Monthly Archives: October 2007

Missions and Money

I’m in an interesting place right now. People around me (my wife mainly) have been talking about a new approach to missions. The traditional support network apparently isn’t so much for our generation or for these times. We need to look beyond that and beyond just our financial needs and see how we can connect with the community around us in a way that goes beyond “traditional” ministry. You can only impact so many people during 9-5, cause most of them are at work.. interesting conundrum. Its seems that there is a lot that can be done as you work within smaller communities at work.

The connecting place for me, at least the most obvious, is in the area of web-development. The problem is, and hence my interesting place, is that I have never had actual training in this. I’ve taught myself everything and my knowledge is, i’m sad to say, sketchy. I’m not confident. If I want to find some work with a company, I really need to know my stuff – I literally need to kick ass at what I do (but I don’t).

But, I have been learning PHP, a language that enables you to develop interactive sites that are dynamic. Most blogs and social networks around are built on php. Its a power language. I just don’t know if I have time to get really good at it, or if I should take a crash course!

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Activism: A new definition for missions in the 21st Century

Tracie and I have been thinking about our role here in Madison. We want to do more and we want to be more effective. We’ve started a process of praying about what that “more” looks like and how we fit in it. We both want to see the church rise up and be Christ in Madison, and want to see the truth of God and his world be communicated throughout the city.

We did a school a few years ago called the Humanities & Sciences: A Christian Perspective and have often talked of seeing that school pioneered in Madison. We would want it to be a school that is engaging with the campus – processing and discussing the things that they are learning with students down-town. I felt that if we didn’t do that, we would still be in a place of frustration – feeling like we are teaching all this amazing stuff, but it isn’t impacting the people who need it the most – it isn’t practical – it isn’t having any effect on the world!

As Tracie and I were talking, I started thinking about activism. I don’t know where it came from, but something connected with me. I was thinking: we have a lot to learn from the activist movement! Activists are so set on what they are active about. They are convinced that people need to know about whatever it is they are for (or against) and will do whatever it takes for that to happen. If they need funds, they fund-raise. They are committed to their cause. 

For some reason I connect more with this framework than the missions framework. Maybe its because of the baggage that the term missions carries in my mind: that its about preaching and evangelism and mercy ministry, which are all good things, but not things that get my pulse racing. I can do activism! I can be a Christ activist. I want to have that same level of commitment and single-mindedness, pushing forward His causes. It’s really helped me to get re-motivated in some areas of my life and work. I’m going to continue to process things in this context.

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Filed under Activism, Missions, The Church

CoLabor – A site to share vision

Colabor logo

One of the problems that we often face, even in Youth With A Mission, is that we have limited resources, there’s only so much that the church gives to missions (and that is a whole different discussion). YWAM is organised in such a way that YWAM ministries can be autonomous, acting on their own, without control or communication. Now, this leads to wonderful growth and  expressions of ministry that are as abundant as they are different. On the negative side this can also lead to different locations and groups focusing their limited resources on the same region or area of the world. For example, two YWAM bases focusing on the same region in Ghana. Why not join forces (and resources) and tackle that place together, benefiting from one another’s experience and different gifts.

Last year I had the idea of creating a website to connect those that are labouring in the same places or fields. It would allow YWAM Bases and/or YWAM Staff to post information about their base, their focuses, the schools they run and their target nations and regions. Using some tagging functions to build a network that reveals connections and indicates to the user whom else shares their same vision and ministry. Communication and contact tools would also be provided to enable users with similar vision and direction to stay in touch, dream together, encourage one-another, and ultimately “co-labour” together (English spelling for my sanity) in gathering the harvest.

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Filed under Internet, Missions, Social Networks, Technology, The Church