Editorial: What Does It All Mean?
In the last edition of the IY, we promised to share more insight gained from recent meetings on the topic of YWAM’s leadership structure. John Dawson addressed the issues that were discussed at the Global Leadership Forum meeting in December, and we asked you what you thought about his summary. Since then, some of the YWAM leaders met and looked at the themes you brought up. That meeting included Loren and Darlene Cunningham, Lynn Green, John Dawson and Jim Stier.
Through email, Facebook and the IY website we received some comments suggesting that there is a desire for more information to discuss at a local level. In response to the question, “What do these changes mean for grassroots YWAM teams?” the answer is, “different things to different locations”. We hope these articles will help you work through implications where you live and work.
Any local changes will be dependent on factors such as legal requirements, cultural expectations and existing relationships between ministry leaders. At this point, perhaps the key factor is for YWAMers to pray, discuss and seek to understand the principles and purposes behind the idea of eldership.
In this issue we present a little more understanding, with an article by Lynn Green and a question and answer session with some of YWAM’s leaders and a picture that God gave a member of the GLF to help describe the future of YWAM – after all, a picture is worth a thousand words!
At the December 2011 Global Leadership Forum meetings, one regional leader attended feeling quite concerned about the direction the GLF was heading in regard to processing YWAM’s global structure. During the meetings, however, he received a picture in his mind during a time of prayer that helped him feel more confident about the future…
“The picture was of a big room with a big canvas on the floor and lots of paint. The big room was my geographical area of responsibility. Any child with the last name YWAM was welcome to come and paint in that room on that canvas…”
God began His creation with chaos. He then went on to bring order and harmony from the chaos. That’s a pretty helpful way to understand YWAM and leadership in YWAM: loosing creative initiatives and then working to bring harmony and some order to what has resulted.
At any given time, about one in every five YWAMers is someone who has joined the family in the past six to twelve months. For these, and many other wonderful members of our family who may not have followed the discussion about leadership changes very closely, I will try to explain briefly.
As we explore new ways of leading YWAM, an obvious question to ask is ‘Why?’ What has motivated the changes to the way we refer to leaders and our understanding of the role they play?
We talked to Loren & Darlene Cunningham, Lynn Green, John Dawson, Jim Stier to get their answers to these questions to get a better understanding of leadership, and what is motivating the changes and discussions of leadership in YWAM.
We get to hear from Jim Stier and John Dawson about eldership:
“An eldership is a group of people who are trusted because they’ve lived a life that inspires trust. They are chosen by the Lord to give loving help to people who look to them as a source of wisdom, stability, affection, strategy and understanding. Basically, the idea is of a covering group, that’s there to serve and minister; to wait on God and lead others into God’s presence…”
A beautiful smile from the Ecole Maternelle Lumière du Monde at Jeunesse en Mission – Guinea