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Being an innovator and change agent can be challenging, especially when it takes time to define, develop, and produce the results of an idea.
Discipleship training is not a program; it’s a command to every believer. The way we have traditionally fulfilled this responsibility has been through formal instruction in a classroom or auditorium setting. We have called those formal gatherings “church.” In time this tradition of gathering and sitting in formal settings became more important than fulfilling the command to “go, make disciples.”
Let’s get back to the command; let’s get back to where we once belonged, making disciples. Let’s let Jesus be our example. Yes, Jesus did have people sit down and listen to him, sometimes in the Temple, sometimes in a field, on a mount, or in the intimate setting of a home. However, we should notice that the setting for his instruction was rarely formal. Instead, he practiced a non-formal and often informal method of making disciples. He said, “Come and follow me.” This was Jesus’ invitation to a life of a disciple.
Let’s “flip” discipleship.
What I am suggesting is that we change things up a bit. Let’s “flip” discipleship. If we were intentional about a reversed teaching model we could deliver instruction on the go, in the regular rhythms of life. If we were to “flip” discipleship, we could follow Jesus’ model and use the education tools of the 21st century.
Everywhere, in nearly every corner of the world of education, learning is going online. Some like it and some don’t. Let’s step back a moment and consider how today’s online learning tools might help us “flip” discipleship training.
Consider a moment how an interactive online learning environment might enhance discipleship of today’s Christ followers. What if we created hundreds of short Youtube videos to deliver content and we made discipleship more personal? What if we moved lectures outside of the classroom and allowed teachers, mentors, and disciplers to spend more 1:1 time with each disciple? What if Christ-followers had the opportunity to ask questions and work through problems with the guidance of a personal mentor/teacher and find the support of others on the same journey? What if we “flipped” church and made it a community learning on the go? What if church became a community on mission, making disciples?
We have developed just such a method with online tools and videos for discipleship training. It’s called the IPO Connection (Internship Placement & Outreach Connection). Through the ipoconnection.org and corresponding online course site, we are matching students (disciples) with field projects through homestays (sharing biblical hospitality), and equipping the students through dozens of short video lessons followed by personal interaction with a mentor (discipler).
What are the advantages of flipping discipleship training?
- Gives teachers/mentors more time to spend 1:1 helping students
- Builds stronger student/teacher relationships
- Offers a way for a collaborative community of students, mentors, project hosts, and donors to move together on mission with Jesus
- Produces the ability for students to “rewind” lessons, review them, and share them with peers. These video lessons are powerful!
Visit ipoconnection.org for more information.
Here’s one for Missionaries & their current (and future) Supporters.
It’s been since the Fall of 1985 that I have been a “faith missionary;” I have depended on the faithfulness of God through his people who give out of their love for God and his mission and their love for me and my family. I can testify, through all the years and many tests and trials, that God IS faithful.
Much of what I have learned has come through our living example of faithfulness, our Ministry Partners. One of our Ministry Partners said it well: “John and Mary, you have a calling to go; I have a calling to send.” It is such a privilege to be in partnership with friends who know their calling and honor the Lord through their obedience to His calling.
I want to share a few of those lessons with you. Whether you are a missionary or a supporter, these lessons are for partners in Christ’s mission:
1. Whether you are a missionary or a supporter, choose a Ministry Partner to pray for. We may not always communicate who we are praying fo or when, but God often stirs our hearts for one or more of our supporters.
2. Communicate regularly. We have sent a prayer-letter every month with only one or two interruptions. And many of our supporters send a monthly note with their support. This communication is an amazing encouragement. Ministry Partners can use email, Skype, Facebook, and even short text messages to stay in touch.
3. Be hospitable. Hospitality literally means “friend of the foreigner.” The result of hospitality is friendship; we become closer. Host your Ministry Partner for a meal or an overnight. If you can, help provide temporary housing or transportation too.
4. Connect your small group or ministry team with your Ministry Partner. Broaden your hospitality, inviting your network of friends to also become Ministry Partners.
5. Invest your vacation. Invite Ministry Partners to visit your ministry site or community. Travel with your partner; its a great way to spend part of your vacation. (Most of our vacations are combined with visits with supporters.)
6. Help create or strengthen a ministry project for your Ministry Partner. My wife and I have volunteered with several churches to help them with outreach preparation, youth ministries, missions and leadership training, consulting and counseling. Virtually all of our short term teams have served the long term work of Ministry Partners on the field. You can offer your time to a special project, outreach, or event. You could take a volunteer job, like weekly administrative tasks, driving shuttles, or kitchen duties.
7. Be generous. For years we sent YWAM Prayer Diaries or other books as gifts to our Ministry Partners. We try to bring gifts from the field, especially when we visit Ministry Partners. We have also received care packages, baskets of food, and surprise gifts. These are acts of generosity displaying the goodness and faithfulness of God. Very often those surprise gifts have been direct answers to prayer, which helped us meet our monthly bills.
We all, both missionaries and supporters, are walking by faith. We all are called to put our faith in God to supply our daily needs. When we, as Ministry Partners in the work of Christ’s kingdom, give our hearts, our time and resources, we cause thankfulness to overflow and bring pleasure to the heart of God.
Special thanks to all our Ministry Partners. We love you!
Be Missional: How can you support and encourage your missionaries or your supporters in their calling?
The SMC is equipping campus ministries leaders and SMC staff for multiplication around the world. After running the School of University Ministries & Missions (SUMM) four times on three continents in 2010 & 2011, we will again run the SUMM in North America in 2012 and South America in 2013, this time as mobile schools incorporating mobilization events in various cities into the curriculum. In addition, our six friends from Madagascar who took the SUMM last year in Seoul are requesting the SUMM to be run in Madagascar for their growing university ministries; they’re completing their sixth UDTS and they are pioneering a second university ministry in another city. Aldrin Bogi and his team in Bangalore, INDIA are planning to run the SUMM again soon, perhaps in 2013.
The SUMM is UofN Student Mobilization Centre’s core training for all YWAM staff and students serving university students. (UofN Code: STU/HMT 293). The following is a rationale and purpose statement for the next SUMM in North America, scheduled to begin on December 27, 2012 at the URBANA Student Missions Convention in St. Louis, MO.
Mobile SUMM North America 2012-2013
During 2011, we convened two Consultations, one in Northfield, MA and one in San Francisco, CA, where we met leaders representing several new YWAM campus ministries which have emerged in the past few years in North America. The universities in North America represent a particularly urgent context with strategic importance to the future of the Western missions movement and the need for partnership with the new majority Church outside the West. It is time to cultivate and assist those new ministries and equip leaders for greater effectiveness and growth through collaboration and pioneering new ministries.
The SMC’s commitment to student involvement in world missions will be evidenced not only in the curriculum of the SUMM, but also through active mobilization and prayer with potential student volunteers at various campus events during the North American Mobile SUMM.
Since 1986, SMC’s Field Ministry Internships (FMI), the principal program of the SMC, has mobilized students from over 100 different colleges/universities onto 75 internship teams in over 35 countries. We have mobilized students, as learners and not experts, for every sphere of society. To date, the FMI program has been designed by and directed by SMC leaders. Beginning with this SUMM, we are making a change to the FMI program; we are emphasizing internship placements.
Participants in this Mobile SUMM will not only practically experience the mobilization process at events, they will also be involved in the planning and coordination of internship projects for which they are recruiting students. Every SUMM participant will identify Field Partners (YWAM and non-YWAM organizations) to help them design and register their own internship programs for students in 2012 & 2013. During the SUMM, we plan to have 100 internship FMI Field Partner Hosts and their Field Projects posted on the SMC website.
We are championing university students to serve Christ’s Great Commission through their life-work. Students and Associate Field Partners are challenged to partner together in the next major wave of collaborative missions and holistic witness in and from university communities worldwide.
North American Mobile SUMM Context:
Today’s university students are more diverse, more pluralistic, more internationally aware, and more cross-culturally connected than previous generations. Students travel abroad and study abroad more than any previous generation. The number of internationals studying in the United States has more than doubled in the past twenty years, from 325 thousand to well over 700 thousand today, most of whom are from nations in the 10/40 window. Those seeking to plant churches among unreached peoples ought to make ministry to these strategic persons a priority. International concern about human tragedy and injustice, such as impure water, human traffiking, and HIV/AIDS orphans, have captured the conscience of this generation. Today’s students, both Christian and non-Christian, are seeking to make a difference and they are seeking a vital community that shares their concerns. Christian students, many of whom have desperate need for family and community, are at the same time seeking God for his justice and his mercy to be extended through a shared vision of a community and through their own life’s work.
North American Mobile SUMM Strategic Objectives:
This twelve-week interdisciplinary course emphasizes the impact and strategic importance of the mobilization of students toward their life work and calling. It is the SMC’s objective to recruit, equip, and place student volunteers ready to practically serve communities caught in a cycle of poverty resulting from unproductive worldviews. International Student Ministries (ISM) are a priority of the SMC. It is our objective to help North American YWAM centers within reasonable reach of university communities to adopt this priority. In addition, we will be encouraging YWAMers and former YWAMers currently enrolled in university to form missional communities with fellow students. It is the aim of the SMC for students to learn more deeply the importance of a biblical worldview, their calling from God, and what it means to love our global neighbor. Participants in the SUMM will therefore:
- Examine and practice teaching how God’s calling relates to the destiny of nations.
- Research the migration of students, the growing international student population, and learn how to equip university students for effective witness in their generation and in various areas of society: arts, business, education, government, media, science and technology.
- Gain understanding and practical knowledge of university student ministries as a mission strategy with particular application the variety of cultures in the North American context.
- Study the historical and biblical basis of university student ministries,
- Learn how to lead an intensive and integrated discipleship and outreach experience, and
- Gain practical instruction for pioneering and leading a campus ministry and for leading Field Ministry Internships.
We accomplish our objectives through a four-part strategy, which will be applied to this SUMM:
- We Gather - We will gather students & leaders from university communities in several North American cities through mobilization events.
- We Train – We will further develop curriculum through contextual and practical research in university communities in North America.
- We Send – We will recruit students for 100 different service projects related to global human need, their individual fields of studies, and their future influence in the spheres of society. Students will have opportunity to participate in short-term outreaches, serve long-term field projects, and discern their life-work and calling.
- We Network – We will cultivate missional collaboration and partnerships with various organizations, churches, and agencies in and around university communities in North America for the purpose of mobilizing an emerging generation of student volunteers serving Christ’s Great Commission.
North American Mobile SUMM Plan:
This Mobile SUMM in North America will visit several cities to observe and serve some of the most effective campus ministries and leaders. The SUMM mobile community will participate in and/or help organize mobilization events in several cities, including St. Louis, MO for the URBANA 2012 Intervarsity Student Missions Convention (Dec. 27-31, 2012). Every SUMM participant will enroll with the expectation of participating as one of the YWAM international exhibitors at the URBANA 2012 event. (SUMM tuition fees will include URBANA 2012 exhibitor registrations fees.)
SUMM staff assignments are limited to those who have completed the School of University Ministries & Missions -or- current YWAM staff with a Four-Year College Degree and Student Ministries Leadership Seminar (STU 195). All staff members for the North American SUMM will make a full 12 month commitment, in order that they may serve as participant mentor/overseers for SUMM Field Assignments.
The Foundational Values of Youth With A Mission are integrated into the teaching/learning experience in a variety of ways. The Values we find most closely relating to the School of University Ministries are:
- Godly Character & Servant Leadership: SMC seeks to build Godly character and demonstrate principles of servant leadership; humility and integrity are essential to produce in the student a trusting relationship with God.
- Championing the potential of young people: The SMC seeks to mobilize today’s university students recognizing this population may be the most potent missionary force on earth.
- All ministries and functions are equal in the Kingdom of God: the SMC course seeks to promote calling in relation to a broadened understanding of the character and ways of God to reach and teach all nations;
- Commitment to the Word of God: SMC is committed to the authority of the Word of God, to seeking to know and hear God’s voice, and to a lifestyle of intercessory prayer.
- Visionary: Students come with a desire for revelation of how their field of study in university (other than the UofN) relates to God’s call on their life. The SMC curriculum is designed to foster the development of that vision.
- Great Commission & Discipling Nations: Believing that the Gospel of Jesus can transform not only individual lives but the structures of society, SMC is dedicated to fulfilling the Great Commission to disciple all nations.
