ICGC MISSION STATEMENT
The International Central Gospel Church is a Word-based, and Full-Gospel, Charismatic and socially-conscious Christian/organization, which upholds the philosophy of Human Dignity and Excellence. ICGC is committed to Raising Leadership, Imparting and shaping Vision, and Influencing Society, through Christ, with the principles of the Kingdom of God. Consistent with its mission, the church engages in, and promotes various programs, events and activities whose impact have brought and continue to bring Christ to the doorsteps of many around the world, particularly in Africa, Europe, the United States and Canada.
For us in the diaspora, (specifically California) located in the epicenter of one of the most cosmopolitan, and multi-racial and ethnic regions of the world, we celebrate the racial and cultural diversity into which we have been thrust, and embrace the call to cross-cultural missions and church planting. We believe that God has strategically placed us in the Los Angeles arena, to minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a plurality of people-groups, organizing them into communities of faith, i.e. reproducible multi-racial and cultural churches.
BACKGROUND TO THE MISSION:
In his New York Times best-seller "Two Nations black and white, separate, hostile, unequal", Professor Andrew Hacker asks why race remains America’s deepest and most enduring division. Commenting further, he asserts that "despite all efforts to increase understanding and expand opportunities, America’s ethnic groups (especially blacks and whites) still lead separate lives, increasingly marked by tension and hostility".
Further intensifying this racial and ethnic divide and animus, is the ever-multiplying tide of immigration into the US, especially Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles, the world’s entertainment capital and a cultural mecca, is a microcosm of the world. It has been labeled "the third world capital of the world" (David Rieff. 1992). The County’s population of over 10 million consists of people form 140 different countries. Los Angeles is home to the second largest populations of Koreans, Filipinos, Armenians, Mexicans and Salvadorans (second only to their native countries). It is the third largest Canadian City, and has the largest Japanese, Iranian, Cambodian and Gypsy communities in the U.S. It has more Samoans living in it, than American Samoa itself. California, by far is the most populated state in the union, 37 million, plus, according to most recent estimates. Orange County alone has a population larger than forty-four (44) other states. In the year 2000, the state of California comprised the most diversified, complex, multicultural and heterogeneous collection of people ever gathered together in one place. Little wonder John Gunther described California as: "the most spectacular and diversified American State".
As politicians attempt to win elections, sometimes by playing one race or ethnic group against another (e.g. Willie Horton: 1988 Bush-Dukakis debacle); as sociologists and economists analyze the problems, aspirations and despairs of these migrant populations, and the consequences if any, of trends in California on the entire nation, the questions that face the Church (the Body of Christ) are the following:
Where is God in the midst of all these mass migrations of various people-groups to the U.S. (California)?
What are the Spiritual and Missiological implications of these trends for the Church, the Body of Christ?
How should the church respond to the racial and cultural dynamics reshaping our society today? (The Browning of America)
Is the Church positioned well and ready to respond to a possible escalation in race and ethnic tensions in view of recent developments in our society, e.g., rise in hate crimes and resurgence of white supremacist groups, especially the ascension of the first Black Man to the White House, LA Riots, burning of ‘black’ churches in the South, Jena 6, and the refusal by some migrant groups to acculturate into mainstream American society.
ICGC’s POSITION and RESPONSE:
I.C.G.C – California, believes that God is in the midst of these migrations. The world is ‘Coming’ to the U.S. (especially CA and LA) perhaps because America is no longer 'Going’ as it has and should. The Great Commission says, "Go" (Matt. 28:18; Mark 16:15).
A golden opportunity for global missions to the "ends of the world" we believe, has been created with the arrival of these different migrant people - groups and populations. The Church (the Body of Christ) needs to be sensitive to it.
Historically, church-planting has been the most effective cross-cultural evangelistic method; once again, it is our conviction that missions and church planting among these people-groups will by far be the most effective means of reaching them with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In this increasingly multi-racial and cultural milieu, ICGC needs to initiate more cross-cultural missions, engagement and church-planting, with greater intentionality, in the Name of the One who "broke down the middle wall of separation and hostility" between the races or nations, that is Jesus Christ, our Lord (Ephesians 2:14)
MISSION STATEMENT - BREAKING IT DOWN:
NAME (I.C.G.C.) - The name/word ‘International’ emphasizes two things:
- First, our global mission to, and focus on, the various people groups (i.e. the international community).
- Second, it speaks to our vision of planting churches ‘internationally’, that is, in other regions of the world, beginning in Ghana, the US, Europe, Canada, and now in Palmdale, Los Angeles, California etc. and ultimately, to the regions beyond.
- ‘Central Gospel’ focuses our worship and mission on the "Central" person and theme of the Gospel "Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2).
WORD-BASED: Expresses our desire and commitment to be ruled, governed and directed by the Word of God, in its totality, recognizing it as the supreme and final authority in every discourse.
