Mindi and I meeting with ethnic leaders from SoCal! On Saturday, August 30 we had a little gathering of leaders from Cambodia and Latin America for a little breakfast get together with Jesús Muñoz (our Cambodian brother left before the picture and our Japanese friends were on a retreat!). This gathering may emerge into a network of ethnic leaders who can spur one another on to make disciples and plant churches in the nations of our world!
|WHAT’S HAPPENED WITH ME
|The Latest Scoop|
Sorry it has been a while since I’ve communicated to you via this means. The past few months have been full, as I’m sure they have for you!
At the FellowShift Conference this summer, Encompass sought to do something which would engage people in reaching the nations. We set up stations we called “Engagement Stations” with a variety of different ways to participate. We also created an online version of the Engagment Stations so you can participate right now! Check out all 7 online!
We also shared a variety of short 8 minute or less Engaging Talks which we dubbed
Just yesterday, I talked via Skype with Jason Carmean in Cameroon! He and his family have been on the ground for one month and are adjusting well.
I’m excited to be part of a coalition that has committed for 5 years to seeing dozens and dozens of pastoral leaders trained for the more than 45 churches and 30+ church plants in Cameroon.
Dave Guiles has described this “as the greatest leadership development need the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches has seen in several generations.”
One of the ways you can help is by supporting the first modules of Bible training supporting the first modules of Bible training–please consider a gift!
Pray for the Ongoing Ministry of the Château de St. Albain
Yesterday, September 3, 2014, was declared as a Day of Prayer for the Château by
Joël Rongier, president of Château Association.
Please join in praying and fasting for God to supply the following personnel needs for the Château so that ministries will continue without interruption:
1) A European business manager and coordinator: Pray especially for wisdom and direction for the Château steering committee to find the right people to fit into ministry leadership.
2) An American support couple: To care for the responsibilities of welcoming visitors, preparing and serving meals, maintenance and grounds work.
Our Château Coalition is seeking to publish a coffee-table book (in English, French and German) to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of ministry and funds are needed to get it rolling.
Over the last few months, I’ve been part of catalyzing two really important networks:
One is around Women in Church Planting. All over the world, women are involved in the church planting endeavor– moms, businesswomen, educators, missionaries, single women, etc. Many of these ladies don’t have a place to connect with others. Through the leadership of my friends Louise Klawitter and Jessica Robertson, this network has formed a Facebook group that is nurturing this network. It’s a secret group to hide the identities of some of our bravest women who are in closed countries, but if you send a message to Louise, she can get you synced up.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank YOU for your prayers and support which are vital to the Lord’s work in our world. I’m humbled and privileged to serve our King and alongside you!
Thanks so much for your financial gifts to support the work of reaching the least reached! Some of you have remained very diligent even without a lot of info from me! My work continues to be fruitful, so I want to encourage you to continue your pledge or consider a monthly gift!
My E-newsletter Archive:
Read my February 2014 e-newsletter
Read my December 2013 E-Newsletter
Read my August 2013 e-newsletter
Read my June 2013 e-newsletter
Read my May 2013 e-newsletter
Read my April 2013 e-newsletter
The task of mobilizing churches and leaders for the sake of Jesus to our world is huge! Yet it is simpler today than in other eras because of: 1) globalization – the world is smaller (via technology, travel and social networking) and 2) collaboration – the atmosphere of work is in teams and groups together.
In my role with Encompass World Partners, we want to leverage a new model of engaging our world. We want to see leaders, churches and ministries working together to get the Gospel to the least-reached on our globe. Below is a brief outline of what we are calling coalitions.
A model for meaningful engagement
A coalition is covenant group of churches, leaders or ministries
cooperating in joint action together for a common purpose.
1. Focus on Collaborative Mission
Coalitions are created to meet needs, whether spiritual or material. Members of coalitions understand that they are a joining an action group that shares a common commitment to pool resources to achieve a specific purpose. While reflection and discussion are an important element in developing appropriate responses to needs, members understand that they are working together to do ministry in viable and meaningful ways.
2. Submit to the Guidance of the Holy Spirit
Above all, Coalitions recognize the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the vital role of the Holy Spirit. Toward that end, the members of Coalitions commit to prayer that leads to vision that leads to risk-taking faith. Coalitions must be birthed in prayer, their goals must be forged in the crucible of prayer, their members must be selected as a result of prayer, and their actions must arise from an ongoing commitment to prayer.
