THANK YOU for being a part of my life and being interested in what might be next for me. I wanted to give you a bit of an update on what has been happening as well as some new changes that are coming up.
While I have been a part of the UNDERGROUND since the beginning, it was just over a year ago that I joined the staff team full-time to help equip and support new movements around the world.
In my role as the International Movements Director, I get to serve our movement directors, and those interested in starting movements in their own cities around the US and particularly, around the world. For each step of empowerment and growth I get to be a small part of it and experience the joy of seeing God worshiped in new places.
Our movements department is currently providing coaching & consulting in our innovative approach to mission to more than 80 cities. This year, we launched our Movement School to begin training 100 cities in the next five years. Already 25? cities are participating in this year long, 3 module training school. We are seeing city leaders give birth to new, contextualized networks of missionaries and releasing people to proclaim the name of Jesus in their cities.
As our story, values and unique approach has been a part of a new vision for the church in our time, we are trying to both steward that newfound influence as well as serve the growth of the kingdom in our generation. We know that the church is capable of real impact and empowerment.
The first 10 years of the UNDERGROUND were very intentionally organizationally shy – we wanted to treat it as the experiment it was, a missional incubator where we could try and fail, and try again. Now that the system that was built (the Tampa archetype, national work, and international development) is thriving and in capable hands, we are asking ourselves what should be next. There are several areas that have come to mind but the more we dwell and pray about what is next, we feel like God is calling us to influence the next generation of church through helping transform existing churches into movements.
WHERE WE ARE GOING AND WHY
There are close to 180,000 small churches in the US who have less than 100 people, that is 60% of all our churches. That number in the UK is 75%. Very little is being done to help these churches see themselves in a new light and work from a position of strength instead of scarcity. We are starting to believe that these churches represent the best chance for social transformation. If we can find a way to walk them through the transition to a new operating system we could change the face of mission in the world.
The situation for the church in Europe is dire, and yet there are still strong, courageous, and curious people to work alongside. As far as contexts go, it is not the global south, which, while poor, offers what has to be considered a strong and growing church. It is not a context like the Middle East, which is almost completely unreached and there are precious few churches to work alongside. Europe represents the potential post christian future of the church in the US, as well as squandered resources which could serve the rest of the world. If we can find stories and strategies that can inspire growth, revitalization and missional traction there then we will also be offering preemptive data for the church in the US and initiating justice for the rest of the world.
Our team would need a hub/base from which to serve and learn in Europe. Even without declaring any interest in moving or working there, we already have leaders asking for our help in Ireland, England, Wales, France, Germany, Sweden and Denmark. We have chosen Dublin, Ireland because we believe we have the best opportunity for city impact there.
— A historic city wide missional network is just starting to form in the city and they have asked for our help.
— A missionary HUB building is being proposed in a prime location in the Dublin city center.— There are a considerable number of small churches eager to evolve to a more missional operating system.— We already have personal relationships with several small church leaders as well as an opportunity to work with the Methodist Church of Ireland.
All of this work will take more than one person to accomplish and I have been invited to be a part of the small team going. As the International Movements Director currently, it makes sense for me.
I will continue in my current role with the Underground and being a part of this team will allow me to get closer to some of the people asking us for help as well as to spend a year learning more about the context and challenges facing missional leaders around the world. One of my prayers is that is will help us discover more about how we can best serve international leaders who are coming and wanting to learn from our story.
I feel really honored by the opportunity to work alongside the community in Ireland and I'm excited to spend a year serving and learning how to serve missionary practitioners in many international cities.
I will need to raise $50,000 annually. This budget represents current ministry costs including increased need for a larger travel budget as we meet more and more cities. It also includes and slight increase to compensate for the cost of living in Ireland, particularly housing needs.
I don’t want to let that stop me from being able to say yes, so I am asking my friends for help. I have a generous ministry team who is already giving $30,000 annually towards that goal, so I am praying for the remaining $20,000.
My plan would be to relocate in January of 2019 and stay for 1 year with an openness to stay longer if it benefits the work we are doing to serve these communities.
Would you consider helping me take this next step?
Thank you for considering it.