Leadership

Modern mentoring: Why is it important and how is it different?

By Christine Gorz

Merriam-Webster defines a mentor as a trusted counselor or guide. 

The number one thing employers can do to demonstrate their investment in a young person becoming a leader is to train and develop them, including coaching and mentoring,” stated Lindsey Pollak, The Hartford’s Millennial Workplace Expert. 

Many millennials seek purpose in their work. Helping them to explore their God-given vision and the talents they possess early in their career increases their job satisfaction and enables them to make an impact throughout their life.  

Lifeway research found that 68 percent of church-going young adults identified the opportunity to receive advice from people with similar life experiences as very important. Young adults place high value on connecting with people who have more life experience than they do.

As we find regularly at Resource Global, today’s emerging leaders of faith frequently desire to make a difference through their careers and in their communities, cities and the world. They long for a like-minded guide who will come alongside them and help them think through strategic questions and provide relevant resources as they navigate the marketplace. 

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Is mentoring biblical? While you won’t find the word “mentoring” in the Bible, we see many examples of mentoring relationships taking place throughout scripture. Jethro mentored Moses, Moses mentored Joshua, Naomi mentored Ruth, Eli mentored Samuel, Samuel mentored Saul and David, Elijah mentored Elisha, Elizabeth mentored Mary, Priscilla and Aquila mentored Apollos, Jesus mentored the disciples, and Paul mentored Timothy. In Titus older women are instructed to train younger women and Paul implies that older men should teach younger men by example.

So how is modern mentoring different from traditional mentoring?

First, the focus is on what the mentee wants to learn, not on what the mentor knows. Mentees bring their most important questions and mentors engage with them to help foster growth in the desired areas. Mentors may recommend resources, assignments, and contacts in their networks who have particular expertise or experience. The mentee is an active participant throughout the process.

Second, the relationship is characterized by authenticity. Mentees are seeking a more experienced person who will share their work and life experiences with transparency—the good, the bad, and the ugly. This occurs when the relationship is a safe place to discuss ideas and both parties share experiences that include stories of successes and struggles, how they have processed them and what they learned.

Finally, mentors benefit in the process. Mentors aren’t just giving, they also receive. In my own experience as a mentor I am inspired nearly every time I connect with my mentees—by their heart to make a difference, their lives of faith and by their thoughtful engagement with God, their work, and the world around them. I learn new things as I engage with different perspectives and experiences. Time flies and I am always thankful for the opportunities I have in mentoring. 

So what are you waiting for? Jump in and become a trusted guide for an emerging leader in your organization, church or community. You’ll be providing a valuable service and you may just find you receive much more in return. 

Christine Gorz helps Resource Global with connecting and developing our mentorship pool for our cohorts. She formerly was the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Moody Bible Institute. She has also done marketing in the Christian music industry in Nashville, Tenn. She and her husband, Chris, live in Chicago and she loves mid-century design and a good cup of coffee.

The Unexpected Leap: Trading My Strategic Ideas for God’s Purpose

By Joi Freeman

Have you ever taken a professional leap of faith? Was it like Naaman taking several dips in the water or Peter’s fearful steps as he walked on water?

I have experienced both. Yet, my most impacting leap of­ faith was not a leap at all. It was more like an abrupt, unexpected plunge down a cistern which was followed by what I can only describe as a series of “be still” moments that felt more like spending my young professional years stuck in an Egyptian prison for a crime I didn’t commit versus feeling like a season of growth.  

“But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.” -Joseph (Genesis 40:14-15 NIV)

These moments of solitary confinement with God have equipped me with a new vocabulary. I learned that “leaping” is not always an action verb. In the Kingdom of God version of the dictionary, to “leap” is often passive. In this season of my life, leaps of professional faith are lessons on how to allow God to unfold his purpose for my life. My professional mentor Joseph (yes, the one from the book of Genesis) has taught me incredible lessons about the art of staying put in faith and trusting the vision God planted in me even when the road is unpaved and full of detours.

Like Joseph, God gave me a vision at a (relatively) young age. In 2010, while reading a foreign affairs magazine article about the predictions of population growth, God painted a clear picture that I would help open doors for the next generation to positively impact the world and major industries. And through this amazing bold view of what He called me to; I saw all the ways that I could influence this next generation, and especially youth of the African diaspora, to be the force for positive change and restoring what God intended when he gave us dominion in Genesis.

A person may have many ideas concerning God’s plan for his life,
but only the designs of his purpose will succeed in the end. -- Proverbs 19:21 TPT

So as any driven, passionate, talented professional would do, I took it upon myself to convert God’s vision into an action plan.

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The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him. –Genesis 40:23

This revised journey in which God designed for me includes moments of professional disappointment, frustration, and pain. Yet each of my “Egyptian prison” moments helped create a conviction that God permits us to undergo difficult experiences; and it is those experiences which develop our character, increase our endurance, and prepare us for the journey ahead. Without Joseph facing the cistern, the false accusations, the prison sentence, and delayed parole; the people of Egypt and surrounding regions would not have survived the famine. Joseph’s family would not have been spared, and the vision he saw at age seventeen could not be fulfilled.

When I started this leap of faith, I was certain that I could change the world. Yet, inspired by Joseph, I now understand that it is not my plans or ideas that will carry me. Rather, it is my willingness to sit at the center of God’s will for my life and with that posture his purpose for my profession will prevail. And as I learn to imitate Joseph’s work ethic and outlook on professional detours, I believe this new outlook on leaping into faith will ultimately lead me to my original Step 6.

“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ – Jesus, on Stewardship & Investment (Matthew 25:21)

Joi Freeman is part of our third Chicago Cohort. She is currently doing some part-time consulting work and also in a leadership MBA program in Chicago .

100% Jesus, 0% Me - Interview with Abraham Viktor

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During Tommy Lee’s last visit to Jakarta, in January 2019, he was able to meet with several Resource Global (RG) cohort alumni, including Bram. The two caught up after connect group, and shared the latest updates across Bram’s life (both professionally and personally) since his time with RG.  

Bram grew up in Jakarta, and received his accounting degree from University of Indonesia (UI). He always had an enterprising spirit so before his final year in school, he attempted to launch his first startup with a few friends: a Kaya jam company. They had a great formula, but struggled to find the right factory for production. Eventually, he had to make the difficult decision to move on. The experience would be the first of a couple of “professional failures,” through which Bram learned much about the world, faith, himself, and God.

After graduating, Bram found himself on his second startup - this time in the construction industry working on lightweight building blocks. However, after much time, and significant monetary investment, a series of unfortunate events lead to the closure of that startup too. This second failure was much harder on Bram. He found himself low on cash, and felt like the weak link in a group of friends who had gone into banking or consulting, were rising the ranks, and making good money.

Looking back, he recalls how this devastation was partially influenced by his own family’s financial crisis when he was younger. That experience had taught him to be driven by monetary gain in his own decisions. Desirous of more stability, he took a step back and decided to pursue work in investment banking and consulting. He went first for an internship with Boston Consulting Group (BCG), before eventually moving into investment banking. He remembers fondly that first paycheck, and the feeling of security it came with. However, he also remembers the disappointment he felt shortly into his tenure as he began to feel restless, thinking: What am I doing here?

Throughout his early career struggles, Bram recalls feeling God convicting him to rely not on his own desires and ego, rather on God’s plan and design. He also recalls how he always pushed those convictions aside, deceived by his own pride. However, the more restless he felt at work, the more he reflected on his failed startups, and the more he found himself turning to God.

In an act of faith, Bram asked God to purify his heart. In reconciling his desires to those of God’s for him, he found renewed clarity. Suddenly, he felt God impressing upon him that he should be working in financial inclusion. He took a leap of faith, and left his cushy investment banking job. That very day, he stepped into creating his next venture: Taralite.

Through much faith and hard work, Taralite is now a key mover for financial inclusion in Indonesia, providing micro loans and and micro funding to underserved people. They also lease their algorithm to banks for more efficient processing and greater financial inclusion across the country. Most recently, Taralite has been acquired by OVO - a large mobile payments player in Indonesia. Bram sees the move as synergic, allowing the team to work with mentors with more experience, as well as expanding Taralite’s own market share and impact on Indonesia as a whole.

