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For those subscribed to email alerts on this post...note that registration is now open for all webinars in this list. Enjoy!

I'm afraid the 800 numbers are for US and Canadian use only.  We are looking into the idea of delivering audio via the internet.  Until we have that capability, it will just be too expensive to go beyond North America.  Steve

 Are the 800 numbers valid for international traffic or have they been ordered for USA traffic only?

Are you finding the ideas you need?  If not, what are you looking for?  Steve

posted in: How is it?

Hi Jeff,

The link did work for me after a software download.  Try this.

http://www.crcna.org/pages/crwm_education_unleashed.cfm#Archives

Steve

I joined b/c I need ideas.  I tired of the same old movie nights, potluck dinners, etc. 

Our church married the two outreach and world missions;  global and local and in our community it works well.  In Greater Vancouver, the world is literally at our doorsteop. 

posted in: How is it?

 Hi Lou, I think those discussions are going on at the upper levels. I haven't heard of anything concrete happening, just meetings. Steve and I are part of an interagency group that works with churches and we meet regularly. We work quite closely to help bring missions to the forefront of churches. On the field, as you probably know, the missions agencies work quite closely as well.

I'd be interested in knowing what sorts of collaboration those "in the pews" would like to see. 

Hello Mark and Steve.  Anyone else?!  This convesation supposedly started in March; I haven't seen much of anything on this.  One marginal comment from someone said this wasn't going anywhere... I hope that isn't correct.

Who's at the plate?     Lou

Steve,

This looks great!  It also mentions where there is an archive, but the link won't take me there.  What would that address be?

 

 

Good example story!  I wonder if the approach of trying to keep the committee alive by better recruiting and such might be only a bandaid answer.  I am wondering if in the life of the congregations of NA, there needs to be a new or renewed look and understanding of why we are here as congregations in the first place.  We disbanded our "outreach" committee a number of years ago because just the committee members were doing any outreach attempts. They were burned out and wanted to disband so they did.  I (as pastor here) was not in a hurry to form a new committee until the congregation hears the call from the Lord to be witnesses here and way out there.  We still support missionaries elsewhere in the world and they come and speak at our gatherings from time to time.  We send members of the congregation on short and medium mission projects (I don't really distinguish between CRWRC and CRWM type work, they all tend to work and witness).  They come back and share stories and integrate their experiences into their lives.  To build capacity for mission work, I think our congregations along with their pastors and leaders (myself included), need to do the hard work of listening together to God's will for them in their specific contexts.  Ours is growing multicultural and "world missions" is right next door, literally.  We have to seek the Spirit of our Lord to guide us into new ways of being neighbors.  Also our far away missionaries have to be a part of our journey of discovery somehow.  They have more experience than we do.  The technology exists to skype, chat, facebook, whatever, with anyone in the world it seems.  Perhaps our denominational organizations have to leverage that connectedness for the local believer's benefit somehow.  I have heard that "we are in a time of change for the Church in NA, that is as big and significant as the Reformation of the 15-1600's was."  I am slowly starting to see what that person meant who said that (I think it was Gil Rendle, formerly of the Alban Institute).  Do we need deeper questions or simply renewed techniques?

posted in: The End of Missions

 Dear Moderator Steve,

You said, “Increasing high school graduation rates is an obvious good.  Who is against it?”

It’s not who can be against it that is the issue. The question that trips us up in the discussion is the HOW?

Well meaning Christians, united to address an issue, can vary widely and wildly in the HOW. So to you what may be an easy assumption… who can be against improving high school graduation rates? For others can be seen as a issue that has political under and over tones…will that mean increased funding out of tax dollars? Will that let the government into private, Christian schools? Will the government require a nation-wide “one curriculum” to be foisted on all schools? What will be the role of the federal government vs. the local school board; will this be a threat to local control of education? Yeah, lots of differing ideas and concerns out there when we start looking at the HOW.