- Hospitality: The Biblical meaning of hospitality is ‘friend of the foreigner’. God has always instructed His people to love and care for the strangers and sojourners in their land;
- Communication: SUMM participants will communicate and methodically follow up with students and leaders from a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures. Participants will articulate succinctly and clearly what today’s students need to be able to serve as missionaries in a 21st century mission field, emphasizing YWAM’s commitment to the Christian Magna Carta and a spirit of collaboration in response to dramatic shifts in the Church globally and extraordinary economic and societal crises. Communicating to mobilize students on cross-cultural, serving-learning experiences is an integral part of YWAM’s discipleship of students in every campus ministry location.
If you or someone you know would be interested in the SUMM course in North America or another part of the world, or if you can host the North American Mobile SUMM for a campus event at one of the cities we plan to visit (St. Louis, Minneapolis, Madison, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston, Baltimore, Richmond, Atlanta), or if you know of an organization leading a project that needs interns to serve and learn for a few weeks or a full semester, contact us. We’ll be really glad to help you connect with this exciting series of events.
William Carey’s influence on “Haystack” Students
Setting the stage for the historic prayer meeting with the five students who gathered under that haystack to find refuge from a storm in August 1806 was a little booklet written only a decade or so earlier by William Carey. The booklet was entitled: “An Enquiry Into the Obligations of Christians to use Means for [...]
A “New” Kind of Church Minister: George Isley
My pastor, George Isley, who went to be with the Lord five years ago, modeled a kind of leadership in the Church that is, from my perspective as a missionary of 25+ years, too rarely seen. One of George’s classmates, Dr. Don Lundgren, Missions Minister at College Church in Northampton, MA, said George had been [...]
Introduction to Missional Collaboration
As I develop a new training course on Missional Collaboration for the University of the Nations, I will be unveiling several aspects of the course through this blog. Today’s post originates from one of my papers and in response to an article on the Trinity by Mark Avery, professor of a course on Collaboration at [...]
New, Old Meaning for Hospitality
Hospitality has taken on fresh meaning to me lately. I’ll explain. I understood hospitality to be mainly “friendship with the stranger,” and NOT primarily how to set your table to impress your dinner guests. Welcoming strangers, radical as that view seemed, isn’t broad enough. Recently, while doing some research on church eldership, the word hospitality [...]
Our table is the center of our home. It’s the place our family comes together, the place we welcome friends, neighbors, and strangers. We invite others into the kitchen where we chop and sauté vegetables, bake bread, stir sauces, pour the fruit of the vine (juice or wine, you choose), and prepare to savor the [...]
History: Adoniram Judson
In September 1809, college student Adoniram Judson began to ponder seriously the subject of foreign missions. At the age of twenty-one, he had just finished his first year of theological studies at Andover. Judson read a sermon which was preached in the parish church of Bristol, England, by Dr. Claudius Buchanan. Buchanan had been a [...]
Calling: What I’m looking for…
U2 singer songwriter Bono expresses a spiritual yearning in the 1987 album The Joshua Tree hit single: “Still haven’t found what I’m looking for…” New Musical Express (a pop music mag in the UK better known as the NME), points out that the popularity of the song may be due to the way it showed [...]
Easter Note: Holiness is Intimacy with God
“What language should I borrow, to thank Thee dearest friend, for this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end? O make me Thine forever, And should I fainting be, Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.” This line comes from “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded,” a 12th century hymn by Bernard of [...]
Sitting here warming in the sun and listening to the gentle spash of the waves along the jagged lava rock of the Kona Coast of the Big Island of Hawai’i, I find it difficult to believe this is where a tsunami slammed the small shopping center along the shore on March 11, 2011. That contrast [...]
Holiness is MORE than Intimacy with God
At Easter I wrote about Holiness, that holiness is intimacy with God. (Here’s that post.) I described how Bernard of Clairvaux’s 14th century hymn, O Sacred Head Now Wounded, was a personal and public pre-Reformation plea for intimate relationship with Christ. I return to this subject because I did not adequately describe the beauty and [...]
#11 Special Tribute:
It Happened at a Haystack
I first learned of the monument on the Williams College campus in 1988 while researching student missions. In 2006, I joined several student ministries leaders from across the nation at the 200th anniversary of the event that led to the establishing of this memorial. Do you know why there is a monument on the small [...]
Thank you for a great year! – John Henry
1. To foster missional partnerships, placing interns to serve field projects worldwide.
2. To recruit and place students and staff ready to serve and learn a biblical worldview as a missional strategy worldwide.
3. To establish an international coordination office, including guest house, study center, and library.
Interested in partnering with SMC hosting student interns for a Field Project serving the poor?
In order to become a Field Partner with SMC, your organization must be leading (or in partnership with an in-country organization) a Field Project, which will at least:
- Have a history (at least 2 full years) of serving the poor, excluded, and/or vulnerable people for the purpose of alleviating poverty or reducing vulnerability.
- Be registered as a legal entity in your country of operation. (Note: We understand that the Field Host may not qualify. For this reason, we encourage the Field Host to place students with legally registered organizations.)
- Provide opportunities for the intern(s) to practice and/or research components of your Field Project related to the intern’s field of study.
- Provide the intern a weekly schedule, including participation in your community/team practices of worship and intercessory prayer, and community living work duties. The FMI intern will function in the regular schedule as if he/she were a member of the Field Project staff team.
- Be personally available to the intern(s) for advising, including at least a (one-hour) One-on-One interview at regular weekly intervals. You will agree to offer timely and candid feedback on the quantity and quality of the intern’s work.
- Provide a short online evaluation on the intern’s performance at monthly intervals (after every 30 days at your location) and upon completion of the internship term. All hours accumulated by the intern will be signed off by the Field Project Internship host supervisor.
What SMC Offers:
- We offer you the widest possible participation in the internship program decision-making. We want you to actively engage in the process. We agree to actively recruit qualified student interns on your behalf if you allow us to post your Field Project opportunity on the SMC web site and at various mobilization and recruiting events throughout 2012 and 2013.
- With your help, we are creating a registry of 100 Field Projects for university student internships to be displayed at YWAM International’s URBANA 2012 Exhibit. Registration as a Host for student interns is just $50 USD until June 1, 2012. After that date, the fee will be $100 USD.
At the recent Campus Ministry South Asia Leaders meeting Peter Moon was named CMSA director.
The CMSA team meetings were met with a strong unity and excitement . All came to agree to CMSA ‘Vision 725′. The 725 stands for the universities in South Asia.
What Happened in San Francisco at the SMC Consultation Sept. 14 & 15, 2011?
A brief summary report by John Henry.
A big “Thank You” to Tim and Karol Svoboda and the team at YWAM San Francisco for extending their gracious hospitality in the Gold Rush City and the Tenderloin District of San Francisco. Thanks especially to Karol who was so engaged in hosting us that she rarely sat down, let alone sat in on our meetings. Bless you!
I must apologize to everyone for the delay in writing this summary report on our consultation. Thank you all for coming and participating. For me, the meetings and conversations kindled new and growing friendships. I must admit I did not keep very good record of all that was said. I invite you to pass along your notes if you can complement what you see here. In any case, I came away with an expanding vision and a deepening sense of the call of God to the universities, especially as they relate to the cities.
Exegeting the City and the University – Tim Svoboda
Tim, you gave us an excellent picture of the contrasts, the “Geek”/Silicon Valley with its algorithms on one side and the artists/wealth and wine community on the opposite side of you. You helped us feel the tensions between Berekley, and its Prophetic voice, and San Francisco, with its extending of Mercy without boundaries, which may have a tendency toward anarchy. I wish we could have stayed longer to experience the small, organic church life, the marina, and the multi-lingual mosaic of peoples, the Vietnamese, Yemmeni, Cambodian, and Afghani, etc.
As I was departing the city at the end of our consultation, I was struck by the story of William Taylor, the Methodist preacher, who in the 1850′s wrote the book, “Seven Years of Street Preaching” and how hundreds would come hear him sing on the streets and then preach. Though his church is now a law college, I am also moved by the continuing story of how a Hastings Law College student, Randy Shaw, applied his studies to reality in the Tenderloin. The start reality of the story is both at your front door and inside the Ellis room where institutionalized poverty and homelessness now costs over 1 billion, with several non-profits enriching themselves off government system.
Yes, I was struck by the thought that God may intend for the Bay Area to be ground zero and the epicenter of the next major move of missions and the transformation of a Church caught up in the Fourth Wave of Missions. I was struck with the thought that it may all begin with students, prepared to act “Because Justice Matters” and collaborate, because they are equipped with tools unlike any previous generation. Perhaps, God in his mercy is calling for a new generation of followers to get their own “better cut of steak,” like NYC Tenderloin’s “Clever or Cleaver” Al, without the extortion and beatings, of course.
Perhaps God is calling for a new engaged church community, those Donald McGavran would say are not “birds of the same feather” and do not “tend to flock together.” The newly engaged church with a broad vision for the city must include students in university, especially the vastly different demographic of today’s universities. (i.e. Berkeley Enrollment: African American 3.4%; Asian American 45.7%; Latino 11.5%; White 31.7%)
Amid the wasteland of broken dreams where 11,000 people live in SRO’s and where police are social workers, God still offers hope and a future. The YWAM community and the Ellis room is not only a peaceful place to drop in: it’s also a peaceful place for guests. The Ellis room is a beautiful “third-space” between the streets and a 10×10 over-priced single, where conversations can lead to relationships and relationships can lead to prayer.
The Ellis room and the ministries of YWAM San Francisco are ripe with opportunities for university students like Randy Shaw. However, I believe God may be calling a different generation of Christ followers to leave the lecture halls of universities to enter a live-learn laboratory of urban life. Yes, the city is a funnel for 360 discipleship, your 1 year program in 4 phases of 3 months each. However, there are many more learning-serving internship experiences that may be also be honored in academic institutions, as Doug Batson so adroitly told.
I came away from our meetings with some action items and some books to read. Among them, I am committed to read The University and the City (1988). Tim, you are modeling the way by asking the right questions to exegete the city. And you began a process I will continue when you began to exegete the university.
Theology of Evangelism & Place
Tim, you and Karol and your team are helping provide a “Theology of Evangelism and Place”, which will be most readily adopted by university students. Church folk, even YWAMers, may be a little slow to see and hear, smell and taste, the gut level “pull” of the gospel to the city. However, students will need far less convincing; they will respond as you (and we) present a gospel big enough for the city, living as stakeholders and adding value to the city.
What is missing in university community? Yes, they are transient neighborhoods.
There are few automobiles, particularly on campus. Everything is roughly in walking distance. The are institutionalized young adult free agents cloistered in a tightly defined neighborhood. The contrast of the diverse typically cloistered university to the diverse un-cloistered urban community must be examined. We must come to grips with the fact that we are, most of us, not insiders; we are outsiders. As with any missions endeavor, there are implications and consequences for the missionary. Tim, you said it well: “If you are an insider, it’s because you are a resident and have a theology of place.”
And then you asked, “How does a city transforms a university?” and, inversely, “How does a university transforms a city?” Hmmmm….Good questions. “The world is the domain of the university, not just the city,” you added. Yes, in the origins, the university would pick up and move if they did not receive the benefit of the city. However, the earliest prototypes of universities were on the frontiers where the need was great. Today’s urban centers are areas of incredible need, including the spheres transportation (GO), communications (PREACH), and cultures (ALL NATIONS).
What I saw in San Francisco are myriads of opportunities for students in the Bay Area’s 200 colleges/universities looking for ways to apply their studies to reality. Everything from urban agriculture and art to law and economic development, from health and beauty to medicine and social work, every field of study has application in the city. There’s opportunity to study and serve as we all exegete the city, including issues related to the Poor, Suicide, Church, Media, Family, Prisoners, Muslims, Government, Business, Gutter Punks, Homeless, Drug Addicts, Migrant workers, Elderly, Street Kids, Handicapped, Arts, Education, Prostitutes, Sports, Middle Class, Unemployed, and Hindus.
Opportunities for University Students
I came away with some important words ringing in my ears, “The weakness in YWAM is the need for a central database.” That statement is something I have been giving a lot of thought to. How can we connect students in universities outside of YWAM with the myriad of opportunities for student internships/outreaches both at YWAM ministry locations and at partner organizations around the world? I have been working furiously to answer that call through our new web site and Salesforce.com cloud-based database. The programming I am doing (way over my head, so I hope to get some expert help from Kyle and Angie) is linking many-to-many applicants-to-projects, all though a web-based applications and approval system. To see the new SMC web site (embedded applications not all operating yet), go to http://www.studentmobilizationcentre.com.
Tim mentioned another book, Salt & Light, about Knoxville, TN and how partnerships have formed across the entire city. This approach, city leaders setting the stage for collaboration, is necessary to begin the mobilization of students into city projects. What kind of partnerships can be created for internships? One of the partners can be the university or college. For example, Grand Canyon College wants to plug their students into internships. Their goal: “Break their hearts for the city.” Another example: Westmont Urban College, which offers internships in city, and their professors visit YWAM. The city is divided up according to majors, partners, etc.
