Leaders: Past and Present

Last week I had the priviledge of attending a Leadership Network Global Connection Summit with my church, along side a half dozen others. This was meeting #1 of 4 over the next two years, and our group is just one of the groups going through. The idea is to collect and share ideas and learning about how Global Missions work is changing as the world shrinks, thanks to technology and globalization.

The group running the program put out the 9 Game Changers for Global Missions document that made the rounds last year, and certainly resounded with Nicole and I.

You really should read the document if you have any interest in the topic, but a common thread is that the model for missions that used to work, is becoming less effective than it used to be. There are still some fields where that old approach works, but more and more, things are beginning to change.

Actually, it astounds me that things haven’t changed yet. At work I’m on a “Global Team” and commicate and work regularly with folks in India and Europe, and the thought had never crossed my mind that missions shouldn’t work the same way…

At any rate, my thoughts on this subject are much too complex for a blog post right now. On a random note, the event happened in Dallas, Texas, and since we had a little time before flying out, we decided to visit the place where JFK was shot. There was a very educational museum there, and surprisingly little has changed since the then-President’s motorcade drove through. You couldn’t stand at the exact window where Lee Harvey Oswald drew his rifle — but you could stand at the window next to it… and I tell you, it was like staring down into history.

I don’t know much about JFK’s politics, although I know the tendencies Democrats lean toward. I know he was a deeply flawed man. But I also know, in everything I’ve read and seen about him, that he was hopeful and earnest. That he and his beautiful, graceful wife built bridges with people, stared down nuclear war and stopped it, and in his short career as President (about 1000 days) sparked the imagination and goodwill of a generation.

I read a lot about it, and I don’t believe Oswald acted alone, for the same reason I do believe in global missions: this is a fallen world, where anger and hatred and jealousy and pride corrode. That the only thing that unites people faster than a common hope is common sin. And that when one man, even a President, stands against the darkness, he will eventually fall (or falter.) But when God’s people stand together, and speak His name in love and justice and hope, there is nothing that can stop the King of Creation from re-claiming His lost children…