Notes by Bryan Bishop from Loren Cunningham’s message at the Global Leadership Forum, San Antonio del Mar, Mexico, December 2011
This is taken from www.ywam.org
In the Tower of Babel story in the Old Testament, they used bricks, not stones; they used tar (a product of death) not mortar (like the earth from which Adam was created). God called them to use stones, not bricks, when creating altars.
In the corporate world, you are only a number, like bricks. In the database of government, you are a constituency. The “bottom line” is all about numbers of dollars. Numbering. Remember when David wrongfully numbered his people as a source of pride.
Peter 2:5 says that you are living stones God is building into His spiritual temple. In the body, the back can move in many directions. Our body structure has flexibility. If, like Joseph, you no longer have God’s worldview, you have Pharaoh’s worldview. This view leads everyone into slavery–even Israel, from which Joseph was delivered.
All of us are not local, all of us are not global, all of us are glocal.
We’re not to be bricks, and we are not to look at the people God has given us as “bricks.” It’s the fear of flood, though God said it wouldn’t come again. In a controlling spirit, we want everyone to line up as bricks, so we don’t fear. But it’s altars we are to build, not towers.
Everything below the line is local. Everything above the line is global. Below the line, “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s but to God the things that are God’s.” You pay your taxes, even if you don’t agree with what they are used for. Jesus said to Pilate that war and defense and capital punishment were given by God to the realm of government.
In Canada, I was invited to speak on the difference between Islam and Christianity. Many Muslims attended. I spoke on the love of God, but afterward I was asked, “What is the role of war?” The TV cameras were rolling and I could sense the tension in the air. I responded, “God gave the government for justice and church for mercy – now ask me a mercy question.”
The first domain of authority is the individual. When you use authority, you should use it very sparingly. When you do, you should use it as a father or mother, mostly using your influence. Labels, through the pressure of society push you from one sphere into another. For example, Billy Graham was pressured to run for president, to become an “authority.” He stuck with his sphere of church–that was his realm of authority.
Satan became the “prince” of this earth. Through our sin, we followed him, giving him our God-given authority. Jesus said “I have been given all authority.” He claimed it back from Satan. Satan has no authority, and he has influence only through people.
Your spiritual authority gives you human influence as well. The individual, family, and church all have authority. We could become an exclusive club. Regarding status quo: there’s a status that has to do with pride, with powers. That’s not the kingdom of God. It’s circles that go out like ripples from a pebble in the pond. Jesus was rock, and we’re a part of the circles that go out from His life.
After the YWAM 50th Anniversary travels in 2010, we took time off after Christmas. I took four weeks off for first time in my life. I thought God would have us relax. But the very first morning, He gave me a download: Circuit Riders! Some young leaders were sensing this too. I had gotten two old books on Weslyan beginnings and their impact on societies. With such a great influx of people, they didn’t have enough leaders. Pastors would go by horseback in a circuit to preach, teach and to set their elders in order. I had the understanding that God was going to pour out His Spirit in such a powerful way.
In the Jesus movement, so many were ready to receive Christ, but the Church was not ready to receive them. In meetings leading up to our gathering in Fortaleza, Brazil, thousands of commitments to Christ were made. There were people from every gang in the city coming to church. Some churches didn’t want to accept them. In the Jesus Movement, millions made commitments but many felt rejected by institutionalized church.
God wants us to keep moving in circles of relationship. It’s circles around gifts, callings, ministry, vision, passion. There are many words for the same concepts, all categories of purpose. In this room, there are several: U of N, mercy ministries, regional/geographical, and demographic.
During this “download” from the Lord, I received revelation that I originally thought was just for Kona. All year, I wondered if it should be adopted beyond, as it has to do with all of YWAM and church life. Eldership should receive not only revelation but right interpretation and application. I think this could be revelation for all of us if we get the right interpretation. It’s not that we get smaller, but we expand our leadership. So it’s not GLF (Global Leadership Forum) but GLFs.
Maybe in coming times our travel will get harder, with visas or a collapse in the economy of some parts of the world. God is giving technologies to serve His people. I was able to buy for another organization a whole hospital for USD$10.00. It’s a virtual hospital, led by Dr. Carl, a leading pancreatic transplant doctor who is the head of the medical area for Call2All. They are going to serve frontline primary healthcare workers, and serve doctors and nurses worldwide.
We are trying to upload all of the teachings in all the languages we have. This is happening in Kona, with cloud technology. Global Virtual Studios is linking the arts worldwide. We are expecting to be able to communicate, have alternate energy and water resources globally in and beyond YWAM.