For SMC’s Field Ministry Internships (FMI) teams, students participate in five phases, including:
- Orientation (mini-DTS type; one-week),
- Enculturation (history of project, leaders and cultural background),
- Assessment (listening, observing, and interviewing while serving the project),
- Ministry (serving the project while writing a research paper or proposal for ministry related to the students’ field of studies), and
- Debriefing (final 3 days of reporting and celebrating). – initial times
Note that FMI students are not experts. They serve as learners, with the accompanying vulnerability. In so doing, the students observe, listen, and interview leaders and clients of a project in order to discern, while on the ground serving, how their field of study may best be offered as a research or proposal for an extended ministry project. The posture of a learner is fundamental to FMI. YWAMers who work with FMI student teams are few and far between, however this kind of ministry project with students could help us “get YWAM out of YWAM.”
How to Mobilize a New SVM – Doug Batson
Doug Batson, Human Geographer with US Gov. DOD, and Analyst for Turkic Speaking World spoke about adult continuing education, which he did mostly while with the Department of Defense DOD. Doug notes that missionaries (and missionary candidates currently in high school) are a traveling constituency, like the thousands of soldiers and family members he has helped to earn college credit. Doug suggests an approach to education that examines and addresses global needs, which thereby can fuel a new Student Volunteer Movement. What would that look like…tens of thousands from North America every year? Doug writes:
“Today, millions of 18-23 year olds pursue an increasingly costly campus-based undergradaute education with decreasing relevance to globalized business environments and their own life goals. Many believers would rather choose the mission field as a place of Christian service, learning, and building relationships, if only that were a valid option. Good news! With the right counsel, it is a very valid option! Via exams and portfolio assessments (not on-line courses), young adults can serve Christ cross-culturally and, as a by-product, earn a B.A. degree from a State University in the same 4-5 years, and for the same $40,000-$50,000 charged by traditional institutions! How? Through assessments of relevant learning acquired from missions fields: foreign languages, cross-cultural communication, comparative religion, social sciences, administration and leadership.”
Why pursue such a radically different education path?
- Offer the first fruits of one’s life to make Christ known where He is not
- Test one’s God-given gifts and talents in real-world environments
- Avoid student loan debt
- Become a local church missions catalyst and mobilizer—before age 30
- Choose graduate education based on reflections from a purposeful personal journey
Students may desire to go, but they are too often caught in debt trap, and therefore, despite their best intentions, often do not get involved in missions. There are currently 1,000,000 students in North American colleges every year. If 10% are evangelical enough to desire Christian service, then that’s quite a few candidates for missions mobilization!
Doug suggests a plan to move these missionary candidates from institutional structures of universities to a Christian missional community, with options to gain academic credit, saving thousands of dollars, through testing. Some institutions will recognize genuine learning and offer transcripts with minimal expense. Should we present an alternative to earnest missionary candidates currently in high school? Should we help them save 4-5 years, and $40 to $50 thousand dollars for education and career training? For many parents and many forward thinking high school students, this will be a very attractive option.
Goal: Minimize Tuition cost and residency.
Doug listed three regionally accredited secular state colleges/universities that require have no residency requirement:
- Excelsior.edu – part of SUNY system
- Thomas Edison State College – tesc.edu
- Charter Oak State College in CT
What would it look like ON a university campus?
Imagine a missional community of students with a few students taking courses, but with no intention of graduating. Those students could graduate with far less expense and far less time from Excelsior.
The plan would be different for every student, so making this work will require some basic information accessed perhaps by a web site and a deeper consulting service for those needed additional help. Here’s an example of College Level Examinations that Doug says every high school student could do…
- Analysis and Interpretation of Literature. (6 semester hours.)
- American Lit. (6 semester hours.)
- British Lit. (6 semester hours.)
- Gen’l Humanities (6 semester hours.)
- UNC challenge exams. (pay $150 for proctor) NT & OT as Lit. 3 semester hours.
What kind of savings would this mean for a student/family? For 30 semester hours, it’s $10,000 = One year of college credits.
Doug suggests a supportive missional learning community could help prepare students for these exams.
Doug is a living example of this method of gaining credit. He has a Ph.D. and he’s never been a resident. Most all of his credits were gained through testing. He got 36 hours credit, saving $12,000, by taking German language tests while a soldier in Germany. He didn’t get German degree, but he said he didn’t need it. Then he took the GRE Subject Test – Aptitude predictor in Grad School, testing content knowledge of a full grad degree. He asked Excelsior.com: “What if I took a GRE Subject Test and got a top half score? Would you give me degree?” They answered: “YES. We’ll give you 30 sem. hrs and a degree.” He did it all for just $89.
Doug says this is a matter of educational justice. The University of the Nations does not have regional accreditation, but has excellent training. He asks: “Why shouldn’t UofN students be recognized for their knowledge of the subjects?”
Consultation Summary: Take Away Action Items
Most participated in our wrap up session, listing take away actions on PostIt Notes. That list is below. Thank you again for praying and participating in this important gathering in San Francisco. I believe God has already formed new friendships. I trust the fruit of our time will be new partnerships and a focused mobilization of university students.
The following is a summary of all action items:
- Continue study of Worldview/cultural studies.
- Spend more specific prayer time for campus-on campus.
- Read Salt & Light book re: Knoxville, TN
- Read University & the City book.
- Be a servant-hearted minister to current campus ministries.
- Be more intentional about prayer.
- Write a blog for student audience.
- Pioneer house of worship to strengthen and encourage campus ministries.
- Focus our outreach teams around prayer.
- Create a summer opportunity to immerse students in city-wide evangelism locally and overseas.
- Develop closer working with international bases for partnership, especially in Latin America (Mexico).
- Encourage campus groups in strengths to develop love of place and to engage.
- Develop alongside to provide symbiosis at UC Berkeley & YWAM
- Networking between campuses through quarterly combined prayer meetings.
- Evangelism & Service workshops held off campus in central location (maybe YWAM SF?) and/or Niko?
- Join in meetings of campus ministries alliance
- Participate in campus ministry activities whenever possible
- Survey: Inventory what’s present on campus (CM’s, service orgs, student orgs) What does each do? What are the gaps?
- Create a tool to assess campus issues and various projects
- Create database of projects
- Create a web-based platform to highlight and help students to find overseas ministry opportunities.
- Challenge students to take language courses to gain long-term affinity with that people group.
- Perspectives Course was originally designed for secular campuses, but gravitated to churches. Praying for it to return to campus, with result of sharing Christ.
- Presence on Campus; regular place, meetings, and exegetes campus.
- Present models for communities of faith, with best practiced on web site. Restart more on UW campus.
- Start a UDTS
- Continue to pray for for the start of a YWAM engagement at Berkeley
- Launch DTS with focus on releasing students to support and strengthen ministry outreaches.
- Visit YWAM bases with university focus.
- Develop relationship with regionally close based (Tyler, CSprings, Denver)
- Connect base leaders to vision through regular SMC updates
- Christians and mission orgs= student-led and missionary mobilized prayer mtgs. & missionaries equipping supporting students in leadership& students leading other students on mission trips= Missional generation of influence.
- Connecting students & Professionals
- Have a network of Christian professionals who would mentor/be available for students looking to go into that field. E.g. Med students connecting with Christian doctor once a month?
- Investigate running perspectives intensive Boise In mendecino (w/college credit)
- Maintain contact with this group of direction seekers: mutual prayer, shared resources.
- Adopt-A-People group incorporated into campus ministry. Many of us have been processing deeply the implications of a fourth wave of missions, which we believe will include a flourishing of missional communities, a fresh movement of church planting with missional focus. Our goal is to ride this wave of change by fostering missional communities in university settings. We believe these missional communities will be very strategic if they work in collaboration with global missions, leveraging the resources of universities and NGO’s, and churches of all kinds.
The Student Mobilization Centre is a centre of the University of the Nations, a ministry of Youth With A Mission. The SMC is not a local ministry; we are an international network of YWAM staff fostering the emergence of a new movement of university students serving Christ’s Great Commission through their life-work and calling.
Through our ministries, university students are challenged to lead the next major wave of collaborative missions by partnering with global projects with holistic witness in every arena of society and major field of studies. In addition, we are affirming and assisting the emergence of student missional communities in universities worldwide.
To recruit, equip, and place students ready to serve and learn cross-culturally.
We Gather - Students & Leaders through Consultations, Events, and Projects.
We Train - Developing curriculum through contextual research, and conducting seminars and schools.
We Send - Mobilize students into service projects according to their field of studies and the spheres of society. Our short-term programs, while bolstering long-term projects, serve the students as they discern their calling.
We Network - Cultivating missional collaboration in and around university communities for the purpose of mobilization of an emerging generation of student volunteers serving Christ’s Great Commission.
Immediate SMC Goals
- We will host Passion Points Conferences: 3-day events in 2013.
- We will host Consultations in Australia, Europe and Africa – By Sept. 2012.
Train: We will post Best Practices and Curriculum Resources for all our SMC Programs and Courses on web site by Mar. 2012
Send: We will send hundreds of Field Ministry Interns (FMI) by Jan. 2013
- Redesigning to attract non-christians
- Tie internships to UDTS outreaches
- Focus FMI for Thematic, Passion Points, Causes, and Projects in Society
- International & year-long projects: Megacities/Africa
- We will unveil a new Web-based Project Development Registration Process for Hosting FMI – By Jan. 2012
- Develop new Strategic Alliances/International Partners (Call2All-Students, UofN Colleges, YWAM CMI, Christian Colleges, Churches, National & International Student Organizations, IJM, etc.)
In addition, the new SMC Web Site will provide a collaborative information gateway for strategic networking.
The SMC offers student organizations and churches access to a missions networking centre where credit card payments, donations and field support can be channeled to mission projects globally. The SMC is providing a new framework for student groups and campus churches to cooperate with YWAM and other global partners and nongovernmental organizations.
The SMC represents a global Kingdom community for the emerging student missions movement. Our goal is to provide the arena—the forum—where students who are embracing a missional life-style and life-work can learn from one another.
John Henry – SMC International Leader
Participants at CULTIVATE, our consultation on the Future of University Missions, were inspired to gather so close to the birthplace of the Student Volunteer Movement and just steps from Roundtop, the gravesite of D.L. Moody. The weekend was awe-inspiring and it was a joy to be with friends and co-laborers on the mission fields of the university.
Like so many other consultation gatherings we have had around the world, including N. American Consultations (’97 and ’99), Africa Consultation (2001), S.E. Asia Consultation (2003), European Consultation (2004), and South American and China Consultations (2005), the Northfield gathering-Cultivate! (2011) has helped us build friendships, partnerships, and some collaborative projects. At Cultivate, we met new friends and began the first steps to coordinate some new projects to reach students on campuses in North America.
Who Was There?
Eleven people attended the consultation. Here’s a list of those who attended, their backgrounds, and prayer requests:
- John Henry – SMC International Centre Team Leader – Madison, WI – with YWAM for over 25 years. For the development of a new SMC/UofN course on Missional Collaboration, for next SUMM’s, for help with a virtual centre office via Salesforce.com, and for a new international centre for operations.
- Todd Johnson – Assoc. Prof. Global Christianity at GCTS. Worked with YWAM 33 years. Great Need: Two excellent missions profs at GCTS. Tim Tennent, now at Asbury. Another is gone. Todd is doing too much, writing, research, and teaching two courses a year. Need grad students to work with him.
- Deonn McDowell – YWAM Tyler – 23 yrs mobilization coordinator – 1994-5 met John on PHOS mobile team. SMC since ’97. Mentoring SOE students. Getting ready to lead an outreach to Israel in Fall. Wrote a book for young adults: Love Needs – Getting them met in the best possible way. Publication and outreach are prayer needs. And to get what God wants here.
- Justin Henry – John’s son – Sr. at St. Olaf College – History – Prayer for guidance, what next.
- Tae Oh Kim – YWAM Atlanta – Came to States 3 yrs ago in MD. Working with Int’ls at U of GA. Staff, but no students. Prayer: Focusing on family for God. Take good care and fruitful ministry.
- Jihoon “Peter” – YWAM Boston – CM in Korea since ’99. Called to Boston 3 yrs ago. USA needs missionaries. In Boston about 1 yr. Not yet sure what to do. Need H.S. to speak and lead. Call: Reaching out to international students in English in USA. Looking for better view of what God is doing and why he called us here to do CM. Experiencing culture shock working with YWAM in USA. Need courage…to overcome fear. Seeking strong confirmation from God.
