Greetings from Dubai!
As I mentioned last week, my travels this month will take me from the warmth of Dubai to the chilly fall air of Edmonton to the coffee-infused hills of Colombia. Aside from the wonderful opportunities to see what God is doing in and through our partners around the world, my packing abilities are being stretched to the limit! How does one pack for a trip that takes him to the 90-degree heat of Dubai to the 20-degree chill of Edmonton…with nothing but a backpack?
While in Dubai, I am participating in two events: the Global Gathering for Global Trust Partners (GTP) and a Kairos gathering comprised of students from the region around the Persian Gulf. Both are a glimpse into what God is doing around the world.
Global Trust Partners is an organization with an international staff and regional facilitators from each of the 12 regions of the Lausanne Movement. It is led by Gary Hoag, a personal mentor, affiliate faculty member for Sioux Falls Seminary, and co-author of The Council with Wes Willmer and myself. Global Trust Partners “multiplies disciples of faithful administration and mobilizes peer accountability groups to increase gospel participation in every nation.”
At the global gathering in Dubai, the staff, board, and regional facilitators are participating in prayer, worship, and strategic conversations in order to discern how God is leading the organization, with a specific focus on the “multiply” and “mobilize” aspects of its purpose. As a regional facilitator, I am leading table discussions, representing North America in panel discussions, writing an article for an eBook and recording a video.
Down the street from my meetings with GTP, Larry Caldwell, Chief Academic Officer and Dean of Sioux Falls Seminary, is leading the seminary’s cohort of students from the region around the Persian Gulf. Each of these students is a missionary somewhere in the region. We gather periodically in Dubai to worship, encourage one another, learn, and assess our journey through the Kairos Project. I had the blessing to meet the students and have dinner with the cohort leaders.
The stories I heard from the students as well as the amazing work being done by local cohort leaders for the Kairos Project reinforce the reality that theological education is at its best when it flows from the church and the local context of ministry. We have students who are full-time radiation technologists in local hospitals, accountants, managers, and more while also serving on local church planting teams. The Kairos Project in Dubai is very much “Kairos” and it is flavored by the unique and important ministry happening in this part of the world. It is this flexibility that empowers local ministry contexts to build and shape a journey of theological education that is affordable, accessible, relevant, and faithful in their context.
Being here this week has been a great reminder of the amazing work God is doing all around the world and what a privilege it is to participate in that work. It is also a good reminder of the fact that God sustains ministry, not money. It is only by humbling ourselves, confessing our failures, praying for wisdom, accepting God’s provision, and moving forward as faithful stewards that we can be fully liberated from the shackles of worry and control.