However, I’d love to see more LOCAL CHURCHes  jump in. But  it’s not  hearing the voice of “the church” I’m looking for. I feel a need and longing for the “comfort” of the church, for the church to create safe spaces for Christians to engage their faith and their daily life…struggling with each other and their understanding of Christ’s call on their life and their action in the world. EVEN when we differ on the how.

By the way, yesterday I met with my local representative to  Congress (little towns have an advantage..we were at the same lunch counter together, and he’s running for re-election). So I took that moment to tell him my dreams for improved school experience to address youth at risk, and that drop-out rate issue.  Yeah, not earth shattering, but you know what? I talked to the guy, at least that’s something. Sometimes just saying something out loud and having someone listen and/or ask questions can help you clarify your own thinking.

So if I can do that at a lunch counter in my small town, I wonder what it would be like to be able to do it in the safety of my own church with brothers and sisters as we examine the issues and struggle out possible solutions?

To me this would be a good example of something where congregations can and should get directly involved, as opposed to encouraging their members to be involved.  Increasing high school graduation rates is an obvious good.  Who is against it?  There are other situations where the demands of Biblical justice are so clear and compelling that the church must speak.  My two cents,

Hi Wendy,

  "The End of Missions" is designed to be a provocative title with a double meaning, or even triple.  End can mean purpose and also where something is going rather than just conclusion.  The piece does not mean to say that the things which First CRC is doing (in 2020) are unimportant.  Indeed, they should be part of an overall church missions strategy.  But because this committee is unconnected to them it made itself irrelevant and important values are being lost.  Least reached peoples, leadership training and other parts of missions disappeared from the church's radar.

posted in: The End of Missions

ibemeubu's invitation to share stories is interesting because it makes me realise I know of so few from first hand experience.  That again makes me wonder, as I've wondered so often before, whether the institute/organism distinction has too often served us as a reason to avoid advocacy altogether. 

Anyhow, I do recall a time when members of my congregation got involved in trying to advocate to have the city retain local fire stations near the city center.   We held a press conference in the Church, and we appeared before the city's planning commission.   The congregation had not formally taken any position, and we did not pretend we were speaking for our congregation, but we did make it clear that our concerns related to our concern for our community/ parish.  That was a satisfying experience and to this day (30+ years later) some of those local fire stations remain.

I think it's the church's responsibility to advocate for rational and loving and informed social discourse on tough issues. And to model that in the way we deal with the tough issues internally!   I think the church (and I mean the institutional church as well as the church as organism) needs to help shape social justice conversations by showing how to be passionate and prophetic while being reasonable and respectful.  I think the church needs to press for high quality debate in the neighborhood, in the media, in the cofffee room, and in the council room. 

Grand Rapids is in the roll-out period of a large initiative to increase the percent of high school kids who graduate.  It's privately funded, and it's wholistic, and it's long term.   The public school system, businesses, neighborhood organizations, and families and churches will be engaged.    Should congregations engage formally?  I guess that is debatable, but I lean toward answering Yes.   It's a justice issue, and it's sure to get political if it's got any validity at all, but it's very urgent, and I think bi-partisan.  So I tend to think it's an example of a place to make an "exception".   

What do others think? 

Steve, I found it interesting that you used this as an example of declining interest in missions: "Attention to the world was increasingly focused on responding to disasters, community development and short term teams, including youth groups, which led to direct personal involvement." 

Used as part of an overall church missions strategy, I see those things as ways of strengthening commitment to missions. Furthermore, many of CRWRC's community development workers see themselves as missionaries; indeed, they are on the front lines helping indigenous churches to get out there and reach the poor. Their churches are growing faster than ours.

posted in: The End of Missions

One way to increase awareness of missions might be to do a better job of encouraging, even challenging our kids and young people to be open to be called by God as missionaries.  Often times we hear that the best way to witness is through our actions. Actions are important, but ultimately the Good News needs to be shared vocally. Our kids need to hear the importance from the pulpit as well classrooms and homes about the need to share the Gospel to the ends of the earth. If more young people accept that call then churches will become more excited about missions as they support sons and daughters of their congregations. I realize this may be somewhat simplistic but it's a start. 

