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Dean's Corner November 2016 - Sphere of Celebration

Hi Friends

What an exciting quarter it has been with the YWAM Together in Kansas City focusing on the spheres of society and ending Bible poverty with the new SourceView Bible App  Make of point of downloading it today. 

Part of the excitement was being with the 380 people who were part of the Celebration breakout track for 4 afternoons.  There had been a team of 5 conveners who had met for months before to plan and pray about what to do during this time.  One of those conveners was Carl Tinnion, base leader of Harpenden, England and leader for the Western Europe. He was kind enough to write a report about how this time went for the sphere of Celebration.

Blessings on you as you serve Him in the sphere of Celebration,

Julie Spence - Dean of the College of Arts and Sports. 

Overview of celebration sphere - Kansas City 

Carl Tinnion - September 2016

The celebration sphere track at the YWAM Together gathering was a blessing.  380 attendees joined together during this week and the goal of the time was to create space for those working in the sphere of celebration to be able to connect, build relationships and explore the scriptures together identifying Gods perspective on this area of society.  The bible is full of statements about celebration, particularly in the Old Testament where God commanded the Israelites to gather yearly and to celebrate with thanksgiving the things he had done for them during the Exodus.  Using the brand new SourceView Bible App we were able to look at 52 key scriptures on this sphere, unlocking deeper revelation and identifying key values connected to it that might help sharpen our focus and missional practice.

For artists and sportspersons, this whole area of theological understanding has been a huge challenge over the years.  'Isn't this whole area just a hobby' you might hear people say......'What has it got to do with world missions anyway?'.  The church doesn't grasp the full Kingdom potential of arts and sports and sadly, often YWAM can be mixed in its understanding as well.  These experiences were articulated in the room throughout the week, highlighting a need for healing and a new era of empowerment.  

Our hope was that we would encounter God through our time together through bible study, worship, prayer and discussion, that everyone would leave with a fresh vision and hope for the future. Our meetings lasted 3 hours each day and within that time, many artists performed for us, ranging from urban dance to ballet, film directors, photographers and visual artists, cultural music and dance and sportspersons, to muscle men ripping up phone directories! 

Much of the time was broken up into smaller discussion groups within each artistic discipline.  This proved to be a highlight for many, creating space to dialogue and share testimonies, discuss challenges faced and being able to ask difficult questions.  Connecting with like minded people pertaining to your calling and passion is so important in any of the spheres as it provides validation and the opportunity to sharpen one another in practice, as well as inspiring fresh vision and ideas.

Our discussion times focused on four areas; scripture study on the theology of celebration, as mentioned; a discussion on how the arts can bring beauty, order and abundance into society; exploring what it means to be a YWAMer, especially for those that are not full time YWAM staff operating in the Religious sphere.  And finally, identifying five to eight core values for our sphere with the objective of writing some kind of value statement which could potentially unite us concerning future goals as a movement..

Beauty, Order and Abundance

Skye Jethani, in his book 'Futureville' says that Kingdom contexts can be measured by these three words explaining Gods original design for the garden of a Eden in the book of Genesis, the blueprint for how life was originally meant to be.  Since the fall, our challenge as Christians, and in this case, artists and sportspersons is to think how our mission shaped practices affect these specific areas, thus enabling more of Gods Kingdom to penetrate the darkness and the places where He is not known.  Questions such as; how does my art contribute to bringing beauty into the world, or how to release the  kind of abundance that is on God’s heart where all people always have enough of what they need to live a fulfilling life?  This exercise proved to be very challenging in looking at why we do what we do, and how it aligns with God’s plan for communicating His unconditional love to the world.  When the kingdom of God is not so visible or growing in a location, you will also see the opposite of these words operating which would be ugliness, chaos and scarcity.  This exercise really helped us to think about how we could express theological celebration throughout our communities so we can truly be a transformational light in the darkness of a broken world.

To be, or not to be a YWAMer?

We have come to the place of realising there are different layers to YWAM family life.  If someone has done a DTS, it doesn't matter where they end up afterwards, they will often feel part of YWAM from a DNA perspective, even if they are no longer viewed as being technically 'in' YWAM.  The same is true for people that have partnered and worked intimately with YWAM over many years.  This gathering marked a departure from our old cultural language of being in or out as it included many individuals working in the market place or in a specific sphere running their own companies..  We do have people that are full time staff with YWAM, working mainly out of the religious sphere, fully accountable to a YWAM entity in their day to day working life.   There are also those that are part time volunteers, in partnership with, or wanting to be linked more relationally with our wider family life and  gatherings.

