Connecting and Chemistry

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“The lady who has become known as the “woman at the well” is a mystery to us. We don’t know her name. We only know she was of a snubbed gender and a despised race. Yet Jesus connected with her and something remarkable transpired. Through this story, we learn about the value of connecting with others - this ability is sometimes called emotional intelligence. People don’t connect easily with frowning, emotionally sensitive, intense, defensive leaders. We can only lead to the degree that we can emotionally connect with people. Leaders who are out of touch with how they come across, who lack emotional intelligence, are limited in their effectiveness.

There are four components to leadership “connectedness” we can draw from the story of the Samaritan woman at the well:

1. Self-Awareness – Jesus was secure in His identity, which gave Him the confidence to step over racial and religious barriers to connect with the woman at the well. He recognized and understood His own moods and emotions and did not allow them to hinder His ability to connect with people. Put simply, He was aware of His own actions, words, and feelings, but focused on others. 2. Self-Management – Jesus was able to recognize and control any negative emotions or presumptions that had been passed on to Him regarding Samaritans. He was in control of His moods and impulses. Jesus was prepared to challenge the accepted norms of racial and gender separation that dominated the Jewish religion. Healthy leaders can self-manage their lives. They are not dependent on public opinion (or even close friends) to do the right thing for others. 3. Healthy Empathy – Jesus had the ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people. He perceived the discomfort and guilt of the woman at the well. He had developed the character quality of relating to people according to their needs, rather than His own. 4. Social Skill – Jesus was proficient at building and maintaining relationships beyond the cadre of disciples. He enjoyed close relationship with the disciples, but was not dependent on them alone for friendship and company. He was accessible, non-exclusive, and truly cared about all people, not only His inner circle.

Why is the leadership lesson of connection and chemistry so important? Simply put, you cannot lead people you cannot relate to. Connection, when genuine, allows us to build bridges of trust and understanding to people who may be different from ourselves. We can provide emotional warmth, listen attentively, smile, offer encouragement and affirmation, show genuine interest, and display faith in people. It’s also important that we are not defensive and do not overreact in the face of adversity. By fostering the genuine desire to relate to others, we can develop chemistry with them, which makes them more willing to receive our leadership.

In the conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well, Jesus was able to make a connection by being willing to overcome barriers of gender, racial prejudice, immoral behavior, theological difference, and initial personal rejection. Let’s take a closer look at how Jesus fostered this connection: • He went out of His way to meet her (verse 4). • He initiated the conversation (verse 7). • 
He listened and allowed her to speak (verse 9). • He showed respect, regardless of her gender and status (verse 9). • He aroused spiritual interest in her by casting a vision for something greater than she had imagined (verses 10–15). • He entered into her world, that is, He built a bridge to her world (verses 13–24). • He did not try to control her or pressure her to join Him (verses 13–15). • He inspired her to go as far as she was willing to go in her spiritual journey (verses 15–18). • He accepted her where she was (verses 17–18). • 
He did not convey disappointment in her choices (verse 18). • He focused on key issues for her future (verses 20–24). • He communicated directly and simply to her, in language she could understand (verses 25–26).

Throughout my life, I have been mentored by some great “connectors.” One of the greatest was Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With A Mission. As I watched him in action, I was struck again and again by how Loren connected with people. In big crowds or small, he would focus on one individual at a time, smile warmly, ask them questions, and listen to them attentively. Then he would challenge and encourage them to do something great for God. That is connecting.

Loren planted the seeds of greatness and great achievement in the hearts of many young leaders by challenging them to go beyond what they had dreamed or thought of doing before that time. Then he would give them an opportunity to do what he had just encouraged them to dream about. He didn’t just inspire and walk away, he invested in the relationship and took the connection a step further. That is chemistry.

Step one in connecting with people is reaching across any perceived or real barriers. Take a few moments to reflect on the people you lead who are different from yourself. Think wider about those God wants you to influence who have not yet come to faith in Jesus. Are you actively working at reaching across age, gender, class, and racial barriers to connect with them? Think deeper as well as wider. Do you react if people give you advice you don’t like? Do you send the message that you want to listen attentively, learn from what people say to you, and are prepared to engage in deeper conversation?

If you would like to read the other 39 Chapters in my new book 'Leading Like Jesus' please click here to find it on Amazon Kindle.  Or you can order a paperback copy at YWAM Publishing here.

Preferential Treatment

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"In chapter two of John’s Gospel account, we read of Jesus driving unjust merchants and moneychangers from the temple. Directly following this, in chapter three, Jesus welcomes a member of the very class of people who allowed these injustices to take place. Jesus welcomed both poor and rich, those without rank in society and those who enjoyed privilege and power. It was not the status of the rich and powerful that offended Jesus, but the abuse of their power. He welcomed all those who demonstrated spiritual hunger.

I have had the privilege of meeting ambassadors and leaders of government, heads of major corporations, and mayors of cities and towns. What stands out to me about many of the leaders I have met is how approachable they are.

Truly great people are not impressed by their own positions or power. They make time for people. And they’re great conversationalists.

Everyone has a story. American Ambassador William Turner and his wife, Cynthia, always amazed me with their ability to engage people in conversation, no matter their rank in life. Whether speaking to prostitutes or priests, they impressed me over and over again at their ability to ask simple, heartfelt questions and then listen earnestly to the responses.

Insecure leaders want people to hear about them. But secure and effective leaders want to hear about others.

Do you give equal respect to both the wealthy and the marginalized of society? In some circles, it is popular to welcome the poor but the rich and powerful are looked upon with mistrust. Or vice versa. Jesus didn’t show preferences. He welcomed all who received Him, no matter their race, gender, or role."

To read the other 39 Chapters click here to buy Leading Like Jesus on Amazon Kindle or click here to buy a paperback copy from YWAM Publishers.

Salvation 'excludes no one'

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This is an article by Jonathan Brenneman, from the Cape Times, 17 December 2015 issue. "During this time, Advent Christians around the world turn their attention toward Christmas and to that little town of Bethlehem, where Jesus Christ was born.  Bethlehem holds an extra special place in my heart because I know someone else who was born there, my mother.  My mother is a Christian Palestinian, as am I.  We are part of a Christian community that traces its origin back to the first followers of Jesus.

I am often amazed at the confusion that my identity as a Christian Palestinian causes for many of my fellow Christians.  In all their time learning about the Holy Land, both two thousand years ago and at present, they have never come to know their Chrisian brothers and sisters who inhabit the land.

