New Covenant Ministries International

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New Covenant Ministries International
NCMI logo
Founded 1982
Founder Dudley Daniel
Type Neocharismatic church network
Origins South Africa
Area served Worldwide
Method Church planting
Key people Tyrone Daniel, Dudley Daniel
Website Official website

New Covenant Ministries International (NCMI) is an international, itinerant apostolic-prophetic team of Christian leaders who work with local church leadership to strengthen their churches, with the goal of advancing the kingdom of God. NCMI defines itself strictly as its apostolic-prophetic team and not as a denomination, movement or parachurch organization, although outside researchers[1][2] maintain that ontologically, it is an apostolic network and a religious movement with some characteristics of a denomination. Churches are not said to "join" NCMI; rather the leadership of an interested church "relates" to NCMI and retains its autonomy. NCMI originated in South Africa in the early 1980s[3] and according to their official website, "by mid-2001 pastors, churches and individual from more than 80 countries had linked with [them]."[4][5] NCMI's founders and its relating churches typically have Pentecostal, Charismatic, or Neocharismatic origins and theology.

Basis and beliefs[edit]

NCMI's foundational value is that the Bible (specifically, the Protestant canon) is the "only acceptable standard for life, ministry, and conduct in the Church".[6] As such, NCMI's theology of church governance is that the early church as described in the New Testament is a God-ordained, prescriptive blueprint that modern local churches should follow.[7][8] The NCMI "translocal" (itinerant) team believes in fivefold ministry, specifically the belief that the offices of apostle and prophet remain active and valid in the contemporary church, on the basis of Ephesians 4:11-13.[9] In this sense NCMI could be considered a charismatic restorationist movement.[9]

Statement of faith[edit]

In their statement of faith,[10] NCMI affirms "Baptist, Pentecostal, and Apostolic" traditional beliefs,[note 1][11] including biblical inspiration; the Trinity; the humanity, divinity and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and substitutionary atonement. Distinctive beliefs include the movement's view of church governance and the restoration of apostolic-prophetic teams. The statement avoids "entrapment in a fixed eschatological view on dispensationalism"[11] and does not take a position on Reformed theology.[12][note 2]

Relating local churches are not required to adopt NCMI's statement of faith,[13] since in NCMI's view that would be an imposition of authority. Some churches use NCMI's statement of faith verbatim, while others write their own broadly compatible statements.

Vision statement[edit]

NCMI's vision is to "facilitate the vision and command that Jesus gave to disciple the nations of the world" and to "see strong and healthy, eldership led local churches established and nurtured."[14]

Similar movements[edit]

The beliefs of NCMI are not completely unique. Their theology and practices are also held by a number of other similar movements[citation needed] in varying degrees including: the International Churches of Christ (ICOC), Every Nation Churches and Ministries, Calvary Chapel, Salt and Light Ministries International, Newfrontiers, Ichthus Christian Fellowship, Link NZ and Sovereign Grace Ministries.

Involvement with local churches[edit]

NCMI's involvement provides otherwise autonomous churches with third party input (called invited authority), for both the congregation and church leaders. For the congregation, NCMI team members provide teaching, training in spiritual gifts, and "equipping of the priesthood for works of service". For church leadership, NCMI help with doctrine, discipline, church direction, advice on financial matters such as setting elders' salaries, and training.[15] Based on their belief that the local church is autonomous, NCMI says it only speaks into situations or problems in a local church by invitation[16] or when fraud or heresy are alleged.[17]

Nature of relationship[edit]

NCMI asks relating local churches to enter a "primary, but not exclusive" relationship with it, meaning that local churches may seek the input of other apostolic networks or individuals.[note 3] Churches cannot "join" NCMI, since NCMI considers itself fundamentally a team of people, not a network of churches.[18] NCMI considers its role to be supporting and encouraging local churches with compatibility vision and values.[16]

NCMI do not require money from relating churches, although they do accept donations to support their itinerant team. They also do not provide charitable status or tax exemptions for churches, as this would restrict autonomy.[16]

Church leadership and governance[edit]

Following their understanding of the biblical pattern, NCMI believes that local churches should be led by a plurality of elders, in partnership with an apostolic-prophetic team, whether it is NCMI or another team. NCMI encourages prospective relating churches to reorganize their church to this arrangement if it differs.

The plurality of elders will have a leader known as the lead elder or visionary elder, whose role is to develop a vision and then in consultation with the other elders give vision or direction to other leaders such as deacons and subsequently to their local church. The lead elder is usually, but not necessarily, the primary teacher. Elders are considered synonymous with pastors, and elder is the preferred term. All terms are said to describe the function performed, not the maturity of the officer.