Around the time Bram was working on Taralite, building it up into what it is today, he had experienced several other milestones as well. These milestones informed many of his decisions, and continue to shape his career and faith journey today.

First, he got married - to a woman he says is greater than his equal. “She humbles me,” he says - describing how his pride and self-righteousness often causes him to lack grace, whereas her own deep desire and honor for truth make her the opposite: humble, kind, gentle.

Second, he participated in Resource Global’s first cohort - an opportunity he credits for giving him clear and encouraging mentorship. The Christian guidance and focus on bringing the gospel into the business sphere helped him in many a decision, especially in the Taralite’s early days.

Third, he had a clear epiphany about finances. Whereas his upbringing and “the Old Bram” led him to focus on simply gaining wealth, the Bram of today who remains stayed on the Lord realized that money is a blessing from God. This blessing, he believes, is one that must be shared, and enjoyed. Ultimately, he says “my life and even my finances don’t belong to me. [They] all belong to God alone.”

And last of all, via redemption through, and trust in, Christ, Bram has received 2 priceless gifts from his turbulent professional experiences to date: humility, and trust in God’s sovereignty. Humility because, whilst he continues to struggle with pride, he remembers that he has never succeeded when he has insisted on doing things by his own strength. And trust in God’s sovereignty, because when he looks back at the last few years (his career trajectory, his marriage, his time with Resource Global, and his failures), he sees how God’s providence was upon him through it all.

“When I failed the second time, it felt like the lowest point in my life, it felt like I’d never get close to where my friends were. But somehow God just cared for me, equipped me, strengthened me. And it’s all God’s work. When I look back, it was 0% Bram, and 100% Jesus.”

I Am My Father’s Child

Veronica Nguti is in our first Nairobi Cohort in 2019 and works in administration at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Our February plenary session and pre-readings took me down memory lane. I realized that we all have the innate need for acceptance, approval and love. This need is amplified especially in the fiery kiln of the painful experiences that are part of life.  Although my father was absent for the majority of my life, I was raised by a strong, independent, loving and God-fearing woman who loved me, encouraged and accepted me. It never occurred to me that these three needs had not been met. However, a look at my decisions and actions in the past reveal a need for acceptance, approval and love, and I sought these things from outside.

In one reading, the author mentioned that in western culture people draw their identity from within. In African culture this would be considered rebellion since we are trained to draw our identity from outside and by default, we learn to seek approval and acceptance from outside. Unfortunately, these are the three things that man can never give you in full and though he may attempt to, it will be flawed and will never satisfy. Acceptance, approval and love exist in the purest form in God and thus should be sought for and received from Him alone.

Names and titles are powerful. Bishop Dr. David Oginde spoke on “A Gospel-Centered Identify: Who Am I?” He shared that this is what distinguishes us from the next person. We almost always respond to the name we receive and the voice of the person or thing that named us. How else would you explain why cousin X behaves like the relative he was named after? However, we can refuse certain names and we have a choice to respond on not to respond. In my case, I chose to respond to what my friends and family called me, whether true or false and my world would shatter when these voices would turn against me or whenever I failed. Some of the words used to describe me were a strong, intelligent, hardworking and generous Christian woman who was passionate about youth and governance and did everything with excellence until I made a mistake and then I was made to feel like I was not. Until I got acne and suddenly, I was not beautiful.

The names and titles I had been given were true and still are true but back then, they were not my truth but served as masks. They hid the fact that I did not have the courage or the energy to pray every time I made a mistake because I felt that God had let me down so many times and would eventually leave me like my dad did. Every morning for about two decades, I would mask the low sense of worth with high achievement, I would mask the fact that I never experienced mercy for my mistakes with perfectionism and excellence.

Bishop Oginde did mention that our identity affects our service. I would mask my poor self-image with the latest fashion, and I would dread the night where I had to stare in the mirror and look at my naked self. Unfortunately, just like Adam and Eve, these masks or fig leaves I had sewn for myself in the form of people’s descriptions of me eventually became inadequate and I found myself crying to God for help.

Our true God given identity is not found from within ourselves or from external sources but in God through Jesus Christ. My journey started with confessing with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing in my heart that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10). With that I became a child of God (Gal 3:26, John 1:12) I was important enough to die for (John 3:16). His word told me that nothing would ever separate me from His love. This assurance delivered me from the need to perform or do stuff to qualify for God’s love or acceptance. The more I read the Bible and talked to God, the more I realized that He did not want me to live in fear of being left, disowned or abandoned but that I was part of His family, not as a maid or a visitor but as a SON with an inheritance to boot since if we are children then we are heirs, heir of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:14-17).

He promised that He would never leave me or forsake me, and He has been faithful. This also gave me peace about provision because God owns it all and as a co-heir, I need not fear lack for He shall supply all my needs. Bit by bit I began trust God to provide rather than rack my brain or lose sleep over money and provision.

I was surprised to learn that God thought about me (and you), nothing shady but that His thoughts and plans for me were to prosper me, were full of peace, hope and future oriented. That his thoughts were higher than mine. I was curious and I really wanted to know what these thoughts and plans were, so I began to seek God regarding my purpose. Some of the things He shared were mind boggling and fear would often creep in, but I found solace in the fact that He had not given me a spirit of fear but one of love, power and a sound mind. That all I needed to do was to trust and obey. Whenever I failed, I was reminded that He is a compassionate God (Psalms 103:3) and He is faithful and just to forgive.

Eventually, I had to redefine success and review my motives. I no longer look at success from the lenses of money, fame and all things shiny and expensive but from the lens of the word of God. To me:

  • Success is walking in purpose daily as a child of God. Doing what He wants me to do every day.

  • Success to me is transforming lives for God’s glory.

  • It is taking responsibility for my action rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame.

  • It is remembering to ask for forgiveness and extending grace when I have been wronged.

  • It is living a life of purity by God’s grace, receiving healing for headaches, being a good steward at my work place, sharing my faith with the cabbie, encouraging the neighbor, getting up and moving on despite the failures and remembering to thank God for the good, the bad and the in between. Money, fame, 5-year plans are good, but all these are by the grace of God and for his Glory.

Finding my identity has been a colorful journey. I now know who I am – I am my Father’s child, whose I am - God’s, and why I am – God’s purpose, and I choose to adventure with God, fully submitting to His good, perfect and pleasing will for my life.

All for His glory.

Why do you do what you do?

By Grace Liu, Jakarta City Director

It is crucially important to understand your identity before you figure out what work you should do. This does not only apply to career direction, this applies to actions/decisions you make on a daily basis. Understanding your identity is important before doing anything because in the same way creation is an expression of who God is, work is an expression of who we are.

Once you truly understand who you are, who you are created by, what are you created for; then whatever work you are doing is does not become your identity, but an expression of who you are as an image-bearer, as a co-ruler of this world, as a child of God.

When your identity is security rooted in Christ, you achievements will not hold as much sway over your emotions because your identity is no longer in what you achieve. If I am keeping it real, yes - it feels really good to be the best in what you do and get the applause of people around you. However, when you understand that your work is an expression of who you are in Christ, there is a humbleness that comes along with your success - where you give the glory back to your Creator.

At the same token, when things are not going well and you fail, you might feel sad, disappointed, perhaps even angry. However the situation will not shake you or break you down, because you are not defined by your achievements but by who God says you are.

What matters in deciding what to do (work, life decisions, directional vision) is where/what God is calling you and being able to be sensitive to where the Spirit is leading. In deciphering where our calling is in each season of life, we focus on the CALLER (God) than the CALLING (work). What matters is not the result of getting things done, what matters is WHO is calling us because that is what give us purpose, perspective and the ammunition to push forward when things get hard. Our performance is no longer based on other people but we work for the audience of one. You work to serve. You work in a manner that reflects who God is.

