“This is a safe group.”
One of the six couples meeting semiannually as Mission Presidents had just shared some recent challenges and we prayed for them.
That’s what happens with each couple in the 40 hours we spend together, meeting as guests of a different ministry every fall and every spring. The ministries represented are Navigators, Inter-Varsity, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Young Life, Youth for Christ, Cru.
Steve and I have been part of the group since 2001, and we never miss. Last year Steve had just had hip surgery and couldn’t make it to Madison WI, so we brought him in via FaceTime.
Navigators is hosting us this spring at beautiful Glen Eyrie. The group took an uphill hike after lunch, energizing them for the afternoon sharing and praying.
What does the time look like? We usually start with dinner at the host’s home. The next morning the host leads us in devotions. Then we launch into sharing and praying. In one-hour slots, each couple shares personal, family and ministry updates, including good progress, next-step initiatives and, invariably, some challenges. Then we pray for them.
Meal times offer great conversation, getting to know new members, hearing about family weddings and babies. Dinner is usually at a fun or famous local restaurant. Tonight’s dinner was with a fresh market chef.
The next morning wraps up the sharing and praying and then we move to a couple of hours of interaction on topics and issues of common interest.
So why are these busy mission executives willing to take time to meet twice a year? What makes this gathering a priority? I’ll let them tell you:
Newt Crenshaw, Young Life: Meeting on a regular basis with the mission presidents from Cru, InterVarsity, YFC, Navigators and FCA has been a major blessing to Susan and me as we all work together to reach and teach more young people with the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. Better Together!
Tom Lin, Inter-Varsity: “It’s a safe space for the presidents to share vulnerably in tears, to share in one another’s joys & sufferings. But perhaps what’s most powerful is the humility and genuine trust given to one another, which sets an example of the posture we hope our organizations and staff have toward one another.”
Doug Nuenke, Navigators: The Lord has undergirded our lives with these friends. Our times together mean mutual learning, processing leadership challenges and prayerful support for families and ministries. Amazing what God does!”
Dan Wolgemuth, Youth for Christ: Isolation is a lie that Satan pronounces over leaders. As is perfection. The devil tells us, “You’re alone, and if you make a mistake, or if somebody finds out that you’re not perfect… you’re ruined.” A community of trusted, humble and wise leaders protects and influences me and our mission in a way that combats the lies of the enemy. Safe and inspired. Supported and propelled. I praise God for our amazing circle of companionship.
Shane Williamson, FCA: In our time together, we experience the true power of God’s connecting his people for his purposes. The trusted circle in which we sit as ministry leaders for prayer, worship, fellowship and laughter reflects the heart of Christ that we be one. “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-15} Angel and I are so thankful for the encouragement we receive from our fellow servants of the gospel.
Steve Douglass, Cru: Jesus prayed to the Father for those who follow Him “that they may be one as we are one. I in them and You in Me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me. We meet in part in answer to that prayer. We want to work together in the unity of the Spirit. To do that takes time to share with and prayer for one another. Through the years it has been a great joy to come to know and trust one another at a deep level. I always look forward to meeting with the Mission Presidents.
I think God is smiling.
What about you? Where can you work with others in the body of Christ?
C2018 Judy Douglass