This confusion is often caused by a specific kind of theology, that of Christian Zionism.  Christian Zionism divides the people of the region historically known as Palestine into two groups: Jews, whom God wants in the land and whom we should side with and non-Jews, who get in the way of God's plan and whom we as Christinas should oppose.

I grew up unsure of where we Christian Palestinians belong in this scheme.  What are we, the living remnant of the first Christians, to do? Are we all supposed to oppose ourselves, to deny our Christian identity, to convert to Judaism?  Or to leave homes that have been in our family for generations, to abandon the land where our Saviour was born, lived, preached the gospel, died and rose again?

Are we and our neighbours not loved by God?  Did the Redeemer of the universe not have a place for us in His redemption plan?  None of the Christian Zionist answers sounded like something the God I believe in would want.

As many Christians do when faced with such questions, I went to the Scriptures.  There I found something very different from the theology of Christian Zionism.  I learnt that God, through the Jewish people, had brought HIs son into the world to save it.  In Christ, salvation is no longer dependent on one's ethnic ties, but has been extended to all peoples in the world.  The wall of separation has been torn down.  This was made possible through Christ's death and resurrection, but also revealed by Christ's life and teachings.

Jesus did not exclude anyone from His teachings and miracles; He invited Roman centurions (Mt 8:5-13), tax collectors (Luke 19:1-10), Samaritans (Luke 10:25-37), "unclean" lepers (Mt 8, Luke 17:11-19), and "unclean" women (Mark 5:25-34, Mt 5:27-23, Luke 7:36-50) to follow Him.  These people did not fit into the socially acceptable categories of the day.

Jesus' life demonstrated, as Paul would later write, that there was neither Jew nor Gentile (Gal 3:28, Col 3:11), but all were welcome at the Lord's table.  This is not to say that God no longer loves the Jews, as some anti-Semitic theologians have said, but that God's love, through Jesus encompasses the whole world, not just one tribe.

When I brought up this new understanding with my Chrisian Zionist friends there were unconvinced.

They claimed that although God does love the whole world, His plan for the world has a specific, well defined ending, which includes Jews ruling the land of Palestine.  A Christian's duty is to support Jewish rule, regardless of what it entails.  This argument again raised questions, and again I went to the Scriptures.

This time I did not find clear-cut answers.  Instead, I found uncertainty about how and when the end would come about.  Jesus specifically said it was not for us to know (Acts 1:7), like how we do not know when a thief will arrive (Rev 16:15).  Paul reiterates this sayig that he sees through a glass dimly (1 Cor 13:12).  The Scriptures tell us not to base our actions on what we think will happen in the end because, regardless of our supposed certainty, we cannot know.

Instead, Scripture continually points to the life, teachings and example of Christ to show how we as His followers should live our lives.  Caring for those who society does not care for - outcasts without power - is central to biblical ethics.  This is not only demonstrated in Jesus' life, but can be found through the whole of God's redemption story in Scripture.

When the Jews are oppressed, God leads them on a long walk to freedom.  When Jews are the oppressors, God leads those they oppress to freedom.  The good news of the gospel is freedom for widows, for orphans, for strangers, for prisoners, for the "unclean", for the disenfranchised, for anyone without power.

In the land where Jesus was born, Jews were oppressed under Roman occupation.  Jesus challenged this oppression through love, while inviting both Jews and Romans to join Him.  Today, Christian Palestinians have sought to follow in His footsteps while living under Israeli occupation by inviting other Palestinians and Israelis to challenge the Israeli occupation's oppresssion with love.

In 2009 representatives from every Christian denomination in Palestine wrote the Kairos Palestine document - based on the South African Kairos document of 1985 - calling on Christians around the world to join their struggle against oppression with "faith, hope and love".  This Christmas season, I invite you to read the Kairos Palestine document and be challenged by the invitation to the church to "proclaim the Kingdom of God, a kingdom of justice, peace and dignity".  Only then will we come into the Kingdom foretold by the Scriptures, where the lion will lie down with the lamb, and where we will learn war no more.

  • Brenneman is with the organisation called Open Shuhada Street"

Prophetic Voice

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“Jesus raised His voice against corrupt merchants in the temple, and in doing so gave leaders for all time an example of the importance of speaking against injustice. A little background is helpful to understand why Jesus was provoked to action. Worshippers came to Jerusalem from all over the Roman Empire to observe the annual Passover feast. Because they were traveling long distances, they were not able to bring sacrificial animals with them.

The traders in the temple took advantage of the people by selling sacrificial animals at exorbitant prices. This prevented many people from being able to worship God with their sacrifices (as required by Jewish law).

The moneychangers took advantage of people as well. All Jewish males 20 years of age or older were required to pay an annual “temple tax.” The moneychangers demanded outrageous fees for buying the local currency that was required to pay the tax.

Jesus was a prophetic voice against injustice. He spoke up on behalf of those who had no voice. True shepherds raise their voices to protect their sheep. Those who speak up against injustice create a safe place for those who have experienced abuse and injustice.

I live in Africa. Cape Town has been my home since 2006, though my wife and I have traveled in many African countries since 1970. One of the saddest developments we have witnessed in African Christianity is the spread of the so-called “prosperity gospel.” Unscrupulous preachers and evangelists are making promises to the poor - cars, jobs, health, and healing - if they give to the “man of God.”

It is grievous to see spiritual leaders prospering from the poor, creating false hope in the hearts of the hopeless. True shepherds cannot be silent about such evil.

Speaking prophetically against injustice does not mean we are called to speak publicly against those of different political persuasions. To the contrary, those in leadership roles should not use their position to advocate one political party over another. We can and should address issues - but not persons or parties. The church and the office should be safe places for people of different political persuasions to participate without coming under personal attack for their views.

Who in your community is being oppressed by unfair business practices? Is there a way to speak up on their behalf? It could be that you are to be the voice for those who fear losing their jobs in a corporate setting. If you are silent, you may risk becoming an organizational eunuch, a person who keeps the peace but in the process loses integrity. Don’t remain silent to maintain the illusion of harmony if important principles are at stake."

To see what the other 39 Chapters of my new book, Leading Like Jesus, have to say click here to buy it on Amazon Kindle. Or order a paperback copy from YWAM Publishing here.