- SuCheor Jang – working in MD. SMC staff. CM in Baltimore area. Worship meetings on Thursdays for UMBC and Towson. Prayer on Tuesdays. For Church, Campus, and Nations. Still few gather, but all you need is 2 or 3 and keep going. Now doing UDTS in YWAM Richmond with Tae Oh and UnJae (sp?). Next phase will be campus outreach. Planning outreach abroad.
- Daniel – UMBC – Music, Sociology, Psychology – working with 2nd gen Korean church. Seeking direction.
- Sungwon “Paul” Park: Work with Peter in Boston. From CM Seoul – Came 5 months ago. Learning English. First prayer request is surviving in Boston. Need money and ability to have conversation in English. Also pray that I am close with YWAM Boston staff, especially leader. Help the leader to understand CM more and release our team. Last week at MIT campus worship. God said “Your praise is received and your prayer is answered.”
- Ryan Dutra – Ryan’s wife Crystal is due in Oct. Just returned from 10 month trip to 11 countries. Learned about selves, how to be led by Spirit, and do a documentary. CM Pitt – mobilization, international students…but for now working with Pastors, churches, etc. Helping re-locate the base to the international heart of the city with a building with 100 rooms. Need wisdom, timing, people to come help, build a team…near Carnegie Mellon and UPitt. 10 minute walk.
What Did We Talk About?
We enjoyed several short presentations including the following: Each of these short 15 minute presentations was followed by 35-40 minute process/discussion times.
|Overview and History of Students in Missions||John Henry||Madison, WI|
|Global Christianity||Todd Johnson||S. Hamilton, MA|
|Korean Campus Mission in USA||Tae Oh Kim||Atlanta|
|Cultivating Truth on Campus||Deonn McDowell||Tyler, TX|
|Jesus People & Implications for a Movement Today||Justin Henry||Madison, WI|
|Kingdom Partnerships||Phill Butler||Edmonds, WA|
|MobilizeMe Documentary Project||Ryan Dutra||Pittsburgh, PA|
|Report on Campus Ministries in Baltimore||Daniel & SuCheor Jang||Baltimore, MD|
|Processing and Committing to Action||All||Northfield, MA|
What Was Memorable?
Our weekend was framed partly be the historic setting in which we met. The prayers of a brother and sister during DL Moody’s summer bible camp in Northfield, MA in 1886 led to the Meeting of Ten Nations and therefore the first 100 volunteers to sign the Princeton Declaration & launched the Student Volunteer Movement, which had over 100 thousand volunteers and over twenty thousand sail overseas. The place we met was awe-inspiring.
Sadly, I did not capture all the wonderful statements made at this gathering. We have yet to transcribe the video that Ryan Dutra took of each of the presentations. Look for clips of our gathering on our web site in the coming weeks. Here are a few quotes that were captured:
John Henry: “To be called to be with Jesus will always result in being sent out by Jesus.”
“The church on earth is by it’s very nature missionary.” (Vatican II)
“Western Christendom has been Christianity without mission.”- Wilbert Shenk.
Todd Johnson: Missions once was “from West to rest”, but today it’s all mixed up. And that’s good news for us.
More Memorable quotes:
• “Churches and our missional communities need to sing African, Latin, and Chinese worship from the new Majority Church.”
• “Resources for equipping us in community are best those who come from cultures that emphasize community.”
• “We need to sing African, Latin, and Chinese worship from the new majority Church.”
TaeOh Kim: “There is a lack of Christian education in Korean Churches USA. The Reasons Koreans come to USA: Education 47%, New Business 35%, and a Better Job. Ultimately it is for “my money” or “my children’s money”. “There is a big gap between Koreans and Korean Americans (twinkies/bananas).”
Deonn McDowell: How do we help students really know God? We must model it. We must go to them. They are tired of being fake; they need authentic relationships.
Justin & John Henry: “How do we mobilize a civic generation, very different from the idealist Jesus Generation, who are concerned less about the inner life and more about public institutions?”
• “Before partnership formation meeting, you may need to have up to 50 one-on-ones.”
• “Get to know the people who know your area of concern and learn from them. Ask questions.”
• “Become an expert to be credible so that you can begin to form a partnership.”
• “To start, learn what’s going on. Calling or concern alone is not enough.”
• “We all believe in collaboration, but we don’t know how.”
• “Reaching internationals on campus requires partnerships with families and churches.”
• “No people group remains unreached where there is a working partnership.”
•“For the gospel to be believed, churches must work together.”
•“Transformation leading to working together is fundamental to the gospel message.”
• “We were designed by God for open, trusting and fruitful relationships.
What Questions Were/Are Being Processed?
As a result of this gathering, all of us have begun processing more deeply the implications of a “Fourth Wave of Modern Missions,” which some of us believe will include a flourishing of missional communities, a fresh movement of church planting with missional focus. The aim of this consultation was to consider how missional communities can be strategic if they work in collaboration with global missions, leveraging the resources of universities and NGO’s, and churches.
What was the result of this gathering? During the wrap up final session, we considered specific action items and possible partnerships to work together and create momentum in our ministries on campus and off. Each participant wrote on Post-It notes the various take away action items that God spoke to them. Then we posted them on several large flip chart sheets entitled: On Campus, UDTS, FMI and Outreaches, Seminars, and Other (gatherings and communications). We then closed with a prayer time over each of those major items and dedicated ourselves to complete the “easy wins”. Here are those items we committed to:
- University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) – SuCheor Jang, his volunteers and new staff will lead intercessory prayer gatherings with Campus Worship participants. They will meet up personally before the fall semester and begin to regularly message all the campus leaders. They will talk about the urgent need for unity and collaboration. And they will help foster a prayer and worship movement on campus.
- Harvard, MIT, Boston University, & Berklee College of Music – Peter & Paul will do evangelism on campuses. They will begin Campus Worship at Berklee College of Music every Monday, at Harvard every Tuesday, at MIT every Wednesday, at Boston University every Thursday beginning in September.
- Meeting existing international student ministry leaders.
- Pittsburgh – Ryan Dutra will seek partnerships with churches and begin to recruit families to host international students. He will help organize a monthly international student dinner.
- Deonn McDowell (SMC/YWAM Tyler) offers herself as resource teacher on Intimacy with God (Created for Relationship, Hearing God’s Voice, Intercessory Prayer, Meditation on Scripture, Nature & Character of God, and Love Needs), Also Spiritual Warfare, & Humanism. (Can teach 2 sessions of 6 sessions)
- SuCheor Jang (SMC MD), Peter & Paul (YWAM Boston), and TaeOh (SMC/YWAM Atlanta), will serve the next bi-lingual East Coast USA UDTS in 2012.
FMI & Outreaches
- SuCheor Jang (SMC – MD) will go with Summer 2011 UDTS from Richmond, VA
- Paul & Peter (YWAM – Boston) will take 3 week campus evangelism and English teaching outreach to Delhi, India in Jan. 2012
- John Henry (SMC Int’l Office) will coordinate FMI team leadership training for any who need it in 2012 & 2012.
- Deonn McDowell (SMC/YWAM Tyler) will attempt to go to campuses on outreach to Israel with SOE in Oct. 2011.
- Deonn McDowell (SMC/YWAM Tyler) offering to assist with mini-DTS Seminar.
- Ryan Dutra (SMC/YWAM Pittsburgh) will run a seminar at a new church and possibly at YWAM base this winter 2011/12
- SuCheor Jang (SMC MD) will run a seminar on individual and group collaboration in UDTS.
Gathering & Communicating
- A Korean Ministry Staff Conference/Consultation in the USA – TaeOh
- Write Staff Job Descriptions for SMC and CMI North America – John Henry
- Meet with Boston and Pittsburgh YWAM leaders – John Henry
- Lead Consultations in San Francisco and Perth – John Henry
- Lead Monthly Online Meeting for all SMC Staff – John Henry
- Complete MobilizeMe Documentary in time for Fall 2012 Tour
- Talk to Faithful and Like-minded brothers in MD for better collaboration and setting up a “capital” for prayer and worship gatherings to break the “viscious” cycle in Korean local churches.
School of University Ministries & Missions — North America
- Co-Leading Mobile SUMM in NE USA Fall 2012 – John Henry
- Staffing/Hosting for the Fall 2012 – Ryan Dutra
- Redesign Curriculum to include Partnership/Collaboration Model, Emphasis on Global Community, and Worship from New Majority Church – John Henry
What Questions are We Still Processing?
Challenges in Pioneering Campus Ministries: Where do we start? Who do we meet?
Campus Ministries is not familiar to YWAM leaders in USA. We need to communicate better. We need video clips with YWAM International Leaders declaring importance of Campus Ministries.
Do we keep international students, including 1st and 2nd generation Koreans, divided or should we intentionally combine them into the same gatherings, with all the accompanied cross-cultural challenges?
How do we help YWAM Leaders understand Campus Ministries?
• Too much expectation to stay in office and run program.
• Not understanding value of college education.
• Field based ministry requires time on the field (university)
- They think Campus Ministries is only Korean.
This is especially challenging for experienced YWAM Campus Ministries staff who are serving in a cross-cultural setting. (e.g. South Korean CM staff moving to USA to serve in CM in cooperation with a YWAM Base.)
Additional Deep Processing to Continue:
What great call/declaration for this generation?
How are students different today? How are they leading the way for a new era of missions?
How can we encourage Missional communities without controlling them?
Todd Johnson invited us all to the Conference at the 200th anniversary of first Christian missionaries in Boston: Feb 17, 2012. (Ryan has been invited to present a portion of the MobilizeMe documentary).
Next Cultivate Consultation – YWAM San Francisco – Sept. 13-14, 2011. Learn more. Join us!
“If you work the words into your life you are like a smart carpenter who dug deep and laid a foundation of his house on bedrock. When the river burst its banks and crashed against the house, nothing could shake it; it was built to last.” (Luke 6:48 Message)
Jesus said, “These words I speak to you are not merely additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on.” (Luke 6:47 Message)
Sounds pretty important to me
But what was Jesus referring to exactly? What are we building and why?
Jesus was wrapping up his Sermon on the Mount, including the Beatitudes, the DNA of the Kingdom of God, and the Lord’s Prayer, instruction on how to appeal to God for his help in fulfilling his mission in the earth. Jesus was a carpenter by trade; he used the metaphor of building to get his point across. His sermon was kind of like a builder’s “shop-talk” for the large crowd that gathered to listen to him in Galilee.
Do you find it interesting that the crowds that gathered around Jesus were often too big for the buildings of his day? On one occasion when Jesus did gather people in a house, a few determined men who sought healing for their paralytic friend “removed some tiles” from the roof, and “let him down in the middle of everyone.” (Luke 5:18 Message) Of course, Jesus healed the man because he and his friends had great faith.
The Building Process: Internal and External
Imagine walking through the trailer on the site of a major new building project. On the wall is a chart showing all the various tasks for each of the contractors. Jesus sermon was about all the tasks and tools used to build our lives, our families, our communities, and our nations. He was speaking of how to build a community which would soon be called the “Church.”
Jesus was teaching his audience about the tools of the kingdom, how to love enemies, how to be merciful, giving, forgiving, and not-judging. He said, “Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.” (v.42) He spoke of the organic nature of the kingdom when he spoke about fruit-bearing, “your true being brims over into true words and deeds.” (v.45) It appears the “building” Jesus is referring to is NOT a place of worship; it’s a people of worship.
Who is doing the building?
Neil Cole, in his book “Organic Church” asks: “Do you trust laymen on their own?”
Look again at what Jesus said: “If you work the words into your life you are like a smart carpenter …” Sounds like Jesus intends for “you” to be the builder.
Unfortunately down through the ages spiritual authorities, whether they are Pharisees or modern ministers, have too often failed to trust God’s people to “build”.
Roland Allen‘s important book focuses on the fact that Paul’s missionary activity was church planting and that he quickly turned over leadership to the “builders.” Without exception, all the churches that Paul planted in the gentile world were left alone; and, in every case, God’s people managed to survive and express Christ and His church. Certainly, Paul’s missionary work produced what we call “New Testament churches.”
Paul’s “New Testament churches” seem to be different than ours. Our concept of New Testament Church keeps coming up with a “senior” pastor and a passive and mute laity. Paul’s method was to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry” which is to proclaim Jesus is Lord in every family, every community, sphere of society and every nation.
A Changing World
Today’s world is very different than the Paul’s world, but let’s look at the similarities. The first century was dominated by a single world power, Rome. Today’s world also has a single world power. At the same time, the Roman world was culturally diverse, pluralist. And today, when you visit any major city, university, or shopping mall, you will see and hear people from many cultures. In fact, there has never been a time in history like the first century quite like there is today.
