membership is finalized. Congregations interested in exploring provisional status should communicate that interest with the Executive Director or Executive Council.
Yes, we recognize that there are many individuals who are in agreement with the mission and purposes of AMEC but who may not be able to be a member in an AMEC affiliated congregation. These individuals can make application to become individual Associate Members with full privileges to attend and participate in AMEC conferences, activities and programs. Associate Members are expected to be in agreement with the Statement of Doctrine and the purposes of the Alliance as delineated in the "AMEC Purposes and Principles." An application form for Individual Associate Members is available on this web site.
Yes, you certainly are welcome to partner with AMEC in a variety of ways. Financial support is always appreciated. AMEC is supported by the voluntary contributions and donations from congregations and individuals. We have a very modest budget and seek to be good stewards of all our resources. We do not impose dues or require quotas from our members or congregations but encourage generous giving as the Lord leads. Copies of the current budget or financial statements are available upon request. Contributions may be sent to: AMEC Alliance, PO Box 424, Bally, PA 19503. Your investment can help to provide resources and assistance to strengthen the church and develop additional congregations who can grow in faithfulness. Having friends spread the word is another way to enlarge the witness to the truth and the demonstration of the Gospel in today's confused world.
The Current Officers [for the biennium 2008 though 2010]:
Alliance currently employs one staff person, Robert Gerhart, who is supported on a half time basis. He works from his office at 20 Front Street in Bally, PA and can be contacted at: AMECAlliance@juno.com or by phone at 484-300-3022.
A Biennial Conference is held in even numbered years the Fall. The next biennial conference is scheduled for October 24 & 25, 2014. It is to meet at the Grace Point Church of Paradise, PA in Lancaster County.
Previous Conferences featured as guest speakers: in 2004: Dr. Ted Rendell, on the faculty of the Olford Institute for Biblical Preaching; in 2006: Pioneer Missionary and Mission Strategist Mark Zook; in 2008: Galen Burkholder, Executive Director of Global Disciples; and in 2010: Pastor Ed Scearce, from Normal, Illinois.
The AMEC Conference sessions are open to all. The majority of the program time is given to the proclaiming of the Word of God with messages of challenge, inspiration and encouragement. The implications of the Great Commission in our needy world and the guidance for Christian Living and witness are focal points along with vibrant worship and testimony. For the business session, all members of AMEC Congregations and all Individual Associate Members have floor privileges in business meeting.
Regional Associations may schedule annual or biennial sessions to attend to regional matters and business. The Eastern Region has an annual meeting in the Spring of the Year and schedules a Sunday evening "Festival of the Word" with a special speaker in the Fall of the year.
It has been an AMEC Principle to include the proclaiming of the Word of God through biblical preaching at each major gathering of the Alliance.
The Executive Council normally meets quarterly throughout the year.
A Pastor's or Credentialed Workers gathering has been scheduled for the late winter or early Spring of the Year. This has taken the form of a weekend retreat, held for many years at Spruce Lake Retreat in the Pocono Mountains. For several years this has been a special "Day Away" for Pastors and their families held at Woodcrest Retreat Center near Ephrata, PA and at Tel Hai Camp and Retreat near Honey Brook, PA.
Regional Prayer and Sharing gatherings are held for Pastors and other credentialed persons. Some are monthly as breakfast meetings or lunchtime meetings. Contact the Executive Director for details if interested in attending.
Some of our congregations trace their history to the founding of the colonies. Other congregations were formed in the recent decades. And some are new church plants just developing their identity. The fruit of the Gospel is just as vital and important whether one's church was planted centuries ago or has recently sprouted from the seed of the Word of God.
Some of our members can trace their family tree in detail back to the Reformation and beyond, linking with other descendants, knowing a multitude of relatives from one church community to another. Many of our members, however, do not have Mennonite or Anabaptist ancestors but have come into the fellowship from other denominational backgrounds or perhaps with no church background whatever. In either case none of us are basing our assurance of salvation and eternal life on our heritage, whether ancestors or parents, whether historical or brand new. Our Faith is based only our personal trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord who in grace offers the free gift of eternal life to all who personally believe in Him.
We hold unashamedly to the orthodox creeds of the Christian Church, commonly known as the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Athanasius Creed. We receive these expressions of faith not because they were creed by an authoritative church or council but because we believe they accurately summarize in a condensed form the teaching of Scripture. It is the Holy Scripture in its fullness which is our Authority for faith, truth, conduct and practice. AMEC holds to the Evangelical Foundations of the Faith. We stand with Bible Believers of each generation who hold the essentials of the Gospel convinced that this Gospel is made known through infallible Scriptures, the Bible, the very Word of God written.
We affirm with the Reformers, including the evangelical Anabaptist Reformers that, based on the Authority of Scripture alone, our eternal salvation is by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone.
We receive with gratitude the biblically based theological heritage of faith expressed in earlier Statements of Belief, Confessions of Faith and Catechisms of our spiritual forbears. Specifically we commend the foundational statements of the Schleitheim Confession (1527), Dordrecht Confession of Faith (1632) and especially the comprehensiveness of the Mennonite Articles of Faith (1766) as worthy and helpful guidelines still relevant for our convictions and the application of the Scriptures to Christian living in our generation.
We commit ourselves to pass on to coming generations a renewed understanding and deep appreciation of the missionary vision, the evangelistic zeal, and the passion for truth of the Anabaptist reformers who passed on to us their Christ centered, biblical faith as such great cost.
AMEC does not consider itself to be the only true believers or the only faithful church but we do seek to be faithful to God's Call and Commission, handling the Truth in love.
Congregations or individuals who affirm the Statement of Faith without reservation and endorse the principles and purposes of AMEC, are welcome to join the Alliance and partner with others for the cause of Christ Jesus and His Kingdom wherever they are located.
As an Alliance of congregations in North America, member congregations, where feasible, will relate to one another in geographical regions and may organize themselves at that level as an "Association" to implement the purposes of AMEC regionally, affirming the principles and adapting the organizational pattern of the North American Alliance to their local setting."
At this point in our development the AMEC churches are in the northeastern area of the United States. But our organizational plan is be a structure that encourages similar regional alliances wherever the vision is shared.
Please feel free to write with your questions and comments. We will endeavor to respond as quickly and as comprehensively as possible. You may communicate from this web site through firstname.lastname@example.org or use the e-mail address: email@example.com.