Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Meeting with Lenin from Ecuador. These kind of conversations are a key part of World Assembly. He is really thankful for the work of Ruth and Josue.
New Zealand is missing from the edge of the stylised map in the main theatre. This has become something of a running joke and we have had far more attention through being omitted than we would have had otherwise! We have had some opportunities to put the record straight and it has been very encouraging to see the interest in NZ.
It is quite something to be part of an event that brings people from 150 countries together. Chris Collins commented yesterday that the international conferences he attends for his academic work only bring people from a small part of the world and he reckoned that the only group who might get more would be the United Nations.
My small group has people from 4 continents and we have had good opportunities to share stories and encourage each other.
The New Zealand delegation has been a revelation. Val has had good opportunities to speak and has been very well received, Andy and I have both been able to contribute in the General Committee and we all shared in the Regional Embassy during the open day. Our attempts at “national costume” went down well. Here is our group with my friends Larry and Ruth from Canada who have done the announcements at all the plenary sessions.
I have been talking a lot about developing leadership in a new generation. I am increasingly convinced that we are at a generational watershed in human history. The baby boomers are growing older and have much invested in the movements and organisations that they have poured their lives into. The following generations are much less interested in running these empires as they are constructed. The boomers tend to hold too tightly to the structures and methods that they are familiar with and do not talk enough about the vision and values which were behind their life’s work. I think it is vital that we work out ways of the generations working together. These inter generational partnerships will be costly. The older generations must give up the strategies they are comfortable with believe work and the younger generations must get away from reactive thinking to a fresh discovery of conviction, mission and vision. Only then will we see new structures emerge which are geared to advance the gospel in the present looking forward, rather than in the present looking back.
I am really glad that we brought 4 students to World Assembly. It has been a great demonstration that we believe in leadership development in New Zealand in practice not just in theory. One of the fun things has been able to arrange for friends to interact with the kiwis. Mack and the Mounty came the other day and tonight the NZ group had dinner with Becky Manley Pippert. These have been great times for our students.
Today saw the handover from Lindsay Brown to Daniel Bourdanne as IFES General Secretary. We have also had the opportunity to give thanks for 60 years of IFES. Seems strange that I have been involved in 20 of those years. The people here demonstrate the reality of God’s work in different generations.
Here Yvonne Woods the wife of Stacey the first General Secretary of IFES in 1947 stands beside Halima, the wife of Daniel the new General Secretary. Lindsay started his farewell talk asking people to pray for the spouses of those in leadership. As they say, behind every good man is a surprised woman!
Featured friends this time are the Johnstons not least because Flora is one of those who writes when Ailsa is not on the blog!!
I am sure the children - although now older than this would still like this cake done for the 60th birthday party.
We did sing "Happy Birthday" but the earlier hymn seemed more appropriate:
We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling,
And needing more each day your grace to know,
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph peeling
We rest on You and in your name we go.