I’m a team player. One of my core values is team and community, which I saw in myself when I became a camp counselor 20 years ago. It infected my ministry in Richmond as well. Then God made it clear I was to move to Russia, but he gave me a mission agency that, though otherwise a great fit, didn’t have a high value for teams, and so there was no team for me to come to in Russia. So I trusted God and prayed for Him to send some more missionaries to join me.
As John Dawson says, “when God isn’t doing what He is capable of, He is doing something bigger.” That was just the case here. Now I have the joy of seeing a fully indigenous team of leaders emerging that is more exciting to work with than I could have hoped for. And in God’s irony and humor, He still had more to add to our numbers than just Russians. Manue (short for Manuelle) is someone I started pursuing about a year ago, when she was experiencing some changes in her own life, ministry, and mission team here in the city. And after many conversations and prayer, it finally came together this January, just in time for our team retreat.
One of the biggest questions that took a while to forge full agreement around was about Manue’s passion for prayer. It’s not like I don’t value prayer, but I’ve got so many other things going on. Could she really find her home in the midst of all our activity?
What is exciting about where we are is that we see now our need for each other’s gifts and passions. Actually, I have felt like I have been limping along on one leg without a really significant prayer thrust, but I knew I couldn’t do it all. But Manue can’t even do what she envisions by herself either, and I am thrilled by how much we both are eager to honor the gifts in the other to see God’s purposes fulfilled in this city. For example, she has a big vision for prayer outreach on a citywide level, and I trust the Spirit in her and honor that. She, on the other hand, trusts the Spirit in me and accepts my direction and strategic thinking to give it shape and build a solid foundation.
So say the group has embraced her enthusiastically is a huge understatement. By God’s providence, many of them already knew her and were eager for her participation. Now there isn’t a single person who isn’t highly grateful for her involvement. But I didn’t just impose her on the group. We had a careful and intentional process for her, just as we do any other new member.
Now Manue and three other women from our core group have been praying together 2-3 times a week and clarifying their common values that they will use to help new people from around the community see their fit. Moreover, they are not just praying for us, relieving us of the need to pray. I have asked them to specifically speak into our process and even bring correction when we do not seem to be moving with God’s leading. Personally I admit to having a tendency to attack a project without fully having a sense that God is in front of us.
Her personal vision is broader than prayer. She feels called to go back to 2 CHR. 7;13-14 with a call to repentance, but add to that a 24/7 prayer and worship movement, not unlike such as in Kansas City, but on the streets! in this way, prayer, outreach, evangelism, and social ministry all converge. I see a great synergy of ministries in this project. More details to come!