Why are we getting these revelations? I believe God wants us to stay close to each other in communication. But we are far away from each other. How do we geographically stay close to each other? That’s in circles of eldership and spheres of influence. Use your influence, but don’t use your authority unless you have to.
I have only asked five people to leave YWAM in 50 years. I realize there is a time when you have to do that. You have a legal right at the local level to do that. But only local “fathers and mothers” can do it with love. We tried to set up an international justice system. It would have cost $1 billion a year to run it. Don’t try to use authority if you’re not a father. It’s like a neighbor spanking your child.
Circles of Relationship. Circuits of Geography (multiplication). Cycles of Time management. We are all to be part of at least one local circle. Every YWAMer and especially leaders need to be a part of a local YWAM community for your personal accountability and your leadership authenticity. Being rooted locally gives you spiritual authority for teaching and leadership beyond the local. Then you stay relevant.
YWAM has no corporations above the local structure. In the legal battle Kona faced, we were able to prove that in YWAM one corporation isn’t led by another as a legal precedent for the USA. At a local level, we have local labels and we have local elderships over legal boards that “render unto Caesar.” Let’s move in the spiritual protection we have and that’s eldership. We can do all of this from a local level. The President’s Gathering for the U of N, that too is a circle of elders.
Someone tried to explain YWAM. They said, “they are not an organization or an institution; they are ‘swarms.’” This term was coined by Justin Long. Swarms are visionary, collaborative, sustainable, adaptable, voluntary, open, and multiplying. That’s what our swarms do. This because we are open and other bees come. All of this is true about YWAM when we are really living and moving as we should.
Creating a pyramid isn’t the key. We are not to transition out of leadership. We are to enlarge or expand leadership. I don’t believe we are to transition out of the GLF, but we are to enlarge this body of elders – fathers and mothers of YWAM. We will enlarge by creating circles. We can also create virtual conferences, so we aren’t always flying.
With global eldership, we are able to meet virtually because we do also have times when we can be together and embrace. We need those. Then there are other times when we don’t have to be together. Like we did last night, sharing with the Africa group around this table, it’s an important part of who we are. Let’s not make it smaller; that leaves people out. As we honor our fathers and mothers, that 5th commandment is for us in YWAM. Let’s enlarge and multiply our elderships and enrich and secure the YWAM movement which is spiritual, not a legal entity except at individual operating locations.
In the next season, pray for all the circles we have in YWAM and those we should have. Think of the circles we could have. What about a circle for all the cooks in YWAM? Circles in every sphere; we are working on a SphereView Bible. When a businessman and his family went through DTS, it changed his life: David Lindsey then started Companies With A Mission (CWAM). We want to start “sphere ministries.” We want to have people in government and all the spheres who relate to us at a vision level and spiritually–NOT legally or politically.
As these things happen, it brings multiplication as we have circles for every one of the seven spheres. Have a circle for Bible distribution. We can have circles in every category in YWAM. I pray we will receive a check or wisdom or anointing so we can receive the great influx that is coming. We need to have the trenches dug, so it can become a movement generated by the Spirit of God.
Who are elders? Think of the five-fold ministry gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Elders are to be apt to teach. You use the influence of your life and teaching. How do you correct someone when you are apostolic and not the director? Jean Patrick said he lost authority when he became regional director. He’d had a fatherly role before. Matthew 18:15-20, bring it to individual, then original witnesses, then the congregation. Keep it within the place and level where you are. That’s important for maintaining relationship. We see many ministries thrive and die because they don’t honor the 5th commandment. Honor your fathers and mothers in the faith.
For your legal board, 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 works well with people you can trust: a combination of global YWAMers, local YWAMers, and representatives of donors from business and legal spheres blends well and gives a strong board, especially in troubled waters and seasons. One-third represent local donors (not pastors); one-third are YWAM elders beyond the local; and one-third from leadership on the local base. You want to have relationship as associates, not authority.
We are grateful that there have not been major schisms in YWAM throughout our history. If there is a situation with a leader, we do not want to destroy the ministry to discipline the leader. It would be like the like the Old Testament story of cutting the baby in half. Find another path for discipline. You will destroy the ministry if you don’t trust people. You do put safeguards in place and you give teaching.
A geographical eldership is one of the circles. We are not saying to do away with geographic eldership. But the church mission (religion) platform has been held up above the others. This must change to include all seven spheres. We must not say geographic leaders are above everyone else; it’s just one of the circles. They have a legitimate role, but don’t lord it over others because they are “above” you. Have circles over each and every Omega Zone, and then neighborhoods. Granularity will allow us great growth.
