• 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!

Mission Forward

Mission Forward.  The term suggests movement or traction.  Perhaps, we ought to write forwardit: Mission (moving) Forward? More importantly, the term oozes enthusiasm and delight. Perhaps, we should edit it again to read: Mission (moving) Forward (with shouts of joy)?

You might be thinking that sounds kind of silly, but you and I know there is a difference between ‘moving forward’ in a long slow lane of traffic and ‘moving forward’ with a project where many team members are involved and contributing.  In both cases, you are ‘moving forward’.  However, the one brings you no real joy while the other creates a wellspring of joy that pushes you out to share the work with more people.

Our ‘mission’ is to work together in teams to see communities of believers birthed who will in turn give birth to other communities who will in turn give birth to other communities.  Our ‘vision’ is characterized by innovation, multiplication and expansion.  We want to approach the same task, but via different approaches or avenues.  Our goal is always a chain reaction of multiplication.  Our focus is on those who have the least opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If Mission Forward is currently synonymous with drudgery for us, then we may need some ‘outside-in’ perspective.  We may need someone to help lift our eyes above the grind and see how our God is at work in this world.  If Mission Forward isn’t currently causing that gospel joy to well up in our hearts, then we may need to ask the Spirit to drive 1 John 4.19 deeper into our hearts.  If Mission Forward is one’s current driving motivation, then we should spread that joy to others and draw them into the work.

Mission Forward.

we have a dream

Thanks to many of you who are ‘dreaming’ with me in the way I described in my last post.  Maybe it might be more appropriate to say:

we_have_a_dreamWe have a dream for World Team.

We have a dream that one day all World Team workers, all staff serving with World Team will be looking for ways to participate in teaming up potential workers with existing or new initiatives.

We have a dream that World Team workers will more quickly say: “We need to mobilize more workers into cross cultural church planting, so how can we work together on this,” rather than “WT Australia needs to do a better job of getting us workers”.

We have a dream for World Team.

We have a dream that World Team workers, the World Team community will invest deeply in potential workers: reaching out to them relationally, training them on the job, and developing them through delegation.

We have a dream that all of us as a World Team community will always be growing in our character in the Gospel, always learning new ideas and more helpful skills, and always reaching out to draw others into His mission.

We have a dream for World Team.  We hope and pray that many more will join us in sharing this dream.

It’s starting to happen

In an earlier post this month, I asked: how has God been at work to answer our prayer for this 1+1 challenge?

That each worker in the World Team community would intentionally

disciple one person into a relationship with Christ and that each worker

would intentionally disciple one person into cross cultural ministry

This is a note I received this morning: “Kudos to Bryan (WT Philippines) for recruiting one (a couple) to World Team!  Daniel and Janice are here at the US Assessment Centre (RACE) right now because Bryan, while on home assignment, encouraged them to pursue full-time missionary service.  They felt honored that a respected missionary from their home church would think that they could accomplish such a task, and they took the necessary steps to move forward. Obviously God had been working on their hearts for years.  Kudos to Bryan for issuing a challenge to them!

I was also told today that of the current participants at the US Assessment Centre, three previously served as WT interns and one currently works with us. Another comes from a church that supports two WT families. At least one is a Finisher’s contact who chose WT over other agencies because of the quality follow-uptraction

It’s starting to happen.  The challenge is gaining some traction. God is bringing fruit to the efforts of many.  I’m praying the challenge will gain more traction in the days and months ahead.

 

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Were You Moved? A Follow Up

follow up bisThere have been a lot of great comments shared about the post: “Were You Moved?”, but I just had to share this one because it shows the impact that can come from an individual and a team responding to the needs of workers wanting to enter into ministry. It’s also an example of how the 1+1 challenge is being met.

This is from one of the newest WT Spain members:

Hi Spain Team! I wanted to send some encouragement along to you as a representative of the mobilization team.

I just met up with a college age girl from my church. She has been passionate for missions in Japan for as long as I can remember. But currently, she is at a point where she just doesn’t know what to do next. She is in contact with missionaries in Japan but does not hear back from them much. I know she can (and will) do amazing things for God’s glory, but right now she doesn’t know where to start!

