Unshakable Kingdom, Unwavering Warrior - Matt Penner
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the East Region Siafu Men's Retreat. World Impact puts on these retreats for men in each of our three regions every fall. Siafu is a national association of chapters anchored in local urban churches and ministries dedicated to the advancement of the Kingdom in the city. The theme of this retreat was Unshakeable Kingdom Unwavering Warrior. Dr. Don Davis gave dynamic messages on how we can be Warriors for the Lord and what God is doing to adopt a People to Himself.
While the teachings and worship were impactful and important, maybe one of the greatest purposes of the Men's Retreat was the connections created among the urban pastors, leaders and men in their ministries. The very name "Siafu" comes from an ant in Tanzania. A single ant is vulnerable and alone. But together, Siafu ants are an extremely powerful force – they travel in packs of millions and overcome anything in their way.
So it is in city. Many urban pastors and leaders can feel isolated and alone, but our hope is that through the network of Siafu chapters and these retreats we can create a deep sense of community and belonging. This impacts the city as a whole and, ultimately, the Kingdom of God.
One Pastor I got to know at the retreat was Desmond Wedderburn from Brooklyn. He recently joined World Impact as an Associate and has an already established powerful ministry, Calvary Crosses Church. Every Friday during the summer, his team does outreaches in the city focused on preaching and prayer for salvation and discipleship. He has a growing and dynamic church, but for the past ten years he has felt alone. This weekend retreat was his first exposure to other pastors and leaders – and many of the resources that World Impact and TUMI have to offer. Desmond said that this weekend allowed him to connect to a larger network of urban churches. It is incredibly beneficial to not feel alone.
Pastor Desmond is one of thousands of leaders and pastors that we want to train, empower, and equip as we seek a great harvest of urban churches in the years to come.
Matt Penner is World Impact's National Prayer Director.
Faces of World Impact Topeka - Mary Flin
This is such an exciting time to be in urban ministry. That isn't to say that it is an easy time, but it is a time when opportunities are endless. I am constantly challenged with the need to equip as many new leaders for the urban church as possible, as quickly as possible, and in the most affordable ways possible.
Faces come to mind when I think of emerging leaders: students in the six Fight the Good Fight of Faith classes we just completed in the Shawnee County Jail, neighbors who love the Lord and are learning His ways, SIAFU members who know that our groups will be there when they need to connect with Christian friends, TUMI-Topeka students who cross the finish line of each class with the major goal of winning their city for the Kingdom of Christ, and members of the Church Inside at our jail Annex where students rotate and serve by bringing the Word each week. I also think of the pastors, chaplains, authorities and community leaders who have the same goals and are on the front lines of service daily, especially among the urban poor. To come alongside these friends with leadership training, small group discipleship resources, church planting models and encouragement is worth whatever it takes to be faithful and available.
The Topeka Rescue Mission's new TUMI Satellite, which they call the Center for Biblical Leadership Development, launched their first class in May as part of their Servants in Training Program. In partnership with their Doxazo Missions Training Institute, another model will launch in January that will allow students to be certified in both Missions and Biblical Leadership.
It was great to have six leaders attend the TUMI Summit with me, and to connect with an Accredited Partner from our area who is interested in working together to develop models for leaders from among the urban poor who are called to bi-vocational ministry and who are seeking additional education.
We are looking forward to having Andrew and Adria Medlen and their boys with us part time for the next several months. As World Impact Topeka plans for classes and initiatives in area churches, the jail, community and neighborhoods, I am grateful for your prayers and support. The enemy is daunting, but is a conquered foe. We follow our Champion, Christ the Victor, and have cities to win for His Kingdom!
Mary Flin is the City Director of World Impact Topeka.
Facilitating Urban Leadership Training - Dr. Don Davis
TUMI's stated purpose is to equip leaders for the urban church, especially among the poor, to advance the Kingdom of God. As the adage goes, "That's easier said than done." With dozens of satellites and thousands of students, exactly how do we do it? After all, we don't have "boots-on-the-ground" staff presence in our 212 sites in 15 countries, including 63 prisons and jails (as of August 2015), nor do we have any plans to do so. We will not deploy TUMI staff throughout our ever-growing network to do hands-on, face-to-face mentoring on the field.
How then do we facilitate the training of urban leaders, both domestically and abroad? The answer is simple: we do it by collaborating with partners in mission. The partnerships that we establish and maintain with like-minded churches, denominations, and other ministries make our facilitation efforts possible. Specifically, our curricula and programs outfit partners to equip their own leaders to do effective urban ministry.
At first glance, one might miss the radical nature of this approach. In our view, all effective leadership training is done locally, in the context of the actual lives and ministries of these emerging servants, done best by those who know them well. Christ's example demonstrates that curricula, books, and resources don't forge ordinary men and women into dynamic Christian leaders – they must be personally equipped in the field (Mark 3:14; Luke 6:40). Partnership is a time-tested principle in Kingdom advancement, demonstrated both in Christ and the Twelve, and the continuing efforts of the apostolic company illustrated in the book of Acts (Acts 13:1-3). The Holy Spirit raises up leaders in their own context to serve as his very own ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20). Our role is to enable them to be effective, not to pretend that we know how to best contextualize training in their environment. Like the old Home Depot motto, we exclaim to our ministry partners, "You can do it; we can help."
This model of training works because it carefully distinguishes the roles of the various players in the leader development game. For instance, the Lord provides the God-called men and women who make themselves available for ministry training. Our partners supply the oversight, authority, venue, opportunity, and the vision to make it happen, along with the energy and the effort to host leader development training in their own context. TUMI, then, supplies the consultation, programming, curricula, resources, and experience to help these partners establish their own, contextualized, strategic leadership training that ensures effective urban ministry in their context. The key to equipping leaders, then, is for each of the partners to fulfill their role–the Lord, the partners, the leaders, and yes, TUMI.
Our role, therefore, is supportive and secondary, but very important. Although we come alongside others to develop leaders, we function like a midwife, providing wise experience and support throughout the entire leadership-birthing theater and process. We do not personally mentor, train, or counsel the leaders in our network, but we do professionally resource those who do. We are dedicated to create the curricula, resources, and consultations that will equip leaders and empower church planting movements among the poor worldwide.
One of World Impact's key focus areas is Developing Missional Partnerships, which involves forming Kingdom-minded relationships that collaboratively love, serve, and engage under-resourced communities. TUMI's extraordinary network of innovative leader developers is the key to raising up a new generation of God-called leaders to reach the world's urban poor. TUMI's role in this effort is clear: "They can do it; we can help."