The Principle Of The Relaxed Grasp

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"Needy leaders are grasping leaders. If leaders trust God to bring them the people they need, people will sense their security and be more likely to feel safe with them and follow their lead. Insecurity comes in all forms. An insecure disposition can develop over time as a poor response to difficult circumstances. A deeper form of insecurity is a manifestation of pride. This can be very damaging in the life of an ambitious leader; it can cause us to claim people as “ours” rather than recognize they belong to the Lord. They are only ours to the degree that we care for them as Jesus cared for His followers. Pride in the life of leaders makes them self-serving and blind to other’s needs. Pride leads to presumption and presumption leads to possessiveness. It takes a large dose of humility to put the needs and dreams of others above your own. A humble leader is the kind of leader others trust with their future dreams and aspirations.

Leadership is a privilege, not a right. It is a privilege to serve others, and with great privilege comes great responsibility. But some leaders confuse the difference between fulfilling their responsibility and thinking they have the right to insist on things being done their way. In his incisive book, Why Leaders Can’t Lead, Warren Bennis speaks candidly on the difference between leading people and managing them. After studying the lives of effective leaders, he concluded that leaders are people who do the right thing while managers are people who strive to ensure that people under them do things right.1 While both roles are crucial, they differ profoundly. It is the difference between those who hold their people with a relaxed grasp, and those who grip them as if they own them. People don’t respond well to being over-managed and under-led. They want to be led by those they believe in. If they have bought into you as a leader, they want you to lead them - but not micro-manage them.

The principle of the relaxed grasp is about releasing people into God’s hands so He can put them into yours. We don’t serve in order to be good leaders, but we’re more likely to be good leaders if we serve people rather than grasping them as ours. If we serve people well, we influence them, and if we influence them, then we have spiritual authority in their lives. Serving equals influence equals authority. Those who do not take hold of this Jesus-approach to leadership assume they have the right to insist on people submitting to them and respecting them.

When I was leading a missions training center in Holland, a friend confronted me. He said, “You see people for how they can meet your needs and help you fulfill your vision...God wants to change that. God wants you to see people for how you can help them fulfill their vision, not yours. If you will hold people with a relaxed grasp, with your hands open, God will fill your hands with more leaders than you know what to do with. But if you hold onto them tightly, then your hands will be full and God cannot give you more people...especially the right people.” I was offended when I heard these words of rebuke. But they were true. My anger was from guilt. I was an insecure leader who had more vision than character, and who held onto volunteers and staff as if they were my own, not the Lord’s.

With the help of persistent prompting from the Lord, I took this realization to heart and began to practice servant leadership. When I stopped using people to fulfill my vision and began serving them to see their visions fulfilled, the prophetic words of my friend came to pass many times over. There has never been a shortage of other leaders in my life. My hands have been full.

Yes, God gives us vision as leaders, and we should share that vision passionately with others with the hope that God will send people to help us fulfill the vision. But we must be careful about letting our passion overrule our compassion. The sincere attitude of wanting to serve people will demonstrate that we are the right ones to link up with. We become the kind of leaders people can trust and support, because we care not only about our cause, but about them.

Are your hands open to receive and release others? Are you a “releasing leader”? Releasing leaders have settled the deeper issues that cause insecurity. They have confronted pride; they are willing to serve. Servant leadership is a lifelong journey of learning what it means to put others first, of learning over and over again the great privilege we’re given when God puts people into our hands to lead and care for."

To see what the other 39 Chapters of my new book, Leading Like Jesus, have to say click here to buy it on Amazon Kindle. Or order a paperback copy from YWAM Publishing here.

Complicity Versus Confrontation

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"The great privilege of leadership is in influencing other people’s lives. The grave responsibility of leadership is confronting sin in people’s lives. This is part of the price of leadership. Complicity is knowing about immoral, illegal, or unethical activity and covering it up through silence. It is saying nothing when something should be said.

Those who accept the privilege of leading must also accept the responsibility. Invested leaders help mold and shape the actions and attitudes of those they lead. They offer correction as needed, especially if certain actions and attitudes negatively impact the lives of others. Leaders set the moral and spiritual tone for what happens around them.

The Old Testament prophet Eli is an example of a leader who refused to confront the sins of his own sons. As a result, God punished the sons and held Eli responsible for his silence. (1 Sam. 2:22–36)

It takes courage and kindness to confront people in the right way. No mature leader—whether a father, mother, manager, teacher, coach, mentor, or spiritual leader—enjoys confrontation. What could cause a leader to fail to confront people when needed? Most often, it is dependence on the approval of others.

In the Maxwell Leadership Bible, John Maxwell says courageous leaders are willing to do “the unpopular to accomplish the unforgettable.”

Jesus could confront people in the temple because He did not need their approval. He was not leading out of a desire to be accepted by people. He was secure in His identity as a servant leader and therefore, courageous and free to commit to righteousness.

When Jesus threw the money-changers out of the temple, those with spiritual discernment knew He was a loving shepherd who was serious about confronting injustice.

People feel safe when they know their leaders will speak up for them, defend them, and not allow false teachers, false prophets, or unethical people to harass them or divide the church.

How did driving the money-changers out of the temple show good leadership?

  • A strong leader defends his followers, as well as the marginalized and oppressed.
  • A loving leader stands up for the underdog.
  • A courageous leader won’t allow anyone to hinder his people from having the opportunity to worship freely.
  • A godly leader speaks out against economic injustice.
  • A God-fearing leader won’t allow conflict of interest.
  • A Kingdom leader will not be complicit with sin.
  • A discerning leader will not allow others under them to compromise their reputation by remaining silent, rather than speaking the truth in love.

I recently received a letter from a young man, thanking me for confronting him. Two years prior, he had been allowing a serious compromise in his life to continue unchecked (and was quite boastful about it). I knew I could not simply turn a blind eye. Accepting this responsibility wasn’t easy. I had to be willing to face a potentially uncomfortable conversation. It meant setting aside time for many meetings with him, as well as spending hours in prayer and Bible study to make sure my attitude and scriptural position was in line. The young man was very popular in our community and everyone was watching to see how I handled the situation.

The invested hours proved fruitful and the man was rescued from deception. The situation also provided an opportunity to model how to be patient, yet firm—both to the young man and to those looking on.

