• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Thoughts Along The Journey

David & Becky RiddellVision. Each one of us could come up with a different way to express what vision means to us. For the sake of our conversation, let’s agree that it is about gazing across the horizon of time and believing that greater things lie ahead. Let’s agree that it is an “ideal and unique image of the future,” that is, a declaration of what we pray will be when the future becomes reality. We as the World Team community need to answer the question for ourselves in these days: “Where are we going in the future?” “What is our renewed vision?”

This past September 2008, I brought together a group of people from across our WT community to prayerfully consider what fresh direction God might have for WT. We heard from several historical as well as strategic thinkers both inside and outside the WT community. We immersed ourselves in prayer, talked through our history, our people resources, and discussed ideas shared by many of you. The outcome of this time was a newly crafted expression of the hope-filled future that we believe God envisions for WT. It is what we long to see become our experience several years down the road by His gracious activity in our midst.

GPSNow I know that when many hear this emphasis on change in our vision, they might be skeptical. “We’re regularly changing our vision, but it doesn’t really make any difference,” is how some might state it. But would our vision change the way we do things if we used it as a GPS rather than as a slogan or plaque we put on a wall? What about if our vision, the “destination” to which God is leading us, served to guide, direct, reorient and correct our ministry activities within the WT community? What if we allowed the vision (and those engaging that vision) to regularly assess whether we are still heading towards the destination God has laid on our hearts? This is how I want us as a community to see and engage our new vision.

Over the past few months, I have shared some of the key concepts of this vision statement with many of you in the World Team community. Now I want to call you to journey with me and your leaders towards where I believe God is leading us in the coming years.

We envision…

“Innovative teams multiplying disciples & communities of believers, bringing the Gospel within reach of lost people everywhere we go.”

innovate“Innovative teams …”
Change is constant and exponential. We must not allow ourselves to “micro sleep”, that is, overlooking the dramatic changes around us, assuming we can continue thinking and doing ministry the way we always have. Was this thought not behind the admonition of Jesus to His disciples in John 4: “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest?’ Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest”? We must begin to pursue innovation in tangible ways, to ‘lift up our eyes and look’. Innovation is not just creativity, but the “bringing of [those] ideas to life”. The question we must ask ourselves in community is: What aspects of how we do mission most need a stimulus of innovation?

We envision:
“Innovative teams …”

“Multiplying disciples and communities of believers …”innovate.multiply
The reason that we exist is to see lost people come to Jesus Christ and participate in communities of believers. Our mandate is ‘make disciples of all nations’ and to ‘disciple’ those believers to be fully devoted followers serving in a community with an outward focus to establish other communities of believers. Discipleship is our calling, but with a clear focus: that those disciples will make disciples who will multiply themselves (2 Timothy 2:2); and that, in turn, these disciples will establish multiplying communities of believers (Acts 11). How does our current experience relate to our mandate and calling?

We envision:
“Innovative teams multiplying disciples and communities of believers …”

innovate.multiply.expand“Bringing the Gospel within reach of lost people everywhere we go.”
It’s about expansion. The Gospel, by its very nature thrusts us out. It moves our hearts to reach out to others over and over again right where we currently minister, overflowing to places beyond us. We need to ‘lift up our eyes and look’ and recognize the promptings of God’s Spirit leading us to open up new works, in new cities, among lost people.

Our calling is to serve as apostolic workers who are “catalytic, temporary and always ready to move on.” (Scottish church historian Andrew Walls) We need to graciously challenge one another to new endeavors, to new opportunities.

We envision:

“Innovative teams multiplying disciples and communities of believers, bringing the Gospel within reach of lost people everywhere we go.”

So, what am I asking you to do? First and foremost, pray. Pray that God would confirm this vision in your heart, in our collective hearts as a community, so that we would become passionate about what He longs for in us. Pray that He would show us how this vision would be expressed in love where we presently serve and everywhere we go. Then, share your willingness to join in this journey by using the comment feature on this blog.

Over the next few months, Rebecca and I will be traveling to various regions and sharing in more detail this expression of our WT hope-filled future. We look forward to meeting with many of you, listening to your journeys and grace-fully calling you to envision, Innovative teams multiplying disciples and communities of believers, bringing the Gospel within reach of lost people everywhere we go.

One Response

  1. The effort being considered is a constant issue for motivating, mentoring and engaging folks in missions.

    Developing a plan not just a philosophy of mobilization.

    1. What is the end goal? (Define)
    2. Make a plan to reach the end goal?
    3. Are individual roles clear..
    3. What are the steps for accomplishing plan?
    4.Who will implement, motivate and evaluate the efforts and then make adjustments?
    5. What do the incremental evaluations show?
    6. Who will be accountable for the efforts?

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