NCMI discourages churches from making decisions through democratic processes,[19] since they do not believe this is biblical.[20]

Titles and terminology[edit]

NCMI discourages church members from using formal titles (such as "Pastor Mark" or "Apostle Dudley") to refer to church leaders, whether the leader is a local church deacon or elder, or a member of the NCMI team. This interpretation is based on biblical texts were people were introduced by their first name and function, for example, "Paul, an apostle", but never "Apostle Paul". Members of the apostolic team often refrain from describing themselves with any label at all, instead allowing local churches to "define the gifting as they perceive it".[16]

Local churches are not allowed to use the acronym NCMI or its full definition in the name of the church.[21] Formally, churches do not say they are "NCMI churches", rather they "relate to NCMI".

Appointing elders[edit]

NCMI encourages local church elders to follow a specific process for selecting new elders. The elders of the local church identify one or more men (women are not eligible[22]) who meet the various scriptural requirements (for example: 1 Timothy 3-5, Titus 1 and 1 Peter 5) and according to Pole,[23] "have a proven track record of attending church meetings regularly, providing financial support..., exhibiting spiritual gifts and the fruit of the Holy Spirit... and supporting existing church leadership". The local church invites a member of the NCMI team to review and ultimately appoint or ordain the candidate(s), on the basis that only apostles may appoint or ordain elders (based on Acts 14:23).[24] The local congregation is given an opportunity to express concerns. Elders, including elders who preach, are not expected to have formal theological or professional training, but may be encouraged to pursue it. NCMI team members also may be "based" in a local church but their function in the NCMI team is not supposed to make them superior to other elders nor does it mandate they fill the role of the "lead" elder.

Manley writes that in some cases "when a lead elder leaves a church, [NCMI] will send a new lead elder and expect the existing eldership... to stand down...."[25] According to Manley, through their influence over appointing elders, replacing lead elders and monitoring church finances, the NCMI team effectively exerts hierarchical control over local churches similar to denominations.[1]

Criticism of leadership model[edit]

Third parties and ex-members of NCMI have specifically criticized NCMI's distinctive church leadership model.

Allan Anderson, professor of Mission and Pentecostal Studies,[26] remarks[27] that NCMI churches are "highly patriarchal in leadership; leaders tend to make unilateral decisions based on the 'leading of the [Holy] Spirit'."

Chris Wienand, former NCMI team member, wrote of his NCMI experiences, "the recent years saw us preoccupied with an ecclesiology that was 'over realized'.... We preached 'model', 'pattern' passionately. But our God is gracious, kind and infinitely generous. He walked us back... to the gospel we had so sadly sent to the bookends of our convictions. After 25 years of pastoral ministry I had to admit to a wonderful community that I had erred."[28]

Church planting[edit]

Church planting is a major component of NCMI's understanding of the local church and church growth.[29] NCMI founder Dudley Daniel wrote, "an apostolic church has a mandate to see the church advancing in its witness to the world by fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19), by planting churches in every town and village, making disciples of all nations."[30] (Emphasis added.)

History[edit]

Origins (1982–1990)[edit]

Map of South Africa

NCMI started in South Africa, around 1982 with a group of church leaders meeting together in Bryanston, a suburb of Johannesburg, to build relationships and discuss issues in their churches. Dudley Daniel emerged as key influence in developing this group.[5] In January 1983 the group, then comprising about ten churches in greater Johannesburg,[2] ratified a constitution for "New Covenant Ministries" based on "Bible Values" with the South African government, enabling them to recognize local churches, appoint church ministers or functions, and acquire property. At this time, all local church elders were members of the "covering body" of New Covenant Ministries and local congregations were autonomous.[31]

Starting in 1983, the movement became "involved with missions, church planting, cross-cultural ministry, mission outreach, and mercy ministry to the poor [...] and to victims of disaster", including activities in neighbouring Swaziland, Mozambique and Lesotho.[32] The movement also to began to hold conferences and retreats for leaders of their churches, the precursor to Leadership Training Times, with Dudley Daniel providing much of the teaching.