posted in: The End of Missions

Hi Steve,

  This story is fictional but based on some trends that have been developing for a number of years.  It projects those trends forward another decade to raise an alarm.  World Missions and CRWRC personnel continue to visit partner congregations every two to three years and communicate with them regularly in print and by email.  Some are beginning to use Skype to communicate into worship services while on the field.  Local outreach is vital and was badly neglected a generation or two ago.  This fictional story raises the question of whether the pendulum is swinging too far in the opposite direction.  Steve

posted in: The End of Missions

Whether this is a true story or not, where was the church council? It is the responsibility of the council to oversee the committees and to make sure they are following their mandates. A committee does not decide on it's own to disband. That is the responsibility of the council.

Having said that, what is the attitude of churches in regards to missions today? Years ago there used to be rallies and missionary unions which helped the churches to keep in contact with the missionaries. Now it seems many churches are a lot more inwardly focused in their programs. We should be reaching out to our neighbors around us through youth programs, VBS, Bible studies, etc. How is World Missions encouraging the local councils and congregations to support the mission efforts around the globe? It's been a long time since I heard of a missionary home on furlough who was visiting our area. God has used the outreach efforts of the CRC through Worls Missions, Home Missions and CRWRC to reach many people over the years. Somehow the CRC has to start doing a better job of promoting these programs to the local congregations so that the support remains a priority.

posted in: The End of Missions

Here's another example of people getting together and acting on justice. This is the group Christians Ending Poverty that has a strong representation from Crossroads CRC in San Marcos. A wonderful example and inspiration to what we can do as ORGANIZED Christians to address injustice. Check out this link:

http://www.christiansendingpoverty.org/

 Fellowship CRC Edmonton has attempted to follow the model as described. 

Notes:

1. Many of our offerings are based on organizations our members are actively involved with.

2. Our congregational prayer consists of members's prayer requests heard by everybody.

3. Opportunity is provided for members to share their experiences.

4. Support for short missionary journeys are individually supported.

5. The church itself has minimal number of projects organized by its leaders and/or members. 

6. The above can only be done if the church is located in an active caring community with many good organizations.

-- in our case there has not been a need to quit the church to be a church!

 

 Thanks to everyone for the rich discussion. I found it very educational. So, I guess perhaps my question is this: what examples can we share with each other of how we've used our voice as Christians to be truth tellers and stand for justice? Perhaps the church as institution is not called (although I'm not saying I necessarily agree with that, but I'll assume that for this post) .. but as as organism...and as individual Christians I sense we agree. So what example can we give each other and others of how we have been using our voices? What ideas can we offer the church for meaningful ways to speak up and out?

One thing I think is the importance of convening and modeling healthy civic engagement on hot topics in your community. For me, I've been trying to convene a community discussion around youth at risk. Our community has (unfortunately) a plethora of kids at risk, and it's just a small community. The official response has been a law and order response... no community services for help to address the risk, but arrest and incarceration. I'd like to engage this topic with community leaders in a HEALTHY way. I think that Christians as a community should be able to lead in healthy conversations around hot topics. I think this is a gift we can give to the community at large. Do you think that's true? 

Should we use the church as institute as a platform for telling the truth in political discussions as Mrs. Kooyman suggests? The best wisdom seems to be to affirm:

(1) that the church as organism is called to Godly political advocacy, and
(2) that the church as institute ought to restrict its official proclamations to the gospel, not pretending to speak authoritatively in areas that are outside her realm of sovereignty and expertise.

To quote Abraham Kuper: "... the government has to judge and to decide independently. Not as an appendix to the Church [as institute], nor as its pupil... both Church and State must, each in their own sphere, obey God and serve His honor."

For example, the call to pursue justice and mercy in gratitude for God's justice and mercy is found in scripture, is part of the gospel, and is therefore something the church should proclaim. Whether using non-hybrid seeds is the best way to engage in this pursuit is outside of the institutional church's area of expertise. Drawing these distinctions is not always easy, but the difficultly of doing so shouldn't lead us to give up and encourage the institutional church to say whatever seems good.

