I am routinely reminded that this life has so many options and opportunities. Whether it is what to buy, where to go, or who to relate to and spend time with, we have so many choices in our day-to-day life.
In reflecting on my opportunities, I am challenged to consider the three words: good, better and best when it comes to options of time and resources. This question is an important one for our ministry work around the globe. It is also a great question to consider when it comes to your donations as well.
There are many “good” things that you and I can support, but there are few best opportunities. Here are a few of the characteristics that I look at with my personal opportunities.
Are the options providing band-aids or fishermen? That sounds strange, but I think we tend to jump to the options of immediate needs without thinking through whether this is really impacting the long-term here on earth and the eternal into heaven.
Another question I ask myself is “do I involve myself in things that are proactive versus reactive? Am I helping to put a band-aid on something in reaction to a symptom or am I focused on healing the disease?”
In our mission at GYMN, we tend to focus on the proactive versus the reactive. We focus on reaching and developing young people’s hearts so that the external “issues” are less prevalent. One way we do this well is to develop leaders who create more leaders. We do not provide leaders a fish, we teach them how to fish.
When our lives are through, I believe Christ will ask if we indeed were a part of “Going to make disciples of all the nations”? This does not mean we ignore those in need, but we invest proportionally so as to be more proactive versus reactive. I want to invest in something that carries on beyond me, not just something that will only provide a band-aid and need more band-aids going forward. In your life are there things that are good, but need to be set aside for the best? I am not willing to settle for good when best is within my reach. Are you?
(to see how to invest in the eternal life of youth through trained leaders see: https://gymnintl.wordpress.com/support-us/ )
We have seen some great returns on your investments this past three months in the ministry. No, we are not talking about the stock markets, but the eternal rewards and dividends that God has been producing globally.
We have involved over 225 youth leaders and pastors in our various trainings and events in the last 3 months. These leaders were from various locations: Kenya, Nepal, Canada, USA, Philippines, Uganda, Rwanda and Liberia! Wow! 8 countries impacted in just 3 months!
I am reminded that we are working with leaders. Leaders are people who have others following them that are impacted by the leaders life and ministry. We know from past results that every youth leader impacts at minimum 20 young people annually. This means that 5,500 young people will be impacted through God’s workers that we get to walk beside!
Here are a few of the feedbacks that I personally received from a training I led with our Level 2 leaders in Uganda. These results were after just eleven months of putting GYMN principles into practice.
- A team led by one participant led over 1000 to Christ, 700 of the 1000 were high school students.
- One leader increased their bible study group from 5 to 22.
- Wednesday prayer group grew from 12 to 25 members.
- One leader brought three of their “Timothy’s” to the Level 1 while they attended the Level 2.
- 100 people accepted Christ through one GYMN-trained campus ministry leader.
Thank you for investing in something that is global in scope and eternal in impact!
I have to admit that before being called to start and lead Global Youth Ministry Network my geography was not very good. I was not sure where many of the countries were located on a global map. That has changed some, though there are still a few remote locations I have to look up to see where they are specifically.
I wonder if you happen to know what these countries all have in common: Nepal, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Liberia, Philippines, USA and Canada? The answer is not geographical in nature.
All of these locations have had youth leaders served by Global Youth Ministry Network’s ministry leadership in the past two months!
On behalf of these dear youth leaders, thank you for your investment in something personal that is that is global in scope and eternal in impact!
“Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples” Psalm 96:3
Question: What does the province of New Brunswick, Canada and the state of West Virgina, have in common?
Answer: Both of these locations are hosting Global Youth Ministry Network staff and volunteers to receive training in youth ministry starting this week!
Another great characteristic of two training events happening simultaneously is that this means that leadership multiplication is happening! Did you realize that one of Jesus’ key operating principles was to spiritually multiply leadership so that there could be an exponential growth of ministry that would reach and disciple people globally?
A youth ministry friend of mine, Rob Ely is leading a group of youth pastors and youth workers through our GYMN materials starting this week in West Virginia. Rob and I met when we were youth pastors together in St. Albans, West Virginia 18 years ago. We still work together today as he overseas youth ministry for the West Virginia Baptist Convention. Rob is also planning on taking the GYMN materials to Northeast India to train youth workers there in November of this year.
I am writing this article from the city of Sussex, Canada in the province of New Brunswick…north of Maine. I am teaching young leaders at Bethany Bible College in a course called Global Youth Ministry. These leaders are all planning on full-time ministry in their future. Their average age is about 22, so just imagine the impact they will have through the lifetime of ministry! If they impact 30 people per year over 40 years that will be over 1200 people impacted per leader trained.
How exciting to realize that through your prayers and investment we get to equip youth leaders internationally in two distinct locations at the same time! We are multiplying together as His Word goes out to so that many will come to know Him!
You may have heard the statement it is better to give than to receive. That is a great truth. However, this has been applied to many pastors and church leaders lives in an unhealthy way. You see a person has to recieve something before they can give it away. In the ministry, a leader needs to have received from the Lord personally before they can have something to give to others. Unfortunately, many leaders find themselves not purely receiveing from the Lord for themselves alone. They come to scripture and the Lord to find a sermon or teaching for others and are not filled up personally. They have to receive deeply before they can give deeply.
In our Heart of the Leader conference that just finished up in the Philippines we had self-leadership as a focus. This time was not about new skills to lead the church, but new skills in leading themselves first. We reminded the leaders that the greatest gift their church needs is healthy leader. For then alone can they go the distance in ministry for others.
