Stepping off the plane into 9 degrees at 11pm last Tuesday, I was fully aware I was not in Texas. Fortunately, I had packed my winter coat at the top of my carry on. Wrapping my scarf tightly around my neck, I jumped into the van with my new friend from YWAM Minneapolis.
At the crack of dawn, I woke up shivering just a little and made myself Minneapolis’ coffee of choice, Caribou coffee. Because I was out of my normal routine, Bible reading and prayer was a bit more challenging. As I snuggled up in the oversized, brown leather recliner with a warm blanket, I started thinking of the significance of my next three days at this campus.
I had been asked to help lead a small hands-on training workshop for their core communications team. Darlene Cunningham said one time, “As the DTS goes, so goes the Mission.” YWAM has ministry centers and training campuses in almost every nation, and for a training center, this statement by YWAM’s founder’s wife is critical.
The Discipleship Training School is the flagship program for YWAM and the front door threshold for future missionaries to walk through. If we successfully train through our DTS, new missionaries will travel the globe sharing the love of Jesus, even to the hardest places.
In order for the DTS to be successful, interested people need to hear about it. Building on the quote from Darlene, a strategic mobilizer in our mission, Daniel Norris, added, “As communication goes, so goes the DTS, so goes the Mission.”
In an attempt to be excellent in every area of communication, I’ve spent the last 3 years toiling, studying, experimenting, and praying how to communicate better about YWAM. For people who have never heard about YWAM, this couldn’t be more important.
I need to interject a little secret about myself here. I’m pretty sure I caught the marketing bug when I was church planting. Good friends of ours at Gibbons and Peck in Greenville, SC, took us under their wings as a fledgling flock and opened our eyes to see the wonderful and wacky world of marketing. It was important to us our message of who we were as a church plant, why we existed, and where we were going was communicated with style and integrity. Developing a communication strategy for our logo, signs, and newsletters, while munching on wood-fired pizza from a nearby tap-room, became a regular occurrence for our team. Words fail when attempting to formulate gratitude toward everyone who believed in us and the mission back then. I was changed. The marketing virus was introduced.
Admittingly, the first social marketing ad I created for YWAM seemed to smell of self-promotion, and it stunk. I didn’t like it, so why would anyone else? The uneasiness drove us to find God’s heart for communications. One normal morning like any other, Amy read these words from Psalm 96:3 out of the New Living Translation. “Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.” Therein lies the foundation for a Biblical view of marketing and communications – “Publish and Tell.”
So began the dauntless journey of discovering how to implement a strategy which exalts what God does in this world and through His people. We’ve written nearly 250 blogs, curated 2,000 social posts, had over 8,000 phone conversations ending in prayer, invited hundreds through face-to-face invitations, and reached over 3 million people on social platforms … all in the past 3 years. We’ve learned some things, and now we have something to share with others.
The living room of YWAM Minneapolis’ campus leaders, Luke and Cristal, was filled with creative chatter on how they too can excel in their communications. There was sweet unity between us as we discovered together the steps of success for their campus. With Gen Z currently occupying 1/3 of the population on the planet, the mission to disciple them couldn’t be more important. We must reach them.
When the alarm beeps to wake me on Monday morning, I’m hoping for a more balmy day here in Texas than the icy tundra of the Minnesota landscape. The office phones will ring, my notifications will ping, meetings will ensure, and I’ll be praying for new fresh ways to publish and tell with my team.
Every effort in our work here wouldn’t happen without your partnering with us, both in prayer and financial support. Thank you for helping us advance the kingdom to every nation.
I get to disciple Gen Z everyday. It’s a lot of work. While Richard was up north, I didn’t turn on the TV once because of all the prep work and grading that had to get done. Just today, I spent six hours planning for this next week. Yes, it’s a lot of work. But, I LOVE IT! This campus is my mission field. These kids are my mission. Making disciples is what I do everyday, and I’m thankful.
This past week CHS enjoyed adding “spirit” to our days. We came with crazy hair-dos and hats, we dressed in our future careers, and we decked out in our favorite nation apparel. Each day was fun, but my favorite was the day students were encouraged to dress as their teachers. I opted to dress as my students. 😃 The best moment was when one of my students came into the classroom dressed in the exact same sweatshirt I had on! We laughed. It was so fun.
It’s been an eventful 2020 already. We recently got to attend a women’s basketball game at Baylor University. I have to admit that tears welled up in my eyes when I entered Ferrell Center. For two years, Audrey has wanted to go to a Baylor Bears game, and we were finally able to take her, which was an answer to prayer. It was a great weekend in Waco, and we were so thankful for the chance to go.
Spring break is approaching, and we would actually like to take a little adventure for a few days down south to San Antonio and the Alamo. We’ve been told if we live in Texas, it’s a must exploration trip. We’d like to go with Grace before she leaves us for good. Hard to believe she’s graduating in a few more months and heading to Asbury University this fall!!! WooHoo! We’re so excited for her. Maybe this’ll be the year we get to walk where Davy Crockett himself walked. 👣
Summer is approaching as well, and we are already looking ahead at what’s in store. Plans are taking shape, and we’re praying about them. We’re especially praying for a more reliable car, since some of our plans involve a lot of driving. 🚗🌏
We know that a move is before us. The city is moving ahead with plans, and we’ve been told we have about four months to find a new place. Of course, that time table could change. It has many times over the last couple years since we’ve known this move was coming. However, we are sensing in our hearts the time really has come. We don’t know where we’re moving. We’ve looked at lots of options here, and we know what we’d like to do. But we don’t have the means to take any step, so we wait for God to equip us. Hebrews 10:23 comes to mind, Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. God knows our need, and I believe He will meet it. ❤️
Thank you for standing with us through financial support and continued prayers. We couldn’t do this without each and every one of you!