An ending challenge from Loren:
It is God’s vision to YWAM and to the whole body of Christ to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” Gen 1:28. It’s time to not only plan for 4K, it’s time to commit and do it: a YWAM operating location in every Omega Zone. Let’s get an organic relational eldership foundation that will allow for the spiritual tidal wave that’s coming. Pray for it! Plan for it! Work for it! Adapt and change for it! We must be prepared or we will be left behind when it comes. Even now, come in power and strength, Lord Jesus!
* * *
David Hamilton’s highlights from Loren’s message:
–We are called to build with stones not bricks. We value the uniqueness of every individual. We do not pump people out in mass production. We are called to build altars not towers.
–Loren spoke about spheres, not domains. He highlighted individual, family, church, government, and covenental associations (eg: legal entities that render to Caesar things that are Caesar’s). When we resort to authority as our mode of leadership, we tend to lose influence. The labels we use to describe our positions have authority implications. Is there other language? It’s not dis-empowering but understanding what God has called us to be.
–We are not in a time of transition but expansion. Our entities are not to be smaller but to be enlarged. We’re not to have one global leadership forum but many and more inclusive forums.
–Circles, circuits and cycles. Circles is about the demographics (people), circuits about the geographics (space), cycles about chronology (time). Most important is the circles, which are relational, purposeful. Apostolic communities.
–Glocal. We need to be involved locally and serving here and now, especially as we minister globally.
–Swarms: visionary. Circles within circles. Ezekiel 1: wheels within wheels.
–As we move forward, it’s the honoring of our spiritual fathers and mothers that gives us multi-generational life.
by Darlene Cunningham with David Joel Hamilton and Dawn Gauslin
as of April 1, 2016 you can now download for free a book on the Belief Tree. To download the book. CLICK HERE
Jesus’ strategy to evangelize the world was to multiply Himself into His disciples, who would reproduce men and women of like vision and values, who would multiply disciples, and so on (2 Tim 2:2). The goal was and is to preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15), to disciple all the nations (Matthew 28:19) and to produce fruit that will remain (John 15:16). This is the call of Youth With A Mission and University of the Nations, and should be the goal of every disciple.
How is good and lasting fruit produced? How do we reproduce in others the vision and values God has given to YWAM? It is not enough to be well organized and pass on information: we need to have ingested the foundational beliefs of the faith and the values of the Mission in order to pass them on to successive waves of learners. If this is not done, we will only copy a model and we will never be able to answer the “why” questions.
We need to know what we do believe and why, and we need to know what we do not believe and why.
The Bible uses many illustrations of trees, soil, vines, pruning, fruit, leaves and seeds to speak to us about our lives, ministry and fruitfulness. I first heard the analogy of the “Belief Tree” from Darrow Miller, of Disciple Nations Alliance, who speaks on biblical Christian worldview. He teaches that “ideas have consequences,” that there is a direct link between roots and fruit, what we believe and how we behave. I have since developed the illustration and use it as a foundation for nearly everything I teach. This simple illustration can provide a reference point, a measuring rod, for making decisions and evaluating the fruit of your ministry both individually and corporately. I trust that God will use it to bring insight and impart life to you in such a deep way that it becomes a part of your “toolbox” as well.
As you consider a tree, the soil represents our worldview. The roots represent our foundational beliefs; the trunk represents our values. The branches represent our principle-based decisions and policies. The fruit represents our actions/programs. The seeds represent the genetic code for reproducing life. And of course, the DNA of that First Seed was/is Jesus Himself, living in us! In order for there to be cycles of healthy life, the DNA must flow from the roots, through the trunk, along the branches and into the fruit. The seeds in the fruit start the process all over again.
SOIL = WORLDVIEWOne of the first things it is important to identify about ourselves and/or others is, “What is the environmental worldview that I was raised in, and what is the worldview of those I’m relating to?” Even though you may have come to Christ through the work of the cross, what is the background that has influenced your family, your culture and your thinking, even in subtle ways? This is the soil in which your “tree” grows. Is it Animistic? Hindu? Muslim? Secular humanism? This will affect the glasses through which you see everything. Much of the western world has a Judeo-Christian background, but it has declined into a worldview of secular humanism: “It’s all about me. If it feels good, do it. Truth is relative–it’s whatever I think is right for me.” Even in the way we present the gospel, it is important that we do not feed this lie. We value the individual, but we don’t worship the individual! It’s all about Jesus!
Often the errors in the worldview in which we have been raised need to be transformed to align with a biblical Christian worldview, which then forms the tap root of our beliefs. Four foundational truths of Christianity, identified by Dr. Francis Schaeffer, which must be included in our beliefs are:
1) God is infinite and personal. He is absolutely limitless and cannot be measured; He is uncreated and has no beginning or ending. And He is a personal/relational being with an intellect, will and emotions. Only the God of the Bible is both infinite and personal.