You will see in the slideshow here great photos of how these leaders received in worship and from teachings. Notice how they were able to serve others (in footwashing) and to receive from those who washed their feet as well. They recevied huge blesssings as they allowed others to serve them just as Christ did His disciples.
Note also the quotes below from a few of the leaders. All of them were impacted deeply but I wanted you to hear just a few:
1. “I realized that most of the time I was alone in the ministry the last ten years, but now I am ready to face the future. I am ready to face the next 30-40 years!”
2. “I came here like a wounded soldier coming full of pain and struggles, but the Lord showed me the root. I just had a spiritual heart surgery here at the Heart of the Leader. Now I feel free, it’s a new clean slate for me.”
3. “It made me realize that the heart of my ministry is my heart for Jesus“.
4. “God has been pursuing me but He really caught me here“.
Thank you for your support and prayers for each of these and the 18 others who were deeply touched as well. Imagine how many thousands of people these leaders will impact in their new confidence in Christ! Your work with us in this ministry made this possible.
On the Journey: “How will leaders walk with Him in the valley, on the mountain and each step in between?”
Life is a journey. I have to admit that many times I am looking way too far ahead of me on the path. Instead of always looking at the next mountain I should be enjoying the day before me, the people in front of me and the incredible blessings of life. I am doing that here in the Philippines. Don’t get me wrong, we are not just sitting around smelling flowers. Instead we are seeing 22 people connect and re-connect deeply with God. All off of us here are hungry for God’s presence in a deep way and we are seeing Him meet us profoundly on this mountain at Laguna, Philippines.
Leaders are falling face down on the ground with tears and some are jumping and shouting to the Lord for joy! God is moving mightily in the lives of each one. We had a service here last night that was purely music, testimonies and sharing from the Word. Most of the leaders testified of how extremely tired and empty they were prior to this time. They testified that God was filling them here AND most importantly showing them HOW they got to this place of need. In groups we discuss where we go after being recalibrated.
We all know that life is a journey with mountain tops and valleys and times in between. The question is not, “Are you on the mountain top all the time?” (which is not realistic), but “How will you meet with God and walk with Him in the valley, on the mountain and each step in between?”
We have had some times of self-discovery as the Lord showed us who we are (good and bad) and we are now in the stage of the outward journey (healthy relationships). This is a time to discover the need to have community (fellowship) in deep ways with others. Leaders need others; they cannot go the battle field frontlines alone. We used teaching and fun outdoor activities to build teamwork, trust and for group bonding. We even had two in the group who had birthdays that we celebrated here together as well.
What an incredibly deep joy to walk with these leaders. I know that each of them will impact hundreds, if not thousands this year alone in their ministries, but if they are empty and dry they will have nothing to offer others. Thanks to the Giver of living water, these leaders are not only being filled, but they have found their way back to the well of living water that never runs dry.
Thank you for sowing into the lives of dear leaders through your support and prayers to make this happen. Pray as we plan for part two of this journey in Feb. 2011.
Generals are critical to the success of an army. Church leaders (pastors, youth leaders, staff and volunteers) are equally important to the church. Therefore, while here in the Philippines, I am leading a team to mentor and care for pastors and leaders.
In an army, if the generals are killed or severely wounded then those following will be in disarray and can even be destroyed. In the church and in any ministry if the leader is wounded the church and it’s dear people may not be able to go forward and all of the investment in the church, building, people could be lost or substantially slowed down.
This is the very reason why we are doing the Heart of the Leader conference here. Allow me to give you a summary of what we are doing:
– Leaders are formed into safe groups so that they can lean on and care for one another.
– They take time to assess where they are. Tired, ready to quit, ignoring their weaknesses and vulnerabilities and many other positive and negative attributes? We are having them pause to see where they are and most importantly where their heart is. This is a checkup internally.
– We lead them in rediscovering who they are to be in Christ before they think about what they are to do for Christ. (Focusing on who Christ says they are).
– We pray with them, guide them and encourage them in a retreat-like, safe group environment.
– We even have some recreation as we find that many in leadership have lost their joy and playfulness. (This has been so helpful for me, as one who tends to not pause on the top of the mountain prior to heading to the next journey.)
Please continue to pray for these dear leaders (from Nepal, Kenya, Philppines, USA and Canada) throughout this week and forward as they seek life in him versus death by ministry. (We have already seen some great things happening in this process as some who were ready to quit the ministry have already stated that they have reaffirmed their call…the impact in them and through them is eternal and will continue instead of it ceasing! The impact in each of these 21 leaders will make an everlasting impact in the lives of thousands around the globe.
Thank you for being a part of this life giving endeavor!
We are in the Philippines with 21 Christian leaders from around the world. Leaders and mentors are from Nepal, Kenya, Philippines, Canada and the USA.
Enjoy the photos as we serve the leaders here!
God is busy working on our hearts here to insure we are full with Him so we can serve others!
Hearing wonderful heartfelt testimonies of how thirsty these leaders are, how tired they are and the hope that they are sensing because someone cared enough to come to walk with them here.
Over 55 youth leaders trained by Chris Davis, Ken Aringo and brother Benoit in Kampala, Uganda last week.
These leaders will reach and disciple over 1000 youth in this next year! Enjoy the joy we have in serving around the globe.