This changes everything. This changes the way you choose your profession, the way you treat your co-workers the way you lead your team, the type of company culture you want to build. This changes your attitude towards every task given no matter how magnificent or small it is.

When you go to work tomorrow, remember that work (everything that your do) is an expression of who you are. How does your current view and attitude towards your work express who you are?

The Five Giants of Jakarta

Below is an interview with Suparno Adijato who is the Chair of our Jakarta Board and Tommy Lee, our President.

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CAN YOU PLEASE TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF?

I am an Indonesian, who has been living in Jakarta for thirty years. We have a family plantation and mining business. My wife and I are educators for preschoolers to adults. But my passion is in ministry, building up and discipling young adults so they can contribute to their cities.

WHAT GIVES YOU HOPE FOR THE CITY OF JAKARTA?

The number one word that comes to mind when I think of Jakarta is vibrant. Jakarta is full of life, even traffic jams represent the city’s vibrance. Jakarta, with a population of 30 million people, is the second biggest megalopolitan in the world, just short of Tokyo. Another word for Jakarta is improving. Indonesia used to be at the bottom of Transparency International. In 1998, we had one of the worst economic crisis, along with a change of government. But amidst the skepticism by many people, things are improving in the country. Many people thought Indonesia would go down the drain, but people have been praying for the country. There is a national prayer network that has millions of people covering Indonesia with prayers.

YOU MENTIONED THERE ARE FIVE GIANTS (PROBLEMS) IN THE CITY OF JAKARTA, WHAT IS THE FIRST PROBLEM?

Corruption is a big problem. It breeds inefficiency. By being inefficient, you get more money. Corruption also breeds uncertainties and risks. Foreign investors will not invest if the risk is too high due to corruption. With corruption, people can be bought. There is no security when you don’t know who you can trust. People don’t need to have integrity where there is corruption. So I believe that if our society can overcome corruption, then we would be on the right path.

WHAT IS THE SECOND GIANT?

The second giant is inequality. Not only are there minorities in terms of race and religion, Indonesia has one of the greatest unequal distributions of wealth amongst its people. There are three classes of people:

  • the few, who have a lot of wealth,

  • the small amount, which is considered is middle class,

  • and then the class majority of Indonesians fall into, those who are near poverty.

WHAT IS THE THIRD GIANT?

The third giant is vulnerability. A society works well if the law works to protect the people. The law is not perfect, but so is the implementation of the law in Indonesia. There are inefficiencies in the way the law is drafted. Due to that fact, a lot of times people feel that the law is against them. As a result, the people are wary and do not know who they can trust. There should be some form of social justice.

WHAT IS THE FOURTH GIANT?

The fourth giant is poverty. Unemployment is a huge issue. The government has made improvements, but there is still a lot of unemployed people. For example, people who work on a farm work for about six months and only about five hours a day. So if they get sick, there is no money. People here run into a lot of problems because of debt.

WHAT IS THE FIFTH FINAL GIANT?

The final giant is hopelessness. There is an overarching sense of hopelessness and oppression. But Jesus has come to help those that are oppressed; God has given us hope through Jesus and hope for the future. There is hope. I believe our society can and will continue to improve going forward.

ANY LAST THOUGHTS?

The Bible talks about David being the giant slayer. In our lives, we have Davids, but also men and women who can be Davids and support Davids. God can use everybody. Although we may not be a David, we can still help to bring back the kingdom. All of us can do something to slay giants.

True Acceptance

By Sonia Wirya

I have been battling much of my own insecurities this couple of weeks and I have contemplating a lot about whether it is possible for human beings to accept another fully. And what does it means to love one another.

True acceptance here is to be fully known and loved by another.

Yes, I do trust and I do know that such is possible. With God, we are fully known and fully loved. But does such love exist within one another? Is such love even possible? For if I known myself fully, I wouldn’t think that I am lovable.

But towards the end of my seeking an answer to this, I have found that such love is possible, that it is possible for you to fully know and fully love another person, and such true acceptance*comes from *extending grace.

1: By first accepting His grace to you

Understanding that He fully knows you, even more than you know yourself, yet He still loves you (which is why it is said that there is no greater love than His love for us, fully known yet loved by Him)

2: And then extending this same grace to yourself

This is a concept that was hard for me to grasp, and time and time again He has proven His love to me, His love enabled me to feel worthy of His love. Not because of what I have done but simply because He loves. And His love and full acceptance of me (for no human being, when true to oneself will ever think that he/ she is lovable, we are sinners and we are often too hard on ourself).

When we choose to extend the same grace to ourself, we’re able to find Self-Love.

3: And out of that, you will have the capacity to love others

And then you extend that same grace to others. This is what will enable you to love another and to let another love you.

When you are convinced that God loves you, you accept that you are lovable, you then become convinced that you are worthy of accepting the love of another and extending the same kind of love.

This will allow a chance for people to be vulnerable, to come to light to one another, and for relationships to grow. Because any form of relationship requires vulnerability. When there is no vulnerability, there’s no chance for any relationship to grow. But with Christ and in Christ, there’s a basis of full acceptance. To know that the other person is capable of fully knowing and fully loving you, brings much comfort and provides all the basis, the safety net for one to open up. This is why friendships and relationships that are based in Christ, tends to be the most vulnerable, open and yields great bond, because there is a commitment and a possibility of to fully accepting and loving the other

“Daily fight for vulnerability” because with it, you enable relationships to grow, and with it you become transparent enough to allow God’s great works within you to be visible to others, through your cracks

Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another - John 13:34

That’s the call of love that Christ has given us. Fully known and fully loved, by Him, and to “fully know and be known” requires vulnerability. Because true love is when you are known yet loved (you are loved inspite of your lackings)

Blessings to you,

Sonia Wirya was a part second Leadership Cohort in Jakarta. She has a degree in accounting and finance, but now works handling market strategies and rebranding in a company in Jakarta.

The Taste of Tolerance

Buffalo (kerbau) meat is still somewhat of a culinary novelty in Indonesia. However, for adventurous palates curious to taste the best of this delicacy, you need look no further than a small town tucked away about 70 kilometers east of the provincial capital of Central Java. Stroll through any main street or obscure corner of Kudus regency, and chances are you’ll stumble upon multiple food stalls offering myriad variations of buffalo-based treats: barbequed on skewers (sate kerbau), stewed with rice on melinjo leaves (pindang kerbau), boiled in fragrant broth (soto kerbau), or even fried into crunchy rind crackers (krupuk rambak) – and all for less than the price of a glass of iced tea in Jakarta.

My interest in Kudus’s buffalo-dominated gastronomic landscape is ironic, considering I’m a pescatarian. But ever since my first visit to Kudus two years ago for my work in the education development space, and in all the recurring visits since, I’ve continued to be captivated by the story behind Kudus’s preferred choice of bovine cuisine and what it teaches us about Indonesian multiculturalism.

You see, besides cheap culinary treats, this small town I’ve come to know as a second home boasts a strong legacy of Islamic tolerance. A landmark Islamic pilgrimage site since the sixteenth century, Kudus’s name originates from the Arabic word “al-Quds” (Jerusalem) and translates to “holy” in the Indonesian language. (You can imagine the endless variations of puns at the disposal of Kudus natives, orang Kudus.) Yet, when Kudus was founded in 1549 by Sunan Kudus – one of nine Muslim saints renowned for their influential role in the spread of moderate Islam throughout Indonesia – many Kudus natives were still practicing the Hindu faith. In order to respect these Hindu residents who considered cows sacred, Sunan Kudus forbade his followers from slaughtering cattle for meat and encouraged the consumption of buffalo meat instead. Today, buffalo meat remains a staple of local Kudus residents’ diets and a daily reminder of the standing tradition of religious tolerance and Archipelago Islam in this city.

