I recently returned from two weeks of training at ITeams’ office in Elgin, Illinois. Our days were M-F 8:30-4:00 (except our last day where we ended our day with an off-campus lunch together. Below, I will write some highlights of each day.
Day 1: The morning sessions before lunch were lead by Scott Olson, the President/CEO of ITeams. He taught us the large picture of Integrative Community Transformation (ICT) and broke down this phrase to look at each word individually.
Integrative: Compassion+evangelism/personal+holistic work of Jesus, as a follower of we cannot separate the two.
Community: Placed based or people based. ITeams Nicaragua is a placed based community. Everyone in Masatepe, Nicaragua is the focus of their ministry.
Transformation: 3 parts of transformation – Dead in the ways of the world, Alive through Christ, Destiny (DAD). Recognizing transformation: The ways of Jesus take hold (with Jesus), Local assets meet local needs (local abundance), and expansion beyond local boarders (contagious impact).
Scott then closed his session with us with the 5 practices of exemplary leadership: model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act, and encourage the heart.
The rest of the first day was with a video call from Hannah and Brandon Weidman from ITeams Nicaragua. They focused on the zoomed in picture of ICT. Brandon taught us that we might not need to “teach how to fish” but instead “create access to a pond.” In other words, may already know a particular skill (and even be an expert/have great talent in it), but they may just lack the proper tools. Two examples from the team are the burlap products on betos.org and the rehab farm and center. Beto creates great products from burlap, he just needed the burlap material from the coffee shop (coffee shop needed to be created first to have this material from buying bags of coffee). Masatepe had a pastors association before ITeams’ involvement in the community, called Fuente de Vida. Fuente de Vida had a vision of helping the alcoholics of Masatepe to help them be off the streets in the night and in the morning, but they lacked the resources to do anything. They asked ITeams for help, and ITeams is working to create a chicken and hog farm on the property of a building that will become a rehabilitation center. The churches of Masatepe are helping to cover some of these costs.
A great handout from Day one is below (as a PDF and an image). It lists out the types of areas that go into ICT and the three F’s, Food, Freedom, and Forgiveness. This is a common question and this handout explains it really well.
Day 2: Values
The values of ITeams – people, integrity, empowerment, excellence (this term is adaptable to both different situations and different cultures; in some countries in Europe a 7/10 is excellent, 9/10 or 10/10 is practiced too long, too easy, not worth the effort, it is better to strive for a 7 than anything higher).
Day 3: Partnership, ICT & Disciple Making, Security
Partnership is two or more individuals or organizations focusing passion and resourves to accomplish shared goals.
Why Partnerhsip? Because, “things are not alright” + global connectedness + God is stirring His people. 7.5 billion or 45% of the world live on less than $2.00 a day. 0.1% of the USA have done cross-cultural work for 1 year or longer.
3 Partnership levels: Provider – cultural outreach primarily limited to a check, a slap on the back, and erratic short-term teams; Participant – have the potential to contribute significantly to, but not to drive, strategic, in-depth cross cultural involvement; Pro-active – define and drive their own service priorities, accessing whatever means they deem necessary.
Disciple making – making disciples who make disciples. We are lifetime apprentices of Jesus. Someone who is with Jesus, learning from Jesus, and teaching others how to live as Jesus.
Mark 3:13-15 Jesus says “Be with me … Do what I do.”
Be with me and Do what I do
Covenant and Kingdom
Relationship and Responsibility
Identity and Challenge
Invitation and Truth
Being and Doing
Come and Go
Above is examples of being both with Jesus and doing what Jesus does.
Day 4: PDP Proscan results (Professional Dynametric Programs), Team Building, Conflict Management, Finance health and reports
It was good to see the results of this test again (it is one of the steps for orientation and I had not looked at them since last August). There are four traits plus an energy level. The four traits are dominance, extroversion, pace, and conformity, with each result being on a spectrum of low to high. I can go into more detail about my personal PDP results, but this summary post is already long. You can contact me for more info.
Day 5: Finance health and reports, Scott’s talk about God’s Calling, class communion
Scott spoke to us about different terminology about hearing God: calling, leading, etc. Each has their own pros and cons, their own baggage. Some may not think they hear God, or feel their decision was purely logical, or there could be conflicts between two or more people thinking they all hear God’s calling but they have two or more different outcomes. Deciding to do ministry is a sign that God is at work with/in us.
There is a statistic that my generation decides to commit to two years of ministry (foreign or domestic) and then goes into nonministry career for the rest of their life. There are also people teaching that this statistic is the norm and what is expected of my generation. Scott is very upset with the acceptance of this statistic and encourages us to think about longer than just a two year commitment. After this, we spent some time in quiet and then some of shared a brief story about how God has been in our lives while sharing communion.
Day 6 (Week 2 Day 1): Full day of learning about Soul Care and our key life experiences
How we grew up (both positive and negative moments) affects how we will do ministry. Each region has a international soul care team that looks after each individual ITeams worker in that region.
Day 7: Soul Care continued, supernatural realities, and release experience
In the US we deem the supernatural as fictional content seen in movies, but spirits/demons can interact with us anywhere, including the US. We will be under spiritual attack, because we are doing our best to follow Jesus and teach others to follow Jesus.
Day 8: Biblical Theology of Missions
Rob Gallagher from Wheaton joined us for the last three days. He is the father of one of my professor at GFU. It was neat to have this connection.
The topics on this day was going through Luke and Acts (one book, two parts) and looking at the intercultural ministries, and how Jesus and the disciples interacted with those they were near.
Day 9: Jesus as a crosscultural worker, 100 Foot Journey (film) debrief, and Luna Game.
Jesus did not just minister to Jews, but was a cross-cultural worker. The Holy Spirit works through times of suffering, CS Lewis – We know that God will help us be stronger, we just do not know how much it will hurt (paraphrase).
Luna Game was an interesting game/simulation of how cross cultural work can be difficult if not properly trained.
Day 10: Day of Review with Rob Gallagher and expanding on points made in the previous two days.
ACCESS was really good and it was great to spend 13 days with people who have different gifts than I do, but are with the same organization and who are going to different parts of the world with the same vision and values.