2) Men and women are finite and personal. We are made in God’s image as personal beings (with intellect, will and emotions), created for relationship with Him and others. But we are finite. We have a beginning point and definable limits.
3) Truth is constant and knowable. Truth doesn’t change; it is absolute. And we can know truth (“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” John 8:32).
4) We are responsible for our choices. The consequences of our good/right/wise decisions lead to rewards and life; the consequences of our bad/wrong/sinful decisions lead to punishment and death.
ROOTS = BELIEFSThe roots of the tree are our basic beliefs, which must grow out of the truth of God’s Word or our tree can’t bear good fruit. All of our beliefs must be rooted in the Scripture.
Other elements of our basic root system include things like believing the truth about God’s nature (the essence of who He is: all powerful, all knowing, all present, etc.) and His character (how He chooses to express His nature: He is loving, kind, just, holy, merciful, etc.). Of course, we could spend volumes and eternity describing these foundational roots, because there is no end to the vastness and wonderfulness of our great God! But these are some of the most basic things we must learn from the Word and teach to those we disciple, in order to develop deep roots that can nourish their lives and influence every decision.
All of our YWAM Discipleship Training Schools should spend a major amount of time teaching and wrestling with the root system of our basic beliefs. The curriculum defined by the International DTS Centre and approved by the YWAM Global Leadership Forum gives excellent guidelines to follow in building strong roots (www.ywamdtscentre.com).
When we truly know God, when we learn how to hear His voice through time spent in relationship with Him, when we understand that because He loves us, His will is always the highest and best for us, for others, for Himself and for the universe, we will spend far less time in the syndrome of “I should have, could have, would have.” We are more settled in knowing that His will is always good and His grace is always sufficient.
TRUNK = VALUESIn Youth With A Mission, we place a strong emphasis on our Foundational Values. I am the one who began the process of identifying and writing down these values so that we could pass them on to successive generations of YWAMers for continued fruitfulness. I have come to realize that the values on their own presuppose that everyone has the same worldview and foundational belief system, which they do not. That is why, in recent years, I’ve begun teaching the “Belief Tree,” because our values grow out of and clarify our underlying beliefs. Just as a tree doesn’t begin with the trunk at ground level, our values are not the starting point. The starting point for producing fruit that remains is first the seed of Jesus planted in our lives, aligning our worldview with a biblical Christian worldview, and then the root system revealed throughout the Bible: who is God?…who is man?…what is truth? etc. For example, Foundational Value #14 states: “YWAM is called to value each individual.” Why? Because God is a personal God, who created mankind in His image, as personal beings, so that we could live together with Him in a relationship of love. We are to value what God values.
BRANCHES = PRINCIPLE-BASED DECISIONS/POLICIESThe limbs of the tree represent the principles by why we make decisions, whether personal or corporate. Again, our decisions must grow out of and reflect our values or they lack strength. Jill Garrett, who introduced the Strengthsfinder assessment tool to YWAM, uses the architectural definition of the word “integrity” to illustrate the need for consistency between our purpose, vision, beliefs, values, principles and practices. All must be in line with each other and with the Word of the Lord in order for the structure to be sound and have integrity.
Have you ever been in a situation where a policy (i.e., a corporate decision) was implemented that just didn’t set right? Usually, it is because it is not consistent with what we say we value. Our principles and practices should be born out of our beliefs and values. They should be the seamless extension of them. When a practice is established, there should be a response in our spirits that says, “Well, of course! If we believe and value this, then the automatic fruit of our decisions should be that!”
Let me give you a really practical example. There was a situation once at a campus where I was the operations director. While I was away on a trip one time, an experienced older person was put in charge of the transportation department. When I returned home from my trip, I discovered that a new policy had been established regarding drivers of YWAM vehicles: no one under 25 years of age was allowed to drive the YWAM vans. I thought “Oh, we must have changed insurance companies, and they have set this rigid requirement.” So I set out to find the reason for this new rule, because it seemed very restrictive. When I asked, “Why do we have this new restriction? Has the government made a new rule? Or have we changed insurance companies?” I discovered that it was neither. The transportation manager was of the opinion that young people tended to be more careless and irresponsible than older drivers and decided to set the age limit higher!