Recently, Indonesians and international audiences alike are voicing concerns that Indonesian pluralism has lost its way. News headlines such as the jailing of Jakarta’s ethnic Chinese, Christian ex-governor for alleged blasphemy, the three-fold series of church bombings in Surabaya this year, and a recent study finding nearly 60 percent of Indonesian Muslim teachers to hold intolerant views, all seem to confirm that Indonesia has veered far from the original vision of democratic, multicultural coexistence formulated by the nation’s founders. Even in historically peaceful, moderate environments like Kudus, radicalized teachings are finding their way into schools and universities. A study conducted by the foundation I work for found that roughly 60 percent of religion teachers in state primary schools backed the cause of a radicalist Islamist group (HTI) banned by the Indonesian government for suspected ties to ISIS. The nation’s climate has become rife with growing distrust and divisiveness, and generations who lived through the ’98 ethnic and religious riots wonder if history is bound to repeat itself.

Yet, in my two years journeying across Indonesia and interacting on a day-to-day basis with Indonesians of various faiths and cultural identities, from teachers in Kudus to farmers in Southeast Sulawesi to Go-Car drivers in Jakarta, I’ve encountered numerous counternarratives of faith-based reconciliation and care for neighbor across ethnic, racial, religious and socioeconomic boundaries that give me hope for a better Indonesia. I’ve seen how faith can be a force for good, a fundamental part of one’s identity and calling to love God and thus love neighbor. Some stories are relatively well-known and documented, like the history behind Kudus’s love of buffalo-meat-based cuisine, or the peace-building movement led by the fourth Indonesian president Gus Dur and continued by his descendants today. Many others remain to be discovered and told.

In light of all this, I have decided to begin a personal quest to search for, document, and share more of these counternarratives of hope for a multicultural, democratic Indonesia in which faith can still play an integral and positive role. As part of this quest, I will learn and write about the stories of everyday Indonesians – Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, teachers, farmers, businesspeople, politicians, development workers – their life backgrounds, how they understand and interpret faith in context of their other identities and callings, what loving God and loving neighbor means to them, and how they engage in peace-building within their own circles of influence. Some of my sources will be primary (from personal interactions and interviews), while others will be secondary or tertiary (from my ventures into historical documents and books to see what we can learn there). I will start with various relationships I already have, in the hope that I will not only gain understanding but also deeper friendships. Throughout this process, I commit to a posture of learning and seeking truth in love (please keep me accountable!).

I do not pretend to be an expert on interfaith and intercultural issues, nor a neutral observer and narrator. I am an ethnically Chinese, foreign-educated, a Singapore citizen with Indonesian-born parents, a woman, and a practicing Christian. I acknowledge that each of these identities and especially my Christian worldview will certainly color and shape my observations, conclusions, and even actions in the journey of interfaith reconciliation. Yes, I may be biased as a Christ-follower, but it is a bias toward hope and redemption: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18, ESV).

Friends, in the face of complex, heated, emotion-rife issues like religious intolerance and radicalism, often the temptation is to fight or flight. To vilify the perceived enemy or other and bemoan their wrongs; or to withdraw altogether and resign ourselves to whatever fate may come. However, I invite you to join me in choosing a third option: to recognize with humility that we are part of the problem even as we try to be part of the solution, and thus by God’s grace commit to learning, listening, and persevering in the work of reconciliation.

My prayer is that this generation of Indonesians can be one that writes fresh stories of multicultural tolerance and interfaith reconciliation, continuing in the spirit of historical figures like Sunan Kudus, Soekarno and Gus Dur, and forging a fresh legacy for our modern times. Who knows? Perhaps some of these stories will continue to be told to locals and tourists generations down the line, roaming the street food stalls of Jakarta and Kudus and other Indonesian cities, captivated by the delicious foods, beautiful peoples and rich multicultural legacy of this nation we call home.

Felicia Hanitio, Jakarta Cohort 2018

Lifeʼs Little Detours

What do you when things donʼt go your way? Do you often grumble, do you often resist, and try to push forward? There are time when weʼre called to simply brave it through, to push through. But there are also the other times where detours are necessary.

How often do you get thrown off guard when things donʼt seem to go as you had planned it to be?

Thatʼs me most of the time. And as I took time to ponder upon the question: Why is it so hard for me to simply let things be? And I came to realize:

Resistance often comes when what we want (what we plan) isnʼt what He wills.

And ever since I come to realize that, I feel an immeasurable surge of peace and I choose to yield into His leading. Iʼm simply gonna let things flow, learning to flow in His grace. And to not let little things that doesnʼt seem to go our way throw us off.

With every detour thereʼs a blessing, or an opportunity to serve.

Therefore we must instead pay closer attention to what Heʼs doing, instead of getting irritated. Easier done when our will is no longer ours.

I would have not been here if it were not some of these detours. And I praise God for the little detours in my life. For it is part of His way, to drive me a little out of my “seemingly straight path”, a little further, a little off-the-road experiences, whereby the view is better, or where an unexpected encounter and experience occurs.

God is working in all things, including the detours.

So the next time, something doesnʼt go your way, consider that a “pause” sign from God. To ponder, and to come to Him, ask Him to open up your eyes, so you may be attentive to what Heʼs doing. Because our God is purposeful and intentional in every way. Therefore, with every detour, it could be a pause sign to ponder and pray; it could serve as a warning; it could be a way to get your full attention to what Heʼs doing; it could be His way to redirect you. It could be a million things. Therefore it is wise to simply consider and pause, rather than simply push through. Otherwise youʼd be going through life just zooming through it, managing it, and missing the whole point of life itself.

Lifeʼs little detours calls for us to learn to flow in His grace.
Lifeʼs little detours calls for us to learn to surf with the waves.

And I pray today that I may be able to understand this everyday and every time something unplanned comes my way. Iʼll pray the same for you too.

Sonia Wirya, Jakarta Cohort

Standing...

By Pastor Oscar Muriu
Nairobi Chapel

Standing to be Counted

True leadership has two sides of it. Psalm “when god looked for a leader he looked for David…”

The only safeguard against the corruption of power is values. Values that cannot be shaken or corrupted. Risk friends and popularity.

Qualities looked for in a leader:

  1. Vision

  2. Ability to unify people

  3. Humility. Willingness to be held accountable.

  4. Caring. Help the poor.

  5. Integrity. Character.

First quality of integrity is blameless was. Number two, speaks truth of heart, truthful and forthright. Three, does neighbor no wrong, transparent, no gossip. Fourth, despised foul men, stands for what is right. Fifth, keeps oath. Six, lends money without asking for interest, kind to those in need. Seven, does not accept bribe against innocent, incorruptible. Best place to see true character of someone is in their home. Can hide from public, but not family.

Standing for Something

Hope in spirit of change. Put hope in God and God alone.

God does not treat us as we deserve. He is merciful.

God hears the prayers of His people.

God has a plan for this nation.

Middle class needs to be out on the streets, involved. Hold leaders accountable. Together we may build this nation. There has been a lot out into place because of middle class. Continue to do your work and continue to do it well. God holds the destiny of this nation in His hands. He is able to raise up and remove. He holds the heart of the king in His hands, He hears the prayers of His people, He has a plan.

Our hope is in God.

Standing in the Gap

Yahweh is a name God gave Himself in Exodus 3. Many of Gods nicknames come from men after God impacts their lives. We are unsure if we pronounce it correctly, Hebrews didn’t use vowels. The Jews themselves wouldn’t have dared to say the name of God in case they use His name in vain. Always write a different name in place of the name God named Himself.

Tribes were established by God. Made of of many families that share same heritage, roots. Band together for survival. Language becomes identifying mark of that tribe. Tribes are larger than families but smaller than nations. God allowed tribes to halt the spread of evil. In the beginning they were a good thing. God built them as an instrument to stop evil. Satan creates tribalism. The problem is not tribes, it is tribalism - a way of thinking and behaving where people are more loyal to their tribe than to their friends, nation. Other people are dumb, ignorant, negative stereotypes. Tribalism strives to exclude, divide, and oppress. Tribalism at a national level can be racism and ethnocentrism. Racism is tribalism at its worst. The only way to fight tribalism is to first fight it within your heart.

You are all children of God through faith.

Cross of Christ unites us, we are all equal.

