The theme for this year’s U of N gathering:
“Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”
A few questions to consider:
Do we primarily pray for the Kingdom to come or build the Kingdom?
Does Jesus’ prayer imply that the will of God is not being done on the earth?
Who cares about the earth anyways if it will all be burned up in flames?
If the will of God is being done on heaven, what does that actually look like?
Can we really expect that here on the earth?
It was a special privilege for me to be back in Latin America again among many good friends, as our family spent 6 years in this beautiful part of the world. The gathering featured translation facilitating 5 languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean and American sign language. This created a very diverse and beautiful dynamic of worship, intercession, Bible study, discussion, and encouragement around the tables.
We wrestled with questions like those above and many others in San José, Costa Rica at the bi-annual University of the Nations gathering. Do you wrestle with questions like this personally, or among your family and friends? Do your base and schools consider these questions, related to your training programs, evangelistic efforts, and mercy ministries? Our keynote speaker Skye Jethani challenged us to dig into the Word to try to answer these questions, with the implication that our answers dictate our view of the future, and our view of the future dictates what we put our hands to today (more in his book Futureville).
Alongside Skye’s teaching, we used the creative and provocative videos produced by The Bible Project to challenge our assumptions about the nature of the Kingdom and how man fits into God’s plan. Most ministry either fits into an “evacuation model” (save souls in order to populate a heavenly kingdom while abandoning creation) or an “evolution model” (institute social programs to make the earth a better place while abandoning proclamation of the Gospel and discipleship aimed towards internal transformation). Both models have a trace of the truth, but are not wholistic views of the eternal Kingdom God is building. God has delegated authority to mankind to multiply the beauty and abundance of Eden into all the world, to disciple nations, and to prepare for the day when we will see King Jesus reigning on the earth.
God led us into a time of dealing seriously with the implications of these
foundational truths and respond appropriately:
How seriously have we taken our mandate to influence (not take over) the spheres with God’s truth?
How does this mandate change our attitude and approach to our daily work?
Do we operate from a divided secular/ sacred worldview that puts some jobs and ministries as more valuable than others?
To see a video recap of the gathering, click here.
There is also an initiative to create online and distance learning that also offers U of N credits called Extension Studies. This is a very flexible and creative way to create virtual learning opportunities around a wide variety of topics, as well as offering structured staff training that also qualifies for U of N credits.
As well, we were considering and praying about an appropriate response to the hurricanes that recently affected the Caribbean and USA and the two earthquakes in Mexico during our time together. This brought up the very unique guidance of God related to the “twin ministries” U of N and YWAM Ships. God led in very specific ways to re-position one of the YWAM ships currently based in the Pacific to the Caribbean to help the different expressions of the U of N better respond to the recent hurricanes and earthquakes. See some amazing opportunities here.