There is a great pressure in our society not to be a “snitch.” Young people are especially under pressure not to “tell on” others. It’s true, there is a right way and wrong way to bring things to light. We need to pray before speaking to discern whether our motives are pure or impure. Our motivation should not be self-righteous, or to point a finger. But God’s Word is clear: if we know about sin in people’s lives yet remain silent, we are an accomplice to the sin in God’s eyes.

What might prevent you from speaking up about sin? Ask God to search your heart and reveal any insecurity or need for approval (see lesson one). It is important to teach this principle to those we lead, to arm them for the day when they will be tempted to commit the sin of complicity.

How could you go about training those you lead to appreciate this important leadership lesson?"

To read the other 39 chapters click here and buy Leading Like Jesus on Amazon Kindle. Or order a paperback copy at YWAM Publishing

A Dream of Light That Brought Refugee To Jesus

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Achmed lives with his family in a refugee camp. He had never seen himself as a good Muslim and would often beat himself up about his lack. One night, he had a dream where he was in complete darkness. Then suddenly, a hand reached out to him, pulled him out of the darkness and into the light. The next day, Achmed met one of our workers, disciple Prabu, and shared about the dream. Although he was affected by the dream, he was unsure how God could ever forgive him for the life he had led.

Prabu began discipling Achmed, and over time Jesus opened Achmed's heart to His forgiving and loving nature as a Father. Achmed started a bible group that has grown into two groups! Jesus continues to show His love among refugees all around the world through dreams and stories!

Share the miracle, and show what God is doing among the nations!

Guest Article by Dr Dave Cashin

How ISIS is Spreading the Gospel

“I have been a Muslim for forty-one years, in all that time have never questioned Islam. But now, I have decided to leave it.”

A few weeks ago I received an email from one of my students. She has been working amongst Muslim women and had just had a phone call from one of her Muslim friends. The woman was weeping uncontrollably, and my student assumed someone in her family had died. After she regained her composure she made the following startling statement, “I have been a Muslim for forty-one years, and in all that time have never questioned Islam. But now, I have decided to leave it.” When my student asked her “why,” she related that she had been watching ISIS videos and the brutality that they justified as the “methods of the Prophet.” She decided to leave Islam.

I have often referred Islamic radicals as “proto-evangelists” for the Christian faith. The first of these was the Ayatollah Khomeini. His brutal regime in Iran, whose atrocities and policies have lead many Iranians to leave Iran, has also led to an exodus of Iranians out of Islam. Estimates are difficult, but the numbers significant. Outside Iran the numbers are firmer but no less astonishing. In Sweden, fully ten percent of the Iranian immigrant population has converted to the Christian faith. That is approximately eight thousand out of a total of eighty thousand in the entire country. Some Iranian believers have called the Ayatollah the greatest missionary because he showed us what Islam is really like.

The next great figure in this progression was Osama Bin Laden. Bin Laden defined the rulers of the Muslim world as apostates for cooperating with the West.Though best known for the September 11, 2001 attacks, his group, al-Qaeda, quickly morphed from killing westerners to killing Muslims. Their brutality has particularly been harsh in Iraq and Syria, as has been actions by the Taliban in Pakistan. ISIS or the “Islamic State” is the latest in the progression of groups and states working for the absolute application of Islamic law. His declaration of a new caliphate has alarmed the Muslims world. His group’s clever–and successful–propaganda films glory in violence, hostage taking, beheadings, sex-slavery, and slaughter of Muslim and non-Muslims. The recent burning to death of a Jordanian Muslim pilot seems to have stepped well beyond even the brutality of Islamic law and it is likely that IS followers may shortly be defined as “apostates” from Islam justifying a new Jihad against them. This propaganda and terror war is being fought on the internet. Most westerners do not watch these films. But it was astonishing to see how quickly the film of the Jordanian pilot’s death spread throughout the Muslim world. The man’s father watched it on his cell phone in a public meeting.

As Islamic law, and the groups that espouse it, fails, where will people turn? When I met a group of Iranian Church leaders in Sweden their great fear was that Muslims would turn to secularism, even to atheism. Many have come to the Church but this assumes that the Church is a “safe space” for Muslims. The tragedy is that many Churches are not welcoming for Muslims. They regard them as the enemy. In a shameful display in Texas recently a group of Christians heckled a Muslim meeting and called on them to leave the country. The harvest in Sweden is partly a result of the Church taking a stand for Muslim immigrants and against local nationalist parties. The Church in Sweden is a “safe space” for Muslims. Is the evangelical Church in America a “safe space” for Muslims? The proto-evangelists are doing their job. Are we doing ours?

This article originally appeared on the website for the Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies at Columbia International University, and was used with permission.  Please click here to view this site.

Perfect Love Casts Out Terror!

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That’s how Jonathan, a co-worker living in the Middle East described his response to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut. "Perfect love casts out terror." The outpouring of terror in Paris and Beirut make me angry – but it does not dictate my attitude to terrorists. Jesus defines my responses to terror, more than any government or act of terror ever will be able to do!

I know the difference between my response as an American citizen and my response as a citizen of the Kingdom of God. God’s kingdom comes above America, as much as I love my country.

There is a place for governments to protects it’s citizens. God has created them for that purpose. But while government armies can protect us, they cannot win the real war, the war for people’s hearts. That is the war that counts for eternity. And it is not fought with human weapons.

God challenged me years ago with these words, “You see yourself more as an American than a Christian –I want that to change.” I made a covenant with God in that moment to build my life - and my identity - on the words of Jesus

Perhaps these words from Jesus in John 10:10 can help you as much as they did me to respond like Jesus to terrorists and others far from God – I know they helped me:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

What we’re seeing in ISIS and its associates is a movement of fear: of killing and destroying.

Jesus is the leader of another kind of movement, a movement of life and love. People who use terror and violence to advance their cause do so because they are losing the battle for people’s hearts and minds.

That’s right. They are losing the battle precisely because they fight with hate and violence.

Terrorists get the media’s attention, but they don’t win the battle for people’s hearts. There are far more people responding to the love of Jesus than will ever join up with ISIS and it’s movement of fear!

Millions of Muslims are turning to Jesus around the world and it is precisely for that reason: they are sick and tired of hate and violence. They are tired of man-made religion. Of rules and self-righteousness. They want something more. They hunger for what only Jesus can offer.

All Nations, through our ministry called Serve Syria, is part of a movement of love and life. We are sharing the love of Jesus with Muslims in many countries, especially with the Syrian refugees.

