Wheels down after a long 24-hour flight from Sydney, Australia.
Heathrow, grey and awakening at 6 am, is a familiar place now.
As I feel us land, I am prepared and excited to again be ministering in Europe. Boarding my flight for Dublin after a brief stop in England, I’m looking forward to meeting with churches in both the north and south of the island, united in faith. It’s filling me with great anticipation. Thinking through the ten weeks ahead, I again thank God silently for the opportunity to be involved with so many people who are outworking the call on their lives to pastor the people of God on Earth and to build the Kingdom of Heaven here.
This is indeed a privilege.
This Leaderscape trip will include consulting and encouraging brilliant leaders in 5 countries, men and women of God who spend every day of their lives thinking, praying and outworking the inspiration that drives them to build churches and to pastor their people year after year.
Our vision at Leaderscape includes not only those in the developing world but also the mission-minded and the national pastors who live, labour and love in developing world countries. On this trip, our developing world area is Peru. But that’s nine weeks away.
Ministry in Northern Ireland, and being able to be ‘another set of ears and eyes’ to the pastors, to come alongside and give encouragement and some perspective with also some advice and help regarding strategic advancement, is ‘bullseye’ for us at Leaderscape. Ireland (in the south) is again impacting in its progressive and strategic moving forward.
As I work with exciting young leaders of a fledgling movement that is seeing some churches double in a year and the next generation of shining pastors and leaders – this life of encouraging them fills me with hope and adrenalin!
Thanks to the leadership of AG Ireland and Ps Sean Mullarkey at St Marks, Dublin, for all your hospitality and giving Leaderscape the opportunity to help! http://www.agireland.org/
Next stop, The Netherlands and working with churches there who are making an impact on the nation. Seeing lives changed and people healed, set on a road to recovery, and families restored – every day – it’s an exciting place! Who wouldn’t love the privilege of coming alongside these committed and life-changing people?
After a few days, my youngest daughter joins me there. A pastor now at Oasis Church in downtown Los Angeles, Elyse arrives to speak to young leaders and to launch her book “Confessions of a Church Kid”. Ministering alongside my daughter? Now that’s a gift from Heaven!
Working with Doorbrekers Church http://www.doorbrekers.nl/ Pastors Peter and Ilona Paawe, is inspirational, as is the ministry with great friend Sebastiaan Van Wesson and his team at Thousand Hills Church, http://www.thousandhills.cc/. and other churches in the region, along with ARC churches International, http://www.arcchurches.com/about/international/ We work on strategic advancement for their own congregations and also a strategy to plant churches all over The Netherlands – a dream; in all our hearts!
Following this and with a farewell to my daughter as she flies home to L.A. and I depart again for Heathrow, London, I travel by train and take in the beautiful English countryside, arriving late that night in Derbyshire.
My assignment here is to work with Ps Kristian Thorpe and his team of the AG in the UK. http://www.aog.org.uk/, seeing out the weekend in ministry at http://www.arenachurch.co.uk/, with Ps Kristian and his amazing family – what a blast to come alongside families in ministry and to see that God has them; totally in His care!
Back in the Republic of Ireland, my wife Valery flies in after being home in Sydney for the birth of our very first grandchild, Frederic. We minister together to senior leaders of The Assemblies of God Ireland, http://www.agireland.org/, not only an exciting time of ministry to husbands and wives both corporately and individually, but also an insight into the strong and capable leaders that God is currently raising up in this island nation, opening up churches rapidly and with a never ending wave of His Spirit.
Saint Patrick would be encouraged at this!
Landing in Philadelphia, our whirlwind trip now has us setting our hearts and hands to the work with partners on the East Coast of the USA. At Leaderscape, we love helping leaders to move forward, often working together with pastors, leaders and their spouses. One of our specialities is in the transitional processes and strategies of change. Getting into the vibrant world of True North Church in New Jersey, http://www.truenorth.cc/ we indeed are helping to ‘set new direction’ and mentor and encourage the pastors during rapid growth, assisting Pastors Jesse and Liza Eisenhart and their brilliant team. Just ‘down the road’ and we spend two days in strategic consultation with Pastors Chris and Dana Rue at http://www.wolcc.org/. The place is just buzzing, with renovations everywhere, evident growth and discipleship paths being implemented since our last Leaderscape visit. And to see this progression when we have been working alongside this church for over a decade – no words!
And now – for a quick break with my ‘bride’ of 32 years to celebrate our wedding anniversary – think I’m telling you where we spent our ‘honeymoon’? Unlikely!
A week now at the ARC conference for church planters of the West Coast of the USA in beautiful Orange County – great to unite with friends and fellow Kingdom building pastors and leaders – we love the partnership globally we have with these people – we work in many areas of the world to this end – with our hearts being especially touched now whilst establishing the new Lead Team for ARC in Australia – more of that later!
A quick flight and a stop now in Raleigh, North Carolina, at the “church in the tobacco field” – C3 and great friends Pastors Matt and Martha Fry. We love the work and ongoing processes taking place there – what a great church! http://c3church.com/
And now – The city of Lima looms into view through the aeroplane window. As the American Airlines attendant welcomes us to Peru, we feel like ‘pinching ourselves’ at the absolute privilege of working with legends Ps Saul and Ana Guttierez at their Transcendencia ’15 Conference. Here’s a brief look for you at all the Insta posts – you can see it was such a great time! http://tagsecond.com/tag/leaderscape.
How amazed we are at Leaderscape by the opportunities that God allows us to step into!
In the developing world, especially in South America, you would not have to go far in the Christian world to hear the name Pastors Robert and Karyn Barriger. Working with them at http://caminodevida.com/ is so encouraging for us at Leaderscape. A highlight was the visit to the Grace House – for a look into the world of rescuing young women in Peru, please take a look here – it will do your heart good! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51ONo5_LG24
Valery was able to pray for every one of the girls and to minister to them. We are forever changed by seeing the work at Camino De Vida – friends of Leadercape for life!
Now at The Lions Roar Conference in Dallas, Texas, I am representing Leaderscape and honouring the ministry of Dr Paul Cole, son of the legendary Dr Edwin Louis Cole, as we touch and help men worldwide to understand that:
“Manhood and Christlikeness are synonymous” – Dr Edwin Louis Cole
… and to bring hope and healing to nations who experience fatherlessness in this generation – bringing the strength and faith of solid Christian hope in our Saviour Jesus. http://www.lionsroar2015.com/
An interview with network TBN, during which I get to share my heart and story and the relevance and ongoing work of Leaderscape – https://theleaderscape.com/.
And now, we are ‘Go’, to start this great conference. It’s going to change lives, change nations, change hearts!
And after this, I will return home to my beloved Sydney – it will be a beautiful homecoming as I meet my grandson for the first time and experience what God has promised us all as Christians – a legacy and an ongoing blessing in our families.
Leaderscape is all about helping the church and its leaders to pass on to the next generation all that we have learnt and to set them up to “stand on the shoulders” of those who have gone before and have loved Jesus.
Michael and Valery
Michael with Ps Ilona & Peter Paawe, Doorbrekers, Netherlands