God called us to be YOUTH With A Mission! Our sixth Foundational Values states: “YWAM is called to champion young people.” We can’t challenge young men and women to go into difficult and dangerous places, and possibly even lay down their lives for the Gospel, and then tell them we don’t trust them to drive the vans! It would be okay to have a requirement for all potential drivers to pass a driver’s test based on skills, but it is not okay to have an automatic judgment that “youth are irresponsible.”
Think about it: if decisions have been enacted at your campus or in your school that do not reflect who God is, or what He has called us to value, then guess which things needs to change! I am constantly in this evaluation process myself, and have faithful friends who challenge me with questions like: “Darlene, how does this or that decision reflect the justice of God and our call to be international?” God has called us as a Mission to a season of realignment. We need to be diligent to see that there is consistency between our beliefs, values, principles/decisions and actions/programs. This needs to be continuously evaluated.
We have made a policy, a corporate leadership decision, in the University of the Nations that we are required to have at least three hours of intercessory prayer per week in all of our courses. Why? If this is just a “rule” which is disconnected from our values and beliefs, then prayer can become a totally lifeless dead work. Buddhists pray. Hindus pray. Muslims pray five times a day! But they are not praying to the true God. Because of our root belief that God is both personal and infinite, we value prayer as the avenue of two-way communication with this God who hears and cares and has the power to act. Not only that, but He designed us to be co-creators with Him through prayer. He chooses to involve us in releasing His will “on earth as it is in heaven” through praying the things on His heart. It will transform our prayer lives when we really grasp this and make ourselves available to hear from God like we believe He wants to create with us in prayer!
FRUIT = ACTIONS/PROGRAMSThe fruit is the outward expression of the life of the tree. On an individual basis, it is our actions and behavior. On a corporate level, it is our programs and practices. In a healthy tree, the roots draw in life, giving nourishment that flows through the trunk and the branches resulting in the production of good fruit. That’s what we want for our lives and our ministries: good fruit that remains.
The amazing thing about fruit is, it has seeds inside! The seeds carry the DNA—the essential genetic data that will reproduce future generations of healthy, fruitful trees. Every successive season, there is new fruit, and though each fruit is unique, it carries the same DNA and will reproduce the same kind of tree as the one that it came from. You’ve probably heard it asked, “You can count the number of seeds in an apple, but can you count the number of apples in a seed?”
Programs like the Discipleship Training School are “fruits” of our ministry tree that should reflect our beliefs, values and principles. Every DTS around the world can and should look different from the others–just as every apple is an apple but each one is unique–because the people God brings will be different and the needs will be different. We must continuously evaluate our methods and models as well to be sure that they support the new life and growth. God wants to give a fresh infusion of His Spirit and creativity into each school, but they should all carry the DNA, the genetic code, of a DTS and of YWAM.
Oftentimes people look at a program such as the DTS and want to replicate it. But it doesn’t work when it is disconnected from the YWAM “tree” from which it grew. Another ministry or a church may draw elements from a YWAM DTS, or run a similar discipleship program which may be very effective. Though the basic Bible beliefs are be similar, the values for every organization are different, and their programs should grow out of and reflect the unique characteristics of the things God has called them to embrace.
As mentioned earlier, integrity is when our worldview, beliefs, values, decisions and actions flow seamlessly, with no disconnect. Our actions and behavior should clearly align with what we say we believe. When this isn’t happening, there a break in the flow.
Here is another personal story that illustrates this point so clearly. As is our custom, one night Loren and I were hosting a large group of YWAMers for a meal at our home. Afterward, a number of people offered to help me clean up. One young leader, holding an armload of aluminum soda cans, asked “Darlene, do you recycle?” I replied, “I believe in it, but I don’t do it.” When I heard the words come out of my mouth, I was so shocked that I gasped out loud. I had been teaching on the Belief Tree to that very group of people! I asked the helper, “Did you hear what I just said? I said that I BELIEVE it, but I don’t DO it!” It’s true that in Hawaii, recycling is not required by law, and they don’t make it easy to accomplish, as recycle systems are not in place. But I went out the next day and bought recycle bins for aluminum cans, plastic bottles and glass and I have recycled from that day to this.
My friend and co-worker, David Hamilton, has added another dimension to this Belief Tree teaching which will help you in using this as a very practical tool in your life:
WORLDVIEW = what is REALThis is our un-thought-through presuppositions about reality. It’s what we generally accept or believe from our environment or the way we were raised, without questioning.
BELIEFS = what is TRUEYou may ask, “But aren’t what is real and what is true the same?” Yes, if there is integrity; but if there is not integrity, what seems real to us and what is actually true may be very different. (Remember the foundational truths of Christianity outlined above: there is absolute truth, and it is constant and knowable.)
