Maintaining Unity of the Spirit through the Bond of Peace

Never before as a fellowship have so many engaged in a collaboration process as with the ICOC 3.0 Forward by Faith discussions. Facebook, emails, FaceTime, Skype calls, articles, and phone calls, have all been ignited as we dream, discuss and debate our path forward as an international family of churches. Around the world, disciples continue to pray and fast seeking the Spirit’s guidance. Disciples Today has never seen so much traffic to understand our current leadership and check in for the updates and results of this global exploration. We have seen the results of conversations by more than 2,500 leaders from all six continents. Young and old, rich and poor, men and women, staff and volunteers alike are continuing to be heard in this conversation about our collective future. Many have said “I have been praying for this day to come”; while others have suggested that we “slow down, these are really big things to consider and we should be more thorough.” We are a family of 108,000 members in 684 congregations in 144 countries. A big family gets a little complicated and we are grateful for the Holy Spirit and the blood of Jesus that bind us together in love and respect.

All 34 regional family leaderships are participating in this process! Last month ICOC 3.0 Update #2 reported the results of the regional discussions. Four families of churches submitted supplemental reports that were distributed to all the leadership teams and Task Forces. The global perspective expressed in our regional conversations followed very closely with the results generated by the service team meetings in Dallas in April. We have consensus on these crucial items:

  • We are and want to be a global family of churches.
  • We are committed to God’s mission to evangelize the world.
  • We need to change to be more effective.
  • There is a wide lack of understanding of how our current global leadership works.

Over the last three years, two global leadership surveys, Delegates Meeting discussions and the Service Team meetings in Dallas last April led us to believe the time had come to consider improving our functionality and organization as a global family. The Service Teams who met in Dallas made only one decision: to take the conversations home to each of our regional families of churches . As a great sign of our commitment to each other and God’s mission, every single family of churches in our fellowship sacrificed time and money to gather together to pray and explore where their convictions are leading them about our future together. We have heard a wide range of perspectives both pro and con. In answer to many prayers, the consensus with a majority of leaders is that it is time to move forward in some way in five general categories. Respected Elders and Evangelists were asked to chair and assemble Task Forces to begin to provide possible solutions for the issues that have been identified. We trust the Holy Spirit working through all of our brothers and sisters and look forward to what will be revealed for our next steps. The Task Forces have been working diligently since mid-July with many hours of labor and weekly conference calls. They are an impressive collection of people from a wide range of spiritual backgrounds and diverse geographies.


  • Chairman – Justin Renton, Johannesburg – Evangelist; Chairman, South African Family of Churches
  • Matthew Aguirre, Johannesburg – Student, South African School of Motion Picture; runs a YouTube channel
  • Christian Ray Flores, Texas – Evangelist; Co-founder of Third Drive, a business development and marketing company
  • Kevin Hoecke, Toronto – Evangelist with a passion for social media
  • Edy Budiman, Jakarta – Runs a cloud hosting company and oversees the multimedia, website, and digital ministry for the Jakarta, Indonesia church
  • Jeanie Shaw, Boston – Women’s minister and author; Women’s Service Team
  • Vida Li Sik, Johannesburg – Professional journalist with over 20 years experience
  • Lynne Green, Berlin – Missionary to China and Germany; Masters degree in Communication and Leadership

Conflict Resolution

  • Chairman – Walter Evans, Philadelphia – Elder/Evangelist; Chairman, Elders Service Team
  • Omo Iyamu, Lagos – Elder
  • OV Iyamu, Lagos – Wife of Omo; Human resource consultant and management trainer
  • Faridah Enrile, Manila – Women’s Ministry Leader; Professional counselor; Speaker at 2017 Jerusalem Conference on Forgiveness
  • David Jung, Winnipeg – Evangelist; Registered professional counselor; Professional mediator
  • Luis Mendez; San Diego – Elder; Chairman, Mexico Family of Churches
  • Steve Staten, Chicago – Founder of Bridging International specializing in conflict resolution


  • Chairman – Dan Liu, Hong Kong – Elder; Elders Service Team
  • Connie Beene, New York – Administrator; Administrative Service Team
  • Tom Briscoe, Dallas – Chairman, Administrative Service Team
  • Francis Dasse, Abidjan, Ivory Coast – Evangelist
  • Bill Hooper, Dallas – Elder; Elders Service Team
  • Randy McKean, Northern Virginia – Elder/Evangelist; Evangelist Service Team
  • Paul Rowden, London – Elder/Administrator; Administrative Service Team
  • Jerry Sugarman, Los Angeles – Elder; Elders Service Team

Global Missions

  • Chairman – AT Arneson, Chicago – Evangelist; Evangelist Service Team
  • William Auki, Nairobi – Evangelist; Evangelist Service Team
  • Ron Conkling, Tampa – Evangelist; Chairman, Florida Family of Churches
  • Larry Craig, New York – Elder, Region leader; Elder Service Team
  • Tess Fontenot, Sydney – Women’s Ministry Leader
  • Vince Hawkins, Columbia, Missouri – Chairman, Heartland Family of Churches
  • Rafael Lua, Los Angeles – Region leader; Chairman of the Southwest US Family of Churches
  • Paul Ramsey, South Carolina – Administrator; African Missions Association; Statistician
  • Mike Taliaferro, San Antonio – Chairman, Texas Family of Churches; Evangelist Service team
  • Jeff Wong, Hong Kong – Evangelist; Evangelist Service Team
  • Chris Zillman, Chicago – Evangelist; Chairman of the Campus Service Team