The church as institution is not called broadly to proclaim the truth (but the church as organism is). Rather, the church as institution is called narrowly to proclaim the truth of the gospel.

 

Jeff, I wonder what you decided to use, and how it went.    Did you find a resource that really worked well?  I have found WHEN HELPING HURTS by Corbett and Fikkert to be very good.

I might have read too much into the article because I've also been following the discussions on her FaceBook page and all the pieces have sort of blurred in my mind. I know a number of young adults who have been disillusioned by what they perceive as a disconnect between the church they attend and what they feel their faith is calling them to do. I think that is what gave rise to the New Monasticism or Emerging church movements. I'm not an expert on theology and I know there are some issues with some of the emerging churches, but my overall point that I'm trying to make is that missional churches help bridge that gap that young adults often feel. That we are called to BE the church, to go and DO, not just show up on Sunday.

So I understand where owens_ey's daughter is coming from. I do hope she finds a church that will foster her desire to go and do. There are some excellent churches that do so right in our own denomination.

Wendy,
I had some trouble using the link you provided, but I did find the article. She mentioned a number of objections to the Roman Catholic Church that indicated she might fit theologically in a liberal Protestant environment, but she is so disillusioned that she doesn't want to go there either. Many people have observed that you don't need a "church" to maintain Christian belief, but following Christ isn't just about belief.

Anne Rice has been in the news as she recently decided to quit church so she can follow Christ. (at least that's my interpretation). I can't help but wonder how many others feel the same way?

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/herocomplex/2010/08/anne-rice-leaves-chr...

Amen!! I understand what you are saying. There is a definite shift going on. We feel it and understand what you are saying. My husband and I feel often that there is this change going on and slowly people are starting to recognize it but often it seems like our young adults are pushing for it and then we as parents as we listen to what they are saying and wanting we adjust to the wisdom that is actually being spoken. My child told me she no longer wanted to be a part of a church but she preferred to go and be the church. I don't advocate for that but I understand where it is coming from. I believe my child will eventually come back to the church because she is a Christian I know that. She believes that the church is not being the church when it is operating in it's consumer model and when it seems more like a large institution and she is just a small cog in a big wheel that cannot add her own uniqueness to it since it seems to only want her to adapt to what it is. She was frustrated as a high schooler and continued to struggle as a college student. But it caused us to look at the large numbers of young adults leaving and ask why. Many of her friends who went to the same private Christian college she did have completely turned their back on religion. When we talked to them we began to understand their frustration and it often seems like members of our churches look like the rest of the world, they go after large buildings with expensive budgets and big programs and all flash and little substance. So they have changed their view of the church and instead have opted out and toward home churches and small groups. We have been a part of a small group that some in our group consider church and some don't. We know more in the CRC denomination who feel the same as we do. We are looking for the organic church, the church where there is less politics and more awakening of our hearts. Well I could go on but I won't. I appreciate what was said and how you said it. Thanks.

Hello Jeff,

Here is an article on the Network about this topic:

http://network.crcna.org/content/global-mission/serving-short-term-missi...

and a link to the book it recommends:

http://www.bread.org/help/church/activities-curriculum/mission-advocacy-...

Good luck - this is definitely an important topic!

