Sometimes I feel guilty about doing what I do. I mean, I say that I do these pastor’s conferences because the pastors don’t have access to education and we go there to serve them, and that’s true. However, my motivation isn’t always entirely selfless. Like most people who do any form of short or long term missions, I usually receive way more that I give. During this trip, Christmas came early and my “gift” wasn’t found under a tree.
Well, we’ve been back from Nepal for almost two weeks, and the power of passion was real! I’m already making mental preparations for my next trip. As I wrote in my previous blog a few weeks ago, Karen and I had the privilege of speaking at two different Global Advance conferences. Karen spoke at a women’s conference and I was part of a team that was training potential church planters. Both conferences were absolutely amazing with over 250 participants at each one. It’s a good thing Nepali people are smaller than us, because we were packed in!
Our team was filled with amazing people and it was an honor to work with each of them. Besides Karen and myself, there was: Whitney Daughtry, director of The Global Advance Esther Initiative, Ken Janke, director of just about everything at Global Advance (I just call him “El Jefe”), and Taylor and Irene Dufrene from Northplace Church in Sachse, Texas. Taylor and Irene are originally from Louisiana, which got Karen cranked up. They talked about Cajun food the entire first day, which made me constantly hungry (I promise Whitney, it was their fault!).
As I’ve come to expect, God brought each member of our team together for a reason. Over the course of the week, not only did we grow really close, we began to recognize and rely on each others unique strengths. It’s always cool to watch how God does that.
In a few days (September 5-8), Karen and I will be speaking at two different Global Advance conferences in South Asia. Karen will be speaking at a women’s conference and I will be part of a church planting training session with around 250 participants who are all planning to start a new church within the next year. Both conferences will happen simultaneously with several combined sessions on the final day. Karen and I will have the privilege to speak on the subject of marriage in ministry during one of those combined sessions. Both of these conferences are very strategic and much needed in this part of the world. I am writing this blog to simply ask you to pray for us and our team as well as the conference participants. Without prayer, our efforts are in vain. Therefore, I am asking for as many people that are willing, to please pray for us this coming week. I have attached a prayer guide to help you pray for us more strategically.
After stepping down as senior pastor at Grace Community Church in February of 2015, I think I finally know what I want to be if I grow up. I originally stepped down because I felt like God was leading me to dedicate more time to writing and speaking outside of the church, with a priority on the international pastor’s conferences that I have been part of for the past eight years with Global Advance. Since then, I now feel like God is calling me to pursue training pastors full time. So what’s next for me?
Over the past 8 or 9 years, I have had the privilege of traveling to 9 countries and speaking at 15 pastor’s conferences and business leader’s conferences. While each trip is different, one thing has remained consistent – the people. Every place I’ve gone, I’ve met incredible men and women demonstrating Christ, who have an amazing commitment to and love for God, a hunger to learn, and an unquenchable desire to share the gospel to a world that needs Jesus.
My trip to Mexico City was no exception. In April of this year, I traveled with a team from Global Advance to participate in a Marketplace Missions Conference. Global Advance Marketplace Missions has a strategy to awaken Kingdom vision and increase the acumen of Christian entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals throughout the developing world. Training Christian businessmen and women in developing nations increases economic and spiritual capital worldwide. These conferences provide these leaders with both encouragement and practical business training.
It was on this trip that I met a man named Arturo, who’s life would challenge me in ways that I wasn’t expecting.
Last month I had the privilege of traveling with a team from Global Advance to Cameroon, Africa to speak at a number of events. This was my first time traveling to Africa, and it definitely will not be my last. This Global Advance trip was unlike any other. To begin with, we didn’t just speak at one conference, we spoke at six different events throughout the week. Needless to say our week was full. This was by far the most I’ve ever spoken during a trip. But, as it has been the case with every other trip, it was extremely rewarding. One of the best parts of this Global Advance trip was the team I had the privilege of working with.
Earlier this month, I had the privilege of leading a team to Moscow for a pastor’s conference sponsored by Global Advance. The team was actually just me and my friend John Gillespie so there wasn’t a lot of leading going on…but I was still the leader, so that made me in charge and stuff. One of the benefits of traveling with John was that he has traveled internationally a lot more than I have, so when I got to the airport I was his guest in the American Airlines admiral’s club. (You can see my stellar leadership skills in action here as I delegated to John the choice of lounges we would use.)