One such Syrian refugee named Ishmael was a former secret service agent in Syria – assigned to assassinate those who opposed the regime. He was sickened by what he was doing, but fearful to speak up. He decided to run for his life – literally. He escaped at night across the desert with his family to Jordan.

There Ishmael met “George” (not his real name – changed to protect his identity as he continues to minister in Jordan). George led him to faith in Christ and Ishmael in turn started 38 Bible studies with other refugees – including back in Syria itself.

The real war on terror isn’t fought with drones and AK47s! It is being combatted with love by our dedicated workers who are right now serving on the Syrian border and in refugee camps in Europe.

Terror is just another word for fear. And perfect love casts out terror and fear!

Leading With Discernment

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"Effective leaders must be discerning. It’s important to look below the surface of people’s words and actions to see the deeper motives and character issues.

Exercising discernment is not about being critical or judgmental, but about looking beyond appearances. Leaders must be discerning if they are to know the strengths and weaknesses of those they lead or work closely with. Jesus was discerning. John 6:61-64 says, “When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, ‘Does this offend you? There are some of you who do not believe.’”

There is a great difference between being a cynic and being discerning. Leaders who have been hurt, experienced betrayal, or have been wounded by criticism and rejection, sometimes become wary of people. They perform their ministry duties—perhaps with great flair—but at the core, they carry an offended spirit. Such leaders sow seeds of mistrust and suspicion in their followers.

A discerning leader reads people’s hearts without withdrawing from them. Discernment and judgment come from the same root word in the Greek language, but are very different in practice. “To judge” comes from the Greek word krino, meaning to judge and separate (and in some cases, to condemn). “To discern” comes from diakrino, which means to distinguish, to hesitate, to investigate thoroughly. The prefix dia means into or through.
 To judge, then, is to pass sentence on a person, to label them, and potentially write them off. On the other hand, to discern means to see through a façade (beyond face value), to look deeper into something, to see what others may not readily see.

Discernment is a vital leadership quality because it creates depth in a leader. Discerning leaders foresee trouble before it arises and prepare for it. They see the difference between talent and character, between right actions and wrong motives. They spot frauds, false prophets/teachers, and those with secret sins before others do. Discerning leaders are not easily deceived. They appreciate good endeavors by others, but notice when actions are not aligned with genuine values. Paul warned the Galatians about the need for discernment: “But there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the Gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed...” - Gal. 1:7–9

My father was a Pentecostal pastor. Sadly, he came across many frauds and charlatans in his day. Because Pentecostals place a high value on personal experience, they tend to be more vulnerable to those who can imitate genuine spiritual experience but lack godly character.

Though my dad was a man of passionate spirituality, he was not fooled by superficial emotion. He was ardent for the things of the Spirit, but learned not to confuse spiritual passion with emotional hype. He placed great value on the fruit of the Spirit, which can be imitated for a time by the immature, but cannot be sustained under pressure.

To those who are discerning, people who wear a phony piety come across tinny, shallow, and are easy to spot. It can seem easier and less costly to wear spirituality like a coat, but true spirituality comes from deep within. It is developed through obedience to God’s Word, and through sacrifice and surrender to the work of the cross in one’s life.

The writer of Hebrews says mature Christians have so absorbed the Word of God that they can discern what is of God and what is not, and see the difference between what is great and what is good. They develop a sensitivity to what is true and what is false, to what may be good but is not the best in a situation. Here’s how Hebrews 5:13–14 describes this level of discernment: “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the Word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

What can we do when we discern weakness or things that need attention in the lives of others, including our spouses, close friends, co-workers, or spiritual leaders?

  • See the good. Look for their potential and their calling from God. Only when we appreciate their strengths can we properly evaluate their weaknesses.
  • Pray for them. Pray for God’s love to fill your heart for them.
  • Make sure there is no unhealthy dependence on that person in you.
  • Forgive them if they have offended you.
  • If you are unsure about something that seems wrong or troubles you, don’t ignore it. Ask kind, but probing, questions.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask help from godly counselors. They are there to help guide your responses.
  • If you feel uncomfortable or uneasy about someone, pay attention to those feelings until you understand why they are there. This could be God’s way of catching your attention. By paying heed to inner promptings, we grow in discernment and confidence in hearing the voice of God.
  • There are many wonderful ministries and movements in the Body of Christ, but not all share the same vision and values. 
 Discernment allows you to distinguish the difference between those you are called to appreciate, and those you are called to closely associate with.
  • Don’t gossip to others about your discernment of sin or character weakness in a person’s life. If it is causing disunity, division, deception, or damage to others around them, first pray for God’s love for the person, pray for their heart to be prepared, then go directly to the person and speak lovingly, but truthfully, about what you discern. Follow the steps of Matthew 18:15–20: “Go alone to the person, if they don’t repent go with someone, and if there is no change, then go to their church leaders about the situation.”

We develop spiritual discernment by paying attention to the inner “still small voice” of the Holy Spirit. We grow in discernment over time if we saturate our minds with God’s Word. According to Hebrews 5, the truth of God’s Word enables us to discern between right and wrong. If the Holy Spirit highlights something or someone that needs attention, avoid the temptation to judge, but do discern. Investigate and pay attention to what the Holy Spirit may want to teach you.

To read the other 39 chapters click here to buy Leading Like Jesus on Amazon!

Buy-In

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“Buy-in is believing in a leader. People buy into a relationship first and then the person’s vision. Through close association with Him, Jesus’ disciples bought into Jesus and then His vision. They even became willing to die for Him. Every effective leader has a core team of people who believe in him or her personally, and because they believe in their leader, they believe in the vision. We shouldn’t expect others to buy into us as leaders if we have not bought into another leader ourselves. It is our authenticity, believability and Christ-likeness that compels people to buy into our vision. Are your team members buying into you because you have bought deeply into Jesus?...”

To read more about Jesus style leadership click here to find Leading Like Jesus on Amazon Kindle

Leaders Choose Their Own Teams

“Leadership comes with many pressures and countless responsibilities. But one of the great privileges is choosing who serves on our teams, whether that be a ministry team at church, or a leadership team in our business or school. Certainly, we look to God to lead us to the right people, but He allows us to partner with Him in this decision. I was advised early on by one of my mentors not to choose a person if their skill exceeded their character. In other words, character is crucial - faithful, available, and teachable. Jesus was very deliberate about building His core team.