Are You a Secure Leader? (Part II)

Part II: Letting go and Letting God. 


I BUILT THIS. 
THIS IS MINE. 
NO ONE WILL DO THINGS THE WAY I DO IT.


Those were the walls of pride that God had to break down in my life as he asked me to step up in a new level of leadership.

Developing Humbleness.

It's not mine.
I had to recognize that this ministry belongs to God. He simply allowed me to play a part as a leader in helping it grow. He did not need me, he simply allowed me to be a part of it.

I am not the best.
I had to recognize that God has gifted the members in my group with different ways of leading. As a leader I needed to tap into each potential leader's strengths and styles of leading. I needed to encourage and empower the next generation of leaders to NOT lead like GRACE LIU but lead in the way have have been gifted and called to lead. Being a secure leader means not only understanding your own strengths and style in leading, but helping the next generation of leaders understand and develop their own style of leadership.

A secure leader wants and will do everything in their power for their successor to do better than them. They would want their discipled leader to lead bigger groups, lead effectively and accomplish exponential growth beyond what they can achieve themselves. A secure leader has the mindset and heart attitude that acknowledges in whatever job, position, title that God allows him/her to be in; it is not about me.

The Change

Our young adults community will be multiplying this year. I have decided to step down and not lead any of the groups. Instead I will empower and support the new leaders as they initiate these new community groups. Although there have been much hesitation, some sadness and some fears that have been voiced out by some members, I feel this a step in the right direction for our community and for me as a leader. Letting go, and allowing God to do his work through this community in raising up leaders has been (and will continue to be) a challenge. However, I do believe that in order to be healthy and grow deeper in our faith we need to be sensitive towards God's leading. God is calling us to grow and not to stay comfortably where we are at. 

My pastor at church shared this quote with us:

 “Healthy things grow

Growing things change.

Change challenges us.

Challenge forces us to trust God.

Trust leads to obedience.

Obedience makes us healthy.

Healthy things grow…”

Let's choose to let go and let God direct us in the way we should go. 
A secure leader is about living a life of obedience and encouraging others to do the same.

Grace Liu, Jakarta City Director

Are You a Secure Leader? (Part I)

Part I: When You Cannot Let Go

What would you feel when God asks you to let go of your position, your title or the ministry you have built over many years?
How do you feel when you handover power to your disciple and take a step back?
How do you feel when you successor is more successful than you?

Your response to these questions will tell you whether you are a secure or insecure leader.

After 5 years of serving and leading life groups (community groups), I felt God calling me to empower young adult leaders to start their own community groups. A mentor of mine confirmed this calling and told me this: "Stop being the hero. Instead, be a hero-maker of the people God has placed in your community". It made sense to me and I knew this was a clear sign for me to start delegating tasks and raising leaders in order to multiply. 

Something was holding me back.

The stubborn, micromanaging side of me was not ready to give in to the calling God had for me and our life group. Our attendance had grown from 12 to nearly 80 people in the past 2 years. I enjoyed seeing our group grow. A sense of accomplishment helped me grow in my confidence as a leader. As months passed, I realized in order to deepen our faith as a group it was important for each person's story to be known by others. In order to build a healthy community it was important to cultivate vulnerability and openness and this was hard to do in such a large group. 

I began to reflect on why it was so hard for me to receive God's calling to empower leaders and split into smaller groups.

I realized there were 2 insecurities I had developed as a leader:

1. I am afraid of losing power and control
I was worried about the quality and depth of the groups if I was not the leader. I was worried that the new leaders were not able to carry out the same passion and zeal I had for the life group. I felt like if I was not present and in charge, something would go wrong. These worries were not about the abilities of the future leaders, this was more about my unwillingness to give up control and step down in order to give room for others to lead. 

2. I am afraid of being forgotten
I was worried people would forget about how awesome of a leader I was (or I would like to think that I was) and like the new leader better. I was worried that this new leader would be a much better leader than me and his/her group would grow to be bigger than my original group. I was afraid I would no longer have a say and my sacrifice would be forgotten. 

Both of these insecurities stem from one thing: PRIDE

I made my ministry all about me. This community unconsciously became part of my identity and I realized this is a danger that can happen to followers of Christ who have committed a big portion of their life to ministry. I have realized that it is possible to be selfish about serving Christ. Pride can develop from desiring recognition from the church to as a good, strong, committed Christian.

God was calling me to the next step of leadership. God was calling me to develop and empower the next generation of young adult leaders. God was reminding me that everything belongs to Him and I cannot get overly attached to anything, even when it is a good thing like ministry. Often times we get so busy with perfecting our way of serving that we lose sight; in order to grow, we need to level up in our spiritual walk with God.  We need to embrace the directional change that God is calling us to go. A good leader serves. A good leader realizes it is not about him/her. A good leader is able to discern when it is time to give up control and let others step up.

Grace Liu, Jakarta City Director

When Empty, Cracked Vessels are Good

We live in an age age that demands perfection more than ever. With today’s technology, airbrushing has never been easier, if not more convenient, to display or sell the truth. Images of things we market and sell are airbrushed, and even various images of ourselves.

First, we airbrush the photos (the way we look) we post on social media. Then, we “airbrush” our character or personality to match what we want others to perceive of us. Soon, we easily “airbrush” our own spirituality. Now, we are not showing our true selves.

Why do we do this? Is it because you don’t think you look good enough or are enough? Do you fear not having it all? This basically means that you donʼt believe that God knows what He is doing when he created you. You donʼt trust Godʼs design (of you).

There is a practice in Japan, the Kintsukuroi method, where broken pottery is repaired with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold. Now picture two Vessels. One being perfect and intact and the second having cracks, but with hints of gold. Which is more beautiful and real? Which of these vessels would you like to be?

How To See and Embrace Your Cracks

No one is perfect. So, the choice is yours to plaster your own cracks or let God plaster your cracks. Who better to go back and fix the original masterpiece than the Potter Himself? He designed and made the vessel in the first place. He is the only One that knows what your functions are and why you are designed the way you are. He has called you to fulfill a purpose that only He knows. If you understand that, let me share a little of what I went through when I made the decision regarding my own cracks.

For me, the process began with a willing heart, prayers and self-reflection. You need to be still, be willing, and be honest. But the hardest, most crucial part was being courageous enough to be vulnerable and be real. This process also involves the help of others. So, do not be afraid to seek trusted Godly counsel or communities. Weʼve become so good at plastering our own cracks that sometimes it is hard for us to be able to see what is real and what is not an original part of us.

Only when an honest, trusted opinion gets lovingly spoken to us, do we realize we have cracks and see where they are. This is the hardest part for me. Some of the things that I cover my cracks with is perfectionism, self-sufficiency and feminism. And to top it off, I keep a safe (emotionally and spiritually) distance from people. If you maintain a safe distance, people cannot see you for who you truly are, an imperfect person. But with that action, you forget the importance of your imperfections...that your imperfections is the greatest testimony of His mercy. When there are cracks, there is room and need for grace.

“for My strength is made perfect in weakness” - 2 Corinthians 12:9

I am done being seen as one who has it all together. If anything, that is the biggest misperception that others often have of me. For those that have earned my trust and see me for who I am, they know how far from perfect I am from it.

The Need for Empty Vessels

God can only pour into empty vessels. Grace is flowing and can overflow. So, in order to receive God, you need room for Godʼs oil in your vessel. But you also need to keep your vessel clean so that the pure oil may continue to flow to and through you.

The “cracks” are what sometimes prevents us from showing our true selves or God’s glory. But it is those cracks and conflicts that actually best represent His blessings and allows His glory to shine through the most. You are Godʼs chosen vessels, imperfect and with cracks. Cracks ensure His glory and allow His grace to be visible. This way people wonʼt compliment the vessels, but in turn, might value the oil that is placed inside.

Pour out what is inside your vessel. Leave your vessel empty, by pouring into Him, so that He may pour into and make you anew. One must have the courage to pour out our own pride, opinions, insecurities, walls and defenses. Only then can you come before the Lord, willing, vulnerable, honest and ready to be renewed in His grace. Let God repair the cracks (part of His original design) that you have tried to plaster yourself, and let Him fill it with gold, His grace.