For example, in Africa some tribal people are animistic, so what is REAL for them is that they believe spirits exist in different forms of nature – rocks, the sea, lions, etc. According to their worldview, if you get sick it’s because someone has put a curse on you. When an animist becomes a Christian and believes that Jesus is the Son of God, they believe this is TRUE. When they become sick, they know Jesus can heal them because He is powerful. But if they pray to Jesus and don’t get well, they often quickly revert to the reality that they have known, which is that sickness is caused by evil spirits. So they may go back to the witch doctor to remove the curse.
This syncretism (mixture of opposing belief systems) works against integrity. Every culture and every individual has issues of syncretism. Identifying and ridding ourselves of it occurs as we mature in integrity.
VALUES = what is GOODIsn’t truth good? Yes, it should also be considered good. Why is this different? When you embrace something as good, it’s something you do because you like it. You find it desirable or beneficial. There is some internal delight.
When you read through the 18 YWAM values, you might read one and think “I’ve got to achieve this” or “I need to work on this one.” This is an indicator that you see this as a principle or truth that is right, but you have not yet learned to really love it. As long as it’s something external that you have to live up to, rather than something internal that you delight in, then it has not yet become a personal value.
PRINCIPLE-BASED DECISIONS/POLICIES = what we think is RIGHTOnce you have embraced something true and attributed value to it, it will lead to right decisions and policies. Just living by the rules and doing what is right is not discipleship! What we want to see as a result of true discipleship is internal government. This is one of the most important things in the world, to be self-governed, have self-morality, and lead ourselves based on God’s principles, not on external boundaries.
ACTIONS/PROGRAMS = what is WISEIf all these others things are aligned, our behavior/actions will be wise.
We need to learn to make decisions that bring harmony between what is real and true and right and good and wise. Only then are we are walking in integrity! How do we discover whether there is seamless integrity or disconnections? By asking questions.
There are two questions that will lead you to insights at every level of the Belief Tree:
1. “WHY?” This is a discovery question that leads us to foundations/presuppositions.
Let’s look again at the example about young people not being allowed to drive YWAM vehicles, and use the question “Why?” to lead us from the action back down to the presuppositional worldview.
ACTION: young people can’t drive YWAM vans.
Why? Because of a faulty POLICY.
Why was the policy wrong? Because it did not reflect that we VALUE young people.
Why should we value young people?
Because our BELIEF about God, based on His Word, tells us that He values young people: Jeremiah, Mary, Timothy, David, Samuel, Daniel, Joseph…all of the disciples. Our Biblical Christian worldview tells us that we are made in the image of God from birth, not just from the age of 25!
When you get down to the “belief” part, you should always have a “God said in His word” upon which to base your belief.
It is so important to ask the WHY question. You cannot get understanding and make wise decisions without this. When people don’t understand beliefs and values, they just copy a model, and the life soon goes out of it. It becomes dead works.
You can also do the opposite, move from the roots to the fruit, by asking the question:
2. “SO WHAT?” This question leads us to understand implications/applications.
WORLDVIEW – we are made in image of creator God.
So what? We BELIEVE we can co-create with Him.
So what? We VALUE prayer as a good thing; it changes things!
So what? We make PRINCIPLE-BASED DECISIONS: I will give up whatever it takes to have time for prayer: sleep, food, social activities.
So what? My ACTIONS/BEHAVIOR line up: I establish a lifestyle of prayer.
The reason a lot of Christians fail is because they go straight from understanding something to be TRUE to doing something because it is RIGHT. They skip the step of VALUE and it becoming GOOD/delightful. It’s not hard for me to do what I embrace as good and delightful. But if I only try to do something because I know it is RIGHT, I will fail much more easily.
As you keep asking the Holy Spirit to examine your life and reveal any place where there is a lack of integrity, you can invite God to transform your mind and thinking so that you will grow in maturity and greater likeness to Christ!
Summary:We must know WHY we believe WHAT we believe. Our practices and programs should be a reflection of our beliefs, values and principle-based decisions. We should be able to give an answer when asked, “Why do you do what you do, the way you do it?” It is an opportunity to share our beliefs, values and principles. And if we don’t have an answer or we don’t know why, it is an opportunity to seek answers and make sure that our actions and the fruit of our lives and ministries are a true reflection of Jesus.
