Thank you for coming to MCNW 2018: There Is Hope!

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Mission ConneXion convenes ConneXion Training Events throughout the year to help people deeply engage in key areas of ministry and mission. Each ConneXion training event is tightly focused and intensely practical so people can gain resources to be more effective in service. ConneXion training events are held in partnership with local ministries, mission organizations and churches.

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November 3-4

From the Blog

I Was a Spiritual Midget

By Bill MacLeod, Executive Director

Al Fadi is a former Wahabbi Muslim from Saudi Arabia who writes for several ministries including “Answering Islam” and runs an outreach ministry designed for non-Muslim and Christians. He is also a keynote speaker for Crescent ConneXion next weekend.

Al’s religion informed him from an early age that he had no hope to be accepted by God without doing things for God. His highest hope to have his sins forgiven would be to go on jihad, and at 16 he was inspired by a charismatic, dedicated neighbor who lived only three blocks away –Osama Bin Laden.  However, his parents forbade him to go.

So, he decided to go on a mission to America to invite people to join Islam; and through an international student welcome program, Al befriended an American family to learn more about American culture and practice his language skills. He thought that just by virtue of their relationship, the family would convert to Islam.

It turned out to not be that simple because the family were Jesus-followers. He was baffled asking, “Where do they get this moral value from?” They began studying the Bible together, and he said, “I felt like a spiritual midget next to them – as if I [was] lacking something!” More and more he began to think that “Islam may not be the religion that I grew up thinking it was.”  His pilgrimage toward Jesus continued after he completed graduate school and went on to his first job in America. To hear the rest of Al’s story, you will want to register, and plan to join us for Crescent ConneXion – Loving Your Neighbor from the 10/40 Window!


Hope Taken Home

by Bill MacLeod, Executive Director

Whether it was all 1300 parking spaces filling up 90 minutes after outside doors opened; the lines that stretched around the building to get in, or all 2500 seats in the auditorium once the inside doors opened… “There is Hope” 2018 brought together about the largest crowd ever assembled at Rolling Hills Community Church (RHCC), in addition to the more than 1700 live-streaming online. To God be all the glory!

We were reminded that while biblical hope is both invisible and future, it is also “certain”, i.e. something you can count on. Many who attended and took the follow up survey made these startling comments as to what they took home with them that was certain…

  • After today, my wife and I launched a non-profit school. Where we both could travel to Africa and teach people skills trade in nursing and bookkeeping.
  • Loved the conference, and so did the group of students we brought from Bend, OR!
  • Loved being challenged in my faith and seeing my two boys 12 and 15 being challenged and inspired! They were able to meet so many wonderful real life heroes of the faith.  Their favorite of the weekend was JAARS.
  • I almost drove back to Eugene before the last speaker due to driving home late. But I decided to stay, and I am SO glad I did! I went home excited about my work as ministry!
  • I can’t thank you enough. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can’t wait for Mission ConneXion each year. It’s my favorite event!! It provides a space for life-changing encounters with God every year.
  • The presence of the Holy Spirit during the large group worship times was very noticeable.  He ministered to me in a profound and significant way.
  • I think that the mission centered emphasis can only bolster the area wide witness for Christ.  
  • Attending Mission ConneXion completely changed the way I live (pray, worship, give, eat, etc.).  My heart now breaks for the global church and those who have never experienced the freedom of the gospel. I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit used this conference to open my eyes.

For those of you who supported us financially, thank you. With your help, we’ve raised more than $26,000 towards the $25,000 matching gift goal we announced at our event. If you have not had a chance to give, you may still do so by clicking here.

For those of you who prayed with us for God’s blessing, He heard your prayers. Lives were touched. Connections took place. People made commitments to serve. God showed up. Hope for many was made more certain. Thank you!

After waiting 11 years for the opportunity and privilege…we were so grateful for being able to partner with Rolling Hills Community Church again this year and for all the volunteers who made it possible for this event to take place! The RHCC staff team were a joy to work with!

Finally, if you’re interested in building on your Mission ConneXion Northwest experience, please check out the 2018 events that will take place in the coming months:

Short-Term Mission ConneXion, Feb.22-23

Crescent ConneXion, March 16-17

The Journey Deepens ConneXion, April 6-7

Prayer ConneXion, May 18-19

Student ConneXion, Nov 2-3

Francis Chan – On Hope

By Bill MacLeod, Executive Director

Francis Chan is a preacher, writer and motivational speaker who we’re privileged to have as our plenary speaker for Mission ConneXion Northwest 2018. His surname, Chan, in Mandarin Chinese means, “to produce, to give birth to, or to yield.” He has “produced” five books on love, faith and spiritual awareness, and two of children’s fiction.  He and his wife, Lisa, have seven children. He started Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California in 1994, but resigned as pastor in 2010 to follow a new path chosen by God.

