The markers signifying a milestone are merely signposts – showing where we have come from and where we have yet to go; obviously, they are not the destination only a point between the past and future. As I have written previously, this year is a milestone of sorts for us, as it marks thirty years since beginning ICM Canada. So while it signifies three decades of ministry to the nations (the past), it is also a starting point of the journey still ahead. As the ancient Chinese Philosopher Lau Tzu wrote, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Not sure if we are at the thousand mile mark yet, but in the last thirty years there have been a few steps.
Roughly speaking, the first decade our focus was on training in Africa, the second decade on developing the ministry in Eastern Europe, and then during the last decade our focus has been on developing a new initiative called MCNet (Ministry Coaching Network), which combines the work we have done around the world. While this new network was initiated by ICM Canada, it spans more than just one organization and links many ministries, countries, and leaders.
As has been highlighted in this Update, this milestone has culminated in our second International Consultation in Lutherstadt, Germany in August of this year. And while we are grateful for God’s direction and provision to this point, we believe that this has all been preparation for the journey yet ahead. From being young leaders in Africa ourselves, we are now clearly in the middle age bracket and the fact is that there is still work to do. It would be impressive if after thirty years of leadership training we could say that we have completely accomplished the goal, but the reality is that during that time another generation has been raised up who are now in need of mentoring and coaching.
Remember all the hype at the turn of the millennial? Yet here we are already nearly two decades into the 21st Century! As the next decades also fade in the rear view mirror (and we fade with them), the only lasting legacy will be in what we passed on to the spiritual children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of those leaders we have been able to influence. I like the description of an effective leader by Lau Tzu, “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” Once we have passed from the stage, our goal is that they will continue being relevant ambassadors of the Gospel within their cultural and societal contexts.
While 2019 is just an arbitrary milestone, it has meaning as we use what we have done in the past to motivate us to continue to fulfill God’s purposes for us and ICM in the years to come. My experience has been that ministry occurs through meaningful relationships. This includes the many relationships we have developed with quality leaders around the world, as well as the relationship we have had the privilege of having with each prayer and financial partner with this ministry. Thank you for being part of this milestone, together we have accomplished a lot, but we are not done yet!