Meet the "Parents": A Beginners Guide to the C&MA

Whenever I tell people that I attend North Country Alliance Church, I am always met by the follow-up questions: "Oh.... what denomination is that church?" or "what kind of church is that?" People expect me to say that we are a Baptist, Protestant, or non-denominational church. Maybe that is why I'm often met with a puzzled expression when I simply state: "It's an Alliance Church; we are Christians."   

Let me explain further by stating that North Country Alliance Church is a member of a larger organization called the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) or the Alliance.  The Alliance defines itself as a Christ-centered global movement made up of a family of more than 500,000 believers in the U.S. and 6 million believers worldwide who are passionate about bringing the good news about Him to their neighbors and the wider world.  

Alliance members desire to know Jesus as their Savior (Acts 4:12), Sanctifier (1 Corinthian 1:30), Healer (James 5:15), and Coming King (Acts 1:11). This is why the symbol of the Alliance is a Cross (Savior), Sanctifier (Cup), Healer (Pitcher), and Coming King (Crown).  The globe in the background of the Alliance symbol also symbolizes the Alliance’s commitment to the Great Commission or Jesus’s invitation to go tell others about Him throughout the whole world. 

The Alliance also attests that it is only through the Holy Spirit that we, as Christians, can express Jesus's love, compassion, and mercy to those who have never heard of or believed in Him. Additionally, the Alliance is excited about the fact that Christians are called to be a part of God's family and that, as members of Christ's church, we have been chosen to do His work on earth and love a broken world until Christ returns to it.  

With this in mind, the Alliance develops, supports, and plants local churches in neighborhoods throughout the U.S. in order to reach out and provide support to people who are trapped in spiritual darkness. In the U.S., there are over 2,000 Alliance churches!  The Alliance's influence also spreads beyond our American doorstep to support over 700 international workers (missionaries) who care for the sick, needy, and lost people throughout the world. It is Christ-inspired love for people and money-where-your-mouth-is-emphasis on actively seeking to bring the gospel to unsaved people throughout the world that characterizes the Christian and Missionary Alliance and sets Alliance churches apart from traditional denominations.   

So while many people may not be familiar with North Country Alliance Church, or the Alliance in general, it is clear that the A in NCAC is more than just a nicety in our church's title. The Alliance stands for something. Something important. It stands for the Christ-centered belief that believers are a family of individuals who have been chosen to continue to spread the message of who Jesus Christ is as Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King to a broken and hurting world. It is a reminder of the call to action that Jesus made over 2000 years ago when he told his followers to go "unto the ends of the earth" and tell of this good news (that Jesus died to take away our sins so we could enter into God's family and have everlasting life!). Finally, the Alliance is a reminder of the global and local work that is to be done by loving and serving our neighbors as Christ demonstrated. In this way, we act as true followers of Christ. As I said, we are an Alliance church; we are Christians.