Some of my greatest joys and greatest sorrows have come from my team-building experiences. If you work with people (especially closely on a team), you will learn and grow, or you will fail. There is no middle ground.

A leadership team can fulfill a functional role of getting tasks or projects accomplished, but it can also be much more than that. Some teams build deeper relationships - transparency and trust are the ingredients that can take a group beyond its ordinary expression.

What sort of selection criteria should you follow in selecting your team? There are ’10 Cs’ I have followed through the years that have served me well…”

To see the ’10 Cs’ Team Selection Guidelines click here to find ‘Leading Like Jesus’ on Amazon Kindle

A Leader's Friends

“Effective leaders spend time with their followers. Followers become friends. Personal association as a lifestyle was Jesus’ primary way of training and equipping His disciples. Jesus drew men and women close to Himself. His disciples were not distinguished by a particular doctrine, but by being with Jesus. He took His disciples with Him on trips, visits to people’s homes, outreaches and retreats.

Jesus taught His disciples in the rabbinical style of question and answer, not in the Greek style of abstract philosophy and theory. He was up close and personal - mentoring, walking a journey with them in life. Jesus told them stories (parables), listened to their questions and heard their fears. He taught them by how He lived His life.

Have the pressures of life and demands of work and family caused you to withdraw from people, the very people you were called to serve in leadership? If so, …”

To Read more, check out Floyd’s book, ‘Leading Like Jesus’, available on Amazon Kindle. Click here to find it…

5 Things You Need To Know About 21st Century Small Group Ministry

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Have you ever wondered why it's more difficult today for the church to attract urbanized non-Christian people? This article by Mark Howell, explains a simple but highly significant change in our culture... "When we woke up this morning, we woke up to a very different world than our parents lived in. Truth be told, we actually woke up to a rapidly changing culture. As we step deeper into the 21st Century there are some things you need to know about how cultural changes impact small group ministry. Wise leaders will be paying attention as culture changes.

  1. Biblical literacy is a distant memory in almost every setting. This reality must be anticipated in leader training, in the design or selection of curriculum, and in the development of the group experience. Continuing to operate as if everyone knows even the people, places and events of the Bible (let alone its meaning) is already the trademark of hopelessly out of touch ministries.
  2. The expectation that the Church provides something essential is rapidly decreasing. This is an important understanding. All of the research points to the changing belief about the Church. Worse than disagreement with beliefs or practices is the sense that the Church is irrelevant.
  3. “I am a spiritual person” is growing; “I am a Christian” is declining. A correlation noted in The Rise of the Nones and the research that backs up the findings of Barna and many other organizations is that the increasing number of those who indicate no religious affiliation is primarily about the decrease in the number of nominal (or notional) Christians; Christians in name only. This actually may provide some direction for ministries nimble enough to adjust strategy to offer meaning to “spiritual people (Think about Paul’s approach in Acts 17).”
  4. A Christian worldview is not held by the majority. Beyond biblical illiteracy is the emergence of a competing worldview (or multiple worldviews). The worldview of secular humanism sees virtually everything through a completely different lens. The sanctity of human life, sexual orientation, and a biblical understanding of marriage are just three front burner issues where profoundly different beliefs are the products of a vastly different worldview held by an increasing number of people. The practice of assuming “what we all believe” will require a major overhaul in order to reach friends, neighbors, co-workers and even family members who no longer believe what we believe.
  5. Cause has the greatest potential to connect. As James Emery White points out in The Rise of the Nones, there was a time when unchurched people responded directly to a gospel message, joined in community and then joined in the cause (1950s to 1980s). This was followed by a period when unchurched people responded first to an opportunity to join a community, found Christ and then joined in the cause (1990s to 2000s). What about now? White points out that the Pew Forum study revealed that 78% of those surveyed said that “religious organizations bring people together and strengthen community bonds” and 77% said “religious organizations play an important role in helping the poor and needy.” Interpretation? “We may have lost the opportunity to walk with them (unchurched people) and talk with them, but we haven’t lost the opportunity to do good to them and for them and with them (p. 100, The Rise of the Nones).” Providing opportunities to join causes that resonate with unchurched people (i.e., clean water, orphan care, sex trafficking, etc.) offer new front doors to relationship.

I hope you are thinking about these powerful new trends as you build your small group ministry. My thinking has been impacted by a number of books including The Rise of the Nones and The Next Christians."

Posted with permission from Mark Howell

Leaders Call Followers

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“Jesus very deliberately called certain men and women to follow Him. And He taught them to invite others as well. Good leaders raise up other leaders. Jesus made disciples of ordinary people. He disciple them to faith in Himself as the Son of God – He didn’t wait for them to come to faith before discipling them. And as they grew in faith, He taught them to disciple others also. He met them as they were fishing and working and doing life, then took time to connect with them personally.

When assembling His leadership team, Jesus personally invited them to follow Him.   He reached out. Don’t be afraid to say to people, “I want you with me. I need you.” Show them that they are important to you. When calling followers in this personal way, we focus on the few to reach the many.

One of the most important lessons I have learned is how to invite others to join me. I learned this skill through…”

Want to read more?  Click here to find 'Leading Like Jesus: 40 Leadership Lessons from the Upside Down Kingdom' on Amazon Kindle at a reduced price!

Called To Lead

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“Many people think being “called” by God only applies to pastors, missionaries, or those employed by professional Christian ministries. But this view is damaging to the lives of “ordinary” people, and it is detrimental to the purposes of God. Jesus called fishermen and doctors and carpenters and accountants to follow Him, to become leaders of His church. This shows Jesus’ intent – all are called to a life of servant leadership, no matter their vocation or status in life. Leaders are those who have said yes to being fully devoted disciples of Jesus, and are called to serve Him in whatever vocation He places them.

Jesus believed there is leadership potential in everyone and He came to liberate it.

Leadership is the result of serving other people; if you serve people, you lead them. I estimate that 90 percent of disciple making in the world is done by people in the marketplace – not missionaries and pastors. We become leaders when we become obedient followers of Jesus, not when we quit our jobs to study for the “ministry”.

