Thursday 15 March 2012

Going through a paradigm shift

How quickly we allow things to become our guides, rather than taking our leading from the voice of God and then using things for that purpose. I read a challenging and thought-provoking article this morning from a fellow YWAMer Daniel Norris entitled Taking back your timeDaniel highlights how we easily become a slave to technology, rather than letting it serve us and our God-given purposes. His sacrifice of his laptop has resulted in more quality time spent with his wife. Something I need to learn too.
It's amazing how this penetrates our ministry too. Even though we think that we are getting on the right track to where God is leading us in AfriCom, it is always good to ask others with a more objective perspective to challenge us - especially in the area of allowing tasks/things/technology to lead us. One of the newest members of staff, Susana, challenged us about how we appear to be a media agency, yet we claim that we're not.
As I was unpacking the vision of how AfriCom is a ministry of YWAM which aims to embrace the idea of Christ centred communication and that we need to allow Him to guide us in the actions/tasks that we do, Susana mentioned the importance of the language we use and how that affects how others view us. It also affects our approach and shows our worldview. She has noted that the terms we refer to in the tasks we do are generally media terms. As we look to productivity in meetings, many words like video, podcast, article, website, photograph are used when dealing with tasks. Then the relationships are put in a place that leads us to complete these tasks. She challenged us to rethink that mindset and look at how we can change it so that the media side of things serve us, rather than the other way around; that our focus when we meet people shouldn't be immediately 'where's the story?', rather 'what is God saying to us here?'. This is a great challenge, as it requires a paradigm shift in our approach to everything we do.
The vision that God has laid before AfriCom, includes building bridges between French and English speaking Africa, and developing a resource centre for missions. But this won't necessarily be achieved by writing some articles or raising awareness through our channels, though these will still be some of the tasks that the team will do. It goes much deeper than that. We are now tasked with embracing the vision that God has given us, but developing immediate tasks that take steps towards that vision. This doesn't fit nicely into a tick-box 'to do' list. Obedience in this way will mean walking in repentance of where we have found ourselves (i.e. serving the task, rather than God). Our first step of obedience is to go, travel into the field and meet those working on the ground. Then, ask God what His purposes are. Then we can build tasks from that, which may, or may not, include some kind of media output.
We have started this journey with our recent trip to Bangui, Central Africa Republic. It was a great time of deepening our understanding of central Africa and really listening to the people who work there. We are now regrouping and praying through our responsibility and actions that we need to take to fulfil what God wants us to do. This will take time and we know that if we are obedient to His call, it will bear fruit.

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