It made me think of how I was in a very similar spot a few years back until I got in contact with the Spain Team. From then on, I always had someone to contact and someone with whom I could discuss my next steps. It is great and SO IMPORTANT!

So, first of all, thanks to you all who were/are a part of this continuing journey, and second, be encouraged to reach out to someone you know who may be questioning their next steps. They could very potentially become our newest member of World Team Spain!”

Following up can mean engaging in others’ lives by contacting them, answering their questions or just praying for them.

Were You Moved?

We all know the verse which says: “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9.37-38). However, we can easily pray that verse without being moved emotionally and spiritually by it.moved

Last week, we as a World Team community set aside time to rejoice in what God has done in our midst and to pray that God would raise up more disciples and establish more communities of believers.  Prayer moves our hearts and in some mysterious way it “moves” the heart of God.

As I read through the list of appointees, that is, the people who desire to serve with our teams around the world, I was moved.

I was moved by the sheer number of people in the pipeline.  If you count the names on the last two pages of the WT Prayer Day guide (Feb 2013) and add those from other Support Centres, there are over seventy (70) workers waiting to go out.

I was moved by the diversity of locations to which these workers have been assigned.

I was struck by the simple fact that many of these workers cannot head to their ministry assignment because they lack the necessary funds.

God’s desire is that more workers enter His harvest.  I, like you, am moved by this desire and in light of what I read this past week as I prayed through the WT Day of Prayer Guide, I want to discover how I can best respond.

  • I might commit to pray for several people on this list; to pray that God would provide all their needs and to pray until God does so.
  • I might share a potential contact for support with one or more of these people.  Time and again, it has been shown that when your supporters choose to support other works or workers, they commit more funds to you.
  • I might visit with one or more of these people to encourage them in partnership development.

I’m just scratching the surface here and you may have better ideas.  However, when I see that list of appointees and know that there are others waiting to go out, my heart is moved to want to do something to help.

Mobilization discipleship

I had an interesting conversation yesterday with Simon here in Australia.  We were talking about mobilizing new workers when he ‘rephrased’ the task by saying: “People don’t want you to tell them what to do in the discovery process. They want you to journey with them as they discover, with you, what God is leading them into.”

It’s not necessarily about recruiting or convincing someone to join with us.  It’s about journeying with a person and discipling them on the journey as they discover more and more God’s passion for the world.  Call it: mobilization discipleship. 

Looking at the need for new workers in this light should change the way we go about the process.  First, our effort to mobilize new workers must be highly relational.  You cannot journey with a person if there is not regular, ongoing contact.  Second, the process can be messy as people journey in different ways and at different speeds.  And finally, we’ll need to take a more facilitative approach in the journey; listening more and asking questions that cause the other to reflect more deeply on how he/she wants to engage in God’s mission.

God calls us to pray more workers into His work force.  God also calls us to journey with those potential workers as they discern God’s call on their lives.

 

 

 

Collaboration or what?

A little over two years ago, we as a World Team community launched a mobilization effort to increase the number of workers in cross cultural ministry by five to seven percent.  This is a laudable goal; an objective that requires we work together and respond corporately to this challenge.

One on-line author [http://blogs.hbr.org/ashkenas/2011/05/when-teams-only-think-they-col.html] describes three possible ways for teams to respond in such a situation.

One approach is compliance. This is where each individual independently responds to the challenge.   Now there is nothing wrong with this approach as it works to spread the burden across a large number of people.  However, working together is not a natural outcome of compliance.  In fact, people could comply without even talking with others.

A second approach is cooperation.  This is where individuals work on a response to the need, but share their ideas with others.  In spite of the sharing, though, the ultimate focus is still on individual efforts and not on a collective response.

A third approach is collaboration.  This is where the effort from the start is focused on the larger group rather than the individual.  How the group can discuss and work together towards a collective response becomes the objective.  There may be a sharing of resources across groups or areas in order to better respond to the challenge.

The on-line author (see link above) summarizes this way: “What’s interesting is that teams do not consciously decide not to collaborate.  Instead they do what comes naturally; which is to work either completely or partially on their own.  The reality is that true collaboration is difficult and time consuming.  It requires subordinating individual goals to collective achievement.”

To achieve our mobilization challenge, it is collaboration that we need.