Are you confident of God’s call on your life? Are you leading where He has placed you? Studying the leadership principles of Jesus will …”

If you would like to read more about the leadership principles of Jesus, have a look at ‘Leading Like Jesus: 40 Lessons From The Upside Down Kingdom’ on Amazon here

A Leader's Identity

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"Identity is a correct understanding of who we are… Identity is the most important dimension in the formation of a spiritual leader. Those who have a correct understanding of their identity attract people to follow them for the right reasons. We don’t make disciples or build a team by striving, exhorting people or manipulating them. We draw them into our vision through our genuine love for people. Authentic love for others is a by-product of a secure identity.

I learned through my younger years that the degree of my security in whom God made me to be, in His love for me, is directly related to my effectiveness as a servant leader.

Growing up, throughout high school, university, and in my younger years as a leader, I was painfully insecure. I was more self-conscious than God-conscious. I was continually concerned about how people related to me. I was worried about how I fit in, why I wasn’t asked to do something, and vigilant about what was going on around me.

I needed healing in my identity. Though I was tall and stood out in a crowd, on the inside, I felt inferior to others. I was a successful student athlete and a popular..."

If you have been challenged by what Floyd has shared about insecurity, you may want to purchase his newest book, 'Leading Like Jesus: 40 Lessons From the Upside Down Kingdom'

Click here to find 'Leading Like Jesus' on Amazon at a reduced price!

Guest Blog...

This guest blog by Michéle Phoenix is outstanding! It speaks to me as a missionary, but it applies to pastors, elders, church workers, and all those who follow Jesus with a clear sense of spiritual purpose.  I trust it helps you as it did me... and if you serve on the missions commission of your church I would encourage you to discuss it with your co-workers. Five Permissions Missionaries Need  by  Michele Phoenix

You may have read my most recent article, “Six Permissions Most MKs Need.” This is a companion piece, one that recognizes the different needs of adults in ministry.

Extending these permissions might reduce the pressure that becomes toxic to missionaries. Sometimes that pressure is self-inflicted - derived from the unachievable standards they levy on themselves. And sometimes it’s imposed by supporters and churches who mean well, but fail to measure the human toll of a life in ministry.

So the onus of responsibility is twofold: on the missionaries who self-blame and self-shame and on the networks that back them, sometimes piling unreasonable expectations on people who work in circumstances they can’t fully fathom.

Permission To Be Confused:

We’ve sent out five hundred letters and our support still isn’t there. We’ve been praying for a coworker for years and no one has come forward to join us. We’ve thrown everything we have at it and the ministry still isn’t growing.

The truth is seldom stated so bluntly. Missionaries will often couch it in more palatable statements like “We’re trusting God’s timing” and “His ways are higher than our ways.” We want missionaries to display unflagging faith and confidence in difficult situations, and they try to live up to that standard.

But here’s the truth: it’s okay (it’s healthy!) for missionaries to get frustrated. It’s okay for them to question. It’s okay for them to wonder if they got the “memo” wrong. It’s okay for them to feel let down by the One who called them and not understand what His purpose is in the challenges they’re facing.

It’s okay for missionaries to be confused. But it requires that their doubts be accepted and that their vulnerability be honored. Because they’re in ministry, there’s a tendency to expect hyper-spirituality from them - the ability to reframe let-downs and failures as positives in God’s Kingdom. That’s not always possible when they’ve invested everything - funds, families, futures - in an endeavor that seems doomed.

If you want to support your missionaries, be affirming. Pray for miracles and have faith when theirs wanes. But also acknowledge the emotional toll of disappointment and the spiritual confusion it can cause. Give missionaries permission to question and feel defeated, if only for a time. It isn’t weakness - it’s a natural response to unmet expectations and to what feels like broken promises.

And if it doesn’t work out? If their prayers go unanswered and they’ve done all they can? Read Permission #5: Permission to Quit.

Permission To Be Flawed


Here’s a newsflash: missionaries aren’t perfect. Some of us struggle to get organized. Some of us battle temptation, carry the burden of depression, have trouble setting boundaries or suffer from anxiety. Some of us lie, gossip, overeat, misrepresent or exaggerate.

The missionaries you see standing at that mic on Sunday mornings have chosen a life that may be different from yours, but they’re just as human, just as frail and just as fallible as anyone else.

Unfortunately, there have generally been only two options available to missionaries facing challenges: to be released from service by their sending agency or to keep their struggles private. No middle ground. This simplistic response has either caused shame (for those who leave) or hypocrisy (for those who remain silent).

In order for missionaries to feel safe revealing their flaws, we need to institute systems that will help them to work through their challenges without the all-or-nothing threat that has inhibited disclosure.

It’s a messy proposal, one that would require time and personnel many missions don’t have - following overseas workers personally and intimately, allowing for honest, bared-soul reporting in a safe context. It would also require intervention specific to the nature and severity of the struggle, not the “buck up and be quiet” or “buckle and leave” that has been the unspoken mandate for flawed missionaries until now.

The result has been ministries severed by premature departures or ministries stunted by the toll of non-disclosure. Imagine how Permission To Be Flawed (from friends, churches, mission boards and colleagues) and strategies/personnel in place to address the problems when they occur might change the experience and reporting of struggling missionaries.

Permission To Rest

For some missionaries, the 24/7 nature of ministry can take a personal and relational toll. In some cases, it becomes physical too - when the body can no longer sustain the strain of an all-encompassing, all-demanding work.

I need to add a caveat here: not all missionaries are engaged in such a strenuous lifestyle. Some have clearly delineated work hours in the day and periods of rest woven into their calendar year. It’s for the others that I make this point - those who are “on call” days, nights and weekends, trying to keep their heads above water in a whirlpool of things to do, goals to accomplish, needs to meet and people to save. The pace can be relentless.

The problem, when missionaries report periods of rest, is that it often comes without context. Because they try so hard to sound positive about the work they’re doing, you won’t hear the fatigue, discouragement or urgency in their communication. Yet for families like one I met in Kathmandu, traveling out of town for one weekend a month is the only way for the doctor-husband to get beyond the reach of constant medical emergencies, for the children to breathe unpolluted air and for the wife to have uninterrupted time to meaningfully connect with her husband.

To Western eyes, that family heading off to a resort every few weeks seems a bit extravagant - though I assure you that Nepali resorts are not Club Med! But the days away are life-giving, allowing the family to stay several years in a place others leave after just months.

Taking a Sunday afternoon nap, doing coffee with a friend or snuggling in with the family for a movie night shouldn’t be guilt-inducing, yet too often it is.