CHARISMATIC: ‘Charismata’ - the ‘gifts of grace’ by which the Holy Spirit equips the believer for service. ‘Charismatic’ thus expresses our utter reliance on the Holy Spirit to empower and anoint us with His gifts, working in and through us to meet human need and fulfill our mission and call.
SOCIALLY-CONSCIOUS: ICGC’s Social-Consciousness pertains to issues of social justice and service. It describes our awareness of, and sensitivity to the physical, social, economic and structural inequities and/or disparities visible in the society, communities or people-groups we serve, and the responses we employ to reverse these conditions.
HUMAN DIGNITY: ICGC subscribes to the philosophy of human dignity, in all its manifestations – spiritual, physical, social and economic. The conviction and belief in Human Dignity is rooted in the concept of the “Imago Dei” (Image of God) and in the redemptive work of Christ on Calvary’s cross. This concept, the “Image of God” reminds us that ALL human life is sacred, inalienable, has transcendent worth and is of intrinsic value, because it originates from God. Created in the image of God, the human kind is (Genesis 1:26-27), endowed with the capacity to know God and love God, reason, make moral decisions and choices, as well as, rule over the rest of God’s creation as stewards or custodians of His (God’s) property. This makes human beings the clearest reflection of God among all creation, thus essentially different from any other creation. Christ’s substitutionary work on the Cross was to deal a death blow to the loss of this dignity suffered in the garden, and provide a restorative pathway to human dignity in God through Christ.
HUMAN EXCELLENCE: Psalm 8:1 describes God’s Name as Excellent. Excellence is a Spirit – it is the very nature and essence of who God is. Scripture tells us of an Excellent God, who meticulously created all things, then looked on His creation and declared it: “Good” ICGC advocates Excellence in every area of human endeavor, and therefore strives diligently for its attainment in all its ministry activities. Excellence, in contrast to mediocrity, is essentially being the best one can be in every situation, with the gifts and abilities God has given him/her; it is the key to maximizing our God-given potential and attaining peak performance, be it in spiritual or natural matters. Our quest for Excellence reminds us that regardless of our accomplishments, that there is always room for improvement. The quest for Excellence, simultaneously, offers us assurance and hope that we can overcome the challenges of our time.
“Only when we develop our truly human capabilities sufficiently to achieve this human excellence will we live lives blessed with happiness”
- RAISING LEADERSHIP, CASTING VISION, and INFLUENCING SOCIETY – Through CHRIST: Organizations, ICGC believes, rise or fall depending on the character and quality of its leadership. Leadership provides the vision and direction for any successful enterprise, be it spiritual or secular. The impetus for any accomplishment is derived from Vision Without vision, an individual, a people or society, may live carelessly, and eventually drown in the vast ocean of mediocrity, to which many are drawn, despite huge endowments of human potential and capacity. Little wonder, Helen Keller declared the lack of vision to be the greatest or worst tragedy in life; much worse, she said, than being physically blind. The combination of vision, character, integrity in a leader creates influence. The pervasive and corrupting influence of sin on our society cannot be lost on us. Spiritual and moral decay have eaten deep into the very fabric of our society. It is to this pervasive darkness surrounding us that ICGC is called, as the “Salt of the Earth” to change the moral flavor around us, and as the “Light of the World” to illuminate the surrounding darkness (Matthew 5:13-14). We intend to influence society through our vision and leadership, and maintain the moral grounds for this leadership by bringing glory and honor to the name of Christ, through our character, integrity and example.
“He that has clean hands shall grow stronger and stronger”
- CROSS-CULTURAL: defines our mission to the diverse people groups in the United States context. It expresses our conviction that the arrival of various racial and ethnic groups in the United States, especially Los Angeles and California; is a divinely orchestrated plan of God to touch the nations of the world.
- REPRODUCIBLE: We intend by the grace of God to plant churches, which are ‘reproducible’. This means, at the core of every church planted, must be a genetic ability (DNA) to generate offspring, reproduce or give birth to other churches. This also implies that our concepts, paradigm, strategies and principles of church-planting, must be easily transferable to other contexts, although these contexts, and therefore methods employed, may vary.
- MULTI-RACIAL, CULTURAL, ETHNIC: We believe the multi-racial, cultural, ethnic and national personality of our cities, states and nation, must be fully reflected in our churches. Our churches should be a preview of the heavenly Jerusalem (Rev. 5:9-10); they should reflect "on earth" what will be "in heaven". We will not hesitate to plant a homogenous church where the Lord calls and opens the door for a particular people-group to be reached. However, our mission will be cross-cultural in essence and focus, specifically the planting and birthing of multi-cultural and ethnic churches; churches that will serve as lighthouses, helping foster healing and reconciliation in a society oftentimes racked and polarized by racial strife and tension.