Over the past 3 days I have been attending the 3dm Learning Community in Melbourne. This is the first of four immersions that takes place over the next 2 years. Already I have experienced a few ‘God moments’ which has got me thinking what my ministry would look like in the last leg of my life. Yes the last leg of my life. If the Bible says that a person has been given 70 years of life, then I am into the final third of my life :-). Mike Breen, Rich Robinson and the team from 3dm has given me a lot to think about and I know this is going to mould my ministry in this last leg.
I am sitting in my hotel reflecting on my life so far. I am amazed at the various significant moments God has brought in my life that has helped me experience the Father heart of God and understand God’s calling on my life.
The first 25 years
The significant events in my first 25 years has been my 2 births, my physical birth that brought me into this world and my spiritual birth that brought me into Christ’s Kingdom. I was born into a godly family and my parents played a significant part of my life in this period. Even though I messed around in my teenage years, my parents never gave up on me but gave me many opportunities to get my life on track. I still have many memories of my mum in tears praying for me. When I was 16, I encountered God in a way that has left me without a shadow of doubt that He is real and that He loves me as my heavenly Father. A short time later I got involved with Navteens (Navigators work amongst young people) and developed a passion for spiritual disciplines and discipleship. In 198o, my church got a new pastor, Arthur Tudball. He was a gifted Bible teacher and I grew in my understanding of God’s Word. In 1980, I also entered the Air Force. During my time in the Air Force, I got involved with YWAM and with their help, started a Christian work in my airbase. Towards the end of this period, God began to show me that it was time for me to move on from the Air Force and to be equipped for ministry. Through various significant events, I knew God was calling me into a life of mission.
The second 25 years
As I sought God regarding training for missions, He led me to go to WEC Missionary Training College in Tasmania in 1987. The next 2 years were very significant for various reasons. God clearly gave me a heart for mission. I had gifted lecturers like Evan Davies, Don Barnes and Sandy Hart who played a key part in moulding my theology and my understanding of world missions. I have many fond memories of my time at college and it has prepared me for a life of mission. Another significant moment of college life was my meeting my lovely wife Joy. She became the most significant person in my life in this period. Together we have journeyed with God and served Him in New Zealand, Philippines and Singapore. We have 3 children who played a significant part of our lives. During this stage I led churches into mission. This was a significant learning experience for me where God taught me the purpose of the church is to love and serve the community. My time in Singapore pastoring All Saints and being involved in the Love Singapore movement helped me develop a theology of servanthood that has become a key part of my ministry in this stage. A key conviction I developed in this stage is not about how many Christians I could attract into the church but rather the number of people I impact as I live out my faith in the world. Returning to New Zealand, I continued to learn what it meant to lead the church on mission locally and globally. As I look back over the second 25 years I have grown in my love for mission and making a difference in my local community and the world. I have been blessed by God who was willing to let me serve Him in a small way in Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Nepal, Bolivia, and New Zealand. As this stage drew to a close, God started to lay on my heart a desire for a Kingdom movement. It was at this time that I came across the books of Mike Breen. These books revolutionised my thinking and gave me a dream to a network of communities serving the suburbs they are in.
The last 25 years
This is where I am at this present moment. I have just entered this final stage. Today, as I sat and listened to Mike Breen at the Learning Community, I realise how much this past week has become a significant moment in this final stage. We were asked to reflect on our ministry, decide what we need to stop and what we need to start, and to set priorities for us to focus on over the next few months. As I reflected on what this week means to me, it dawned on me how important being part of this learning community over the next 2 years is. God has taught me so much over the last 50 years of what it meant to know God as my Father and to live as His son, and to know God as King and to serve Him as His ambassador in the world. Mike Breen and his team has taught me so much through the books I have read and over the last week. For me this last leg is about discipling others to know God as their Father and King so that their life has purpose and meaning. This is my goal for this last leg. I want to share the lessons I have learned over the years and pass these lessons on using the 3dm vehicle of huddles. My prayer is that at the end of this stage, I will hear the words of God saying “Well done good and faithful servant”.