Missionaries may be doing God’s work, but they’re doing it in human bodies. If Jesus needed to get away during his time on earth (and He was God), surely we can grant permission to those who work in His name today to find appropriate respite from the rigors of their ministry.

Rest isn’t a luxury. It’s a God-mandated necessity.

Permission To Spend

In an article titled Guiltitude, I made the following statement: “We like our missionaries to look deprived and to live without. It adds a certain nobility to the minister’s status and to the giver’s sacrifice.”

We honor self-sacrifice and deem it a cornerstone of missionary endeavors. And indeed it is. Leaving loved ones. Choosing a non-traditional life in another culture. Abandoning dreams of financial prosperity for the rewards of evangelization.

Missionaries sacrifice willingly. And sometimes, out of a misplaced effort to be good stewards of donations, they sacrifice too much. The single girl whose furniture is stacked apple crates - because she doesn’t think churches are giving so she can buy a dresser. The family that spends two hours just getting to and from the grocery store on public transportation - because supporters are contributing to ministry, not to the purchase of a car. The couple that refuses the outrageously low offer of a home they can buy (cutting expenses by hundreds of dollars per month) because they fear the reaction of donors who can’t afford to do the same.

I call it misallocation of emotional energy.” Living precariously, making life more complicated than it needs to be, forces missionaries to invest their finite supply of emotional energy in coping with unnecessary duress.

Attrition numbers on the mission field are rising. In many of the interactions I’ve had with singles and families who have left their work, there’s been a common thread of just not being “able to handle it anymore” - people who have given it all up, even small material comforts, in an effort to prove full devotion through extreme deprivation. And they can’t sustain the effort long-term.

I’m not advocating for reckless spending or luxurious living. I’m advocating for supporters who understand that they’re funding the whole person, and that his/her quality of life will be a crucial factor in the longevity of the ministry.

For some, quality of life is hampered by intolerable heat and will be enhanced by an air-conditioner (horrors!). Others will be fine with the heat, but need to have WiFi at home to communicate with family and help their kids with schooling. Others will benefit hugely from investing in a generator so life doesn’t stop when the brown-out rolls through.

If there is a way to remedy a debilitating “lack,” however trivial it may seem, so the missionary can focus on more important things, isn’t it healthy for him/her to do so?

Even when given permission to spend, missionaries will need to grant themselves the license to identify what is causing a misallocation of emotional energy and find ways to reduce the stress it’s causing.

Permission To Quit

Guess what? “The Call” can be seasonal. When the strong impulse to enter full-time ministry propels singles and couples through the tedious steps of vision-sharing, fundraising, pre-field training, packing, goodbyeing and transitioning, we’d like to think that it’s a lifelong commissioning. Surely they didn’t go through all that for just a short time overseas!

In some cases it is indeed a lifelong thing. In others, it’s a temporary Call. For those who head overseas with a short-term perspective, returning permanently to their passport culture is a predictable and acceptable end. But for those who set out for what they think will be a long-term investment in Kingdom Work, an unexpected end feels like defeat. It’s all the more egregious if the end comes because of conflict or personal issues. Or loss of funding, which can feel like donor abandonment.

There is an acute feeling of shame that accompanies such departures - and often a lack of full reporting in order to protect one’s dignity or self-respect. Missionaries who leave because of painful circumstances feel they’ll be judged as uncommitted or too weak to sustain the demands of ministry. So they seldom describe the grievous details, making it difficult for those who care to truly support them.

There are departures from the field that happen for more “honorable” reasons: elderly parents who require assistance, educational needs of children, health challenges. All valid. All noble. But for the missionary who entered ministry feeling a life-long vocation and for the partners who sent him/her off with decades of service in mind, it can feel like an aborted Call.

Missionaries need to be given “permission to quit” when their goal has been reached, when their relatives need help, when interpersonal rifts inhibit ministry and when the health of the missionary family would be better served elsewhere. Or just when they sense the time has come to leave. The same God who directed them into ministry might not have intended for them to stay with it forever.

If you’ve known missionaries who have overstayed their appointment, you know that a timely departure is often better (for all involved) than a protracted lingering.

Churches need to see God as big enough to use even a shortened, altered or unachieved Call. And they need to respect the fact that the One who called missionaries out is just as capable of calling them back. Missionaries whose abbreviated terms feel like failures or broken promises will benefit from a theology of calling that acknowledges roadblocks, trials and changes as a means for God to redirect them into something equally as valid, even if it has nothing to do with traditional ministry.

If churches and supporters want to encourage missionaries to live in these permissions, they’ll need to exhibit a culture of personal interest, non-judgmental inquisitiveness and generous understanding. Ask questions that show sincere concern and caring, acknowledging the flaws of humanness and the stresses of ministry. Validate the person, exercise compassionate discernment and help him/her to find a way forward.

For missionaries to give themselves permission to be confused and flawed, to rest, to spend and to quit, a shift in priorities will have to occur, one in which their health - physical, spiritual, emotional and relational - is just as valued as the work they do, regardless of the pressure to put themselves (and their families) last.

See companion articles on Michéle's website here

Jesus Loves Africa!

Jesus loves Africa! Of that I am sure. There is great brokenness in Africa, but there is also great beauty. I see beauty in the hospitality of African peoples.

There's beauty in the smile of African people. And there is great beauty in the music  -  no one can sing like Africans!!

There's beauty in the spirituality of Africa… Even though that spirituality has often been hijacked and misguided by the enemy into ancestor worship and spiritism.

There's beauty in the courage of Africans. All throughout the continent of Africa you will find bold African evangelists proclaiming the Gospel. The church is growing faster in sub-Saharan Africa than any other continent in the world!

Though there is beauty in Africa, there is also brokenness in, and it breaks the heart of God:  we see the brokenness in the wars, preventable diseases, AIDS, famine, corruption and suffering children.

When I pray for Africa, hope fills my heart for the continent. But when I read the reports of problems I start to lose hope. So I know the answer for me... I need to be more impressed with God than I am with circumstances and newspaper reports. And I need to keep praying for Africa.

Isn't that true for all of us? Don't we all need to continually be more impressed with God's greatness than with human problems?

The church in Africa is the hope of Africa. And spiritual leaders are the hope of the church.

Sally and I feel called to give the rest of our lives to invest in the leaders and the church in Africa. Why? Because the church is the hope of Africa.

Every African leader needs friends who believe in them  -  and who will invest in their lives through friendship and discipleship.