And yet, the world is vastly different from the first century and any other time in history. Within the past few years, the demographic center of the Christian world has shifted from the North and West to the South and East. The new Majority Church is in the Global South. The accessibility to information technologies is rapidly changing the world, including the Arab world and China. It appears the pressures caused by the flow of information among the people in the Arab world will effectively change Middle Eastern nations and their primary business models. OPEC will likely face pressures and break up, releasing a more market-based system. Those nations will likely shift from economies based on a single product, crude oil, to a market-based economy. That change will likely also open the way for alternative energy sources; a change that is too restrictive now due to our dependence on foreign oil.
The emerging generation has more access to information and connection with “friends” than any previous generation. Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat helped frame the significance of these changes. Friedman’s book was out before the emergence of FaceBook. If Facebook were a country, the number of people on that one social media tool would be one of the five most populated nations on earth. It is second nature for most people today to collaborate for social change. This change alone will affect every modern institution including churches. The effect of these major socio-political, economic, and demographic shifts is “like a flood.”
Like no other time in history is it necessary to build on a solid foundation in obedience to Jesus. Building the people of God to do the work of God everywhere. We must trust God’s people to be the priesthood to proclaim the good news by every means, inside the domain of church ministries and outside that domain. If we do follow Jesus’ instruction and Paul’s method, what is built will be “build to last.”
Cultivating Communities of Practice, by Wenger, McDermott, & Snyder (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2002), is one of several required books I read for Fuller Theological Seminary‘s MA in Global Leadership. The following are my reflections:
I have a great interest in how organizations, particularly those with Christian leadership, work and how they respond to change. This book is rich with practical insight as to how non-profit organizations, churches, and christian ministries may develop in a globalized society.
One trend I have observed helps me see the way forward. In recent years several international conferences, training courses, and outreaches have been convening around points of passion and global human need, like water, women’s issues, slavery, and children at risk. YWAM International and other Christian missions agencies have also begun to look at a new mapping paradigm for global strategy called Project 4K wherein the map is divided into about 4000 geographic units, Omega Zones, highlighting those areas still requiring engagement.
What appears to be needed is a new cross-platform, multi-disciplinary team approach to properly engage each of those geographic regions.
Through the Student Mobilization Centre‘s School of University Ministries & Missions, we are equipping field leaders who will be able to coordinate multi-disciplinary field project teams. During the past 15 months, we have presented this 12-week training program in India, USA, Korea, and Colombia. I leave today to teach on Missional Collaboration for the final week of the school. Participants in the SMC school learn how to collaborate with leaders and communities to harmonize outreach teams to serve broad-based long-term community development project goals while mobilizing students for field based learning.
YWAM’s University of the Nations operates according to what Wenger, et al conclude in Communities of Practice; that is, “useful knowledge is not a downloadable commodity.” It requires participation.
The best learning experiences are in the context of relationships, especially those experiences with others that at the same time unfamiliar and familiar. In my experience, students learn best when taken out of their familiar culture to serve and learn in a context that challenges their expectations and status quo learning experiences. They also learn best if put in a situation where they are challenged to work together with those who share their skill set, academic training, and/or missionary goals.
By cultivating these communities of learning and serving, I believe we will ourselves learn how to do world missions and how to participate as a global church in the twenty-first century. By developing this field project model of university ministry, placing students as interns into a wide array of community development projects with national leaders who require their service, we will all learn, we will become a community of practice.
By requiring students as part of their internship to research and write about their cross-cultural serving-learning experience, we will thereby share knowledge gained both with the field project leaders and with the universities and professors that sent the students. These project teams will help us steward and share the knowledge gained. These long-term community development field projects could serve as “laboratories” for curriculum development as well as cross-disciplinary field project leadership development.
By working together across cultures toward a big vision of collaborative ministries, leaders of missional communities, churches and organizations, will increase their ability and speed generating and implementing creative ideas for community development, evangelization, and training.
To accomplish this, we will need to form missional communities in university settings, and cross-platform, multi-disciplinary, communities of practice at field sites where internships may be hosted and field project staff leadership may be trained.
The most essential element of this field-based learning community is the authentic cross-cultural ministry that must be the foundational intent and the fruit of the project.
Where missional communities of practice exist, the witness of the Kingdom of God will be evident in a much greater way, both in the university and at that field projects’ community. These communities of learning and leadership equipping may in turn affect a change in the whole of the Christian missionary enterprise through an integrated development model of field ministry and leadership equipping.
This book is ‘salty’. I am thirsty for more with each page turned. Even more so, I am hungry for the practical outworking of this vision within the context of my own life and ministry. That is why I am developing a seminar and a 12-week course on Missional Collaboration. The challenge to me is to deliberately form communities of practice in my ministry context, the universities of the world.
The noise of the one hundred students moving their metal chairs into circles was deafening. The Nairobi Church auditorium echoed with loud screeching as students from nearby University of Nairobi shuffled to form their groups according to the spheres or domains of society; arts, media, business, education, family, government, etc.
The room was buzzing with excitement. The intensive seminar, “Calling Quest 2001 – Transforming Your Nation Through Your God-given Vocation” is one of a series of seminars I have presented around the world for Youth With A Mission‘s Student Mobilization Centre. At this event, I had the help of three of our YWAM Madison School of the Bible interns. After the first of several presentations, the students were anxious to discuss and search the Scriptures for answers to the hard questions.
Accompanying us was a team of thirteen students from Brown University, Providence College, Rhode Island School of Design, UC San Bernadino, and UVA, all of whom had been prepared to lead the Domains Small Group discussions during our week-long Field Ministry Internships orientation in Switzerland. When we arrived in Kenya, they came with questions too. Ju Rhyu, one of the Brown students, brought these questions:
How can I bring transformation in a world of injustice? What is my place in this world? Though I yearn to see justice in a world with nations rejoicing, the burdens and problems that stand before me seem too daunting, too massive. AIDS, poverty, corruption – how do I even begin to think about these things?
It was the week of July 24-27, 2001. Yes, only a few weeks later the world would be shocked at the events of September 11, 2001. (Several American colleagues and I were still in Nairobi on that day. We were attending an international conference for the University of the Nations. We were stranded in Kenya and then Europe, waiting for the airports to unclog so we could return to our families and friends in the USA, and a very different world.)
Ju’s questions loom even larger in the face of a world terrorized by a few radicals. What could a few Christ followers do in the face of such evil? How could they help end the injustices of the poor? What is God’s good purpose for humankind? What does it mean to be created in the image of God? And are we called to serve the needs of the world?
Actually, we have two calls from God. Enjoying friendship with God, not merely right relationship, is our first call. Adam and Eve, the first inhabitants of the world in our God Story, enjoyed friendship with God. They were called twice. First, they were called to serve in the garden with the words “dress it and keep it” (Gen. 2:15). God made human beings in His image to rule and to be fruitful under His reign with full dependence on Him. Second, after Adam and Eve disobeyed and sin entered the world, God’s call became a cry seeking his lost friends. “Where are you?” (Gen. 3:9).
However, calling changed after the tragic Fall of humankind. Because of the Fall, our first call is not to service, but to restored relationship. St. Augustine expressed the call to restored relationship to God in his Confessions,
“Thou has made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.”
When we are lost and outside relationship with God, our first call is to restored relationship through faith.
Calling to do something in the world was not separated from the call of intimate friendship. Both callings are integral to our relationship with God; both are integral to the imprint of God’s image.
Sadly, most of the students I spoke with in Nairobi that summer were not able to see a valid contribution or calling beyond the domain of the church.Though many were students of architecture, business, and communications, they did not understand the God-given calling to be an architect, or business person, or journalist. They thought the call to be a pastor or evangelist was the highest calling.
What do you think?
Our Domains Small Groups continued to press in diligently with their questions. They began to understand the imprint of God, what it means to be created in God’s image. The student groups searched the daily newspapers to see what was happening in their chosen sphere of society. Then they sought the Scriptures to understand God’s ways of governing the world.
Our team of student leaders prayed together with the Nairobi students for the very real and very current needs in the domains of health care, education, business, family, etc. They began to see past the stigma and blindness to the ills of their own society. For example, though there were already ten million AIDS orphans, it was only that summer that the first newspaper article reported that AIDS was the cause of someone’s death.
After the intensive seminar, the students continued to meet weekly to study and pray in their groups. They even took prayer walks around major centers of business, education, media, etc. They became activated in God’s calling to “dress and keep” the world. One group was ushered into the Deputy Mayor’s Office to present some of their findings and discuss the need for a better sewage system.
The students began to understand the high calling of living according to God’s design, offering their gifts, skills, and natural abilities in service to their neighbors and their world. Much of our ministry to the Poor is in helping our them understand their high calling, that they are created in the image of God. This leads us to Key #4.
Key #4: Defend the Image of God in the Poor.
The Nairobi university students at that CallingQuest and other seminars conducted over the summer of 2001 were among the most privileged of Kenyan society. However, they were missing something. We too are “Poor” if we fail to know our identity and vocation, our calling in God.
Those who know God have responsibility to the Poor. We are called to define and defend the image of God in the Poor. Because we know we are created in His image and we know His voice calling us to intimate friendship and purpose in this world, we must be diligent to defend the image of God in the Poor.
The Poor are not lazy or stupid. Jayakumar Christian writes,
“A people so close to the edge cannot afford laziness or stupidity. They have to work and work hard. Most of the lazy and stupid are dead.”
We too should be diligent. Our church life and worship should celebrate our relationship with Jesus Christ, our reconciliation with God. However, we also have the responsibility to minister to the Poor. We must look for ways in which the Poor have been limited in their access to love, justice, or peace.
Ministry to the Poor is not merely about access to material needs; it’s about removing obstacles and giving access to the cultural, social, spiritual, personal, and biological spheres of community.
Our outreach to the Poor should affect the whole system of poverty, the diabolical web to which they are bound. Our ministry is reconciliation. We are called to restore relationships, including relationship with God (religion, philosophy, theology), Community (political science and economics), the Environment (biology, ecology, engineering), the Wider World (sociology, international relations, justice), and Individuals (psychology, health care).
Ju Rhyu expresses her deepest desire that:
Through our time in Nairobi we would be able to teach that God reigns over and in and through all. He is Lord of government, business, science, technology, education, family, the church, arts and communications. The sacred should not be self-contained and relegated to a position of non-influence, but rather, should extend itself to influence holistically.
Goliath (pronounced: “Go-lee-at” in Spanish) was an especially big baby born to a single mom in a four-foot high cardboard box with only a straw mattress on the dirt floor of the Guatemala City garbage dump. Thousands of squatters made their home living on top of the garbage. They made their “homes” out of scraps, tires, boxes, and other discarded items found on the dump.
It was our Field Ministry Internship health care team’s first day at the clinic at the City Dump. The clinic might have closed that summer in 1991 if we had not arrived. The YWAM staff team leading the clinic were all enrolled in the first University of the Nations Introduction to Primary Health Care School for Spanish speakers. They were glad we came. Our FMI team, led by Nurse Bonnie, kept the clinic open and operating.
Our journalism and social work interns took a walk with me through the Dump community. We met a man with bright yellow eyes, a key symptom of an acute and fatal case of hepatitis, probably due to alcohol abuse. He was silent, but his facial expressions betrayed the fact that he was a dangerous man. After we directed him to the clinic, a woman told us the same man regularly beat his wife.
Smoke rose over the mass of garbage burning at the center of the dump. Our eyes began to burn and I wondered how anyone could live in this place. We continued to visit families in their “homes.” One family of twelve seemed very well settled with a larger one-room hut, probably 12×15 feet, which included a large family bed and hammocks for the smaller children.
On our return to the clinic, we almost walked passed the “box.” But we heard the whimpering of a baby inside. I stooped down to look inside. This small box was a woman’s home and she held her oversized baby, Goliath.
We were welcomed “in,” but only one of us could fit on the straw mattress on the ground next to her. I looked in the sad dark face of the woman and joined her. I held her big baby.
I didn’t know whether to choke from the smell, or cry for the conditions this baby was born into. With the help of a translator, I spoke to the woman about her baby and the Child Jesus, who was born in an animal stall.
The woman paid close attention and I sensed the Holy Spirit drawing her as my words were simple and direct. I spoke of a hope that was beyond all hope. I shared Jesus.
Goliath’s mom prayed with me that day. As I opened my eyes I could see something happened; her grin was from ear to ear. The next day, Golaith’s mom was at the clinic asking to help. She became a true follower of Jesus that day.
Key #3: Power from the Throne of God.
The third key to ministry among the poor is “Power from the Throne of God.” The Poor are powerless in many respects. The Poor are most often born into poverty, like a lottery of life. Most of us, certainly most Westerners, would likely not survive in such conditions.
