I’m In … Beijing 2014 – Ken Driedger

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 “You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream…” C. S. Lewis

Through a series of circumstances too strange to fully understand yet, God has brought me right into the middle of a global phenomenon that may never have happened quite like this before.  It is a reality in which most of you live every day.  It is the stirring of peoples and nations, sweeping through cities and towns, large and small, around the globe on an unprecedented scale.  It has challenged homogeneity, ethnocentricity, demography, and ecclesiology; it is changing the very fabric of nations and our world.  Everywhere one travels, people in the East and the West, the North and the South are saying, “We just aren’t the same anymore; we are now a mix of color, language and food we once never imagined possible”.  Current statistics say there are between 250 – 300 million people living outside of their home country.

Some call this the global diaspora… or the human tidal wave.

On the heels of this human mobilization is another phenomenon seen only a couple of times previously in world history… the global spreading of followers of Jesus into the far flung and “impossible to reach” places of the world; most times at their own initiative and expense.  As a result, Churches are birthing all over the world.  God is up to something profound at such a grand scale… and I believe we are only seeing the start of this global wave.

God has sparked a global movement and, in a new exciting way, he is inviting me to join in!  Some of you attended the 2014 MICN Conference in Beijing where the MICN Leadership Team invited me to become the first part time Executive Director of MICN… to shepherd a dream cherished by many in the room; to join God in what he is doing in this Global stirring.  The Lead Team asked me to dream along with them… serve Missional International Church Network (MICN) part time, continue pastoring part time at a local International Church (The Lighthouse Church Kuwait), and see where God takes us… I said, “I’m IN!”

Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:17 both say… “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”

 

We all know that real dreams are so large we are forced to grow into them… and one dream is birthing in a bunch of us we don’t quite know how we are supposed to live with it.  So here we are… a group of likeminded people… some long-time friends… some new acquaintances…yet all of us have agreed to “Turn Aside” from our daily tasks, to pray, talk and dream together and see where God takes this…and where he takes us as International Church/Fellowship leaders in his global movement.

 

I want in… what about you?  In many ways the 2014 MICN gathering in Beijing may have been similar to one many years earlier…

On the evening of May 30, 1792, William Carey preached from Isaiah 54:2-3, and his theme was “Expect great things from God’ attempt great things for God.”  He urged his fellow pastors to commit to venturing forth among the nations with the gospel, having confidence that God would bless the message and extend his kingdom.  Carey’s address made a profound impression on the ministers in attendance.

In 1793 Carey and two other men sailed for India.  Carey worked there until his death in 1834.  His comprehensive approach included church planting and Bible translation but also included working for social reform.  He established schools, hospitals, and a savings bank; founded the Agricultural and Horticultural Society of India; started a Bengali newspaper; and supervised the start of India’s first printing press, paper mill, and steam engine.  He also founded the first Christian college in Asia.  In all, Carey translated the complete Bible into six languages and portions of it into twenty-nine others.

He expected great things from God and attempted great things for God, and God brought them to pass.

The current global enterprise has some similarities to earlier times when mainly westerners traveled the globe.  Today’s people movement is much larger and is moving without many of the previous limitations related to travel, turf protection, etc.

The current diaspora (people movement) is driven mostly along the lines of economics (business), education, and health… and like the time of William Carey, God is raising up people of faith who are joining the movement for the sake of the gospel also with much fruit in some cases.

However, unlike earlier times this movement is mostly from East (and South) to West as well as back and forth with frequency.  Also, a far greater number now are self-funded lay people.  A current phenomenon of note is that Christianity is “being brought back to the West from the East (and South) largely by self-funded lay Christians.

Just think about it: In times past people like Carey and others went to countries like India, China, the Philippines, and Nigeria.  Now, each of those counties by conservative estimate has more Christians than the entire population of Canada (33 million).  These Christians are well educated, globally mobile, and wealthy and are doing business in every part of the world successfully.  They are going from everywhere to everywhere and giving birth to churches… many are International Churches with people from many tongues, tribes and nations worshiping God together. 

At MICN we dream of Networking International Churches for increased Missional impact… We dream of every IC pastor and church enjoying and contributing to life giving, inspiring, stretching relationships with like-minded travelers.  We dream of equipping each other with:

–       Strong Hearts – renewed and refreshed

–       Biblical Heads – wise and strategic

–       Skillful Hands – serving with effectiveness, and

–       Swift Feet – going with God so, “…this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations…” (Matthew 24:14).

Carey expected great things from God and attempted great things for God, and God brought them to pass. I’m IN… What about you… you attended a conference… you are invited to join a movement!

 

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