By the late 1980s, the group had grown to about 70 relating church pastors. Around the same time, the apostolic-prophetic team emerged as a core group, distinct from the relating church pastors.[33]

International expansion (1990–2004)[edit]

In 1990, the movement began to focus on international growth, appending "International" to its original name, "New Covenant Ministries". Daniel relocated his family to Australia in the early 1990s, coinciding with the official abolishment of apartheid in South Africa. In 1996, the "apostolic team" counted 13 men and their wives.[34]

In the late 1990s Daniel relocated to Los Angeles, California to "contribute to envisioning and equipping churches in the USA". By September 1999, Daniel was suffering from severe health problems.[35] He and his wife moved back to Adelaide in 2002.[36]

Relating churches by region (2001)[37]
Region Churches
Africa (outside South Africa) 5–6,000?
South Africa 200
Australia 25

By mid-2001, NCMI stated they had 7,000 relating churches located in over 80 countries around the world.[37][38][better source needed]

Attendance at the largest leadership training meeting in Bryanston grew from 1,000 people in 1990 to nearly in 5,000 in 2005, reflecting the movement's overall growth.[39]

Manley wrote that, in 2001, of the eight original signatories to New Covenant Ministries, only three remained in the movement, with only Dudley Daniel and Rigby Wallace at the forefront.[40] Around this time Coastlands International Christian Centre (Adelaide) functioned as an unofficial headquarters and regional base for Australasia, with Southlands Church International (Los Angeles) and New Covenant Church (Bryanston) as regional bases for North America and southern Africa respectively.[41]

International Theological Correspondence College[edit]

In the mid-1990s, NCMI established the International Theological Correspondence College (ITCC), a correspondence college that worked in partnership with the South African Theological Seminary. The College offered a non-accredited program, containing only NCMI material and requiring no examination; and a fully accredited Diploma in Theology.[note 4] In 2006, the College had 300 students enrolled.[42] NCMI ceased operating ITCC by 2010.[43]

Leadership transition (2004)[edit]

Dudley Daniel led NCMI until October 2004, when he handed its leadership over to his son, Tyrone Daniel.[44][45] In an NCMI publication,[46] Dudley outlined the criteria and process he used in selecting his successor. He recounts that both he and the NCMI "Life Team" felt that the "right guy was Tyrone". Dudley expressed concerns about perceived nepotism, writing, "I knew that I would be misjudged if [my successor] were one of my literal sons". At a meeting of the whole NCMI team, Dudley and the Life Team revealed their selection of Tyrone, and provided an opportunity for the rest of the NCMI team to question their recommendation. According to Dudley, no one dissented. Reflecting on the outcome, Dudley wrote, "this [acceptance] in itself is a miracle when you think there are... 150 people on that team". For a transition period, Dudley and Tyrone co-led, with Dudley gradually transferring responsibility to Tyrone.

Tenure of Tyrone Daniel (2005–present)[edit]

By 2005 the team had grown to 280 people.[34] Tyrone also became the lead elder of Coastlands International Christian Centre. He eventually transferred its leadership to his brother, Jon Daniel.[when?]

In 2010, Tyrone Daniel relocated from Australia to the United States and established a new church plant, Redemption City Church in Denver, Colorado.

Countries in which NCMI was active (2006)

Departures from NCMI[edit]

In April 2009, Rigby Wallace, one of the eight original NCMI signatories, announced to the church he pastors, Common Ground Church (Cape Town) that he had stepped off the NCMI team and was redefining the church's relationship with NCMI, writing "we will no longer speak of ourselves as an NCMI-relating church". With this change, "external apostolic input" to Wallace and Common Ground church would come from a group of Wallace's "trusted friends", many being NCMI team members, but also some people not affiliated with NCMI. The church would no longer send people exclusively to NCMI-organized conferences.[47]

Around summer 2010, Southlands Church International, once NCMI's unofficial headquarters for North America, parted ways with NCMI and rebranded itself to "Southlands Brea". Southlands elder Chris Wienand subsequently started what he termed a "gospel-centred leadership initiative" called the Genesis Collective.[48] Wienand was a prominent NCMI team member, once seen as a possible successor to Dudley Daniel.[49] Another Southlands elder, Alan Frow, wrote that "NCMI has been an integral part of the Southlands story" and described his NCMI colleagues as "friends and allies in the Gospel".[50]

As of 2012, Coastlands International Christian Centre no longer relates to NCMI. It renamed itself to Coastlands Church, and Jon Daniel is no longer listed among its leadership.[51][better source needed]

Structure[edit]

NCMI describes itself not as a group of churches, but a team of apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelists (according to the list in Ephesians 4) who desire to help local autonomous churches grow into "all God has for them".[16] As mentioned above, NCMI team members are all based in a local church and work in and through their local church, but their function in the NCMI team is not supposed to make them superior to other elders nor does it mandate they fill the role of the "lead" elder.

