MBI’s newest ministry, Leadership 13 (L13) came into existence in 2010 when colleagues Ron Brewster and Dawn Masucci and I felt compelled to combine our years of leadership experience and expertise into a concerted effort to respond to a cry for help from a number of the promising young leaders serving within Youth With a Mission. Those leaders were being called upon to shape this rapidly growing, international, interdenominational movement of Christians called to bring the whole gospel to the whole world.
Though each of us desired to see YWAM succeed at the macro level, with all of its myriad of expressions, we shared an even more pressing passion to see this current generation of leaders adequately equipped to face the challenges of successfully stewarding their respective ministry locations. Having invested 30-plus years of service at the senior leadership level in one location, it was and is our firm conviction that any lasting leadership legacy can only be accomplished when those “to whom much has been given” graciously acknowledge and respond to the second half of this biblical mandate that “much is required.”
L13 was forged in the fire of finding ways to pass on our life lessons and expertise in any way God might want to use them for the benefit of YWAM leaders. The end goal was to see the advancement of the kingdom of God globally.
Since embracing that call 9 years ago, it has been our privilege to have assisted in training and coaching leaders in approximately 16 YWAM operating locations from the U.S. and Canada to far flung regions such as Cambodia, Taiwan, Costa Rica, and Barbados. Though some of the leaders we have had the privilege of serving are mature and experienced, the much larger percentage have been young, inexperienced , and, in some locations, first generation Christians.
These God-called, amazing servants find themselves responsible for some of the most innovative ministry expressions we have ever seen, ranging from the foundational YWAM Discipleship Training School (DTS) to numerous other secondary expressions such as the School of Biblical Studies (SBS) and School of Community Development, just to name a couple. Because 2 of the 18 foundational values of YWAM are about being “visionary” and doing “new things in new ways,” there is no end to the creative ventures we have observed as these ministries explore how they can more effectively take the age-old gospel message and contextualize it to reach the cultures to which God has called them.
The gospel is going forward to some of the least-reached areas of the world through creative approaches that include everything from very sophisticated English/computer education programs to AIDS orphan homes to micro business enterprise (designed not only to provide income streams for the local ministry but do so in a way that serves to generate financial support for full-time, indigenous workers). The challenge is that, in many cases, their remarkable effectiveness has become a double-edged sword. The accelerated growth these ministries are experiencing has outstripped the leaders’ knowledge and expertise as to how to keep the ministry healthy, thriving, and appropriately funded. These are wonderful challenges, but these leaders are often ill-equipped to navigate them.
This is exactly the point at which L13 discovered that our year-long approach of coming along side these ministries has borne good fruit. Our expertise joined with their energy and desire to lead well has produced a winning combination. The tools we’re able to give them through our on-site visits as well as Skype coaching and mentoring has proven to be very effective in equipping them with understanding in areas such as organizational dynamics, healthy systems, and strong staff development. Coupled with our core value and commitment toward “developing servant leaders for lasting growth,” L13 not only encourages the leaders we serve but arms them with the confidence necessary to lead those whom God has placed in their charge so that the entire ministry can learn to walk in the footsteps of our great servant leader and master, Jesus Christ.
Since its inception, L13 has been blessed beyond measure to add four more players to the team, Jason Howard, Lane Lackey, Veronica VanSchuylenburg and occasionally John Briggs. Each brings with them a skill set that has broadened L13’s ability to help in even more areas.
Just over a year ago, L13 was delighted and blessed to be invited to make Mission Builders International its permanent home. When the opportunity first presented itself, it almost seemed like a no-brainer. The call of MBI, “So Others May Thrive,” seemed like a hand-in-glove fit with all that L13 desired to accomplish.
Even though it seemed obvious, however, the final decision to join forces was only made after a great deal of prayer by all of those involved as well as a serious discussion with the wise and godly board of directors that serves MBI. At the end of the process, all were in hearty agreement that to add L13 to the MBI family was a match made in heaven. MBI’s call to the larger Mission as opposed to any one location is a call that we share together.
As the times we live in become increasingly uncertain, we invite you to join your prayers with ours that MBI and L13 will find ever-widening circles of influence where our passion, “So Others May Thrive,” can be expressed in and through our Mission and ultimately to the ends of the earth.
Everyone loves a good report. At Mission Builders International, we love hearing about our volunteers’ experiences serving alongside global YWAM ministries. The connection between Mission Builders and missionaries is more than just about the value of the work that’s accomplished; it’s also about the rich insights and relationships that result when people work together for kingdom purposes.