3. Build upon Mutual Trust
“Can two walk together if they are not in agreement?” asked the prophet Amos. Teamwork is essential to any meaningful spiritual endeavor, and building the trust needed for effective teamwork requires a ongoing commitment to walk in the Spirit, to listen to our brothers and sisters, and to submit to one another out of love for Christ. Members of Coalitions are willing to invest the relational time required to develop mutual trust.
4. Organize around Gifts and Experience
When Christ places us in his body, we acknowledge that he is our head, and that we flourish in an interdependent relationship in which unity and diversity are encouraged and valued. In the same way, Coalitions embrace the fact that their members come to the table with a variety of gifts and ministry experiences. Coalitions should define the roles of leaders and members in such a way as to value experience and provide opportunities to exercise spiritual gifts.
5. Commit to Sound Missiology and Cross-cultural Sensitivity
In the crucible of its successes and failures, the modern missions movement is creating a wealth of principles and practical resources. Coalitions should build upon this reservoir of knowledge and experience to ensure that their efforts reflect ‘best practices’ in the mission world and sensitivity to local cultures. Since most Coalitions will consist of partners from more than one cultural context, it is essential that members avoid superimposing their cultural values on others.
Here is a fuller document for download: Coalitions: Definition & Values (PDF)
One of the areas of great growth and learning for me since I’ve been with Encompass World Partners has been in cross-cultural relationships. One of the experts in that area, and former board member with Encompass is Sherwood Lingenfelter. I encountered his book Ministering Cross-Culturally and learned a lot!
I have poked around in Lingenfelter’s more recent book Leading Cross-Culturally primarily because of our implementation of coalitions which are an architecture for everyone everywhere to engage in mission! It will be best if multiple cultures are involved, and it will also be a stretching experience for everyone involved.
Last night I was transfixed by chapter 8 on “Power-Giving Leadership.” Lingenfelter walked through the sticky Paul, Philemon, Onesimus situation. What a beautiful example of Paul giving away his position and power and empowering Philemon to lead and be like Jesus. This study provides an excellent contribution to Biblical leadership!
Lingenfelter’s definition for the book: Leading cross-culturally, then, is inspiring people who come from two or more cultural traditions to participate with you (the leader or leadership team) in building a community of trust and then to follow you and be empowered by you to achieve a compelling vision of faith.
The most important part of empowering new leaders is to support them in the early stages when they need help and to release them as soon as they can walk in the ministry by themselves. Consider the analogy of a toddler learning to walk: as soon as the child takes steps alone, we encourage the child to keep going. Some people are very cautious about releasing young leaders; this is a serious mistake. To release is not to abandon but to let the young leader learn to walk. It is vitally important that we allow young leaders to take halting steps, allow them to stumble, even fall, and then, as mentors, encourage them to get up and try again. We can always support them and help lift them up after they have fallen. But they will never be successful leaders unless we release them to play the game, to do the work for which we have equipped them.
The focus of power-giving leadership is to follow Christ and, in so doing, to lead others to follow Christ. In the patterns of “normal” cultural life, our power and skills may produce leaders but probably won’t produce followers of Christ.
“Giving Philemon the freedom to choose is also a vision to grow (‘I know you’ll do even more than I ask’). Part of empowering leadership is to remind people of who they are and the way their (potential) actions are consistent with their identity in the Lord”
The power-seeking leader uses position and authority to exert mastery over others. In this situation, Paul used a letter to engage in a power exchange with Philemon. He had Onesimus in his custody, and he could have easily written a different letter that would have asserted Philemon’s obligations to him and induced Philemon to release Onesimus to Paul without ever letting Onesimus out of his sight. Paul understood that if he took that tactic, it would be a false path to acquire something that he desired. He would pervert the relationship that God had given him with Philemon, using his position as the senior brother in Christ to advance his own selfish interest. In doing this, Paul would have, in fact, undermined Philemon’s faith and the work of the grace of God in their relationship together.
Jesus must become the center of who we are…
To restore our human psyche and relationships to the will and purpose of God, Jesus must become the center of who we are and replace our quest for power. Only as we are motivated by the Holy Spirit and through the living Word of God can we relate to one another within the structures of human society to accomplish the purpose of God.
I will first argue that we must put Jesus “in the place of power as a proper source of healing and will”
The task and the routines of daily work always erode our mission and vision for the ministry. They also erode our spiritual values. The question is not whether our values are eroding; team values are always eroding. The question is, what are we doing as leaders to renew our sense of mission, to restore our vision, and to renew the values that are critical for multicultural teamwork? Our hope for effective leadership and ministries lies in aligning ourselves with the mission and work of God in a lost and broken world.