In practice, the NCMI team is organised into smaller teams with responsibility for specific areas, and their ministry work includes organising conferences for teaching and disseminating their values, along with visiting relating local churches as guest speakers and to provide advice and support for local leadership. NCMI does not require donations from local churches but does accept them, both to individual guest speakers and to the organisation's ministry fund (which primarily supports the organisation's leader and travel expenses).[17]

Committees[edit]

Manley states that by 2001, the initial idea of local church autonomy gave way to a "bulky" leadership structure of "distinct hierarchies.[52] The NCMI team as a whole was partitioned into smaller teams with authority in specific matters or regions.[53] He acknowledges that NCMI has made an effort to describe and encourage non-hierarchical leadership structures.[40][54]

These "teams within the team" and their responsibilities were:[53]

  • Governmental Teams
    • Life Team – personal accountability group for Dudley and Ann Daniel
    • Financial Team – oversight of international finances
    • Consultants Team – working with Dudley and the Life Team to "help give perspective to the broader ministry"
    • International Team – people able to travel and ordain elders
    • General Ordaining Teams – people operating in specific geographic regions
  • Non-Governmental Team – provide training and ministry in regional meetings, but excluded from "governmental responsibility" such as doctrinal issues, direction and discipline

NCMI continues to describe their structure as "teams within the team" with a variety of functions, but no longer provides details on how the teams are organized.[55]

Conferences[edit]

A major part of NCMI's work is facilitated through conferences organized by NCMI. According to Black, "the effectiveness of the churches relating to NCMI is largely due to the high mobility of the Apostolic team and the on-going connection through [Equips and smaller conferences]."[56] These conferences have no fixed agenda, but include worship, ministry of spiritual gifts, and teaching, usually led by a member of the apostolic team.[56]

Equip conferences[edit]

NCMI hosts periodic Equip conferences[note 5] around the world, and numerous smaller events in local regions.[13][57]

In 2006, Equip conferences were hosted in 33 countries, covering North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, and southeast Asia.[58][note 6]

Leaders attending conferences or visiting other churches pay their own travel expenses and accommodations, meaning their home church must have the necessary finances to support their travel.[34][52]

Regional conferences[edit]

A few times per year, NCMI-relating churches will organize short, smaller scale Geographical Training Times (or Regional Training Times), usually under the ministry of one or two members of the NCMI team. Unlike Equip conferences these are not promoted internationally.

Other conferences[edit]

NCMI also holds training times for prospective NCMI team members and church planters.[45]

Official and legal organization[edit]

NCMI does not maintain an official headquarters.[59] Based on the lack of an official headquarters and the relational network of autonomous churches, they say that they are neither a denomination nor a movement.

Since NCMI finds no biblical precedent for voting on decisions, NCMI team members do not vote but rather make decisions by arriving at a consensus. They discourage relating local churches from either voting among the eldership, or permitting the congregation to vote on any decision.[20]

NCMI does maintain a website, various legal entities[60] in countries in which it operates, and a post office box in Colorado where its current leader, Tyrone Daniel, also leads Redemption City Church.

Criticism[edit]