I love the story of one family—a husband, wife and two teenage kids—who came to do a DTS at YWAM/UofN Kona and heard me teach on the Belief Tree. They were fairly new Christians and the husband was a successful businessman. I’m sure he had sat through many courses on decision-making, but the Spirit of God had a profound impact on him and the whole family through understanding the Belief Tree. It gave them a simple yet practical framework for making decisions and evaluating whether their lives were in alignment with their beliefs. When they returned home after DTS, the family spent most of a two-week vacation to Ireland working on their family Belief Tree, defining their beliefs, values, principles and actions. They drew it on a large piece of poster board, and upon returning home, they hung it on the kitchen wall. It is there, in the busiest room of the house, that they gather to make family decisions, evaluate where they have come from and where they’re going. It is there that they also have that occasional discussion regarding outward behavior that may or may not match what they say they believe–not only the children’s behavior, but the parents have invited the children to hold them accountable to live what they say they believe. What a wonderful and simple yet profound tool for checking the integrity of our lives and ministries!
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Scriptures for additional meditation/study:
Psalm 1:1-3, Colossians 2:6-7, Matthew 7:15-23, Matthew 13:1-9, Jeremiah 17:7-8, Isaiah 61:3,11, John 15:1-17, Colossians 2 & 3, Romans 11:16.
© 2005, 2007, 2011, 2012 & 2014 Darlene J. Cunningham and Dawn E. Gauslin, Youth With A Mission. All rights reserved.
YWAM’S TASK MOVING FORWARD FROM SINGAPORE 2014
Singapore, in my understanding, was not only a time of major realignment from drift factors that began many years ago, but a remarkable leap forward to prepare us for the great missions wave now rising for the generation under 30. We must serve them well, like a jet ski, towing them to the top of the wave, then releasing them to all God has gifted them to be and do. Just as many of us in our youthful pioneering went into all the empty nations and began to establish permanent YWAM ministries, so we are helping to open the way for the next generation to go into the 3,000+ empty Omega Zones. If we cling to past structures in YWAM, we will not only hinder their maturation in leadership, but we will cut off YWAM's future role in this coming global move of God. We must now move in wisdom, with commitment to the Word of The Lord, with faith in His promises, and with hope of His will being done and His Kingdom coming "on earth as it is in heaven."
In 60 years since I began in public ministry, I have never seen such a convergence of God's global design coming together so rapidly, that literally includes the ALLS & EVERYS of the Great Commission. God literally was redesigning YWAM at the Singapore Gathering. He was reforming us in a way that would allow YWAM a place alongside other leading movements, in this big outpouring of God's blessings that is taking place, alongside God's shakings on the whole world. So the following is our task, as I perceive and interpret it globally:
FILL EVERY OMEGA ZONE WITH WAVES FROM EVERYWHERE TO EVERYWHERE.
This means: NEW MISSIONARIES AND MISSIONARY MOVEMENTS FROM ALL 4K OMEGA ZONES.
Out of the 2014 listing of 241 Sovereign Nations & Dependent Countries, we now have YWAMers with 211 different passports. This will multiply the YWAM "mission force" numbers. Therefore the enlargement of our leadership is necessary - by the thousands!
We can be certain that at least one out of every ten of the newcomers will be gifted by God with some degree of leadership. We must make room for them by building altars of living stones of worship and service to God and mankind, instead of building towers of bricks held together with tar - a product of death (Genesis 11). In our new configuration of 74 Area Circle Teams (ACTs), each with its own spiritual elderships, we will encompass every living person on earth. Our task is to serve the pioneering (both inside and outside of YWAM), these thousands of new mission movements from the 4k Omega Zones.
In the next few years, if YWAM is to continue our DNA and anointing, we must include future generations by making more room for yet younger pioneers, and we must move to a broader, more open structure. To include the ALLS and EVERYS we must move to “granularity” (moving down to more and more grassroots levels), later in the 2020s we will need to move to hundreds of thousands of future "empty Omega Districts," followed by "Omega Neighborhoods and Villages," and finally to "Omega Households"…and then to each person on the planet.
So stay open to change, as seasons change in God's timings. If we refuse to settle for our own comfort, and embrace every opportunity, we will remain a spiritually relevant movement within His Kingdom. This is only made possible with and by His presence among us. We are His family, and in order to avoid crossing over into government or business models, we are exchanging titles to softer, more Biblical, family terms and titles, especially beyond the local operating locations.
CIRCLES, CIRCUITS & CYCLES
As our understanding grows and we are rearranging our international configurations, we are continuing the forward movement to implement the “three Cs,” the framework God gave us at the end of our 50th anniversary year:
CIRCLES OF RELATIONSHIP
Circles can be any size, drawing together people of similar calls, giftings, passions, visions and goals locally or globally with or without any geographic definition. Circles can be used for short-term projects, or life-long ministries. Circles reduce the temptation of “tower building” that make us vulnerable to our enemy's attack via power hunger or pride. It also removes a blatant target on our backs from those wanting to persecute, torture or kill - especially our leaders in difficult areas. Circles promote unity among leaders and staff and students.
