We dedicate this Special Issue to the Ecclesias and brethren that participated in "The Lightstand Initiative" and contributed the results of their Bible studies on The Biblical Purpose of the Ecclesia. The April 28-30, 2006 Conference, held in West Virginia, benefited greatly from the spirit of cooperation displayed in the ecclesial responses to this initiative. Their contributions helped to support and enhance the efforts of those brethren who attended and actually participated in the Conference activities.
The articles in this issue are all based on those Biblical purposes for the Ecclesia that were identified in the ecclesial pre-conference studies and verified during the group studies at the conference. Unfortunately, in this final generation, there are many obstacles that may prevent us from effectively fulfilling the purposes that Christ had for his ecclesia. We are thankful to those brethren who utilized the Conference work groups to identify and develop a number of implementation ideas that our Ecclesias may use in their local area to help overcome their own particular obstacles. A copy of their report is included with this Special Issue. We are also including a Principles card* that will serve as a reminder and a guide for future reference as we face the many spiritual challenges of these last days.
It is our prayer that the products of this united effort will help us all to strengthen the things that remain, in the hope that we will be able to renew our effort to make our Ecclesias better prepared as a bride adorned for her husband when he returns establish his Kingdom.