Pour out to People - The call to love

The main principle is that you pour love to other people, knowing that you are pouring for the Lord. This is in spite of how they may respond, appreciated or not, and regardless of whether they asked. Remember the source from where it comes from and the very reason why you began pouring out to others in the first place. Continue to offer a word of encouragement, a touch of love, an offer of strength, but no matter what, you gotta keep pouring.

The concept of Daily Sustenance

“Your mercies are new every morning” - Lamentations 3:22-23

2 Kings 4:5-6 - The widow poured in secret (behind closed doors) into empty vessels

When vessels are empty, they are ready. Ready to receive, ready to give, ready to daily draw from Him. Usually, one gives as much as they “have” or can “afford” to give. But know that because God is your source, you will never have nothing to give. So, you should always give and let His blessings continue to flow upon you and others. Let the oil continue to flow out and into vessels.Just as the Israelites were told not to save manna for tomorrow, trust that what God gives to you today is meant to be shared for today. Do not hold back worried that it won’t be enough. God will always provide just enough not only for you but for others that you want to share it with and with those God wants you to share it with. Then you come again to Him tomorrow for another portion.

My prayer today

Lord, I believe that You have given me what You have required. I trust that I have enough. Enough love, strength, encouragement and faith to give. I choose to not to wait until I have what I think I need, before I can give.

I trust that You are sovereign. So, if You have led me here, I believe that You have a plan. I thank you for all the paths which are aligned with Yours. And I trust You with the detours that You have lovingly let me take out of my own misdoing. Help me now to turn those detours for Your glory and for your purpose.

Give to me, in all your ways, just enough for today, for myself, to give to others, and to all those You have placed in my life.

Word of Encouragement:

I believe that every decision you have made until now has led you to where you are at this moment in time. You are where you are supposed to be, doing what God needs you to do, not later, but now.

Sonia Wirya, Jakarta Cohort 2018

Heart Knowledge

Being biblically literate and memorizing verses is important, however when head knowledge becomes heart knowledge, that is when true life transformation happens.

Over the past few weeks I have been going through a book with my lifegroup (Young Adults Community Group) called Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero. Emotions are complicated, messy; life would be much easier if we could just get by our days by shutting away our emotions to get things done.

I have learned over the past weeks that God speaks through our emotions. When we shut down or bottle our emotions we miss out on the things that God is trying to say to us. God speaks through disappointments, sadness, happiness, anger, jealousy. The point is not that we should be guided by our emotions (because that would lead to horrible life decisions), but the point is to realize and reflect on why we feel the way we feel, and what are the things God is trying to reveal to us through these emotions. 

In moments we are disappointed or during situations that just make us burst in anger, we must analyze why we feel angry? Is it because we do not like losing control? Is it because we do not like being abandoned? Why do we react the way we do? Is it because of our family culture, the way we are brought up?


Understanding why we feel the emotions we feel and being able to correct ourselves to be emotionally healthy is an important part of spiritual growth.  

Living in a culture where we are taught to "save face" and bottle up emotions, this book was not easy to digest. I live in a culture where emotions of sadness, anger, disappointment, or even over the top happiness are seen as a sign of weakness and not appropriate to display in public. 

From a young age, I was taught to "know my place", and "accept" the way young people are treated based on culture and tradition. I push down emotions of frustration when being scolded and learned to numb emotions of disappointment. I noticed later on in life that these bottled emotions started to leak out in the form of passive aggressiveness and sarcasm. I begin to create emotional barriers in my relationships to prevent myself (my heart) from getting hurt. 

Understanding how family culture and ethnicity has built me to the person I am today and taking a step back in realizing the emotional baggage that has accumulated over the years has helped me uncover bad habits and emotional behaviors I have built up. I began to reflect on situations that would rise up that would cause me to be overly sensitive or give out overblown reactions, and made a decision to lay my insecurities and emotional baggage at the feet of Jesus. 

In response to Emotionally Healthy Spirituality,  I have decided to be more open vulnerable to a trusted group of friends about the emotions I feel. I can say it has not been easy but being able to sort through emotion and respond in a healthy manner has been a challenging yet liberating experience. 

It is a liberating realization to know that I am not bound by my past or my emotional responses built by my culture. God's love gives me the power to break these unhealthy emotional habits and embrace God's family culture.

We tend to belittle emotions and see them as signs of weakness but when we bring those weaknesses before God, He can turn our greatness weakness into our greatest asset to serve others and bring glory to Him

Grace Liu

Global City Director, Jakarta

Meet Julia Tan

Resource Global is an organization I started nine years ago to take the vision God had given me to take the Gospel to the ends of the Earth. Resource Global is committed to resourcing and releasing the next generation of Christian leaders and professionals within an interconnected network for Gospel movements in major global cities.

One of the people I have gotten to meet and who has been part of our cohorts has been Julia Tan.  Julia is an extremely bright and talented individual.  She is one of the future leaders in that city.  Julia is the Head of Corporate Development and HR at Liputan Group in Jakarta and the Head of Project at DoctorShare and will be speaking at our annual Icon Conference in Jakarta this year.  

I want to share two videos with you:

Our Life As A Living Sacrifice

by Tommy Lee

I love what Paul writes in Romans 12:1-2. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (ESV)  Romans 12 verses 1 and 2 is a turning point in the Epistles of Romans.  Paul has now spent eleven chapters in Romans laying out the fundamentals of the Christian faith and theology.  And now from Chapter 12 onward it's application time.  Paul begins the verses with the word "Therefore."   “Therefore” is a preposition and is the connector between what he is teaching in Chapter 1 - 11 and from Chapter 12 to the end of the book of Romans. 

Because of what Paul has laid out in the first twelve chapters in Romans he is encouraging and challenging us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice.  It's as if Paul is coming along us as a brother or as a friend, putting his arm around us, and encouraging us to present our whole bodies or lives as a result of everything God has done for us.  It's our part now.  We have a role in it.  Notice the word “present” in the ESV translation. “Present” is an action verb.  It’s something we do.  It’s a choice that we have to make.  The term “living sacrifice” is understood in that culture because of the sacrifices that the Israelites had to make each year as an offering to God.  Therefore the believer needs to present his body or entire life as a sacrifice. The conditions are that our sacrifice is holy and acceptable to God much like a sacrifice made at that time had to be without blemish and imperfections.  This concept of presenting our whole life is worship in itself.  

"Holy and acceptable" is key to understand here because as believers our life is not ours anymore.  It belongs to God and as we come before the Cross the decisions that we make in life have to be in line with what God finds as acceptable.  This is laid out in the pages of Scripture.  As believers we cannot make decisions that benefit us but rather what the Lord calls us to do.  That is one of the marks of a believer.  It is not that we are perfect but we are striving ourselves to grow in our understanding of what is acceptable to God and improve in those areas.  I love what Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us to do.  Ephesians 2:8 tells us that it is by grace we have been saved and it is not by ourselves.  What is the result of that grace?  We are therefore His workmanship created in Him to do good works.  How can we become more like Christ as we continue to work and journey with Him? Is our life and our bodies "holy and acceptable to God?" 

Gifts in God's Hands

by Steve Preston

Most people who have risen through the leadership ranks have been through skills assessments, 360 reviews, and personality profiles enroute to developing as more capable leaders. I recall going through one such assessment which was designed to generate a profile of my strengths. The idea of this particular approach was that we should play to our strengths, because understanding them would help us leverage them more powerfully. 

I was encouraged when I received my report. My strengths were firmly rooted in the type-A power zone and included achievement, strategy, commitment to beliefs, self-confidence and accountability. People who have led large, multifaceted organizations, driven complex transformations, and put big results in front of their boards have similar profiles. But the results of my review came with a troubling caveat — ‘strengths’ that were out of balance had a downside to them. Being an outsized ‘achiever’ can lead to a lack of balance, over commitment and burn out. Being overly self-confident can lead to arrogance and an inability to listen to others. We often hear people lament the separation of their faith world and their work world. This is the prime example of that separation. When the dark side of our ‘strengths’ show up, it is an indication that these gifts from God have not been brought into the realm of our faith. We are managing them, rather than submitting them to God.

