Thanksgiving week was inspiring!
I spent the first few days of Thanksgiving week listening to one of my mentors, Doug Birdsall – Honorary Chairman of the Lausanne Movement, share about vision in Japan.
Doug shared many powerful life and leadership lessons that all of us will treasure for years to come. He quoted scripture so frequently that you could tell he has spent a lifetime cultivating a deep relationship with God. Some of his many more salient points included:
The most important thing is the quality of your own life! Is your life deeply rooted in Jesus Christ? Are you modeling an exemplary for life? What we are for Christ is far more important than what we do for Christ. Our doing flows from being!
The impact of your life and ministry will be in direct correlation to how much you have mastered the Word of God. The bible is your wellspring and it must be an eternal source of your life and ministry.
Where is your chair? Is there a place where you sit and read God’s word?
I encourage you to be people where the bible is at the center of your life!
Doug shared many more lessons about vision and leadership, some of which you can find on my colleague Sue Takamoto’s blog: The Takameter. I encourage you to read this post entitled “24 Hour gleanings” to gain a sense of a few of these. While sharing all these great insights, Doug filled out these concepts by sharing several amazing stories of how the Lord had given him vision over the years. One of the stories had to do with Asian Access/Japan’s 2020 Vision. How inspiring to hear how Doug took the necessary time to hear a fresh word from God that catalyzed a movement which we are just now beginning to see come together. While the 2020 Vision has seen several church multiplication networks launched, there are many more to go before the year 2020 and yet now, the Lord seems to be moving in a fresh way building momentum toward the great call that He has given us!
One of the more critical aspects of living out a vision is the importance of perseverance. Doug shared a number of stories from his own life on this character quality, very vulnerably about a recent challenge. It was moving to hear him share and reminded us all about Doug’s missionary hero, Adoniram Judson, and all he had to face to see God’s vision fulfilled in Myanmar (Burma). Another one of my colleagues, Dan Brown, reflected on a few of Doug’s points in his blog: Battleground.
A story that struck me on perseverance was the length of time Bill Bright had to wait to see the fulfillment of the Jesus Film Project, one of the more fruitful evangelistic ministries of the modern mission era. From initial inception to the actual launch of the first showing of the Jesus Film was 36 years. Imagine that!
Doug praised the Japanese Church for embodying this great quality. He shared:
No where has the Gospel been shared so generously, yet the harvest has been reaped so sparingly… Yet, the Japanese Church models the way for the global Church. One of the greatest gifts the Japanese Church has to share with the World Church is the ability to persevere and do so with joy!
Another theme Doug shared with us related to perseverance had to do with partnership. He asked Pastor Chida if our network model of church planting could work and Pastor Chida said:
"Mitsu no kyokai ga areba, kantan ni dekiru!
"If you have just three churches, you can do [church multiplication] easily."
I came away from the conference inspired once again, with many more tools in my pocket, for the vision God has given to us:
To see a vibrant community of servant leaders with vision, character and competence leading the Church across Asia and to fulfill the 2020 Vision for Japan:
To deploy 100 church multiplication teams
- To establish 1,000 reproducing congregations
- To enfold 1 million new followers of Christ,
- who will in turn send 1,000 missionaries from Japan to the cities of Asia that will be home to
- 1 billion people by the year 2020 AD.
As Doug so often reminds us from our founder, Ken, the impossible is possible:
“Impossible… Impossible… I love impossible!”
He also shares from Adoniram Judson:
“The future is as bright as the promises of God!”