The Poor are denied access; they are held in powerlessness primarily because of broken relationships. All their relationships are working against them. It’s as if they were caught in a spider’s web, a diabolical trap from which there is no escape.
The Bible says there are “principalities and powers,” or rulers of darkness, which keep people in bondage to sin and misery. The evil spirits lock the Poor out of healthy relationships, especially from “seeing” Jesus Christ.
“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God.” 2 Cor. 4:4
The enemy keeps the Poor in the cycle of poverty, a cycle of broken relationships. Relationship is the key dynamic of the throne of God.
What do the Poor need?
They need to be connected in relationship with God and others. They need a right relationship with their family, their community, and the resources of this world.
What is the problem with sin? It separates.
Sin separates us; relationships of all kinds suffer due to sin. The poor are no different from anyone; they need to be connected to others. The connection with others should not be primarily for the sake of provision; providing food, shelter and medicines has often been used as a means of control.
The poor need to be connected with the broader community where they have been restricted from access.
Kingdom-based Responses reflect Power from the Throne of God
A kingdom-based response to poverty will reverse the “process of dis-empowerment.”
A kingdom-based response will confront spiritual powers and principalities, including “god-complexes” that pins one group of people over another.
A kingdom-based response will heal bodies and relationships; it teaches and models a more complete worldview based on Christ’s character and authority to set them free.
A kingdom-based response will challenge the principalities and powers of darkness (including institutions that are instruments of those powers).
A kingdom-based response will establish “truth and righteousness”, and proclaim that “all power belongs to God.”
A kingdom-based response will restore a person’s relationship with himself/herself. As I wrote in the previous post, poverty, ultimately, is the poverty of “being” and of “purpose.” Conversely, abundant life is the abundance of “being” and “purpose”. It is from the vantage point of the throne of God that an individual and a people may find their God-given identity and vocation conferring the essential being and purpose.
My son, Justin, was there at the garbage dump clinic with my wife, Mary. Justin was just 15 months old. I held my son that evening and prayed with him as he went to sleep. We had little to no money, only $25 USD, on the day Justin was born. For many, we would be considered poor. What’s the difference?
Looking into the hollow eyes of Paulo, I wondered what we could do. Paulo was emaciated and gaunt, but with a bloated belly. His parents asked us to come see him. They worried that he would no longer eat the corn tortillas they had been feeding him. Because he was weak, his mother kept Paulo hidden in the dark corner of the small mud brick house. She feared that the sun and the warm air in the mountains of Guatemala would harm him.
It was 1991 and our university student Field Ministry Internship teams visited this mountain village to serve the Rabinal Achi people, a poor community with little or no access to health care and education.
Bonnie, a nurse and our health care team leader said Paulo was dying; he was at the final stages of starvation.
With the mother’s permission and Bonnie’s recommendation, I picked up the frail boy and held him to pray. He was light as a feather. I carried him into the sun. A member of our team ran to get some 7Up and soda crackers to attempt to rehydrate him, but he would not eat. I fed him the liquid with a tea spoon, which appeared to help him. We prayed earnestly as tears welled up in our eyes for the boy and his family. “Jesus, please heal this one today.”
The clinical name for the condition is called Kwashiorkor. The belly swells due to the lack of protein. The parents did not understand that the diet of tortillas, the only food available for their little boy, was insufficient. Paulo was not getting the nutrients he needed to survive.
We learned the next day that Paulo died. Even as I write this today, I agonize over the loss of this small child that had so little hope of survival. Even now, I want to bring a good report; I want to say, “Jesus healed Paulo!” But that is not what happened.
Paulo’s family is among the poorest of the poor. He is not merely a statistic, but he is among three billion people, almost half the world’s population, who live on less than $2.50 USD a day. Approximately 24,000 children like Paulo die every day due to malnutrition and impure water. (See Facts on Global Poverty.)
That experience, and dozens of others like it in as many countries over the past two decades, shaped my vision and passion for mobilizing university students toward their calling in Christ’s mission to a needy world. I ache to see a generation of university students offer their lives, including their studies and their careers, as living sacrifices in worship of Jesus. I long to see communities of faith, churches, devote more of their resources to mission and less to the one hour event on a Sunday morning. I long to see Christian business leaders, educators, scientists, communicators, food growers, builders, health care specialists, and families connect, conspire and collaborate to serve the world’s poor, starting with one small boy or girl in one small village.
One of the most important books I have read on the subject of ministry to the poor is God of the Empty-Handed: Poverty, Power, and the Kingdom of God by Jayakumar Christian. (Amazingly, this book is not available for less than $200.00. Therefore, I will provide a brief synopsis for my next four blog posts.)
As I read this book I was challenged to understand several keys to ministry among the poor. I’m convinced these key principles are important for any ministry, any Christian desiring to serve Christ’s mission. Additional posts with stories of our ministry among the poor will follow soon.
(Note: The name “Paulo” may not be accurate, but the story is true. I may have confused this boy’s name with another we ministered to some time later.)
Have you ever heard this complaint? “I don’t understand my son. He never listens to me.”
The trouble, sir, is that you need to listen if you wish to understand your son. Conflict inevitably comes when we do not listen.
If you have been breathing for any longer than a few years, you’ve seen conflict. My hometown, Madison, Wisconsin has been the epicenter of conflict over the past few months. During his campaign for Governor, Scott Walker’s symbol was a “Brown Bag” with promises to balance the budget and return to fiscal responsibility. When Walker came into office, he set out to accomplish that goal by submitting a bill to limit the collective bargaining powers of public employee unions. This is a classic example of what is called a “political moment”; it’s when you have limited resources and varied interests. The trouble with political moments is the partial understanding; people on either side refuse to listen to each other.
Thousands came out in protest at the Wisconsin State Capitol, but few listened to each other. Fourteen Democrat senators fled the State to avoid the inevitable vote on the bill. Most of the protesters were against the Governor’s bill and the Republican controlled Assembly and Senate. The Tea Party came out one saturday to show support for the bill. Since then committees have sent around petitions to recall sixteen elected representatives, both Democrat and Republican. Each side is convinced they are right, which means the “others” are wrong. But can both sides be right? Could there be something both sides are not seeing? Will we listen? Will we learn? Do you think our leaders should set a better example of listening, learning, and leading through collaboration?
Speaking out with personal opinion is natural; it’s easy. Following people with strong opinions is easy too. My outspoken preference for important things like my political or religious views may encourage some people to change their views, to “follow” me. However, some may feel somehow diminished for their different view. How do we communicate what we value without devaluing the values and beliefs of others?
I must admit I do not have a full understanding on these matters. I do not see everything. I do not understand everything. This may be the point. In order to learn, we must admit we do not know everything. I think most will agree that Jesus of Nazareth was a master teacher. But just how masterful was his teaching?
Consider with me how Jesus teased out the implications and consequences of his disciple’s narrow views. These first century Galileans had a narrow monocultural myopia, they did not see the need to show love and mercy to people from other cultures. But Jesus leads them through their world as if it were his classroom.
Jesus alludes to the disciples sense of privilege as Israelites. He says the “children’s bread” should not be fed to “dogs” in response to the plea of the foreign woman who asked Jesus to free her daughter from an evil spirit. (Mark 7:27) Jesus spoke aloud the inner thoughts of his disciples’ religiously bigoted views. Probably satisfied that the woman would leave them alone, the disciples were likely surprised when she replied to Jesus, “Yes, but even the dogs get the crumbs.” What humility! Jesus responded and healed the girl.
Did the disciples learn? Could they confess, albeit with stammering lips, what they learned? Jesus, the master teacher, then heals a deaf and mute man. Do they still not understand?
Jesus then immediately leads the disciples into Decapolis, the Roman/Gentile cities nearby, to continue to tease out the implications of their narrow worldview. He displays compassion on the foreigners and tells the disciples “you feed them.” He’s now telling them to share the “children’s bread” with foreigners.
The Pharisees ask for a “sign,” apparently not seeing the “seven loaves” which became “seven basketfuls of broken pieces”. (Each basket required two men to carry them.) Jesus says there will be no sign. Huh? He tells those he heals to go home, not to tell anyone. Why is he withholding this important information? Did he need a publicist, someone to keep his popularity ratings high? What sort of politician would Jesus be?
Jesus then makes another point with this extended lesson. While on the boat crossing the sea, Jesus warns of the “yeast” (teaching/worldview) of the Pharisees and of Herod, but they had an incomplete revelation/understanding. They thought he was speaking about lunch.
Jesus said, “Do you still not understand?” Clearly not.
To demonstrate his lesson further, Jesus heals a blind man, but only partially at first. He saw people “like trees walking around.” A complete healing came when he prayed a second time. Do you see the point of his lesson? We do not see everything. We only have a partial revelation.
Capping off the master teacher’s lesson is a question (of course, he’s asked several questions all along): “Who do people say that I am?” Various replies. He doesn’t criticize or correct them. “But what about you?”, he asks. Peter jumps all over it, bursting with revelation. “The Christ!” Wow!
Trouble foretold. It’s only a partial revelation.
As I develop a new training course on Missional Collaboration for the University of the Nations, I will be unveiling several aspects of the course through this blog. Today’s post originates from one of my papers and in response to an article on the Trinity by Mark Avery, professor of a course on Collaboration at Fuller Theological Seminary. This is the first of a series I will be posting as I develop the course. — John Henry
The Heart of God’s Mission is Relationship
Working together in God’s Mission is not complicated. Accomplishing the Great Commission is an enormous task. But fulfilling this commission from Jesus is through the empowering of the Holy Spirit and the blessing of the Father. The task is not placed completely on our shoulders. We are sharing in the task through our relationship with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God’s Mission flows out of personal, intimate, encouraging, and cooperative relationship.
What is Missional?
The term “missional” is buzzing all over the blogosphere and publishers are happy to sell the many books on the topic. Sadly, the term “missional” has created some confusion. Under the umbrella of “missional” are various descriptions and historical formations of church, discussions of theological and political/justice issues, and questions of equipping/releasing leaders for christian ministry.
Darrell Guder, contributing editor of the book “Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America” from the The Gospel and Our Culture Series (1998), explains:
“…by adding the suffix ‘al’ to the word ‘mission,’ we hoped to foster an understanding of the church as fundamentally and comprehensively defined by its calling and sending, it’s purpose to serve God’s healing purposes for all the world as God’s witnessing people to all the world.”
We are “Ambassadors of Reconciliation”
“So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5:20 RSV)
Simply put, to be missional is to join God’s Mission (Missio Dei), which is God’s desire to “reconcile to himself all things.” (Col. 1:20 RSV) I think it is important to dismiss the sham argument, the straw man set up to defeat this desire to be missional. For example, those who want to join those who are dismissing Rob Bell’s new book “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived” even before they read it, please take some time to consider first this theological conversation about eternal judgment, whether it is a universalist or an annihilationist position. Theology is an ongoing conversation, which implies relationship, listening/speaking and learning. Theology is humanity’s study to understand God’s desire that “all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” ( 1 Tim. 2:4 RSV)
This emergence of theologians and Christian leaders who desire to see their church communities become “missional” is concurrent with significant global shifts in Global Christianity. For fifteen centuries the “Church” has been affiliated with the political powers of the Western world, beginning with Roman Emperor Constantine. This means we have almost always understood the Christian Church to be established and settled in the West, that the “mission fields” are outside the West. Please understand, the emphasis on reaching the unreached parts of the world is good and right. However, the formation of churches have been with the presumption of power and privilege within Western society, with a tendency to posture themselves paternalistically over the “younger” churches in the less-reached world.
The emergence of theological questioning about our understanding of God’s Mission and the Church’s role came to a point of crisis within the past three decades, when the geographic center of Christianity moved south. Todd Johnson, co-author of the Atlas of Global Christianity (2009) writes,
“Shortly after 1980, Christians in the South outnumbered those in the North for the first time in 1000 years.” (2004) Today over seventy-five per cent of protestant Christians are in the non-Western world.
The shift in the center of gravity of World Christianity came as a surprise to Western Christian leaders. Much of the Western Christian world predicted a decline in Christian numbers in Africa and Asia in the twentieth century. What surprised Western missionaries is how so many Africans and Chinese embraced Christianity, mostly without Western orchestration. To understand this extraordinary growth in World Christianity, Lamin Sanneh calls for a “fresh understanding of the gospel in world history.” (2003)
How does this Global Shift impact our understanding of Mission and Church?
We need to first understand the importance of relationship in a theology of mission. The doctrine of the Trinity informs our understanding of the dynamic relationship between the persons of the Godhead, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God’s relationship with all of creation, especially the dynamic relationship between those created in God’s image, flows from the dynamic relationships within the Trinity.