Allan Anderson, professor of Mission and Pentecostal Studies, writes that NCMI is "dominated by white South Africans, who lead many local churches and church plants around the world, preside over NCMI conferences, and predominate the membership of the apostolic team". Speaking of South African Pentecostalism in general and explicitly mentioning NCMI, Anderson contrasts the rise of expensive megachurches and "jet-set" apostolic networks in white, middle-class South Africa to the poverty of majority black Pentecostals. He says that as of 2005, South African Pentecostal churches were still divided along ethnic lines and were not "proactive with regard to such severe social problems as the AIDS pandemic, rising poverty and crime". In Anderson's view, these churches are "not making an impact nor addressing challenges posed by a rapidly changing [post-apartheid South African] society".[27]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The cited source does not define "Apostolic" – it could refer to the early church, other apostolic networks, or denominations with apostolic in their name such as the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa.
  2. ^ Day-Lewis (1996, p. 115), an NCMI training manual, rejects the Reformed/Calvinist doctrine of "limited atonement". By contrast, NCMI Gauteng states "we are Reformed in our view of the church".
  3. ^ NCMI does not say whether or not a denominational church would be permitted to relate to it.
  4. ^ Recognized by the Council on Higher Education in South Africa
  5. ^ Past names for these conferences were: Retreats for Leaders, Conferences for Leaders, and Leadership Training Times (LTTs).
  6. ^ Black (2006, p. 127) gives a full list: Persian Gulf , Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Dubai, Egypt, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, Holland, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, South East Asia, Swaziland and Tanzania.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Manley 2001, pp. 86-87.
  2. ^ a b Black 2006, p. 123.
  3. ^ Manley 2001, p. 27.
  4. ^ Daniel & McKellar 2011, p. 79.
  5. ^ a b "Our History". New Covenant Ministries International. 29 October 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  6. ^ Manley 2001, p. 110.
  7. ^ Daniel & McKellar 2011, pp. 7-9.
  8. ^ Black 2006, p. 131.
  9. ^ a b Daniel & McKellar 2011, p. 25.
  10. ^ "Statement of Faith". New Covenant Ministries International. 3 December 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Manley 2001, p. 39.
  12. ^ Manley 2001, p. 24.
  13. ^ a b "Is NCMI a denomination?". New Covenant Ministries International. 27 October 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  14. ^ "NCMI Vision". New Covenant Ministries International. 29 October 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  15. ^ "How can the Team benefit your church". New Covenant Ministries International. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  16. ^ a b c d e "Why is NCMI different?". 28 October 2012. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  17. ^ a b Manley 2001, p. 34.
  18. ^ "So what does it mean to relate?". New Covenant Ministries International. 27 October 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  19. ^ Black 2006, p. 119.
  20. ^ a b Manley 2001, p. 28.
  21. ^ Manley 2001, p. 33.
  22. ^ Pole 2006, pp. 131-133.
  23. ^ Pole 2006, p. 49.
  24. ^ Pole 2006, pp. 49-51.
  25. ^ Manley 2001, pp. 49.
  26. ^ "Professor Allan Anderson". University of Birmingham. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  27. ^ a b Anderson 2005, pp. 86-88.
  28. ^ Wienand, Chris (20 November 2009). "Gospel Centered Leadership I". Doing life together - Chris Wienand. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  29. ^ "Keys to discipling the Nations". New Covenant Ministries International. 5 November 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  30. ^ Daniel 2001, p. 68 cited in Black & Peppler 2008, p. 44
  31. ^ Manley 2001, pp. 95-100.
  32. ^ Manley 2001, p. 29.
  33. ^ Black 2006, p. 124.
  34. ^ a b c Black 2006, p. 145.
  35. ^ Manley 2001, p. 25.
  36. ^ NCMI 2012, pp. 5-6.
  37. ^ a b Manley 2001, p. 87.
  38. ^ Black 2006, p. 143.
  39. ^ Black 2006, p. 125.
  40. ^ a b Manley 2001, p. 74.
  41. ^ Manley 2001, p. 107.
  42. ^ Black, Malcolm (2006-06-15). "www.itcconline.net: Study Theology at Home with NCMI". Let's Talk Magazine (74): 16–19. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  43. ^ See last update on archive.org.
  44. ^ "Who Leads NCMI's team?". New Covenant Ministries International. 29 October 2012. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  45. ^ a b Black 2006, p. 129.
  46. ^ Daniel, Dudley (2004). "Team leadership: transition for the future". Let's Talk Magazine (New Covenant Ministries International) (67): 4–7. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 
  47. ^ Wallace, Rigby. "Important announcement to all Common Ground members". Common Ground Church. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  48. ^ Wienand, Chris. "Genesis Collective - name". Doing life together - Chris Wienand. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  49. ^ Manley 2001, p. 89.
  50. ^ Frow, Alan. "Vision and Vacation". Roots & Wings: Reflections of a resident alien pastor. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  51. ^ "Who We Are". Coastlands Church. Coastlands Church (Adelaide, Australia). Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  52. ^ a b Manley 2001, p. 47.
  53. ^ a b Manley 2001, pp. 47-51, 111-118.
  54. ^ Black 2006, p. 144.
  55. ^ NCMI 2012, p. 7.
  56. ^ a b Black 2006, p. 134.
  57. ^ "Equip / LTT". New Covenant Ministries International. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  58. ^ Black 2006, p. 127.
  59. ^ Black 2006, p. 140.
  60. ^ Manley 2001, pp. 23, 37-40.

References[edit]

  • Anderson, Allan H. (2005). "New African Initiated Pentecostalism and Charismatics in South Africa". Journal of Religion in Africa 35 (1): 66–92. doi:10.1163/1570066052995843. JSTOR 1581661. (subscription required (help)). 
  • Daniel, Dudley (2003). Building On Apostolic Foundations. Every Tribe Resources. ISBN 0620309989. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]