We recently posed seven questions based on our “There is Hope” theme for 2018…and allowed Francis (FC) to answer them in his characteristic authenticity, through what he has already written in his books…

Why is true Christian hope NOT dependent upon us or our good efforts?
FC: “But I know that if God’s mercy didn’t exist, there would be no hope. No matter how good we tried to be, we would be punished because of our sins.” (From his book: Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God)

In Titus 1:2, Paul says he is “an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect in the hope of eternal life” – how should that fact affect the living out of our faith?
FC: “True faith means holding nothing back; it bets everything on the hope of eternity.” (From his book: Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God)  

How can believers today reflect the hope that Jesus spoke of in Luke 14:13: “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind…”?FC: “When Christians sacrifice and give wildly to the poor, that is truly a light that glimmers. The Bible teaches that the church is to be that light, that sign of hope, in an increasingly dark and hopeless world.” (From his book: Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God)

There is a place for strategy and planning, but where may it be limiting in doing evangelism?
FC: “Let’s not place our hope in clever sales tactics. Let’s not give up on Jesus’ strategy of reaching people simply because it feels impossible at times.” (From his book: Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples)

If my church is not pursuing God’s mission, how are we missing out?
FC: “If your church does not pursue God’s mission, then your community misses out on being exposed to the hope that God offers them in the Bible.” (From his book: Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples)

What would you say to those who question the mission of Mission ConneXion: “To connect local churches and individuals to mission, so that increasing numbers of believers are actively serving in areas of the world’s greatest [spiritual] need and opportunity”?
FC: “There are people around the world who desperately need hope, healing and salvation but who don’t have access to the message of redemption.” (From his book: Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples)

What advice would you give to the believer who wants to be used of the Lord, in missions, but who is overwhelmed by doubts, and feelings of insignificance?
FC: “You may think that you are weak. You may think there is no hope. You may think that you should always feel like obeying God, but you shouldn’t believe everything you think.” (From his book: You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity)


Hope – To Keep from Drifting!

By Bill MacLeod, Executive Director

Peter Greer, President and CEO of Hope International, is no stranger to Mission ConneXion Northwest! While he comes as our Plenary Speaker this January, he has often led workshops in the Business as Mission track over the years. Hope has determined that 2 billion people around the world do not have access to financial services and that only 2.7% of microfinance institution clients are served by Christian organizations. So this is the ‘niche’ that Hope International seeks to fill in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.

Peter has also written one of the most important books of our generation on the topic of Mission Drift – how organizations get off base when it comes to keeping the gospel central – and he’ll be speaking at Leadership ConneXion on Friday, January 19th from 9:00am to 4:00pm.

We recently caught up with Peter to ask him a few questions about himself, his calling, and why he’s coming in January:

Peter, you were brought up in a Christian home, but what were the circumstances that ushered the hope of Jesus into your life? My father pastored a church in

Boston, and each Sunday, we were in the front row. My dad would open Scripture and share passionately – but even more significant was the way that my father lived out his faith, not just on Sundays, but on every day of the week. My parents were—and still are, to this day—one of the clearest, most authentic expressions of Jesus Christ that I have witnessed. My faith became my own in high school, and I was shaped by international missions experiences, as well as Camp Brookwoods, a Christian camp on Lake Winnipesauke. Our camp counselors were college students, and I admired watching these college students going all-in for Christ. To see these students, who were just a little older than me, sold-out for God in the ways they spoke and lived their lives—it left a lasting impression on me, encouraging me to not just commit my life to Jesus, but to make it central to all I do.

How has that hope transformed your life and led you to express it in cross-cultural settings both here in North America, and overseas? At the airport as I was about to depart for my first international job in Cambodia, I can remember my mom praying for me. It’s a prayer that I have never forgotten. She prayed that I would love all people with the love Christ has shown to us – and specifically, that I would love all people with equal urgency, whether that person was living in poverty, or an individual with abundant wealth. Since that time, I have met with many people living on less than $1 per day and I have met with many people of extraordinary wealth. My goal is simply to love God and love people, recognizing that we all have great need and we all have great wealth. And we are all invited to run towards the hurting, and ultimately love our neighbors with the same unconditional love that Christ has shown us.

What can we expect, and how would you like to see people respond to the unique emphasis you will bring to Mission ConneXion Northwest this January 2018 with regards to our “There is Hope” theme? In my role with HOPE International, I have been absolutely wrecked by the brokenness in the world. I’ve experienced challenges with governments and seen the reality of poverty—and quite frankly, it can feel overwhelming. In the face of enormous physical and spiritual need, we all can wrestle with, “What can I do?” But pain becomes the backdrop for the love of Christ to shine brightly. I hope that at Mission ConneXion Northwest, we will be able to see and celebrate glimpses of the Kingdom breaking through around the world. In my role, I am inspired by people like Anasita Zita, a blind Rwandan widow. From the surface—and certainly from a material standpoint—she had very little. Not only does she live in one of the poorest countries in the world, but she is also doubly-marginalized as a woman with a disability. Yet, she thrives. She has started multiple businesses, beautifully lives out her faith, actively serves her community, and loves other people incredibly well. She models courageous generosity and a heart of service. Stories like this give me hope, a hope that pierces through desperation and desolation. When tested, we will emerge either proven or broken, either buoyed by hope or sunk by despair. With the Spirit’s empowerment, I believe that we can love and serve well, unleashing hope to a world that desperately needs it.

