Thursday, October 26, 2006

emerging leaders

i just got back from five days in toronto as part of a leadership training projecct called emerging leaders. inter-varsity has invited 30 of their staff to participate in a series of 4-5 weeklong modules, in the hopes of developing leaders and deploying them in new ways within the organization.

this last module was a lot of work. it was a slightly shorter version of a seminary course on lifelong leadership development, led by dr. shelley trebesch. we read a couple of books before the course, as well as preparing a five-page autobiography, then entered into a week of lectures and various assignments designed to help us reflect on how God had made us and ways He had led us and worked through us in the past. we considered the ministry activities that seemed attended by the special blessing of God, and recalled scripture and other words that we had been given. could we see the seeds of destiny that God had been sowing in our lives over many years, sometimes before we had even consciously entered into a life with Him? we studied a generalized pattern of a leader's development over a lifetime, and then constructed our own timelines, trying to discern how God might be working right now and in the near future.

the goal of all of this was to hear God afresh, especially in light of all that He's already done in our lives. it was a fascinating time, filled with insight and questions in probably equal measures. i laboured over my timeline, and finally got it to a place where i was satisfied, then wondered: what does all of this mean?

an exercise i especially appreciated was to list the destiny experiences from our past — events, words, people, experiences that we felt that God had used to guide us. i was amazed and reassured to find a very long list (i quit counting at 40), and grateful to realize how often and in how many ways God has led me in the past.

of course, the pregnant question leaving the weekend was: what will God do next? how will He lead me and my family? i came away from the time feeling encouraged, full of faith and expectation!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

early october

the first part of october was amazingly busy. we had a chance to join most of the montreal staff team for breakfast with donna dong, an old friend from california and now inter-varsity's director of multiethnic ministries. donna, who has always been a great teacher and a clear thinker, is also a cancer survivor and seems to have a fresh passion and drive for her work of promoting an inter-varsity ministry that reaches people of every background and sees them reconciled to God and one another through the gospel of Jesus. it was great to see her again.

later that week m and i had a hospital visit with a chinese friend who has had some severe and troubling medical issues. h and her son are relatively recent converts, and this time has tested her newfound faith. but it was a joy to see her in the hospital and find her spiritually stronger than ever, trying to reach out to her hospital roommates and the medical staff. we took her home later that week, and helped her to get re-established at home. it'll still be a long road to full health, and she is still facing the prospect of further complications that might force her to go back to china, where she assures us she can get better medical care than here. from what i've experienced of quebec's health system (where 29% of us cannot find a regular doctor), i can believe her.

beyond that, it was more of the same: lunch with a young couple that had a wild summer in ministry, learning to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in a fresh way; an evangelistic meeting in a downtown coffeehouse with some amazing music, great prizes, and a very attentive crowd for my message on finding success; m's regular meetings with a number of women (mostly students) that she is mentoring; a sermon at a local church from matthew 9 (the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few); dinner in chinatown with some international friends — and their friends!

a bit of family news:
  • b took her sats for the second time, and had an unusual amount of opposition which attended the day; still, she was relieved to have completed the exams. her sat ii's are scheduled for december.
  • m celebrated her 25th christian birthday, which also happens to be the same as n's baptism day. congratulations to m and n on all that God has done in their lives — the best is yet to come!