I spent this morning having breakfast with Gerard Kelly whilst he presented the vision of bless. to a gathered few.
From this breakfast meeting, some incredible salient points came out.
What bless. are doing in Bethanie and in their mission trips into Eastern-Europe is amazing, giving young people a taste for God’s mission in this world by taking them into Eastern-Europe, providing spiritual input and support and processing their experiences together through prayer.
One of the most important things that they have found is the cultural displacement that happens on these trips, which creates change within the missionaries, bearing incredible ‘fruit’ in them, perhaps more and maybe more crucially than the ‘fruit’ that is borne in the communities that they engage with ‘on mission’.
The change in the young people’s circumstances in the mission context in that pivotal time in their lives – the mid teens to mid twenties, seems to lead to greater engagement in and heart for God’s mission in the world and a growth in desire to serve others.
Some of the most dramatic maturing that they have observed in young people who have taken part in bless. programmes has been as the young people discover their usefulness within the team in the micro-community that forms on these mission trips. As they find their place, discover they are needed and accepted, it opens them up to God, and God’s drawing out of their gifts, some of which they themselves were completely unaware of.
bless. have seen that the combination of cultural displacement, serving others, spiritual guidance coupled and sealed with prayer has led to permanent, long-term engagement of people with the mission of God in Europe.
In discussion, the ‘business plan’ (for want of a better phrase) of the project was questioned. People were very much enthused and compelled by Gerard and the bless. vision, but felt the business plan and fundraising model (essentially at this point to raise ~£320,000 by the end of the year), was flawed.
This led me to think about (and incidentally share) the business plan I created and was once asked to give to a friend who was hoping to use some ideas for a university project to create a business plan for a private practice.
So, here it is.
- Do the best I can for the people that come to see me as a practitioner
- Trust that God will provide what I need to pay my bills and feed my family
- Pray the prayer from Proverbs 30:7-9 daily and mean it.
Two things I ask of you, Lord;
do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.
- Give away more than I think I can afford to give
I suggested that the tutor probably wouldn’t be too interested in that as a business plan, but I always wanted to say to people who asked “how did you build a successful practice over these years”…
“I didn’t, God did.”
I’ve never gone hungry or without anything we need, God has always provided enough!
In not knowing where the funding for a project (or even your day to day life) is coming from, in not having everything sown up and neatly boxed, you are leaving space for God to work and so often you see something supernatural happen. I feel like that’s always what we are called to do (something I was reminded of by Shaun Groves’ last blog – Accepting no Substitutes), whilst planning and preparation are important, prayer and leaving space for God is more important.
Full reliance and surrender to God , His plans, His pace, His agenda is difficult and scary, but the reward of seeing the movement of God among his people, doing things that can only be attributed to Him is wonderful and powerful.
You can see the vision and the project at http://www.blessnet.eu/125 and I strongly recommend you take part in donating or finding others to donate to the bless. project. The people are honest, worthy, honourable and have such a great heart for the mission of God in Europe (including the UK). The point? Well, bless. are equipping these young people to come back to be the creative leaders of the next generation of Church, instead of them being a ‘missing generation’, they will become a ‘mission generation’ and grow into being the driving force, leading the Church for the next thirty years and more. That’s a long-term plan worth getting involved with.