Human relationships are not negotiated; they are reconciled – Robert Seiple
Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God – Matthew 5:9
Notice it did not say blessed are the peacekeepers. There is a world of a difference between a peacemaker and a peacekeeper. A peacemaker works toward reconciliation instead of tolerance. Its goal is transformation versus co-existence. It deals with the heart and not just the head.
Glocalnet’s vision statement states that we are about reconciliation. The fact that relationships are to be reconciled not negotiated is a profound statement that if properly understood reframes our approach to conflict resolution. This applies to all kinds of relationships and all kinds of conflicts. Only when our goal is reconciliation instead of negotiating a transactional arrangement do we move toward a more sustainable solution. However it does require a different vision, a different set of relational tools and ultimately a desire for transformation; a permanent change of heart not head.
A different vision begins with starting with the end in mind. What is the goal we are looking for? Is it only tolerance or reconciliation; is it to be confined to our church buildings or tribe or are we called to take the message of reconciliation to the hard places of the world? A vision isolated from a hurting world loses its power.
The call of a peacemaker is to take this message of reconciliation into the hardest, darkest, most hurting places and apply the balm of healing to the hearts of people and nations. To disciple the nations it must start with healing. In the book of Luke chapter 10 verse 9 Jesus makes this point when He said, “healing precedes preaching”.
A different set of relational tools. One of the most important relational skills is the discipline of listening to understand before you try to make yourself understood. Stephen Covey in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People articulated this principle. It’s also called listening with empathy or listening with the heart not the head. When we are in a negotiating mindset our heads lead out with logic and reason. Logic and reason are the wrong tools for emotional pain or past wounds of the heart. Only emotions heal emotions is the rule of the universe. When we sit with others and listen intently to find a way to crawl into their world, they will feel less alone after they’ve met us.
Robert Seiple, a former U.S Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, wrote in his book Ambassadors of Hope “The ultimate sustainable solution to so many of the world’s problem is reconciliation. A permanent change requires a change of heart.”
We are off to a strong start for 2017! We are speaking, training and convening from Washington, D.C., to Hanoi, Vietnam, and even Lahore, Pakistan! We will be all over the U.S. and the world this year. We are training government leaders, imams, pastors, mentoring emerging pastors and connecting with religious leaders of other faiths to build bridges. We are working with governments and government leaders globally defining what it looks like to engage in the public square in a new era. We are deeply involved in religious freedom issues and religious persecution in some of the harder places of the world. We are working on racial reconciliation in some very new ways that we’ll be writing about later.
Last year Bob Roberts spoke at many events from church planting conferences, to being invite to being a part of the Marrakesh Declaration with Shaykh Bin Bayyah that protects the rights of religious minorities in Muslim majority nations. He spoke at churches, mosques, government gatherings, the Newseum and even to 20,000 Muslim young people in Toronto, Canada. Articles about our work were written in many national newspapers, here in the U.S., the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Dallas Morning News, the Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post, Christianity Today, In-Touch Magazine, Christian Post, Huffington Post, and many others.
Glocalnet’s passion is summed up in it’s vision statement. “We relentlessly pursue peace and reconciliation among all peoples in all places for all things.”
Here is a brief summary of 2016:
Glocalnet Family of Churches
Glocalnet consist of a family of churches that carry the same DNA and vision to be a light in this world and to engage our cities and the world to be peacemakers and reconcilers. We have 7 churches that gather yearly for community, sharing and learning from each other. We also support each other in living out our three most cherished values which are engaging our local communities, especially among the poor and marginalized, engage hard parts of the world together and help each others establish communities of faith that make a difference both locally and globally. Our goal is to keep increasing the family by developing leaders who buy into Glocalnet’s vision and are committed to living out our three main values.
Church Planting & Church Planting Centers
Glocalnet church multiplication is core to our DNA and moves us forward in accomplishing the above vision. It’s going to take a different kind of church to engage the city and world in this 21st century that goes far beyond what the music and worship service is. We train and equip our churches to multiply communities of faith with the same vision and values. We established 2 church planting centers in local churches in 2016. Our Glocalnet family trained over 40 church planters to go and establish communities of faith that bring about peace and reconciliation both locally and globally. The key to creating and sustaining this movement is multiplication, therefore we are intentional about placing the expectation and the training in every leader of Glocalnet.
