Empowering Leaders: Learning from Others
Empowering Leaders Core Strategy is up to some exciting things! First off, we are really excited to see many of you in Dubai at the Global Church for a Global World (GCGW) conference, which is serving in place of our Ministry Leadership Conference (MLC) this year. One of the ways we grow as leaders is to be exposed to new ideas and new people, and GCGW promises to do just that. We will get to meet international church leaders from different backgrounds, locations, and church networks, which I believe will benefit us immensely.
I realize that we are a convention of Baptist churches, and I am unapologetically baptistic. But as we come together in Dubai we will have pastors and church leaders from Union, charismatic, non-denominational, and other backgrounds. While we will not agree on everything, it is good for us to know what these various leaders are doing around the world, and we will hopefully learn something from them. For example, the Assemblies of God churches are very active in establishing international churches right now, and many of theirs in Europe are thriving. They also have an incredible network of churches in China, giving access to a country that is growing more closed off every year and seriously increasing persecution of Christians. What are they doing right in the area of leadership that we can learn from them?
Most of our churches are located in Europe and Latin America, so it will be exciting to talk with international church leaders with churches in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. GCGW will have pastors coming from places like Mali and Thailand. Some of these leaders, like IBC friend Rodney Woo, even come from Baptist churches that are not affiliated with our convention. They face very different challenges than we do in our contexts. In places like the Middle East and Muslim countries in Asia like Malaysia, Christian leaders must be very careful how openly they talk about their ministries, and witnessing to locals is forbidden. These church leaders can share modern-day stories of martyrdom that have come out of their churches. How do they overcome such challenges and still have churches that thrive? What can we learn from them to apply as leaders of our churches, mostly in “Christian” nations, to help our people be on fire for sharing the Gospel like our Christian brothers and sisters in closed countries?
While we love to be together as a family of churches, it will be wonderful to be a part of a larger conference with representatives from the Chinese International Fellowship, the Fellowship of European International Churches, the Missional International Church Network, the Asia Baptist Network, and more. We will have time to be together with just our church family on Tuesday evening, but it will also be good to mingle among the other churches and see and learn from what they are doing as church networks to work together for the Gospel.
This will be an incredible time for us as an IBC family, and I look forward to our time together. But I know we will also miss the relaxing schedule we are used to, and so I am pleased to announce that plans are already underway for MLC 2020 in Croatia. We are looking at meeting at an incredible resort for a time of rest and restoration as we focus in on equipping IBC leaders to accomplish our mission and realize the IBC vision of strengthening and multiplying disciple-making churches.
by David Fresch
Director of Empowering Leaders and Pastor, North Sea Baptist Church, Stavanger, Norway