This marks a new turning point for us as a global mission and makes space for new engagement and partnership with people ranging from working in government to running a dance company in the arts world.  This will take time to work out in practice but in principle, the YWAM global family is now defined as an Extended Family embracing, serving and networking all of the spheres of society with the higher goal of seeing Gods Kingdom grow everywhere.

Core Values

After completing our study of the 52 core bible scriptures, (which can be found in the SourceView App in the celebration sphere section) we discussed which values most stood out to us and tried to reduce them to no more than 5 to 8 main ones that we felt were most important. Using the Poll Everywhere website to do this we gave each individual the opportunity, using smartphones, to add their top values giving a majority view across the 380 delegates.  This was a wonderful exercise and gave us some core values for the celebration sphere.  It is by no means the definitive list or something that is now set in stone.  It is helpful however to provide a a framework for our network to bring definition to our overall missional practice.  

Our main words/key values were; (in no particular order)

Restoration
Joy
Empowerment
Excellence
Freedom
Creativity
Innovation
Beauty

We then took this list of words and sculpted them into a few sentences giving us a value statement that we could agree on together and perhaps keep each other accountable to whenever we meet in the future.

Through Jesus Christ, the sphere of celebration gives hope and restoration to the nations, that all people might experience abundant joy.

God has empowered us as artists to live a life of excellence, innovation and creativity, so that all communities would experience freedom and beauty, glorifying God forever.

This statement has the potential to help teams and groups of artists to sharpen their practice and ask the Lord how they might best serve him as missionary artists and sportspeople in the world leading people into a transformational relationship with God.  YWAM's motto To Know God and Make Him Known still defines our mandate as an extended YWAM family.  How this is exactly applied and where it happens just got a whole lot broader!


Dean's Corner July 2016 - Rio Olympics

Dear Artists and Athletes

I’m sure you are all well aware that the Rio Olympics are coming up in a matter of weeks and the excitement is starting to develop.  As always there is the negative side of things you’ll hear about them no being ready, disease spreading, violence and danger on every side but this is one opportunity every 4 years for nations to come together celebrate across language, cultures and creeds.  I believe this gives joy to God’s heart because He loves celebrations and for us to come together in unity.  This is the opposite to the enemy who wants to steal, destroy, divide and conquer. It is the chance to run the good race to the end and giving it your best.   It matters not if you win or loose but how you play the game.  With this in mind please note the message of this young Argentinian boy and enjoy the Games.

Blessings

Julie 

Video in English

Don’t Go Messi! 


It was a devastating moment for Argentina when Lionel Messi missed a penalty and Chile won the Copa America 2016 final. And it got even worse with Messi’s announcement that he will quit playing on the Argentinian national team. 

6-year-old Piero from Youth With A Mission’s (YWAM) football club in Buenos Aires, Argentina sent a video message to Messi pleading with him to stay on the national team. Piero is helping to put it all in right perspective, “I wanted to say that even if you missed that penalty, you are the best in the world … You missed the penalty and the Chileans scored their’s…so what? Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose in football! What is important is to enjoy yourself.”

This video has become an international hit as it has been shown by Fox Sports, CNN, ESPN and other channels. Ivan Salazar from YWAM Buenos Aires shares that people from other countries, United Kingdom, Italy and Mexico, are calling them and want to talk to Piero.
Piero started to play football when he was 4 years old. His family was not into football, but when Piero started to play and love the game, they also started to watch football matches more frequently. What Piero said to Messi was very spontaneous and from his heart, but at the same time something he has learned in his football class.

Piero is part of the Alumine FC football team. This soccer academy is open to every child. They learn how to play the game and, at the same time, they are discipled. “We teach about the father heart of God,” says coach Ivan Salazar, “and like mentors, fathers and coaches, we try to teach them how to deal with different situations in life. And of course football skills.”

Ivan concludes: “Now all of Argentina is talking about what we teach in our football club! God is moving a lot here. It is amazing!”