Two years ago my family moved 1 1/2 hr away from the community we had lived in for the past 22 years. We had been very involved in our church in leadership and worship for a long time to the point we were looking for a church home we could come to and worship and just "be". Following our move we attended a number of churches in a number of cities including the city we are living in. Some of these were CRC some were not. Some were well established some were church plants.
In our former congregation I was quite aware of new attendees and would make an effort to connect with them after the service. My role as a worship leader helped make the connection even before the service ended. As I attended the different churches I was struck by the sameness when it comes to the lack of hospitality shown to me and my family. Yes there was always the obligatory nod of the head in our direction when we would sit down or even a hand shake if the pastor encouraged that but beyond that there was very little interaction I would call hospitality. What I did notice was a lot of groups gathering after the service for coffee that appeared tight. I could tell they knew each other, they had a connection. There was no one watching out for the new people and making an intentioned effort to make them feel welcome. There was one exception we experienced though the person who made the effort to speak with us was a former member of our former congregation so we had that tie.
What is the answer to the dilemma of a congregation where everyone knows your name but then someone new shows up at the door. As in the TV show Cheers there was the inside group that sat around the bar or had their favourite table but if someone new or different walked into the bar, sat at their table or horrors at their bar stool they were looked on with suspicion, sometimes even run out of the bar. That of course is not the way a real missional church works but there were Sunday mornings when I felt that way, as the outsider interfering on someone else’s turf.
In my opinion this is the paradox as I have experienced it; many congregational members will share each other’s laughter and tears in a strong sense of community but have a great difficultly being ready and willing to let others be part of that community.

I joined with three colleagues from the PC USA, UCC, and RCA to do two workshops on domestic church planting. Those attending were primarily from Reformed denominations in European countries. They were passionate about starting new churches as a primary way to share the good news with people in their very secular countries. However, they voiced deep concern about not having the support of the leadership of their denominations for planting new churches. They spoke of negative responses to their promotion of domestic mission and evangelism. They pleaded with the four of us as presenters to help discover ways we could use our denominations to influence theirs to have a more positive understanding of domestic mission and church planting. It was challenging. We prayed together that the new WCRC would have a voice for domestic mission and help provide supportive networks for denominations that are or are wanting to engage in church planting.

posted in: WCRC Reflections

Thanks, Bill, for your thoughtful contribution. There certainly are a variety of views within the Christian and the Reformed communities on what sorts of issues the church (as institute) ought to try to speak to. Some would say that it is imperative for Christians to advocate for the cause of justice, but that this activity should always be organized outside the church as an institution (through the Association for Public Justice or similar organizations). Others see a big role for the Church in advocacy because justice is central to the Kingdom and the Church is a Kingdom outpost.

My own sense is that the Church ought to choose its advocacy causes carefully. Both US law and good sense point in the direction of not "advocating" for particular candidates who are always a mix of good and bad character traits and issue positions. Very complex issues create some of the same dynamics. Choosing a relatively small number of relatively clear issues would enable the Church to speak for what we understand as Kingdom values and be heard more clearly. What do others think?

Bill Harris, that is a well written and thoughtful response and I agree wholeheartedly with it. Thanks for the reminder that "we can all use a few more dance lessons."

I take the role of advocacy and faith to be more of a dance: advocacy takes shape (or perhaps is shaped) by the confluence of faith and our present social reality. We are all constrained by the limitations of our social setting, be it of education, socio-economic status, where we were born (and to whom), as well as our profession. All these and more give us a set of options which interact with and our informed by faith.

The corollary of this underlying diversity in our own experience would be that our ethical or political acts will be varied, even, on the face of it, contradictory. The owner of a small business in Ottawa County will almost certainly have a far different view of appropriate advocacy than say, some one who grew up in major university town like Ann Arbor.

So which policy should prevail? Why this advocacy and not another choice? On a secular level, that would be the combination of pragmatism (which policy works better, delivers more of some good) and of ideology (which policy advances our perceived long-term political interests). This is after all the stuff of politics, but is it the stuff of the church? Should it be?

Obviously here is where I am differing with Kate's perspective. I don't see how it is the Church's business to advocate for one correct answer as opposed to another, e.g. yes to local farms and no to Monsanto in Haiti. This is an honest temptation to all engaged in advocacy and committed to a Christian witness; it makes no difference if one is standing for the poor of Haiti or the weak in the mother's womb. As Reformed folk we want to create this iron links between principle and ethics; the power of righteous witness is intoxicating and motivating, no doubt. But spiritually? I think it a trap, one that ensnares us with a sort of self-regard.

