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As God seeks to redeem some of the serious issues at the core of the current world crisis, our message of redemption and the love on which it is based will give a real choice to those looking for answers. From Kansas where SLT is thriving to the Statesman conference in Atlanta, from Seattle to our overseas affiliates in both Europe and Asia, our travels this spring and summer have increasingly confirmed that the Church is recognizing the need to present Christ-centered alternatives to the secular answers that have not worked.
For the Church, our schools are their answer to paradigm-altering leadership training that centers on both justice and righteousness. It takes more than a program. The years it takes to develop the skill sets and relational depth with the Lord and one another are being accepted. Christ’s rulership is based on justice and righteousness. It is on each of our personal foundations in Christ that righteousness can be built. His justice is community based and not a proliferation of a variety of alms, but of real opportunity and responsibility, service, and love.
Our time overseas has decidedly broadened our perspectives and responsibilities. It is clear that the market for our “product” is very broad. Much of the world has received the wonderful Message of personal redemption, but there remains a great gap in the awareness of what happens between salvation and heaven. Filling that gap with personal growth in Christ and serving His purposes for this world supplies the piece that completes the puzzle.
Europe and Asia Trip Report
Dennis and I deeply appreciated our four-day vacation to Provence, France where we met graduates of our schools. These students are the fruit of David and Natalie Holmyard who are now working in Australia and joined us in Singapore (more on that later). We then attended a week-long conference in Switzerland where Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant (Free Church, State Church, Pentecostal, Reformed, Evangelical, and Vineyard) faiths were all in attendance. The first three days of teaching and discussion were focused on the Apostle Paul. The last day involved dialogue between the various leaders followed by ecumenical meetings of cooperation. As an American, I thought of Benjamin Franklin’s famous words, “Gentleman, we must all hang together or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” There was a spirit of accord where the very important areas of agreement, rather than differences, were pursued. We witnessed groups with strong disparities come to a decision to jointly promote neighborhood Advent Bible Studies in 2015. This would certainly be a first in Switzerland as it would be in most nations.
In Singapore, a very well-organized program was in place. In fact, we had the graduation ceremony for the first BLS200 graduates there. Students came from Hong Kong for their graduation ceremony and the first Asian Transforum. Transforum attendees included those from Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India, USA, Australia, and New Zealand. Coming along side our Asian hosts and us were Bruce Billington (Director of our International Schools) an his wife, Linda; Gerald Chester (Senior Advisor for the Business Leadership School) and his wife, Carol; and David and Natalie Holmyard who currently head the schools in Australia, all of whom provided seasoned experience to the sessions. In addition to the wonderful and varied teachings, having our meals together in the Asian style provided an environment that fostered the building of relationships.
This year, the Asian Business Leadership School consists of groups meeting in person in Indonesia and Singapore as well as long distance groups bringing together students from various other nations. Altogether, there are currently over a hundred students in the BLS100 and BLS200 courses, with plans to add the Strategic Life Training program next year. Yes, it took years to get here, but look at where we are!!!
Dorcas Li, who is heading the work in Singapore since her husband Andj’s death last year, accompanied us as we continued our journey to Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. For Dennis and I, this was our first introduction to what would be classified an Asian nation, rather than a city-state, such as Hong Kong or Singapore, both of which though in appearance are large cities, rank high in the nations of the world’s economies.
Our hostess, Indri Gautama, has been working to apply many of the principles of the Kingdom of God in their community outreach. Her facility is in a poor section of town. In a Muslim country, you cannot build churches readily. As a successful businesswoman prior to her conversion, the Lord is using her skill sets and the creativity He gave her. She built two towers next to each other which are connected by a lobby with an open interior courtyard. The first of the two towers is a residential apartment with a typical mix of occupants for Jakarta, including a good number of her congregation members. The second tower is for business, again hosting a variety of occupants, including her academy for preschool and elementary ages that accepts all faiths. There is also an auditorium for business events. On Sunday this is where the congregation meets. She makes it a point to provide jobs for the impoverished neighboring community, and when she is in need, for example in the process of obtaining a permit, the community is there to reciprocate the support.
Several of the congregation’s leaders had been at the Transforum and they were joined by others at the special meetings we had for those interested in the GoStrategic message. Predominantly young, spiritually hungry, men and women showed up for the solidly packed teaching sessions. This is the host congregation for the Indonesian BLS100 group.
In all of these nations, the developing leaders recognize that life is continual growth, and they are in their communities ready and able to see and act on the opportunities. Building line on line, precept on precept, allows paradigm shifts with real-life application, not just intellectual assent. Our Facilitators have the training and experience to help group members through the hoops that present themselves when applying the truths to real life.
The continuing challenge is to have increasing numbers of trained Facilitators willing to lay down their lives “after hours,” as they say, to equip others for the work of their ministry (Ephesians 4). Truly, it is this type of servant-leadership that is the “venture capital” of the Kingdom of God.
As we head into the fall, we have a very full schedule with school and Statesman events, international networking, and a return trip to Asia in November to strengthen this very important work. There certainly is much to pray, much to do, and much to anticipate.
By Jan Peacocke
View the complete newsletter here: GoStrategicNewsletterFall2014