Journeying with People

(First appeared in SIM Niger Newsletter, July 2010)

I just had a very encouraging visit with Andrew Ng yesterday. Andrew is a man of experience and wisdom that spans decades on at least three continents. He said to me that projects and programs almost always fail in time, but the fruit that remains is the difference we make in people's lives. He used a phrase that I like very much. He said we need to "journey with people". We need to structure our lives and ministry in a way that we can walk along side people and learn together with them. As I think about the footprint that we would like to leave here in Niger, it always comes back to developing people.

If we are serious about developing people the first person to develop is always ourselves. Someone said recently, we don't need to worry about making disciples. We are all doing it, all the time. We will reproduce ourselves in our children, our co-workers, in those around us. We will probably be astounded one day to discover the sphere of influence that we actually did have in our lifetime. The question is, were we the kind of people that the King wanted to reproduce?

As a field, I see opportunity to journey with people in several key spheres:

1. The marriage and home - The most profound impact on a person's life happens in the home and is very much influenced by the quality of the parent's marriage. We need to invest and journey with people in this area.

2. School - The opportunity for influence through education is no longer disputed. We want to journey with teachers and discover with them how to show students the glory of the Lord in all creation and teach them to love and serve him.

3. Youth - We have another key window of opportunity for lasting impact in discipling young people with their whole lives ahead of them. I am excited about the possibility of partnering with YWAM to create a discipleship training school in Soura near Maradi. The FEU is also of strategic influence.

4. Workplace - In all our ministries, the healthy ones are the ones where we hold a shared commitment with our Nigerien co-workers. The workplace day-in and day-out is an excellent environment for stimulating loving, serving core values based on integrity.

5. Theological education - Numbers 1-4, when done effectively, set the stage for developing leaders that can think biblically and act in love and with honesty.

In looking at these five areas of influence, I think we have mapped out a good portion of the mission of SIM Niger. We want to journey with our brothers and sisters in these areas. This is the fruit that will remain long after we leave.

Yours in Christ,