18 October 2005 Leadership Letter
YWAM came into being by the Word of the Lord and is forever dependent upon God's Word to us. Even our Foundational Values are simply our best attempt to summarize the Word of the Lord to us over the decades. In addition, most of the fruitful things we do have their beginnings in some intercession time when God has spoken to us and we have set out to obey.
So we are utterly reliant upon God speaking to us and when He does not, it is a sign of sickness in the body of YWAM. When I look back on the past several years, the Word of the Lord has been too rare and we have not been well.
Now, however, I have great hope because God has begun to speak clearly to us again. At our recent Global Leadership Team meetings the Lord spoke to us through my friend, Dr. Atef. He is a Coptic Orthodox Celibate Priest-something like a monk-who has spent many years in seclusion, but who is also an intercessor and a YWAMer; he completed his DTS a couple of years ago.
He came to the GLT meetings as one of the great team of intercessors who covered our meetings in prayer. At one point, I asked him if he had anything from the Lord for us and he said yes. This is some of what he said, speaking gently but firmly:
YWAM can be compared to Sampson (Judges 16). It is as if some of our hair has been cut and, therefore, some of our power has been lost. He reminded us that we are called to be a global family of "worshipping missionaries" with the power of God to discern the works of the enemy and overcome him in our days. But we have become compromised and much of our authority has been lost.
He went on to mention some of the causes of this loss of authority. One of these was "unusual misunderstandings between leaders", and that certainly resonated with me. I have been aware of many misunderstandings that have become so complex that they seem to be impossible to clear up. Dr. Atef also spoke to us about unclean relationships between young people, materialistic living and lack of financial integrity. We recognized God's voice in all of these things and were deeply convicted.
When he finished his brief word to us, we responded in brokenness and repentance. On the one hand it was a hard message, though it was delivered with love and gentleness. At the same time it was deeply encouraging to know that God was speaking to us again with the razor-sharp Word of God.
All of our days of meeting were characterized by a strong sense of God's presence and when they were nearing the end, I went to Dr. Atef again and asked him what he felt God was saying now. He replied that when he came to us, he wondered if we would ever be restored to all the power and anointing God had planned for us. But when he saw the broken and humble response from the leaders, he was filled with hope and reassurance that God is still working powerfully with us and through us. What a joy I felt!
When I returned to Highfield Oval in England, that sense of God dealing deeply with us continued. Here at the base in Harpenden we have experienced day after day of God's renewing power with us. Most of those days have seen long periods of prayer and repentance followed by forgiveness, making relationships right and real joy.
How are you doing? Do you sense God is among you at your base or team? I hope you want more of His presence! If you do, this is the time to let him search your heart. This is the time to be ready to turn away from sinful and unfruitful pursuits. It is time to seek the Lord, our God. He is ready to refresh and renew us; He wants to pour out on us more of his discernment and power-and that is the only way we can hope to fulfill His call on our lives.
May you know His refreshing presence as you seek Him more.
P.S. If you would like to know more about decisions made and actions taken at the GLT meetings, see the reports posted at the International Chairman's team website: www.ywamict.org