Wednesday, March 14, 2007

1 Chron 12:32 Report, 34: Steps Two & Three -- getting into action

If we are to be effective for God in the Caribbean and beyond in our time, we have to not only start by catching a vision and sharing it among a circle, but we need to become active on the ground as God leads us, even in the face of possible misunderstanding and hostility, perhaps even slander or worse.

That brings us to the second and third steps in the Missionary Vision and Action Team [MVAT] process.

So, following up from the first step of seeking God togetner, discussed a little while ago, we need to see how we could organise ourselves for effective, God-directed action on the ground. In that process, it is helpful to look at the example of the 18th Century Evangelicals, who began as small circles and isolated groups, who then dared big things for God and saw dramatic results: revival, and even reformation. Similarly, there is a whole series of Transformations videos on how the church has seen spiritual breakthroughs, in surprising places such as Cali, Columbia and Fiji. (Whether or not we agree with all that has happened in the 18th Century awakenings or in more recent and current situations -- and remember, true revivals are as a rule a blend of the glory and the shame -- that is at least a possible place to begin from, reflect on, and learn lessons, drawing out a challenge to seek God-blessed breakthrough in our own communities.)

But, beyond such historical or current examples, there are relevant biblical cases (which make for quite eye-opening and highly motivating Bible studies, too). Among these, an excellent place to start is with Nehemiah:
1] Learning of the plight of God's people, he was concerned. So he prayed then obtained support, authorisation and resources from a key powerbroker, the king. [Ch 1.]

2] On going to Jerusalem, he quietly surveyed the scene then called the people together, giving them hope and a vision of the way forward. [Ch 2.]

3] He organised the work, delegating manageable tasks to specific groups and their leaders. [Ch 3.]

4] As challenges, opposition and crises arose, he stood on his strengths and made sure he was not distracted from the main task in hand. [Chs 4 - 6.]

5] When the project was finished -- very quickly -- time was set apart for celebration and worship, with the help of Ezra, a key spiritual leader. Revival broke out. [Ch 6:15 - 7:5, 8:1 - 11, & 8:13 - 9:38.]

6] The project and revival then triggered waves of national renewal and reformation that continued for centuries. [Chs 8 - 13.]
Of course, we should adjust such a strategy to match our own circumstances. For instance, if we have started with a prayer, study and discussion circle of concerned believers, then that puts us into a situation where it is natural to think about an initial project, and to organise for action. For the sake of argument, let us use the idea of doing an awareness and action seminar, organised by the circle acting as a work team.

Such a team probably could include at least the following:
1] Chair: coordinates and is the public face and voice of the emerging local MVAT initiative.

2] Projects Coordinator: organises and manages the seminars and other projects as they come online through the action teams. [Also, Vice-Chair.]

3] Secretary: correspondence, minutes of meetings, periodic reports on progress/gaps relative to
plans; also sees to correct procedure, records and protocol.

4] Treasurer: manages and helps raise funds, providing transparency over finances.

5] Partners & Public Relations Officer: promotes good relations and collaboration with partners, and outreach to the church community and wider public.
Such a team can accomplish a surprising amount of work, once organised.

Now, let us assume that the initial project is to host a weekend workshop event in which people from the church and wider community sit down together to watch the Amazing Grace movie together, and discuss it, then organise some initiatives to follow up on this.

Perhaps, this could be through an evening event in a church, school or community hall, where the movie is shown, and a panel leads off a discussion focussed on Wilberforce and Equiano, with parallels to our own situation highlighting the three tidal waves vision and our opportunituies to strategically contribute to the church's mission in and from the region over the next several years. It would be natural to make provision for people to sign up for follow up workshops and teams that emerge from those sessions.

Thus, in an amazingly short time, we could organise a MVAT for action in almost any local community across the region, i.e. we are looking at "step 4" in the MVAT process. Beyond that, it is natural to work on local projects, fund-rsising and international projects, which would require regional networking. So, in short order, a pretty serious initiative couls be up and running all across our region. That brings us back to the basic question and challenge again:

Why not now? Why not here? Why not us? END

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