I don’t know about you, but I need the Hope that only Jesus can give, and I do not want to drift off God’s calling for my life…so I can’t wait to hear what Peter has to say to us this January!

Register for Leadership ConneXion: Mission Drift.

Register for Mission ConneXion Northwest 2018: There Is Hope.

Hope for India, and US

By Bill MacLeod, Executive Director

Dr. Samuel Stephens is the 3rd generation leader of the India Gospel League (IGL), founded in 1948 by his grandfather. Dr. Stephens has been used of the Lord throughout India but he was a “barefoot pastor “, himself until 1988 when his father died and he assumed leadership of the ministry.

He authored The Kairos Moment, that describes what he believes is a nationwide “opportune time” for all of India today – where doors are open and where people are receptive.  Indeed, he shares how there are nearly 8000 baptisms every day in India!  This is significant since recent legislation in India has curbed missionary efforts which has meant IGL has had to adjust its efforts to fit the “new normal”.

Following receiving his doctorate recently from George Fox University, we had an opportunity to get better acquainted. His response to our questions show he is living proof of our “There is Hope.”  theme…

What were the circumstances that ushered in the hope of Jesus into your own life? You came from a long line of Christian leaders, but when did Jesus become personal?

Having been led to the Lord at a very early age, I can say my encounter with Jesus, the experience and joy of salvation, has been an ongoing source of hope and encouragement all my life. Of, course I have had my own ups and downs, my own failures and moments of despair; but the grace of God has always kept me aware of the light at the end no matter how dark the tunnel I was passing through at whatever point and stage of time.

A significant part of that can be attributed to my family’s Christian heritage. As a child my parents constantly reminded me and my siblings of how God rescued our family out of spiritual darkness and hopelessness. We were kept aware of the stark difference that Christ made in our lives, compared to people around us.

How has that hope transformed your life and led you to express it in cross-cultural settings both throughout India, and even here in North America?

I hold very vivid and fond memories of accompanying my parents as they went into remote villages bringing the gospel. I remember crossing rivers and traveling in ox carts, being carried on my father’s shoulders for miles as he and my mother would walk to some villages. These memories are precious to me and I cherish them. 

But the deeper and indelible impressions left on my heart are the remarkable transformation of individuals, families and entire communities because of the Gospel being brought to them. I consistently witnessed this amazing phenomenon growing up. It may be difficult to picture the hopelessness of the people living in these primitive villages six decades ago. The Gospel message – the Good News- was the best news to these people and it still is. The Gospel is their only hope to bring them out of darkness, oppression and even social and economic backwardness. I have seen people by the thousands liberated from these bondages. This experience has spurred me on over the decades to boldly move into unreached areas all over India and Sri Lanka and in more recent years NEPAL as well, witnessing amazing results.

What challenges / opportunities are you seeing in India to that Hope, and what parallels do you see for us in North America we can learn from you on?


On one hand vast geographic areas and people groups of South Asia remain yet untouched by this transforming power of the Gospel. Although India has had Christian witness from the very first century and has been under the influence of foreign missions for more than three centuries, the Gospel has not crossed urban boundaries and gone into the primitive rural villages where most of the population reside.

On the other hand, our experience over the past three decades is that where the Good News is heard for the first time, enormous numbers of people are responding. We must move with greater vision and urgency, being sensitive to different people groups rather than blinded by the lens of historical patterns, traditions, and restrictive human agendas.

I am often confronted with the question, “Why isn’t God working in the West the way He is in other parts of the world?”  He doesn’t have to and He won’t. People are different, cultures are different, world views and daily experiences and needs vary from one to another. The only common strategy that God has for everyone is the strategy for salvation and redemption through the cross of Christ. The tactical plan to implement that is left to the local church in every context. We come alongside new church plants and equip the church and its believers to reach out, evangelize, and impact their neighborhoods and communities – and they are multiplying. That’s the New Testament plan and it can be done.

What would you like to see people attending Mission ConneXion Northwest 2018 to come away with, and how would you like them to respond to the unique emphasis you will bring with regards to our “There is Hope.” theme?

I would like them to leave with a clear understanding of the current move of God and be convinced that amidst all the current winds and storms the Church is going through, there is Hope. God is continuing to do with the same vigor and momentum what He started – “Making everything new.”  The victory has been won, the destiny is fixed. The Church is not walking toward victory but walking in victory if it is walking and staying in step with God.

Register for Mission ConneXion Northwest 2018: There Is Hope.

The Basics of School Partnerships

Written by Stephanie Wieber
Director of City Gospel Movements at the Luis Palau Association

The consistent, enduring presence of a caring adult in a young person’s life can be the difference
between staying in school or dropping out, making healthy decisions or engaging in risky behaviors,
and realizing one’s potential or failing to achieve one’s dreams.
— The Mentoring Effect

With more churches than schools in most communities we have an amazing opportunity to step in and be the difference. Creating a church-school partnership will take time, patience and consistently showing up, and the reward will be life giving.  According to beUndivided there are a series of steps to take in order to begin a church-school partnership.

Read More

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