For the next six months, “strengthen” is the buzzword for HOPE61 Australia & New Zealand.
In early January I attended “Renew,” a camp run by a few good friends of mine. They run the camps all over Australia and, for the first time in 2015, in southeast Asia. This year the main sessions and our workbooks (Which are almost too pretty to write in.) revolved around II Timothy. During one session we talked about Paul’s use of soldiers, workmen, and athletes as metaphors for the Christian life. One thing soldiers, workmen, and athletes have in common is that they must strengthen themselves or their skills in addition to growing or learning new things. The same is true for HOPE61, a human trafficking prevention ministry, here Down Under.
For most of my time serving overseas with HOPE61, when I talk about what “we” are doing it mainly means me. In the past eight months and for the next year, though, it also includes three other team members. It was tricky for me to learn how to shift and prioritize my responsibilities to include good management; that’s something I am still working on. As I learn to handle different responsibility than I originally anticipated, I saw – especially after Renew – the need to wait a second.
I don’t want to bring other people into a shaky situation. For one thing that does not encourage longevity or multiplication. While our situation isn’t “shaky” per se, it could be stronger in areas like follow-up. After thinking and praying and talking about it, I decided that from January-June HOPE61 in both Australia and New Zealand should stop, take a second, and focus on strengthening ourselves.
This means as a whole we will focus on:
1. Current contacts: This includes people interested in serving with HOPE61 here or overseas, churches or groups we hope to do trainings with or collaborate in some way, etc. During the first six months we will not purposely expand our network. If God brings something along, of course we won’t reject that, but our priority is to build the relationships we already have.
2. Prayer: In Australia we already have a person who agreed to pray for us specifically, however, I want to work with her to build a prayer program. It is also important to find a prayer leader in New Zealand, someone I (and many of you reading this) have been praying for the past nearly three years.
Personally, I will also focus on the following:
3. Coaching: I want to learn to coach intentionally in order to strengthen the team we have and the future team members we will add. A few OMSers have given me resources, agreed to Skype with me, and one has even offered to coach me in how to better coach.
4. Protocol & Strategies: My brief time working at One Mission Society (OMS) headquarters in the US taught me to see OMS ministries through a broad lens. Working as a part of OMS Australia, I’ve learned the value of details. In order to strengthen HOPE61 Aus/NZ and prepare for future growth, I want to spend the next six months developing protocols for things like following up with a new contact, and continuing with a church or group after they’ve taken HOPE61 training and made an action plan. I also need to write a strategy for mobilization, something we as a team can put into place in the latter half of the year when we switch our focus to “growth.”
Feel free to comment or ask questions! Please pray for HOPE61 Australia & New Zealand as we focus on strengthening the ministry God has called us to.