We have designed a retreat that brings together evangelical pastors and muslim Imams together for three days. These retreats are designed to break down walls of fear and suspicions and get to know each other as humans. The essence of these gatherings is to have transparent and honest conversation with each other about difficult issues. However it does not stop there, these leaders make a commitment to build ongoing relationships with each other and their constituencies and to work together in their cities for the common good and to protect each other from religious persecution. Glocalnet gathered for two such retreats in 2016. We did one in Phoenix with 12 pastors and 12 imams and one in Washington DC hosted by the Turkish government. These two groups continue to meet quarterly. We see walls of suspicions come down and new relationships formed after these retreats. Our goal is to build upon these relationships and create a network of religious leaders across cities and the nation who will be there to respond in emergency situations.
Global Collaboration Communities (GCC)
Glocalnet brings together apostolic leaders globally every year to build relationships and to learn from the global church. In 2016 we met in India hosted by an exceptional leader who has a movement in that country. 20 global leaders came together to build relationship and to learn from each other, share best practices in area of engaging the public square, pluralism and church planting. The takeaways were incredible as we leveraged relationships, knowledge and learning from each other. There were visit to sikh temples, meetings with religious and government leaders to learn about religious freedom issues and how the church can play a role in creating better citizens that help build great nations.
Nation & City Engagement
The way churches engage the world is changing radically. It’s a new world, the whole world is connected. In the past global and city engagement was about doing religious stuff in a geographical context. Today, the church must be presently bringing value to a city and nation beyond just a worship service on Sunday. How we make disciples and engage the domains of society are critical. That leads to natural conversations about faith and life. We continue to help churches and people engage through the natural infrastructure of society in places that would be considered difficult for most.
Hosted Mosaic Conference
Glocalnet in partnership with Northwood Church hosted Mosaic’s multi-ethnic conference. About 1200 multi-ethnic leaders from across the nation came to celebrate and champion this vision, and challenge the American Church to get beyond systemic segregation to advance a credible gospel witness in an increasingly diverse and cynical society. To bring peace and reconciliation among the races in our country.
So as you can see these are just small glances at the work Glocalnet did in 2016. We are committed to being relentless peacemakers and work tirelessly to move humanity beyond tolerance to reconciliation and celebration of each other.
In this period of unprecedented worldwide societal change there are great opportunities for those who lead organizations. Especially those who want to make a distinct difference in the lives of people and society. However it takes more than just courage and desire to see change. We must also lead with clarity of vision, mission and a plan to execute it. Peter Drucker, author of the book, “The 5 Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization”, is considered to be the father of modern management. In the book, he gives us five questions every leader should consistently ask themselves. I believe these are great questions to ask at the beginning of every New Year.
Here they are:
What is your mission? What is the reason why you exist? You should never be afraid to revisit your mission to make sure it is still true. Also to make sure it is short, focused and easily understood.
Who is your customer? Who is your primary target you are trying to reach and affect with your mission? This question really informs your plans in a significant way.
What does your customer value? Once you know who your primary customer is then it helps determine what they value. In church planting we use tools like psychographics studies that show the aspirations and attitudes of those you are trying to affect.
What are your results? What are you trying to accomplish and how do you measure it? You should have a systematic way of tracking results. Peter Drucker states “that progress and achievement can be appraised in qualitative and quantitative terms”.
What is your plan? In what strategic ways are you going to accomplish your mission and see the results you want? These five questions are very powerful and can focus you very quickly. It’s the checklist that helps you make sure you and your team are going in the right direction.
How should we engage this world that has lost its moorings? We have departed from the shores of absolute truth and find ourselves in the storms of relativism. These conditions have been at work for decades as absolute truth has been dismantled piece by piece and replaced with what seems right in everyone eyes. We are moving headlong into this squall of chaos and upheaval. What’s the answer? Is it hunkering down within our religious conclaves called church buildings and organizations? Is it sharpening our theological swords to fend off the enemies of truth? Is it to regain political power so as to make America great again? What did Jesus do in the midst of storms.
He slept in the storm. I heard a friend of mine say once “You will never have authority over a storm you can’t sleep in”
We need to stop running around scared and desperate for some quick fix solution. If we believe in the sovereignty of God and are called to be ambassadors of His kingdom, then we need to represent it though a spirit of calmness and self-control. Solomon said that the words of the wise are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that rule among fools.