One of the most powerful examples of God’s ability to use our gifts is in I Samuel. The two books of Samuel are packed with intrigue, power struggles, historical relevance, and God’s remarkable intervention, with the prophet Samuel as the lynchpin in dispatching God’s purposes. In the course of his lifetime, Samuel would speak God’s words to Israel, establishing and then rebuking its first king, Saul, and then anointing David, whose kingdom and lineage would prefigure the Messiah. It’s easy to forget that all of this excitement started with the simple story of a barren woman giving a gift back to God.

For years, Hannah had longed deeply for a child, and had suffered ridicule and shame because of her infertility. Children were a mark of God’s blessing, a guarantor of social acceptance, and a safety net for the future, and without a son, Hannah had none of these. Over time and through her pain, both Hannah’s view of God and her view of a child changed. She realized that God was the provider of the gift, i.e. the child. She no longer saw the child as something to build her life around. Rather, she needed to build her life around God’s purposes, and the child she so desperately longed for needed to be part of those purposes. She promised God that if he gave her a child, she would “give him back to the Lord for all the days of his life.” (I Samuel 1: 11b)

Outside of God’s hands, the child’s future was limited. However, having surrendered her desires to God, Hannah knew that her child ultimately belonged to God and he could do immeasurably more with the child than she could. That child was Samuel.

Hannah’s committing God’s gift back to him is a metaphor for our need to give the leadership gifts he gives us back to him. In God’s hands, our creativity, our strategic skills, our ability to inspire, and our leadership tenacity will bless people within and outside of our businesses in ways that are honoring to him and further his kingdom.  In God’s hands, they serve his eternal purpose, which is greater than anything we can understand or imagine. A stuttering Moses leads a nation, an imprisoned Joseph saves his people, a fearful Peter establishes God’s church.

Eden Chen: Resource Global On Mission To Lead Business Leaders In ‘Massive Cities’

Interview with Eden Chen

Resource Global is in perfect position to lead a movement of business leaders who successfully live out their faith in Jesus at the workplace in major metropolises, said board member Eden Chen recently.

“There are some great programs out there that are training young Christians to see the importance of work and how that applies to their faith,” Chen said. “But I think Resource Global is unique in that it has this international mission of reaching people in these massive cities outside of the U.S., like Nairobi, Jakarta, and Shanghai.”

Chen, who was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list earlier this year, is the co-founder of Fishermen Labs based in Los Angeles. His company specializes in app and website development, virtual reality and augmented reality for brands and startups. The company’s clients include Sony, United Nations, HTC, Qualcomm, Quintiles, NFL and NBC. Chen also founded Knife and Fox, a design studio for brands and startups.

When asked about the reason he joined Resource Global, Chen said, “I originally first joined Resource Global because of my friendship with Tommy Lee (founder) which is probably consistent with a lot of people. I really love Tommy’s heart and the way that he values friendship and people so much, and loves the Lord.

“Secondly, I felt that, at least in my industry and different industries that I’ve been in that there’s always been a lack of Christians that have been interacting in the secular working world,” he explained. “I just don’t interact with that many Christians in this space.”

Chen said he believes that Christians, in general, have “exited the conversation” when it comes to engaging about their faith.

“In my parent’s generation there were lots and lots of Christian business leaders and I think either business caused them to be more lukewarm or maybe the next generation lost their faith,” he said. “There’s something to be said about money and the poisonous effect of it. There is also something to be said about Christians sort of trying to get away from popular society and trying to move to the suburbs and get away from where lots of commerce exists. I think that’s led to a sort of loss of interaction with the business world.

“I love organizations like Resource Global because they are trying to get people back into that ecosystem.”

Chen, 30, wanted to be a youth pastor when he was in college, but through an internship became interested in business and finance. “I did some business financing and found that there were (seemingly) no Christians. There were two Christians out of 150 people in my internship class, “ he said. “That’s when I realized that this is like a complete unreached people group that no one will ever get into and these people are going to make a huge impact and nobody is going to tell them about Jesus.

He said that as sort of a backlash to a generation of Christians that may have talked more overtly about their faith, but perhaps less in the way of biblical action, his generation is “one that is afraid to speak up about their faith, so a lot of times, people don’t even know they are Christian because they are too afraid to even bring it up.”

“What I try to do is to set-up like sort of ‘landmines’,” said Chen, referring to placing mental triggers that spark conversation in people that he meets through his work.

“Fishermen Labs, for example. A lot of people ask, ‘Why do you guys call yourselves Fishermen Labs?’ That’s an automatic opportunity to talk about our faith,” he explained. “I can answer that my business partner and I met at church. We feel like fishermen … the early church was the most influential group ever to exist and they were just a bunch of fishermen who didn’t have a lot of skills. If you just look historically, these 12 people were the most impactful people.”

Such a conversation is very powerful and influential, he said.

He added, “If you don’t have the landmines, I think no one is ever going to bring up the fact that you’re a Christian. It’s not like in the normal course of business, when I’m working on an app, [that] someone is going to ask, ‘Are you a Christian?’ I mean these little blocks that give me the opportunity to talk about faith.

“Ultimately, most Christians and most people on this earth spend most of their waking hours working, whether it’s a job that you like or don’t like, whether you are working 40 hours a week or 80 hours a week, it’s still a large majority of our waking hours. So, we have to have a theology of work because that’s where we are interacting with people.

“So, having a strong basis of justifying why we do what we do and what we are doing is hugely important. If we teach the right things and have the right mentorship that could cause massive change to happen.”

Resource Global has the chance to connect global cities, bring good training and good mentorship to these global cities and spark movements that get business leaders and aspiring business leaders to help and mentor other, he said.

“We’re increasingly living in a globalized, non-Western, post-Christian time,” Chen said. “So you do have these massive revivals that are going on in Africa and China, and yet, it’s very clear that there are theological deficiencies. Christians are trying to get more theological training into Africa and China. What’s not thought about as much are these accountability deficiencies outside the U.S. and the lack of theological training around work, and how work relates to someone’s faith.

“The movement in the U.S., talking about work and faith has only been in the last five years. At least, growing up, I didn’t feel like that was really talked about or that much. We’re just talking about it now.”

Interview by Alex Murashko

Interview with Andrew Jun - Part 2

Tommy: I still remember when I was in Jakarta last and you actually did a whole sermon series for multiple weeks on depression, mental illness, homosexuality. What are some of those taboo topics that you spoke about that are taboo to life in Jakarta?

Andrew: Yeah we called the sermon, “You Can’t Talk About That.  In the US it’s the same as those are a little bit of taboo issues to talk about, but especially in Indonesian culture those things are not going to be addressed over the pulpit nor are they really talked about even among family members and things like that. So you have a bunch of people, a generation, that’s really kind of at a loss on how to deal with those things. And so most of their influence in learning about topics like same sex attraction and depression and politics are really just from each other or from media or something like that. So I think we have the privilege, as an international church, I’m not necessarily bound to some of those cultural constraints and to talk about those kinds of issues that may be a little bit more taboo or people might be a little bit uncomfortable hearing from a pastor. They’ll be a lot more open to hearing it from me, and so we found that sermon series and that teaching really fruitful and helpful for people and even following up with it in their life groups. So we do bible studies according to what we teach on Sundays, and so we dealt with it on a life-on-life level in small groups and hopefully it was really helpful for people to talk about it because those issues exist, things like mental health issues and same-sex attraction—those are things that are pretty relevant in Indonesian culture and society and yet are not really talked about or addressed.

Tommy: Andrew, Indonesia has the fourth biggest population in all of the world and is one of the wealthiest countries in all of the world with fifteen thousand islands.  There is a difference between ethnic Indonesians and Chinese Indonesians. For the average American, what is the difference?