Before we can work with others effectively, we must know our own identity, our strengths and our weaknesses. There is little point in embracing the missional renaissance if we do not first take an honest assessment of ourselves, our communities and our culture. We must refuse to be conformed to this world, attempting to repackage our churches with a marketing ploy and call it “missional.” We must recognize how the Western Church has failed to be missional, opting for a settled institutional power-based attractional organization. People relate out of identity and their relationships form their identity. Like a child growing within a family, our identities are formed through our interaction and relationship with others. Our identities are shaped through our interaction with our environment, and the groups to which we relate. As individuals we relate to one another, however churches and groups do not effectively relate. Organizations are not typically designed to work together; they measure their success by their growth. Organizations, including churches, attract individuals to participate as members. Organizations need people simply to add to their size, their capacity, their reputation, their influence, and ultimately their power. To be missional we must first repent of thinking too highly of ourselves, our organizations and churches, and our culture. We must change our thinking, admitting how we have been conformed to the powers of this world, and choose to be transformed by the renewing of our minds to the word of God, submitting ourselves to king Jesus and aligning ourselves to God’s mighty word of power. The simple act of repentance, acknowledging that the Church is not the Kingdom of God, will help us to transform into missional communities.
We are all created in God’s image, and therefore our identity and our capacity to relate comes from God. The amazing dynamic of identity and relationships within the Godhead, within the Trinity, is the basis for a theology of relationship and collaboration. As we come to know God better, we will be enabled to work with others better.
The Missional Renaissance is an emerging ambition among thoughtful Christian theologians and leaders to make disciples of all nations (simultaneously engaging our own Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth). To be missional is to form mission shaped leaders and mission shaped churches.
What does revival look like? I was in a pastor’s meeting recently where the topic was discussed. I think they were correct when they said it’s like a wave that you cannot control. All you can do is begin paddling like a surfer to prepare to catch the wave.
What I have noticed, paradoxically, is that revivals down through history have rarely been met with a great welcome by the religious leaders of the community. When revival comes, it raises the hope of the community for a future with Jesus at the center of every home and every conversation. Revival brings a transformation of culture, a culture of hope.
I believe the way to create hope in a community or even a wider culture is to proclaim the good news by word and deed. The message of hope gets drummed up like a political slogan, but hope is much more than that. What is taking place in the Middle East today is the activation of a fervent hope for a future that honors individuals, families, communities, and whole nations.
We cannot control the destiny of nations, but we can participate. As a missionary, I believe hope can be realized in a community by consistently reporting the good news. The good news is the gospel story, but it is much more. Christians need to engage their world with active involvement, even in small ways. We can visit prisons, hospitals, shut ins, and neighbors. We can invite strangers, the lonely, and the lost into our homes. We can enjoy a simple meal with the hungry and share our time and belongings with the poor and needy.
Proclaiming the good news is done, not only through word, but also through deed. And hope is fostered in a community when those words of Scripture are matched with actions of love. Hope grows as we report on the many small actions that are making a difference in our community. You might call them “achievable wins”, simple acts of love in community.
Hope is not found merely in acts of charity, however. Hope must be firmly rooted in the Person of Jesus Christ. That hope should not be rooted in this world. Neither should the hope be rooted in heaven, which has caused too many lovely Christians to ignore the needs of this world. So proclaiming the good news, reporting on our “achievable wins”, must include a clear presentation of the overarching vision of relationship with Jesus in our daily lives and in our neighborhoods.
A culture of hope will grow under that vision and mission of Jesus. What grows in that culture are is a spirit of missional unity, which produce many missions partnerships. The hopes of pilgrims in the no-man’s-land of collaborative culture, those who recognize each individual, family, church, and organization’s identity as a contributor to the whole task of Jesus’ mission, is what makes up the culture of hope.
Some people will be early participants in this “culture.” They are the boundary spanners who are willing to examine and work to span the chasm between different groups, churches, and organizations. Though each expects something different from their emerging partnerships, they will work to enhance their part so that their group may in turn develop a culture of collaboration, a willingness to enhance the vision of Jesus in their community.
The early participants will often begin the task before everyone else is on board. They continue to remain open and hospitable, content to not be leading a large public movement. They choose rather to open their homes and share meals and prayer times with those who would catch the vision later. These courageous ones are willing to address difficult questions. They do not study theology; they DO theology. Their every conversation is dripping with theological hope. They are students. These disciples of Jesus are learning together in community. They are learning to manage tensions and complexities of the new places God is leading them and the new culture that God is promising. They are working like gardeners, creating a collaborative environment in order to produce a culture of hope.
These people embrace a high cultural value of personal responsibility, the language of stewardship and shared responsibility, recognizing the task of collaboration is not everyone else’s responsibility. These people are accountable to each other and to the overarching vision. They may work toward achievable wins, however they are not seeking immediate rewards; they are looking toward the long-term.
This culture shuns the zero-sum game with competitive winners and losers so often found in the religious movements of yesterday. This new culture resists isolation and looks for synergy. It is not stuck in past structures; it is open to a variety of possibilities and structures to serve the purpose of accomplishing Jesus’ vision. This culture is like a bridge, easy to get on and easy to get off, as necessary to the current task.
The question is when and how do we collaborate. Ultimately, these people embrace and create a culture that recognizes Kingdom values, that we are all already working together. Our calling is not to create unity, but to preserve it.
The effective Kingdom partnership culture is breathing out Spirit-filled prayers and exhortations, speaking truth with mutual humility. It is a “place” where Jesus is Lord, and the voices of all constituencies are heard, especially the voice of God. It is a partnership “by people in Christ from within organizations for the Kingdom.”
Do you need to find a “happy optimum” between push and pull of being a part of your home church and being your own distinctive person with a calling and experience in your wider community? Does your work or school life look like a mission field to you? Perhaps you have a desire to start a bible study, prayer group, or plant a simple church in your community? Pursuing that desire will likely require that you will have to say “no” to appeals to volunteer in your local church.
Does your hope for your own community, your work, school, and neighborhood, make you feel like that your concern is in opposition to the needs of your local church?
This is the tension many of us are experiencing today. Why? While some mega-churches are still serving the needs of our culture attracting large numbers of evangelicals to a market-based church program, the attractional model of church is no longer effective in our growing post-christian culture. To put it simply: It’s a great time to be THE church, but it is not a good time to be A church.
This presents a tremendous personal challenge to us, and especially to pastors. Many will simply not understand your desire to engage your world and network beyond the local church. Some may find self-esteem and safety within the local church. Some will already find acceptance and significance within the church and therefore not have a strong sense of need to extend their relational group. The more successful and “tight” the church group, the less likely it is that some would sense any need to extend their relationships.
Those of us who reach beyond our church communities are in a dynamic tension called Optimal Distinctiveness. Optimal Distinctiveness is the desire to be identified within a group and distinguish oneself from the group. This is the dynamic tension, this shifting identity, distinguishing oneself from the local church group, is part of the process of a new missional spirit in a post-Christian world. This is a spirit of collaboration.
If you are experiencing this dynamic tension, you need to learn the spirit of collaboration. You must be able to balance your identity within the context of collaboration, working with other groups and ministries outside the local church. To explain, let me share a bit of my own journey.
For 24 years, I have been serving with Youth With A Mission. I have worked with and among many church groups, mission agencies, and student organizations in over 30 nations. All the while I have extended the “fame” of my own spiritual father, my pastor, George Isley. He died a few years ago, but he continues to be my model of pastoral ministries. Over the years, I have come to realize a significant part of my identity was shaped in that local church and with that pastor. Meanwhile I have also found a significant part of my identity in the extended inter-group ministries I founded with Youth With A Mission, the Student Mobilization Centre of the University of the Nations. Though it was often a challenge for me to find the right approach to ministries outside the local church, the spiritual identity of a humble servant-leader modeled by George Isley continues to be my standard. To sum up, I have not followed the model of the popular itinerant preacher with products to sell and a slick appeal for an offering. The spirit of collaboration is not self-serving; it develops trusting personal relationships, freely giving, serving, and loving in the Spirit of Jesus.
As faithful believer in Jesus Christ, our ultimate responsibility and loyalty is to the Great Commission and our Servant King Jesus. We must continue to respect the amazing work that God has done and is doing through our local churches and pastoral leaders. However, our commitment and loyalty to Jesus and his mission must be greater than our commitment and loyalty to our own denomination, local church, and even our pastors. Reaching out in the spirit of collaboration is not a disloyalty to the local church; it is a greater commitment to THE global church.
You could appeal to your pastor for “permission.” Though it is difficult, you could also appeal to your pastor’s own human need to extend relationship beyond the boundaries of the local church. Your appeal to your pastor will reveal something to you; it will reveal your own search for personal balance.
The challenge will come when you are expected to continue to work in your local church and perhaps meet your pastor’s expectations. I want to leave you with a few recommendations:
1. I recommend that you clarify your identity, the identity God has shaped in your life as a committed member of your local church.
2. I also recommend that you take it slow. If you change too fast and too much, you may find yourself ostracized or excommunicated from your home church.
This is the topic of the next several posts. Let me know you are reading and post your questions, suggestions, and testimonies.
How can a small community of Christ followers serve as a catalyst of a new, broad-structured, international missions movement for the 21st century?
Answer: By creating collaborative partnerships among ministries and leaders in university communities building “bridges” of community transformation.
The following action steps are what our ministries are attempting in this new season of development. Our plan is to serve as a catalyst with YWAM Campus Ministries creating “bridges” of community transformation by:
1. Committing to a coherent set of learning outcomes, a core curriculum, for all School of University Ministries & Missions (SUMM) participants, and in seminars. All SUMM participants will develop an understanding of the 21st century mission field.
a. The school will emphasize YWAM’s commitment to the Christian Magna Carta. Participants will learn how to facilitate a spirit of collaboration in response to dramatic shifts in the Church globally and extraordinary economic and societal crises.
b. Mobilizing students on cross-cultural, serving-learning experiences is an integral part of YWAM’s discipleship of students in every campus ministry location. (See: Field Ministry Internships)
c. Designing Seminars & Conferences, which target and rally university communities for mobilization toward effective ministry addressing Global Human Need. (See: Human Development Index.) These desperate needs, including poverty, corruption, children at risk, HIV/AIDS, malaria, human trafficking, and impure water, are targeted as “giants” which we are confronting with “smooth stones” in our Slingshot Camps. Slingshot is a discipleship camp with an intention of training young people in how to live and share the gospel. This Slingshot is built on the concept of David’s five smooth stones defined as:
(1) Identity in Christ
(2) Intimacy with God
(3) Integrity in Life
(4) Influence in the world, and
(5) Involvement in Missions.
2. Recruiting and Dispatching Volunteers: Field Project Interface and University Community Interface. These staff assignments will be limited to those who have completed the School of University Ministries & Missions (IDM/HIS 313 & 314) -or- a YWAM staff with a Four-Year College Degree and Student Ministries Leadership Seminar (IDM 501).
If either Field Project Interface or University Community Interface serve in locations where there is no YWAM team or ministry, they must have a minimum of two team members working together. All SMC staff require a two year commitment.
A. Field Project Interface: A minimum of two Field Project Interface, serving as SMC staff, will live and work in a YWAM Campus Ministry community in the developing world with the task of coordinating field projects for student teams, particularly Field Ministry Internships. Field Project Interface will assess community needs (health, education, economic, family, environment, etc.), create partnerships with churches and ministries, and interface with the YWAM host when student project teams travel and serve in their location. Field Project Interface will have a particular liaison role with the SMC preparing for summer teams, drawing up project plans for students to gain academic credit, and assisting the SMC to apply for project grants.
B. University Community Interface will partner with existing YWAM ministries and campus ministries, facilitating collaboration and adoption of a whole community in the developing world. University Community Interface will recruit outreach teams for field projects in a single developing world community, drawing from the resources and personnel of a single university community, including churches, student organizations, and Christian faculty and staff.
3. Emphasizing “Community Bridges” – a collaborative and transformational approach to ministries. As a catalyst of transformation, we are building “bridges” of engagement between university communities and developing world communities. The SMC will work with Campus Ministries and associate ministries and churches to remove barriers of collaboration that get in the way of transforming students’ lives and transforming whole communities.
The Community Bridge approach will broaden the radar of any single student organization or church ministry in the university community to focus resources to accomplish far more than any single organization could.
This community transformation approach will require a model, an example, to stimulate a long-term commitment of two Christian communities in two university settings. Emphasizing collaborative field projects to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God and fulfill the Christian Magna Carta.