He spoke with authority over the situation. God has given us spiritual authority to speak calmness into storms. Most Christians stir up more storms that they do calming them. The key is to speak truth in love; not truth with love which is selective. When we speak truth in love; love will always be the first thing people encounter before truth. They will bump into your love before your truth is heard. Let your words be life giving and not death and condemnation.
He spoke harshly to the disciples first. He questioned their faith. Judgment begins in the house of God. We must take a good look inside our temples both physical and spiritual and judge ourselves. Maybe our nation finds itself in this perfect storm because the light of world has been hidden and only used within our lighted cathedrals. Light is for darkness. Let’s stop cursing the darkness and start turning our lights on. Maybe we lost our saltiness when we decided to compromise God’s dream for this world for our American dream of luxury and convenience. Maybe we have been serving Mammon and not God.
Genesis 11: 6” …. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them…”
One of the most important statements made by God as it relates to human potential is find in Genesis 11 at the city of Babel. The people came together to build a name for themselves. They decided to build a city that would speak of man’s greatness as little gods and would keep them together. Then God came visiting and saw the tower and the city. He decided to intervene and stop them and the reason He stopped them reveals the potentiality of man. God said He would stop them because He had created man in His likeness and image and whatever they purposed or imagine they can accomplish. In other words, nothing will be impossible to them. Those are powerful words spoken by God himself. There were however two ingredients God points out that made this possible. Read more
The decades of the 80’s and beyond came to be characterized by the concept of partnership and cooperative relationship by many mission organization. The realization that time was changing and that unless we forged co-working relationship with nationals we would not be effective in this new world. They were now serious players in this global environment.
Globalization had flattened the earth and we no longer had that huge competitive advantage. Simultaneously as this occurs, the need for a new framework of working together also emerged. We could not longer continue with our training mindset in which we were educated. Our adult education models that worked before were no longer effective in this environment. We had to change from a training mindset to a facilitating and learning mindset, from an external and technique-driven to a relational empowerment mindset. I am from Belize Central America and have many American missionary friends that have said to me they have been called to that country to train the nationals, raise them up to be leaders in their own countries. They say one thing but practice another. They truly desire to have partnerships, but when you act as a manager over people, you get workers and subservient people, not partners. Here are a few steps to shift the paradigm: Read more
Here are a few lessons I learned about leadership culture and movements while reflecting on my six years in United States Marine Corp (USMC). They are an incredible leader-producing organization. If we are going to have church planting movements, the preparation and multiplication of leaders is the main task at hand. If we fail at this we fail at the whole. Church planting movements are carried on the shoulders of Spirit-led leadership, men and women that are full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. Here are a few lessons I learned from the USMC that applies to church planting and movements. Read more
One of our principles of engaging this world is called “One Conversation”. The idea is that we should always talk plainly and honestly and not to carry on with double talk. Whatever we say inside the house should be the same thing we say publicly. The whole world is listening to us. Jesus warned us in Luke 12:3 that whatever you say in the darkness will be heard in the light and what you have whispered in the private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops. In other words Jesus foresaw the coming of the technological age and warned against two conversations.
A simple definition of Polycentric, is to have many centers. We live in an age where everything is connected. The whole world communicates, conducts commerce and interacts on the global grid of fiber–optic micro cable and personal computers. The convergence of technology leveled the playing field and everyone now is invited to participate. The little guy or gal somewhere sitting under a coconut tree in an obscure little Island in the Pacific is able to play beside the Gucci-wearing suit banker working on Wall Street. The earth has gone flat declared Thomas Friedman. What Columbus declared round, technology flattened once again. This changed everything, the score went back to zero and we are now playing a new game. Anyone can sail from anywhere at the speed of light instead of the speed of knots. We all have the potential of Columbus, discovering new lands, finding treasures and bringing them home and selling them for a profit without leaving the shade of the coconut tree or our desk in our padded offices. We are all at the center of this vast flat expanse and it demands a new way of thinking. There are four important changes we must consider in this new game.
Multiplying churches is a huge value for Bob Roberts and Northwood. I have a wife and 4 kids, multiplication is also huge on my list. Without that mindset we are doomed, that’s why I believe in the vision here at Northwood Church. We’re all about multiplying “everything”.
Starting churches has been part of NorthWood since 1992. Since then Northwood Church has trained and planted over 180 churches and has become one of the leaders in America. Following completion of the initial assessment and training, the planters and their wives are coached and mentored for the next two years on how to mobilize their church locally, globally, and how to establish a church multiplication center. Read more