A better way of thinking about advocacy would be to see it as a covenantal activity, grounded in our life together. The act of response to our neighbor, our obedience is of more consequence than the policy outcomes. Because we are in a community shaped and called by God, and not by mere social affiliation, we have the freedom to entertain even contrary politics or desired advocacy outcomes (goodness, as Ken Prol will note, we do not at all see eye-to-eye on these matters). As a community we obey, reflect, refine. We can share our witness together. And because we know Who holds the victory, we are free from the advocate/partisan trap of needing to win.

So then do we dispense with social advocacy? I don't think so. The champions of social witness can become exemplars of how we all can think about the issues. We are all in needs of models, awareness, and frankly, enthusiasm. And we all can use a few more dance lessons.

Thanks for your reply Kate. I tried to keep it brief, but my expectation is that this would solve the immediate need, but that Haitains work at growing their own seed to replace the gifted seed. I see no reason for Haitains to stay in a cycle of dependancy on Monsanto or any other entity. There seems to be a wide range of opinions from different groups and individuals, but only time will tell the result of these decisions. We continue to pray for God's leading in bringing hope and healing to the people of Haiti.

Ken, thanks for your comment and your attention to this detail. You're right -- this line might be overstated, or at least portray the situation to be more black-and-white than it really is. I appreciate the feedback! Here's the best of my knowledge of this situation, in a bit more detail (and I'm not an expert on agriculture!). The good news is that the seeds that were given to Haiti were not genetically modified seeds, which the Haitian government rejected due to Haitian people's strong suspicion of those types of seeds. Also, the hybrid seeds they're sending instead are supposed to yield a larger harvest. That means more food. The bad news is that these seeds will need to be repurchased each year. So there are some major concerns associated with these seeds: 1) Haitians will have to buy seeds year after year, and Monsanto may stand to benefit from this kind of dependence, 2) There are concerns that these hybrid seeds will require more fertilizer and pesticide use to grow well, increasing environmental and health concerns in Haiti. 3) There is a tradition of native seeds in Haiti that are saved and sold locally, and that are adapted to Haiti's unique microclimate. This gift will have a big impact on that local market (since these gifted seeds will be sold at greatly reduced prices), as well as on the sustainability of this traditional agricultural practice. Here's a helpful article about Catholic Relief Services' concern about this: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1002286.htm. I do appreciate your careful eye, though, and think you're right that the sentence is misleading. Things are more complex than I let on. Thanks for keeping me accountable.

"So what do we do when Monsanto gives Haiti a big post-earthquake "gift" of their patented and pesticide-laden seeds?"
This matter-of-fact statement may well be overstated. I think it is important to read the "other side" of the story... http://www.monsanto.com/monsanto_today/2010/seed_donation_to_haiti.asp
As I read it, there were many offers and this route was chosen by the powers that be in Haiti. It is worthwhile to present both sides, not just the political one.
Ken Prol

Hi Karl,
You guessed it. I didn't write this article. I've now added Kate Kooyman's name and organizations to the header. Thanks for proofing me! Steve

Steve, is your husband into fishing? I know a woman who's big into justice, and HER husband is big into fishing..... Could there be a connection?

There certainly is a great variety for how churches are organized in this area. I don't have a good sense for what the percentages are. However, it is certainly true that having the deacons deal with requests for financial support of missions is much more common in Canada than the States. The idea of a missions committee or GO team is now developing in Canadian CRCs, but it is a recent phenomenon.

and sometimes there is no committee, just an outreach/missions pastor. It makes it a real challenge to get communications to the right person, that's for sure!

Steve, I'd be interested to know a bit of trivia, which in turn may or may not have much significance. I find that here is no uniformity at all in what such committtes are called:
mission committee, evangelism committee, GO committee, outreach committee, and increasingly
the deacons are just asked to handle mission support requests.
Any sense of the percentages on this, and what importance this may have?
Lou

Great subject!! We are in the process of "recruiting" new missions leadership team members so this is helpful. We are also looking into putting a term limit on those who serve since we have had most of our committee members for 10 years now!!

