I am frequently asked Now Mike what is it that you DO in your role at the Health for All Nations? It’s never a quick conversation unless it’s one of those elevator encounters that end in a matter of seconds or at most a minute. And the person asking doesn’t really have time to listen to the entire explanation. But if I do have the time I explain more about what we at Health for All Nations are called to DO and BE. We say we create spaces for missions innovators to collaborate in order to catalyze kingdom movements of health and wholeness among the nations. Most reactions are quite positive but on occasion I’ll have someone say I have not idea what that means. These are usually business minded people whose primary question is “What’s the output from you work.” Isn’t that the American way of thinking? What do you do to justify your existence and the existence of your organization? I’d like to give an example of an output from a dream we have had for some time.
Our dream was to be allowed to develop a new Issue Network within the Lausanne Movement. We felt it would be of great benefit to have an Issue Network that dealt with health related mission. So using our model, this is how we proceeded:
- Creating the space. Within our organizations network there were many who were connected to leaders in the Lausanne Movement. We began to exchange emails with these leaders asking if they thought this was a focus they thought was important enough to merit a new Issue Network within the Lausanne Movement? After all their mantra was “The whole Church taking the whole Gospel to the whole world.” Could it be the “whole” Gospel if there was little in their numerous statements about health and Christian healthcare services. After all Jesus did a fair amount of healing and restoring to wholeness during his short 3 year ministry. The leadership agreed and we set to work.
- Establishing the Collaboration. One of our members developed a petition of sorts, explaining the reasoning behind a new Issue Network focused on health and we then began contacting influential Christian global health leaders around the world to sign the document. After gaining nearly 100 signatures the petition was submitted to the Lausanne Movement leadership for consideration and our idea was approved by the LM board!
- but this is hardly the end of the collaboration element of our efforts. The motto of the Lausanne Movement is now “Connecting influencers and ideas for global mission.” So the collaboration with go way beyond our initial efforts. As we gained signatures from around the world we were able to build an amazing list of leaders from all regions of the world. We will continue build these networks in order to move toward regional consultations on the theme of Health in Mission with an ultimate goal of conducting a Global Consultation in this theme. The collaboration will never end.
- Catalyzing kingdom movements of health, healing and wholeness. In a sense one could understand this as church planting. We tend to think of church planting in other terms. We think a case could be made for using the term “Establishing communities of Shalom.” Just think of the difference between how we would measure progress on these two fronts. We would use very different criteria for success, that’s for sure. In any case, we believe that as we help create more collaboration between church planters, missiologists, pastors, and those called to Christian healthcare services we will be catalyzing great movements of health, healing and wholeness among the nations. The Shalom of God (some like the term human flourishing) will be made a reality in more and more places and among many more ethne than ever before. And we believe this will help facilitate the finishing of the task.