UNLEASHING POTENTIAL IN STORYCENTRIC COMMUNITIES

Missions

Leading with Excellence in Babylon

Leading with Excellence in Babylon

This is Part 5 of our 2020 Blog Series. You can read the previous posts here.   At times the grind of leadership can seem futile. One that could attest to that reality would have been the Old Testament prophet Daniel. He had every right to wallow in self-pity, thinking that his life and leadership were a waste. The Sunday School conception of Daniel’s days was like a continuous prime time flick of hanging out in the lion’s den, interpreting King Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams, receiving historic prophetic visions, and seeing handwriting on the wall. But all these experiences made up a very small part of his work life. Most of his nights and days – week after week, year after year – were spent much like yours and mine. He performed minor routines.  In fact, he had a pretty awful job. Daniel’s boss was the despicable king of Babylon. Daniel’s workdays

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A Gospel of Work

A Gospel of Work

This is Part 4 of a Multi-Blog Series. You can read the previous posts here.   The biblical idea of the “gospel” is more than simply the individual salvation of men and women. Rather, the gospel impacts everything, including our work. This more robust idea of the gospel can be seen through a four-chapter biblical narrative: (1) Creation, (2) Fall, (3) Redemption, and (4) Fulfillment.   Chapter 1: Creation In the first chapter of Genesis, the writer recounts the six days of creation. According to this Book of Beginnings, God created all things very good. When God originally placed Adam and Eve in the Garden, he ordered them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28). God had also delegated

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Making a Mindset

Making a Mindset

This is Part 2 of a Multi-Blog Series. Read Part 1.   I am grateful for my church heritage that prioritized disciple-making around the world. Introducing men and women to the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ and cultivating them to become mature, reproducing  leaders have been the privilege of my personal and vocational life. But the church’s penchant for lionizing missionaries and pastors – like myself – because of our status as “full-time ministers” has created a collective myopia in our ranks. This poor lens hinders us from seeing the broader landscape that is richly populated by Christian believers with enormous potential to advance the Kingdom as mechanics, marketers, mothers, and medical technicians. The Roots of a Faulty Perception What are the roots of this faulty perception? This mindset certainly doesn’t reflect the New Testament emphasis on the “priesthood of all believers.” How did the idea that missionaries and pastors

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Higher Calling

Higher Calling

“Children don’t judge their own lives. Normal for them is what’s laid before them day by day. Judgment comes later.” -Charles Frazier, Varina. This is Part 1 of a Multi-blog series A High Calling? The church of my childhood graced me with priceless truths. But in church I also heard a half-truth. It is the notion that people who work in vocational Christian ministry have a high calling, and those who work in secular jobs don’t. This half-truth was more implied than overt, more caught than taught. It led me to choices I didn’t know I was making. Only later did I come to know how much this half-truth shaped my life, and how for countless others it has shut off whole worlds that might have been. The Church of My Childhood My father went to the University of North Carolina on a GI Bill to study accounting. He worked

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Season of Prayer

Season of Prayer

Will you join us for a season of prayer throughout the month of October? Listen to more about this here:   You can download an electronic copy of the entire October calendar by clicking here.

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Run Hard Into a New Year – Part Two

Run Hard Into a New Year – Part Two

Last week we began looking at five parallels between long-distance running and Christian ministry. Today I give you numbers 6 to 10.

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Run Hard Into a New Year – Part One

Run Hard Into a New Year – Part One

As we begin a new year into 2018, I see great parallels between long-distance running and the ministry we have with Freedom to Lead. These are personal things I’m learning as I’ve been putting my feet to the pavement these days.   Let’s look at ten of these parallels as we “run hard” into a new year with new beginnings. (the first five will be this week and the other five will be posted next week) 1.    Your attire means everything.  When I first began getting serious about long-distance running I would get giant blisters on my feet and acute pain in my knees. You see, for several weeks I had been running with an old pair of well-loved shoes and cotton socks. All of the experienced runners are right now shaking their heads because they know that’s a big “no-no.” Apparently your shoes and socks can make or break your experience,

