CM2000 28 December, 2000
Plenary Title: Recognizing Emerging Leaders from the Worldwide Community


A Movement Ends. A Revolution Begins

Eric Watt

Introduction

In 1989, while serving as the Executive Vice President of a missions mobilization organization in the USA I committed myself to a season of prayer and reflection. It was during this time of meditation that the Lord opened my eyes to see and believe that it was possible to make a difference in the unevangelized world.

Raised in a prominent evangelical Asemblies of God home, my wife and I forsook the opportunity to enter into U.S. politics impassioned with the desire that every person be given the chance to hear the Good News. At that time, Dr. Keith Parks, then President of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention graciously allowed us to pursue training with the Southern Baptists and focus our ministry on catalyzing a church planting movement among a Muslim people in Central Asia.

We began working quietly from Singapore, building a network of deeply committed friendships held together by common vision and calling that stretched geographically across the 10/40 Window and organizationally across denominational and agency lines. We were passionate in our worship, our devotion to Jesus and our belief that together we could make a difference. Soon these friendships began to link together in an informal network that now comprises the larger part of the Strategic Mobilization Task Force that I have been privileged to lead. The Task Force relational commitment now spans more than 100 countries and nearly ministry 850 organizations all working through these relationships to further the cause of world evangelization.

At the time, we had no idea that we were "emerging leaders". We did, however, begin to see that our calling, passion and zeal for the Lord drew us together in ways that organizational allegiance could not. We "connected" with each other relationally and asked much later about jobs, titles, statements of faith, and organizational ties. We used the tools of technology to deepen our relational covenant and our further our common vision of the ultimate massive worship service around the throne and unto the Lamb.

During these years, Luis Bush has been a "spiritual" father to me. He has blessed me, prayed for me, walked with me through humiliating failure and stood with me in success. He has been there. and will be.

I tell you my story, because though individual circumstances may vary, it is a common story among emerging leaders. We have dreams, visions, and callings that forge us together in relationship. Our deference for one another binds us together and our worship experiences keep us focused on the mission.

We are driven not by theological, doctrinal or positional statements, but on the expectation that no one should be left out of the throng that will ultimately gather around the throne to worship our Lord. We are full of zeal, energy, ideas, failures, some successes and we need the wisdom and faithful encouragement of "spiritual" fathers to stand with us as we pioneer new paths.

We are the next generation of leaders.

If you were to ask our generation the question, What is an emerging leader? We would quickly respond:

  1. we are bound by a commonality of vision, not an age demographic
  2. we relate as peers, and are uncomfortable with both the idea and the reality of larger than life leaders
  3. we are eager to pioneer new trails and, for the most part, are not content to fulfill the positions of others
  4. we are designed relationally, not institutionally
  5. we are passionate in worship and radical in action
  6. we use technology, but only to further the mission

Standing on the Shoulders and not in the Shadow

The AD2000 and Beyond Movement has provided a healthy environment for emerging leaders both to grow and to flourish. We know that God's heart is that experienced wisdom should "father" youthful zeal. The Lausanne Covenant Statement of Faith and the visionary-modeled leadership of the AD2000 Movement are have been key foundation blocks upon which we have built.

The shoulders of doctrine and modeled leadership have, in fact, created an environment for emerging leaders to step out of the shadows of current ministry and develop a new paradigm in leadership. With the honor and respect due our elders we seek advise, counsel and wisdom, but not to follow a well-worn path. Emerging leaders have dreams and visions to chart new courses blazing ahead toward reaching the unreached.

We hold in common:

The World Sees Bones, We See an Army

Despite more than one thousand plans of world evangelization, and numerous world evangelism initiatives in the last decade, the world we enter, in this new millennium, as emerging leaders is more fragmented, more wrought with sin, more divisive and perhaps even more base than a century ago. Nevertheless, against this raging tide there is no question that God has used the AD2000 and Beyond Movement to stir the hearts of many believers and to challenge us all toward the end of a Church for Every People. However, we have yet to see all of the yielded fruit for which we had hoped. May the Lord grant us His favor in the coming years.

Added to the moral and spiritual pressures, population increases (more than 50% is under the age of 25) and economic downturns in the developing world have continued to disproportionately divide our generation across the globe.

Where do these realities leave the emerging generation of leaders?

In the Western world we often feast on our own pleasure while in the non-Western world many struggle just to survive. Unfortunately for our generation, driven by media and personal fulfillment, the tragedy of this dichotomy is for the most part ignored by leader and non-leader alike from the Western world. In fact, many have presumed our generation's opportunities have come and gone as we have been pre-occupied with selfish pleasure and personal ambition.

However, out of the deserted ruins of a generation that has, for the most part, given up hope and purpose, comes a remnant army of wounded healers, devoted to Jesus and willing to suffer for His name. God has taken many of us, despite our heritage and nationality, and knit us together in worship and devotion to Jesus for the cause of the unreached.

Who are we?

We belong to one another, a band of (spiritual) revolutionaries who:

We are a Network of Revolutionaries who:

We are a Network of Revolutionaries who:

We are a Network of Revolutionaries who:

We are a Network of Revolutionaries who:

It is a Network of Revolutionaries whose:

We look at schools, families, cities, countries and peoples in spiritual terms.

We take them back for our King.

  • Not by force, but by denial
  • Not by attracting a crowd, but by picking up our cross.

    We are nameless, faceless and serve only one Jesus.

    It's revolution or death.

    A Movement Ends.. A (Spiritual) Revolution Begins

    The question could be asked, "What will happen to this zealous grass roots "band" of emerging young leaders in the days and years to come?

    Many of us hope that the answer lies in part with our being faithful to God's heart. As we walk down new paths we humbly ask you, the current leaders of the AD2000 and Beyond Movement for wisdom to guide us, to help us stay focused and avert unnecessary obstacles. We are undeniably committed to Jesus, to His world, to one another and to working at all costs toward the worship of all the peoples around the throne. God has granted the AD2000 and Beyond Movement much favor to begin the process, we want to be the generation who finishes the task in our generation. You dreamed for a Church, we dream for church planting movements. You labored in unity and undergirding in prayer to see beachheads established, we long for thriving multiplying works that are sending new missionaries to the uttermost.

    As an example, to you, China has been a mystery and a target of unequalled prayer and faithfulness. To us China is an equal whose believers we will partner with all the way back to Jerusalem.

    You have given us so much, we trust we will finish our race with the same diligence and perseverance.

    The time has come for us to launch our own leadership structure to help fulfill the Great Commission in our Generation. A Movement Ends, now a spiritual revolution must begin.

    The emerging leaders of the AD2000 and Beyond Movement are calling for a SUMMIT in March of 2001 to be held in the USA. We will worship, pray, seek God and together formalize what God has already birthed informally among us. We are developing an infrastructure that will "connect" us, fuel our efforts, and align us to His will. Designed like a spider web, this structure will be led by those closest to the need and fueled by the gifts and talents of spontaneously developed teams.

    The CDROM you have been given not only contains the historical resources of the AD2000 and Beyond Movement, it also contains the beginning of THE CONNECTOR. This free software tool will enable us to stay abreast of one another's challenges, pray each other through our failures and rejoice together in His victories.

    What you as leaders have poured into us will not be in vain. We will not shrink back from our responsibility. Our road may be different, but no less strategic. Our Captain is Jesus and our aim is worshipping Him with the peoples of the earth.

    May God grant us the courage to listen to the voice of wisdom and the strength to finish the task you so ably began.

    God Bless you. May we never stop until all have heard.

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