CIRCUITS OF GEOGRAPHY
This may be useful for most OpLocs. Here’s what we are doing in Kona, as an example to help clarify this concept: we have defined seven circuits of geography (moving outward from the campus at the core) to make sure we remain GLOBAL IN OUR VISION AND IN OUR ACTIONS. But we want to be sure not to neglect the local! Circuit #1 is our campus; #2 the “Big Island” of Hawaii; #3 the other islands of Hawaii and Oceania; #4 Asia; #5 the Americas & Caribbean; #6 Europe, Middle East and Atlantic Islands; #7 Africa and Indian Ocean islands. Every quarter, we track where-all our outreach teams and ministry plants have gone, and assess accordingly where we need to be going. You can define your own Circuits of Geography in prayer, making sure you fulfill God's call at your OpLoc, no matter what size you are or the scope of geography that God is calling you into.
CYCLES OF TIME
It can be a time management challenge to blend the local and immediate with the long term and the global. But if the above is to be done, convening must happen at every level and become a priority in our scheduling. We are all GLOCAL (global and local at the same time). We are mobile and modular as a mission. We must not think two dimensionally only. It's like the difference between flying a plane or driving a car. Only the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit makes it possible to discern where to be when, doing what.
As you can see, there are many things perking in my heart post Singapore. But this is enough for you to ponder and pray into for now. More to come in an upcoming letter from me. THANK YOU SO MUCH for your service to the Lord Jesus and your partnership with us in this family called YWAM!
We are moving into greater anointing and authority than we’ve ever seen before. However, we’ve already seen attempts to limit our freedom to minister. These will continue, especially in seasons of persecution. God has already given us the pattern to continue to move as freely as possible in carrying out His work. That’s why we need to remain true to our calling.
Some want to define us as a “non-government organization” (NGO) or a “non-profit organization” (NPO). It may be easier when speaking to government officials or bankers to use those terms. But these should not define us. For one thing, both terms begin with “non.” That’s not who we are. But we, as YWAMers, are a spiritual movement of followers of Jesus Christ of the Holy Bible.
Who and What is YWAM?
1. We are the waves...
· According to the vision God showed me in June of 1956,
· Obeying and completing the Great Commission of Jesus.
2. YWAM is called to be constantly...
3. As followers of Jesus Christ, in an all-volunteer, faith-missionary movement, YWAM includes...
· People of every nationality, tribe, ethnicity (people groups),
and language groups,
· All generations, but with youth as the majority.
4. Therefore, as long as YWAM has these elements and is...
· Led and anointed by the Holy Spirit;
· Continuing to be God-fearing, remaining close to Jesus as Lord;
· Praising and worshiping Him;
· Advancing in the “alls” and “everys” of the Great Commission implicit in the covenantal vision of the “waves” which calls us to always innovate and co-create with God in fresh ways for the accomplishment of His purposes;
· Doing all as a scriptural-based movement, fulfilling all of His commands, with priestly intercession, and the five-fold ministry gifts operating among us;
· While building His kingdom, planting good seed that grows into mature followers of Jesus, and spiritually alive, lasting institutions, that are linked to the YWAM movement spiritually, relationally and with the same vision and values of YWAM, but are not related legally, as each entity must “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s but to God the things that are God’s.” These include institutions such as schools for children, YWAM bases, UofN campuses, churches, families, healthcare clinics, ships, and more that serve to transform both individuals and societies in every one of the 4k Omega Zones of geography and in all the social & demographic spheres and groups through servant leadership.
As long as we remain faithful to these and to God’s Word, YWAM has a bright, fruitful, and growing future with God.
YWAM is and continues to be a global family of diverse ministries that are united in Jesus Christ with the same covenant, vision and values, as we are bonded together to Him and to one another, worshiping and learning together.
Jesus is Winning! We also win if we stay close to Jesus, and do, be and teach the above.
“Of the increase of His government and of peace, there will be no end... The zeal of The Lord of Hosts will do this” Isaiah 9:7 (ESV).
Loren Cunningham (September/October, 2013)
P.S. You probably noticed that many nouns, verbs and adjectives above are in BOLD. I want to challenge you to make a serious study of the Scripture regarding these concepts, either through the exact words or through implication. We need these foundational understandings from the Bible for all of YWAM in the days ahead. Discover them; live them; then teach them and YWAM will live!
*We ask that you do not alter the wording or content of the above text.
Dustin has been serving as a missionary for 24 years. Here is where he places some of his teaching, thoughts, and updates.