4. Creating a robust “Community Bridge” Model between one YWAM campus ministry/university community and one developing world community, preferably where we have another YWAM campus ministry. For example, YWAM Kingsway Maryland, with campus ministries at the U. of MD and Johns Hopkins, is developing a “community bridge” with a series of integrated projects to serve Delhi, India.
5. Making Grant Funding requests for Integrated Community Field Projects. Today’s foundations and major donors are more apt to assist collaborative efforts. Our Community Bridge approach to YWAM Campus Ministries will help us raise funds for projects, especially projects such as pure water, education, micro-business development, HIV/AIDS awareness, Malaria prevention, and Children at Risk in the developing world. Funds raised through SMC grants will be designated to the respective field projects, possibly allocating a portion for Field Project stipend for housing and travel, YWAM Campus Ministry expenses, and student team expenses.
6. Increasing the size of the SMC International Team of facilitators through rapid regional development. As the School of University Ministries & Missions trains workers on every continent, SMC Regional Teams are being formed to foster Community Bridges and Collaborative Networks.
7. Establishing New Call2All Students Networking Forums to bring together a wider collaborative movement of university ministries and missions mobilization Working collaboratively through international and inter-agency partnerships, cross-disciplinary teams, and campus-wide partnerships including faculty, staff, and students, the SMC will focus our catalytic training and resources on building bridges to serve whole communities.
A YWAM Campus Ministries International Celebration is already scheduled for 2010. Currently collaborative activities are underway through the new Campus America Wilder Project.
A new Call2AllStudents web site is being developed to serve the broader network of ministries. These efforts will culminate in periodic Regional Call2All Forums beginning in 2012 that present testimonials, instruction, and models with the best practices offering Christian communities tools to serve some of the world’s most vexing social, environmental, and economic challenges.
I have been asked for a definition of shared leadership. I’ve tested this response on several leaders, each of whom have given me a strong positive feedback. Therefore, I am posting this for your response.
In my reply to the question, I suggest first looking at the purpose for shared leadership. That purpose is found when we understand the current context in which the Church, the Body of Christ, exists. The world at the time of the early Church was a diverse pluralistic society. Today, we find ourselves in a similarly diverse and pluralistic world, an “unchurched” world.
Kennon Callahan, in his book, Effective Church Leadership (1990), gives a compelling argument that the day of the professional pastor in a traditional church is over. Society is changing from a “churched” society to an “unchurched” society and this requires that a pastor become a “missionary”. Callahan writes, “In many ways, the church in America is in the same situation that American business is in: the world is changing and passing it by! This calls for a radical change in the way the church “does business.”
Businesses have been changing and many books are available on the topic of shared leadership, partnership, collaboration, and alliances. I have read several and can loan them to you if you are interested. This shift from the professional pastor began quietly on the mission field many years ago. As the world became increasingly more diverse and increasingly “unchurched,” the need for change in the approach to church leadership became more apparent and more urgent. The missionary strategy is not the same as the pastoral strategy. The focus must be outside the church walls, equipping workers to lead missional communities as the church in their cultural setting. In today’s context, we must set as a high priority the building of new leaders who will function as facilitators on teams.
I have been with Youth With A Mission for 23 years. One of YWAM’s Foundational Values is that we are called to function in teams in all aspects of ministry and leadership. This YWAM Foundational Value states that: “We believe that a combination of complementary gifts, callings, perspectives, ministries and generations working together in unity at all levels of our mission provides wisdom and safety. Seeking God’s will and making decisions in a team context allows accountability and contributes to greater relationship, motivation, responsibility and ownership of the vision.” Team leadership is shared leadership. This value is just that, a value, and the actual practice is different in every setting. It does not stand alone: Team Leadership is complemented by all of YWAM’s Foundational Values, including Relationship-Oriented, Broad Structured and Decentralized, and Exhibit Servant Leadership.
Team leadership is shared and not invested in one person. Leaders of local churches need not direct or set the agenda, but rather facilitate a process by which the community sets the agenda. A shared leadership posture will support and foster the emergence of what I call ‘Commission Groups’. These Commission Groups are not merely small groups; they are small churches, missional communities bearing witness to their community with no control exerted over them.
The leadership challenge, then, is in finding the answers to some key questions: How do you decide who leads? and How do you lead without control?
J. Oswald Sanders (from his book Spiritual Leadership) writes: “Jesus knew that the idea of leader as ‘loving servant of all’ would not appeal to most people. Securing our own creature comforts is a much more common mission. But ‘servant’ is His requirement for those who want to lead in His kingdom.”
Scott Rodin, in his article “Leader of No Reputation” writes: “In the end, our work as leaders is all about lordship. Before it is about vision-casting or risk-taking or motivating others or building teams or communicating or strategic planning or public speaking, it is about lordship. Where Jesus is singularly and absolutely lord of our life, we will seek to be like him and him only. That will be our sole calling. We will be called to our work and that work will carry God’s anointing. We will be called to decrease, that Christ may increase. We will be called to be people of God before and as we do the work of God.”
Becoming leaders can’t be left to the persons who want to be a leader. They must be called (and affirmed by the community for their individual anointing within the community and a recognized track record of character, capacity, and commitment), trained (not solely through formal training, but also the non-formal sponsorship of a Barnabas-type leader), and under authority (not seeking positional authority, but humbly serving under the anointing of the Holy Spirit).
The process of equipping and releasing servant leaders in the Body of Christ is the single greatest task of the Church, I believe. Leaders given positional authority tend to rely on that position for security, and worse they can tend to lead through control. By virtue of the positional leadership accorded to pastors of churches, these leaders can be isolated from true fellowship and accountability in the community. History, including recent history, is littered with the damage done by pastors who, in their isolation, became proud, abused their authority, or committed adultery. To maintain positional authority, pastors may hesitate to release others into ministry, unless there is a strong accountability and unless they can also exert control over those under their authority. While this is not true of all pastors, it can be argued that the structure of churches, including the role of the modern pastor, is the primary contributor to the problem.
Shared leadership works through a shared vision, but the primary vision behind shared leadership is not structural. The primary vision will be the cross, and the centrality of Christ. Working toward a shared vision requires that the leadership team manifests the quality of servant leaders, surrendered to the lordship of Christ. Their leadership gifts will be manifest with an understanding and appreciation of the common good, which extends beyond the boundaries of their own group, or their positional authority. Paul writes, “The manifestations of the Spirit are given to each one for the common good.” (I Cor. 12:7)
To define shared leadership, first it is necessary to define two kinds of “shared vision”, which result in the sharing of leadership, networks and partnerships. These definitions come from Phill Butler in his book “Well Connected”:
“Network: Any group of individuals or organizations, sharing a common interest, who regularly communicate with each other to enhance their individual purposes.”
“Partnership: Any group of individuals or organizations, sharing a common interest, who regularly communicate, plan, and work together to achieve a common vision beyond the capacity of any one of the individual partners.”
Butler writes, “frequently networks are incubators for partnerships.” Therefore, the development of a network is best as first priority, with a particular focus on common concerns and resources. By focusing first on individuals in a network, the empowering of participants or ministries is enhanced to a greater effectiveness in their own sphere of influence. The leadership team needs to come together with the same spirit of a network, empowering each others’ ministry gifts within their spheres. That team needs to be the catalyst for the broadening of the network and the creation of partnerships, both short term and long term.
The Lausanne Movement has identified a powerful trend in the Body of Christ: “the shift of power from the center to the edges.” Partnerships, Butler clarifies, have been “based on an ‘open architecture’ model.” He identified this trend first among mission agencies. He writes, “Any individual or agency clearly committed to taking Christ to a specific people group was welcome. While the partnerships developed their own criteria for involvement, leadership roles, etc., they clearly have been inclusive rather than exclusive.” Today, many local churches are partnering with other churches and agencies in their desire to be more missional locally and globally. (See Darrell Guder’s book, Missional Churches and the book Treasures in Jars of Clay.)
What I am recognizing in my studies is that those churches are not the only trend. There is also a trend among people to migrate away from traditional and evangelical churches to what are identified as “emerging churches.” I propose a way to integrate both trends, the trend to be more missional through partnerships and the trend to have smaller, more authentic communities.
Shared leadership needs a shared vision. The vision is of ‘Christ in You’ (individually and corporately), ‘the Hope of Glory.’ The leadership team must “model the way” (See Kouzes and Posner’s book, Leadership Challenge), for families, communities, and yes, nations. The local church community can model how to disciple nations? Yes! Think of the fruit of Calvin’s doctrine of depravity, which stimulated the Presbyterian model of leadership with mutual accountability within the leadership structure. No one individual or group has authority to make all the decisions for the church. Leadership was distributed in ways found in Scripture, which taught the nations the branches of government. This model of leadership literally taught the nations of Great Britain, The Netherlands, and The United States of America, how to have checks and balances of accountability in their governments. The world is watching what the church does and the world can learn through leadership of the church.
Collaboration is a popular word among businesses working together today, however the use of the term and extensive literature does not mean the individuals within those organizations know how to do it. This kind of leadership requires the character of a servant (See Robert Greenleaf’s seminal book, Servant Leadership.) The church needs to equip the next generation of leaders by modeling the way in our structures and our lifestyles. Today’s spiritual leaders need to create collaborative spirit and capacity within a local church, through heart change and structure change, to stimulate missional engagement of the community, and therefore teach the communities and leaders in those communities to lead as servants. True collaboration and true shared leadership, requires a commitment to shared goals, a jointly developed structure and shared responsibility, mutual authority and accountability for success, and sharing of resources, risks, and rewards.
So, here’s my simple definition of Shared Leadership:
Shared leadership for the Church is a Christ-centered relationship entered into by two or more individuals, groups, or organizations to achieve common goals in obedience to Christ’s commission. It is the Body of Christ functioning according to Eph. 4:11-13, Rom. 12:1-11, and I Cor 12:11-28.
This question, “Can we transform the world through students?” calls for serious reflection regarding this generation, historical examples, biblical precedent, and issues of leadership credibility.The following reflection is an exercise I have undergone to refocus my own efforts and the ministries of Youth With A Mission’s Student Mobilization Centre.
First, we must ask, “What problem? What needs transformation?”
I believe the Glory of God is revealed as Jesus’ followers portray the truth of the gospel both by proclamation and by loving our global neighbor. The good news: There is a growing number of young people who are activated to help solve the world’s problems, poverty, HIV/AIDS, Malaria, etc. They want to serve among the poor and needy and make a difference. The problem: Those who desire to do something about global human need have little grounding in biblical truth; they either see little need or have insufficient understanding to proclaim the gospel.
Next, we must ask “What harm would be done if the problem isn’t solved?”
If this problem is not solved, a hopeful generation of emerging leaders may lose heart after facing the enormous global challenges without sufficient biblical christian worldview training. I see the urgent need to mobilize a new generation of student missions volunteers from every academic discipline who will learn to think biblically and who will preach and practice the gospel of the kingdom with relevance to the issues and needs of today.
Next, we need to consider the solution or solutions and why the solution(s) are desirable.
Why is it a good idea?
Jesus method of training was simply, “Come, follow me.” While classroom instruction has value, Jesus simply modeled his lifestyle and his followers experienced that life and learning while serving alongside him. Our solution for mobilization of today’s university students into short term mission projects complements the specialized training students are getting in universities. Our solution specifically engages the student’s worldview and motivation for service, providing a biblical framework, personal discipleship, and community involvement to help them relate personally with Jesus while they serve. The distinctive of our summer projects for students is the integration of the theoretical with the practical, the sacred with the secular, studies with service, the local with the global, and the personal with the corporate calling to make disciples of all nations.Students come to grasp the height, width, depth and breadth of God’s love for a needy world as they portray his kingdom through loving relationships in community.
We must also ask “Why is solving this problem relevant?”
More specifically, “Is this problem and solution relevant to you and to your community? Your church? Your ministry? Your profession? Your family?”
Our student ministries are designed with partnership in mind. Our Centre partners with student groups, church groups, professionals, and field projects. I believe today’s Church must be both a sending and a receiving church, which means we must make our commitment to the developing world a more complete partnership between the sending and receiving communities. The Student Mobilization Centre invites new partners to participate in these community bridges of 21st century missions.
Finally, “Is our solution credible? Do we have some kind of track record of results?”
The Student Mobilization Centre facilitates practical opportunities for university students to integrate into working cross-cultural ministry situations related to their fields of study. Our Field Ministry Internships teams are short term learning-serving summer experiences for students and christian leaders. Students gain academic credit serving collaboratively with one of our many integrated development and church planting projects in the developing world. FMI students from over 100 colleges/universities in nine nations have participated on 75 teams in 34 countries since 1989.