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Saying Yes To God

Saying Yes To God

What does saying “yes” to God look like for Mary Lu and her husband Doug? Read her story about how saying “yes” brought her to Freedom to Lead International. From a Young Age When I was 9 years old, I said “Yes” to the invitation to receive God’s gift of forgiveness and to follow after Jesus Christ. At the age of 15, I said “Yes, God, I will serve you in music and in missions and will go to Nyack College.” I had no idea what saying “yes” to Jesus would look like back then. But what a journey it has been! I must confess that I haven’t always responded with a hearty “Yes!” Sometimes I was saying, “Yes” through clenched teeth. However, it is my most recent journey that has brought me to where I am today. Freedom to Lead International My “Yes” to Freedom to Lead International® (FTL)

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I Always Knew It Was Wednesday

I Always Knew It Was Wednesday

I always knew it was Wednesday because they tortured me every Wednesday. One huge benefit of FTL’s ministry is the privilege of partnering with some extraordinary leaders. Some of these leaders have faithfully and effectively served the church in their context for decades. They are compelled by the love of Christ. They have committed themselves, their families, and their futures to reach others with the Good News. In many cases, they have paid a stiff price for their resolve. These brothers and sisters are the heroes of FTL’s story. One of these leaders is one we will call “A”. “A” calls Addis Ababa, Ethiopia home, but his travels take him far beyond. His broad impact for Christ throughout East Africa has been monumental. Yet his reputation has not come without a price. During Ethiopia’s communist regime (1987-91), “A” was imprisoned for his bold Christian witness. Although he lost track of

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Privileged to Serve

Privileged to Serve

Last month Freedom to Lead International was in Ethiopia. This is a report from the President. Dear Friends, Thank you for praying as seven FTL team members from various locations travelled safely, and everyone stayed relatively healthy. Our indigenous ministry partners were very excited as they learned two modules of The Garden Project: Peacemaking  and Spiritual Leadership. They reported on the profound impact of former FTL modules both on themselves and on those they lead. Doug Gent, an attorney from Pennsylvania and FTL board member, accompanied us on this trip. Here are his reflections of the experience: My recent visit to Ethiopia with the FTL team was an excellent opportunity to observe both the team at work and the responsiveness of the Ethiopian participants.  It quickly became evident that FTL has established a high level of trust and acceptance with these groups of Ethiopian church leaders. From the testimonies shared by

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Reaching the Unengaged through the Leader on the Bridge

Reaching the Unengaged through the Leader on the Bridge

In order to reach many, invest in a few. How does a half dozen people reach 5000 unengaged Christian leaders in Africa? It’s simple, really, though certainly not simplistic. It is actually not t0o unlike the way our Lord Jesus did with The Twelve.  In order to engage the masses of Christian leaders who need the tools to grow as Christ-centered leaders in their churches and communities we invest in the one we call “The Leader on the Bridge.” By investing in this leader on the bridge, we mentor him or her as he takes the material across the “bridge” of language, culture, and geography to transfer these principles to those truly at the grassroots level. Each bridge leader is different in terms of culture, language, personality, and gender. He or she is also different in terms of background, area of ministry, and theological leanings – just as God created us

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Asking the Right Questions

Asking the Right Questions

Storytelling Questions The Story of Rev. Gupta Rev. Gupta was a well-loved pastor in his rural community for many years. He brought together his friends Raju and Geeta to help build the church and these people became life long friends. The community was being reached with the gospel, people were being baptized every week, and the church was growing. Rev. Gupta was able to get further study in a neighboring city. As the church started to expand and new ministries were being added, several things began to happen. Raju and Geeta were concerned by the changes they were seeing in Rev. Gupta (or, rather, as he now wanted to be referred to as Dr. Gupta). As the ministry grew under Dr. Gupta’s leadership, he was invited to travel and teach and, in the process, became a sought-after conference speaker. It wasn’t long, however, before the early signs of “big boss sickness” began

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