Leaders in particular must surrender their obsession to control and achieve, through worship at the cross.
While the process will be difficult, with periods of intense testing and struggle, building covenant community is a process of refocusing from doing what we want to being the people of God.
In the end the work of the kingdom depends on our obedience to the King. God cannot rule in people who are disobedient and in conflict with one another. God rules as we obey God and love one another.
Every leader who expects and hopes to be effective in leading cross-culturally must give repeated attention to the mission, the vision, and the values that are essential to kingdom work. Every team meeting should include some intentional renewal of mission, vision, and/or values. As soon as that component of the team is lost, the mission and the vision will be lost to the routines and the pressures of doing our daily work. Every case study that we have considered here has suffered because of a loss of mission, vision, and/or values among the people who were part of the multicultural team process.
Saying, “I was wrong,” is more powerful than saying “I’m sorry.”
One of my colleagues, Janice Strength, notes that saying “I was wrong” is far more powerful than saying “I am sorry.” She notes that we often push children to say “I am sorry” when they and we know they are not. To acknowledge “I was wrong” is to take responsibility for the action we have done.
I remind students in my classes that we are first emotional creatures and only secondarily rational. As we respond to crises or stressful situations in leadership, we rarely operate based on reason and rational processes. When things get tough, we first respond emotionally—frustration, anger, fear, disappointment, and betrayal. These emotions often get the best of us, leading us to seek power to protect ourselves, which in turn undermines the will and purpose of God.
I remember praying, “Please remove this person from leadership and give me someone else who can do the job more effectively.” God’s answer to this prayer was, “Absolutely no; don’t you understand my work?” I learned over a period of time that God loves weak people and that God intends leaders to work with the people whom God gives to them.
|Still plenty to pray for…
We are still praying and working toward a strong and effective coalition for each region of our world – Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America.
Continue to pray for the coalition for the World Cup. We seek to come alongside the Brasilian Church for outreach, discipleship and church planting around arguably the largest world-wide event! Your prayers are needed for the Spirit to direct the Brasilian Church as to how He wants them to seize this opportunity. Although the World Cup isn’t until June 2014, the time is short to pull this off. Would you pray for great progress in the coming weeks?
Would you also pray for God’s guidance in forming coalitions around the Unengaged, Unreached People Groups? There is great interest, but this will be some of the hardest work we’ve ever done.
|A Time of Incremental Progress
Thanks for your prayers for 3 solid coalitions to be in formation by this month. This is coming into reality!
I had the privilege of sharing our progress with the Global Leadership Team of Encompass at the end of April. It was very affirming and sharpening as well.
Since that time, we are praying and working toward a strong and effective coalition for each region of our world – Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America!
The highest-profile, most-time sensitive one I’ll highlight for you. We have approached the leaders of the Brasilian Grace Brethren Churches with an opportunity to have a coalition for the World Cup. We seek to come alongside them for outreach, discipleship and church planting around arguably the largest world-wide event!Your prayers are needed for the Spirit to direct the Brasilian Church as to how He wants them to seize this opportunity. Although the World Cup isn’t until June – July of next year, the time is short to pull this off. Would you pray for great progress in the coming weeks?
Read the April 2013 e-newsletter
|WHAT’S HAPPENED WITH ME
|A New Role and the Ball is Rolling
|It’s hard to believe it has been a couple of months since I joined Encompass World Partners. It has been a blast getting to know many of the people I have served with and long respected!Last month, I had the privilege of joining 2 other current staff and 7 other soon to be deployed missionaries for Core Orientation (link). I hope you’ll go to my post to see more about that week.Also I was in Ohio, for a meeting with Mission Mobilizers (link) at the Wooster Grace Brethren Church. A great group of leaders who were challenging one another to be intentional about calling people to living on life-long mission.I also was with a gathering of men and women at the Lexington Grace Brethren Church who have all been in Africa and have a passion for Leadership Training. God is stirring up something for the benefit of the church leaders there — in Central Africa, Cameroon and Chad!
I need your prayers for following up on the leaders and churches from these meetings. We asked these leaders to pray and seek the Lord about next steps. Pray for me as I have the joy of sifting through all that God and trying to form some coalitions.
|What Are We Talking About?
– a covenant group of churches, leaders or ministries
– cooperating in joint action
– together for a common purpose.
This is the simplest definition, but a potent one. We believe that moving forward together in joint action as teams will truly be the future of mobilization.
There are a host of coalitions in formation right now.
Please Pray that there would be 3 solid coalitions by next month.