David H., who serves with MBI’s RV Associates, blessed us with the following two-week snapshot of his time of service at YWAM Orlando in Florida. We’d like to share his infectious joy and encourage you to find out for yourselves what God has in store for those who offer their time and skills. David wrote:
“A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks. Events below are just some of the highlights.
More Mission Builders!
This morning the dining hall is filled with Mission Builders! About fifty Amish from Pennsylvania arrived over the weekend. Men, women, young and old! Many of them have been here before, several times.
After breakfast, the projects planned for the week are announced and the volunteers join the group where they feel led: replacing a roof on a house, building the deck on the dining hall, pool house rehab, cutting and clearing trees in the upper camp grounds. The tree cutting turns up a little shy on people, so I get asked to help with the chain saw work. Not a problem. It will be some good exercise for me, and the project I’m working on is not urgent.
An Observation on Christian Unity.
Throughout the week, as I work on the various jobs, I get to know several of the Amish: Jim, Lewis, Marcus, Lester, Mary Jane and others. They are hardworking people. They may dress and talk differently, but they have good hearts, and many times I catch a glimpse of Jesus in them, and I know they are my brothers and sisters in the Lord. This is very interesting, because YWAMers and Amish/Mennonites must be at opposite ends of the Christian spectrum, at least in outward appearances. YWAMers are quite free and open in their worship and style of dress, the Amish/Mennonites quite conservative.
I am coming more and more to the opinion that unity among Christians will not come about by some new doctrine or theology, but rather by the individual followers of Christ discovering their brothers and sisters as they work side by side pursuing the kingdom work the Father has called us to do!
There is something about doing those things I know the Lord has called me to do. In that step of faith, new revelation takes place in my heart, and I begin to see with the eyes of my heart (my spiritual eyes) a new and broader perspective on the kingdom of God. A realization that my perspective of God has been too small. That I am a part of a family of God much bigger than I ever thought. How else can YWAMers and Amish come together in common effort and worship? Wow! Just a small glimpse of the kingdom of heaven!
Returning DTS Students!
More new faces are showing up at the base and great excitement is in the air! DTS (Discipleship Training School) students who studied here in the fall have been on “outreach” for the last two months. They are now finishing their program and are beginning to return. They will be arriving today and through the weekend, totaling about 80 students and staff who have been in Haiti, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. They will have some incredible stories. There will be a graduation for that class in a week or two. The next two weeks will be very exciting with all the stories.
The dining hall is pretty full with people; still many Amish and Mennonite Mission Builders here to finish up the deck. Most all the students who had been on outreach have now returned, and they are sharing the dining hall also as a central gathering place. The returning students, together with the Mission Builders, are making for a pretty busy place. All meals are now being served in the Arena, since the dining hall is too small!
Speaking in Code
Morning worship is full of people. It’s a good thing they don’t use chairs for our worship services; it’s standing room only this morning! Lots of hugs going around with the returning students. The singing is enthusiastic with all the excitement in the air. Worship ends with a few announcements. One of the leaders asks: “Raise your hand if you were in a country where you could not speak the name of Jesus or in a place where you had to speak in code.” Hands all over the room go up! I am amazed.
The Dead Baby
One evening a few days ago, some of the staff felt called to just go out to the community and seek the Holy Spirit’s lead in finding someone who might be in need. One of the young ladies ended up at Target, and once there, felt led to go to the baby clothes section—a little odd since the YWAMer was not married and had no children. At the baby section, she found a very pregnant mother who seemed troubled. She engaged her in talk. The young mother soon broke down and, with tears flowing down her cheeks, said, “My baby is dead. I haven’t felt anything for three weeks, and now the doctor has said the baby will be stillborn.” She asked the mother if she would like prayer. As the YWAMer prayed, the mother started sobbing and laughing; the baby had started kicking and the mom got all excited. “I can feel the baby! Here, feel it, feel the baby kicking!” They exchanged contact info, and the next day at the doctor’s office they found the heart beat right away and found everything normal with the baby!
Tuesday Evening Service
The enthusiastic singing of the returning students seems like it will bring the house down. The message: “Think Long.” What you do today will be the stories you’ll tell your grandchildren. Think about what kind of legacy you will leave.”
Ready to leave a legacy? The door to global volunteer opportunities is wide open. Contact us at www.missionbuilders.org and fill out your volunteer application today. Be sure to check out MBI’s RV Associates if “home” is wherever your RV takes you.