Andrew: The difference is, I think Chinese Indonesians will look at themselves even though they may be third, fourth generation, they still look at themselves as ethnically Chinese and distinctly Chinese, and so I think it would be actually the same thing as second or third generation Korean American or Chinese American who still has a distinct Asian culture and background, and yet also has an American background. So in Indonesia, there will be Chinese Indonesians who are distinct Chinese ethnic background and it may not be 100 percent, but that’s their dominant background, and yet they grew up in Indonesisa.  That’s where their parents were born or they were born, so it’s kind of similar to that.

Tommy: Got it. I have found that the people who are Chinese Indonesians have a huge respect for Americans. Would you find that to be true? Why is there such a huge respect towards those in the West, especially Americans?

Andrew: I think there’s various reasons. I think probably one is probably a little bit of a colonial influence. Indonesia has been colonized and fought over for many, many centuries. And so I think it’s naturally ingrained in them to perhaps look at, for example, Americans or Europeans in a much higher regard. I think also because at least another factor is the young people that are educated and ambitious. I think they really look up to things like the work ethic or social ethics of Americans or Westerners and those are things that they grew up partially with, whether they studied overseas or something like that, for university or high school that they want to emulate. So I mean those are probably two of the factors that I can think of as the reasons why.

Tommy: As a pastor, you’re also learning the importance that some of these individuals may not have a good biblical foundation in terms of digging in the Scripture, and sometimes you’ve actually been trying to do that more as a church, as a pastor?

Andrew: Yeah, that’s right, so we’re really trying. I think it’s two things. It’s giving them a biblical foundation.  They need that understanding of what is the theology of money, or what is the theology of work, what is the theology of marriage and family, so that’s a really big foundation for them. And then the second part to that it is discipling people through that, through what does that look like in their lives on a daily basis? What does that look like for them personally, and how do they need to live in obedience to the scripture in their own context? And I think a lot of time that’s actually the harder part. A lot of guys in our church, they have access to all the books and all the stuff on the internet by Tim Keller and all these great pastors and theologians but walking through those types of issues are challenging. And I think that’s really the role of the local church in Indonesia—to be discipling young people to do.

Tommy: Andrew I have two last questions for you. The topic is nonprofits.  We’re very familiar with that here in the US but in Jakarta people may not have a very high confidence or opinion of nonprofits in Indonesia. Can you talk through a little bit of that and explain this.  

Andrew.  I think a factor that you can’t ignore about working with nonprofits in Indonesia is the factor of corruption. I mean it’s so pervasive in the society in Indonesia, so a lot of nonprofits are going to work in that kind of environment and in that kind of system. So a lot of them are going to be affected by it or kind of get swept under by it.

I think another big issue with nonprofits is leadership. There is a big leadership void, so really having people who are let alone “godly,” but just someone who has integrity and someone who is able to follow through and able to execute on a plan they have, I think that’s a lot harder than often times it’s realized in a situation like Indonesia. So even though people may have great ideas, the execution of those ideas and goals as a nonprofit are just really hard to realize. And so, yeah, it’s really, really hard to find those kinds of people who are really good leaders in the nonprofit sector.

Tommy: Andrew, even as you’ve been with Resource Global and been helping us out on the Indonesian board what is your hope that these cohort members would do to help their city or their country in the future?

I’m really hoping that people that are involved in this cohort first really love Jesus Christ and that love and devotion to Christ comes out in the way that they do everything in their lives, in the way that they’re involved in their local church and discipling people, the way that they’re involved in their families and we see restoration, Christ-like restoration in their own marriages and with their parents and just with their own parenting. I want to see them as people who really are salt in the marketplace, and they’re really light in the marketplace and use that platform to bring Christ into the systems that are in place as well as relationships with people that they work with and the influence that they have. So that’s what I’m really praying for, for the influence in this generation in the next 20, 30 years, that God would really raise some of them up in different spheres in society, whether its business or whether it’s education or government or even in churches. You know, that they would be these people who really love Christ and are really making Him known and exemplifying that in their lives and the generations to come. That is my hope and vision for Jakarta.  

Tommy: Hey Andrew, thank you, I appreciate it!

Interview with Andrew Jun - Part 1

Two Part Interview with Andrew Jun, Lead Pastor of Harvest Mission Community Church (HMCC) Indonesia

Andrew Jun is a graduate of the University of Illinois and also University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  He now lives in Jakarta with his wife and three kids and is the pastor of two church plants in Jakarta and Karawaci.  Andrew is on the Indonesian board of Resource Global in Jakarta.

Part I

Tommy: Andrew, it’s been more than five years now since you moved to Jakarta.  Can you talk to me about what life in Jakarta or Indonesia is compared to life in US? Similarities, differences, things that.

Andrew: A long time missionary was describing life in Jakarta to me when we first moved there and he said the difference between Jakarta and the US is the same difference as Jakarta and everywhere else in Indonesia. So it’s quite unique compared to other places in Indonesia because you have so many of your modern conveniences. Actually some things are even more modern than in the US…the malls and things like that are all very highly developed and really really nice.

But really Jakarta is full of contrasts.  You have some places that are just amazing and modern. And then you have some places that are very developing and can be very frustrating because you just can’t expect to have things run as efficiently as in the US. So we have to deal with regular things like traffic and different things concerning the weather and other things. As well as because it’s kind of island culture, everything just runs a lot slower. There’s something called *jim-kar-et* which is translated as rubber time, which is everything is flexible, nothing is really, like, on a tight schedule, so we have to be really flexible about what we can accomplish in a day, or who we’re going to be meeting at what time.  We just always have to be flexible.

Tommy:  Andrew, one of the things I’ve also experienced in Jakarta is the fact that being flexible means sometimes people will cancel out on you or reschedule on you.  Is that just a way of life and how culture is?

Andrew: In Jakarta everyone is on the go and there is probably many different variables going on, factors going on in a person’s daily life, that they can have multiple meetings or have a previous meeting and it will go way over and they just have to cancel the meeting after or something like that. So it’s like operating in New York City, with the infrastructure, you know?

Tommy: Yeah, and you mentioned traffic. When people think, wow, California is bad traffic; Atlanta, Chicago is bad traffic, that traffic in the US is nothing compared to Jakarta, right?

Andrew: Yeah that’s right. I mean usually it will take me about 45 minutes to get into the city center. Without any traffic that’s what it should take. But it will take anywhere between an hour and half, two hours, maybe even three hours if traffic is bad. I kind of look at it like this. In the US you can run multiple errands on a single trip, like you’ll stop by at one place and then you’ll go to Target and you’ll go somewhere else and the library. But really here in Jakarta you don’t run errands like that. If you can make it to one place and run one errand in a day, you’ve had a pretty good day, you accomplished something, but never more than one errand in a day unless you’re planning on spending all day running errands. You’re lucky and productive if you have two meetings squeezed in.

Tommy: One of the things I also realized and you’ve taught me is family obligations and work life is actually very important and interrupts ministry and some of the things you can do.

Andrew: Yeah, that’s correct. I mean because people in Jakarta, their working life is so packed Monday through Friday and oftentimes bleeds into the weekends. The weekend time, Saturdays and Sundays, are really important to family time and it’s very guarded time to spend with family, even though sometimes it isn’t like meaningful interaction or meaningful conversation.  It’s just kind of the Asian mindset of just being present, and being together is an accomplishment. So people are really held to those obligations and younger people really want to honor their family or have a lot of pressure to honor their family obligations.

Tommy: As a pastor, how have you found what’s been effective for you to disciple these people and to really care for them? Has it just been spending time or building relationships with them? What’s important in doing ministry in Jakarta?

I think it’s being really patient, kind of picking and choosing your battles and discipling people through issues rather than discipling people to make one decision or two decisions or something like that. It’s really helping them follow Christ and knowing that sometimes people will fail or disappoint you and other times you know they’ll be learning and they’ll be making good decisions and healthy decision. So I think it’s just a lot of patience and trying to instill principles into people in which case it will not always be a linear and a smooth process for people. It’s going to be a very up and down thing.