I read this article with interest because in my personal travels and discussions with African business people in several countries comments range from 'we can't do this ourselves' to 'it prevents local businesses from developing.' For example is a few countries men are tailors and make traditional clothing to support their families. When western clothes flood the markets too often they 1. drive the tailors out of business, 2. create demand for brands, icons and that cannot be met locally, 3. builds a 'dependency' model that drastically reduces personal innitiative, 4. printed messages are inappropriate for cultural value system, 5. imposes western manufacturing techniques that can't be duplicated on Singer machines, 6. creates a street market for containers of clothes donated yet sold when clothes get to ports. I could go on yet a final point: The cost of shipping containers often is more than the value of the materials within them. Money for transport only makes surface shipping companies richer and does not improve local economic development.

Thanks, Steve, for mentioning ReFrame-Media.com. These are some great new ways God is using the Internet for missions in the English language. You might also want to check out BackToGod.net to see links to similar web ministries in other languages as well. Back to God Ministries International has some great discipleship web resources in Arabic, Chinese, French, Bahasa (in Indonesia), Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish—and we’re working on Hindi.

Greetings Scott,

You asked: "Is there a network of people out there who are considering how to use the internet as a key missions tool?"

The answer to your question is an unequivocal yes! There is a small but growing network of ministries using providing online education both for home and international missions use. I would be happy to speak with you. Drop me a note with your e-mail or phone number to georgelaw@internetseminary.org. Our ministry seeks to support the passion of churches, ministries, and schools to make the Word of God accessible worldwide and to build up the body of Christ.

George Law
Director - Internet Biblical Seminary

I observed too that one of the two new items got a blurb and the other didn't. According to the web people this is a so-far unsolvable problem. Sorry. Steve

A good glimpse of a slice of what I'm also seeing now on my visit to El Salvador; was priviledged to sit in on the devotional of the team just this past Monday morning (that discussion of Acts 8
is a whole other conversation - everything from classic yet progressive/contextualized Bible interpretation to Higher Criticism to liberation theology!)
Joel, you write:" One of my new assignments is to help cultivate a movement of transformation networks. Seeds of a New Creation in El Salvador is one of several rich models on which we hope to build. We imagine a movement where we share world and life views in a way which leads not only to deep transformation in other cultures but also to the renewal of our own communities and cultures."
A tremendously tall order, but one which my current visit to this broken country of El Salvador
is as you describe it. I'm excited and again, priviledged to be able to visit you this weekend in Managua at Centro Nehemias; maybe after our conversations we can add another piece to the discussion that we'd like to see take place on these pages.
And to prime that pump, this old school missionary still is reflecting on the role of mission support for the NGO model and downplaying the role of direct church planting and development.
Just this for now. See you soon...and hope to hear from others on this page (my earlier posting on "Concept of a Global Missions agency" only got one post response). Lets keep it all going....
Prayerfully, Lou Wagenveld

PS. This for Guide Steve VA. Joel didn't get a "blurb" (hook) other than the title; I almost
passed up on it because I had no idea what part of the world or who it was coming from.

I appreciate these principles a lot. Thanks, Randy! (and Steve)

My service at Lithuania Christian College (now LCC International University) was challenging in many ways. I had been schooled in the concept that a Christian college was one where faculty staff AND STUDENTS were united by a common commitment to Jesus Christ. There I found a school with perhaps 20% committed Christians (and 20% committed atheists). The concept there was and is that the faculty and staff make the college Christian and provide an invitational, not a coercive, environment so that students can consider the claims of Christ as they see the faith lived out. This is a different concept, but also a powerful one.

After writing the above, my Sunday flight was cancelled and I rebooked for 7:55 Wednesday morning. That was also cancelled, but I did get out a little later Wednesday morning on the second flight out of Heathrow. Meanwhile I had the chance to meet with a former student and my Hungarian language teacher from Romania who now lives in Cambridge, England. There are blessings to be found even in our frustrations!

posted in: Grounded

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