  • Chairman – Dinesh George, Bangalore – Evangelist; Evangelist Service Team
  • Ed Anton, Hampton Roads, Virginia – Teacher/Evangelist; Chairman ACR Family of Churches; Chair Teachers Service Team
  • Todd Assad, Dallas – Evangelist
  • Darren Gauthier, Chicago – Elder; Elders Service Team
  • Valdur Koha, Boston – Elder/Teacher; Teachers Service Team; built major international tech company; Chairman, European Missions Society
  • Mohan Nanjundan, London – Evangelist; Chairman UK & Scandinavia Family of Churches; Evangelist Service Team
  • Ron Quint, Los Angeles – Evangelist; Evangelist Service Team
  • Harliem Salim, Jakarta – Evangelist; Chairman, South East Asia Family of Churches

These Task Forces reviewed input from all 34 regional families as well as welcoming additional input. They are prayerfully preparing some very encouraging ideas to be presented in the coming days on Disciples Today. Those solutions will be discussed for the next six weeks and the final versions will be presented at the Delegates Meeting in Chicago. Collaboration Results: Three very important things happened in the last month.

  1. The Task Forces asked for some additional input and direction from the leadership throughout our brotherhood. They are suggesting that instead of presenting specific solutions at this time, they present a few general concepts and options and allow the delegates to identify the best path to move forward.
    • The Task Forces would then refine the selected conceptual solution with a more thorough study over the coming months resulting in specific proposals that will be submitted for discussion and approval through the Delegates Proposal Process in 2018
    • Before finalizing their 2018 Proposals each Task Force would like to understand the preferred solutions for all task forces so that they can be appropriately integrated and coordinated.
  2. The Elders Service Team has recommended that we take time to be more thorough in communication and deliberation in an effort to build the strongest consensus possible.
  3. Several individuals and some families of churches have appealed for more time to engage in, and evaluate the solutions that are being proposed.

What will happen next?

New timeline for Proposals. The collaboration process provided a clear path forward.

  • August: Task Forces publish ideas on Disciples Today for general conceptual solution choices inviting input.
  • September: Task Forces will incorporate the feedback from conceptual solutions.
  • October: At the Delegates Meeting in Chicago the Task Forces will present final choices of general conceptual solutions in their categories. They will present a variety of options and the delegates will choose the most compelling conceptual solution.
  • October – December : With the decisions of the Delegates on the general conceptual solutions, each Task Force works for the next few months to create specific proposals that integrate clearly with the other Task Force proposals.
  • January 2018: Task Force Proposals will enter the Delegates Proposal Process.
  • October 2018: Final Proposals voted on at Delegates Meeting.

Many have asked “What can I do to help?” or “How can I get involved?”

  • Join us in daily prayer for God to grant us wisdom and guide us towards his will and not ours.
  • Review and learn more about how we are organized globally and our international missions efforts.

Where can I find more info?

This Update was presented by the Evangelists, Elders, and Teachers Service Teams


Doug Arthur, Chair, Boston Africa — Chris Ogbonnaya, Lagos; William Auki, Nairobi Asia/Pacific — Koko Enrile, Manila; Dinesh George, Bangalore; Jeff Wong, Hong Kong Canada/US — Mike Taliaferro, San Antonio; AT Arneson, Chicago; Doug Arthur, Boston; John Lusk, Denver; Sam Powell, NY; Randy McKean, N Virginia; Ron Quint, Los Angeles Europe/Eurasia — Oleksii Kravetz, Kiev; Alexey Zhuravlev, Moscow; Mohan Nanjundan, London Mexico & Central America — Luis Mendez, San Diego South America — Sebastian Serra, Buenos Aires


Walter Evans, Chairman – Philadelphia Wyndham Shaw, Asst Chair – Boston Al Baird – Phoenix John Brush – South Florida Larry Craig – New York City Israel Ereola – Lagos, Nigeria Darren Gauthier – Chicago Bill Hooper – Dallas Frank Kim – Denver Sam Laing – South Florida Dan Liu – Hong Kong Jerry Sugarman – Los Angeles


Ed Anton, Chairman – Hampton Roads Dr. Deb Anton – Hampton Roads Courtney Bailey – Kingston, Jamaica Steve Brown – Nashville Arturo Elizarraras – Mexico City Andy Fleming – Kiev, Ukraine Tammy Fleming – Kiev, Ukraine Dr. Glenn Giles – Denver Joey Harris – Augusta, Georgia Dr. Douglas Jacoby– Atlanta Dr. Steve Kinnard – New York Valdur Koha – Boston Suzette Lewis – Toronto Kay McKean – Northern Virginia Dr. Rolan Monje – Manila Steve Staten – Chicago