Paul Ericksen is Director of Resources (Archives/Museum) at the Billy Graham Center.
New: People, Location, Experiences
It’s been a summer of change here at the Center. Here is a quick sampling from our BGC Archives world.
Six month have gone by since Wayne Weber retired as the archives’ reference archivist and Reading Room supervisor. Since that time, we have hired Brittany Adams, who now fills that role on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Brittany is working on her MA in Library and Information Science (with a certificate in Special Collections) at the University of Illinois. She also works part time at a nearby public library and volunteers at a local historical society. Brittany not only brings energy and a desire to learn about the profession, but also fresh knowledge from her degree program.
In May, as part of Wheaton College’s relocation of its Bible & Theology faculty to the 5th floor of the BGC, both elevators on the east end of the building were taken out of service to be replaced. However, one of those two gave us office access to take cartloads of files and boxes requested by researchers to and from the Reading Room (which also had direct access). Thankfully, the west-end elevator was still in operation, so we could deliver requested files. With much construction noise (and yelling!) going on, we moved our researcher-use space from the Manuscripts Reading Room to our temporary Reading Room in Exile next door in the Archives Seminar Room. This has been a very accommodating space which has greatly diminished the impact of construction noise and allowed us to serve our patrons uninterrupted.
Praise God that the elevators came back on line in the past week, so we will soon be returning to our designated home.
Archivist Bob Shuster was recently in Toronto at the quadrennial meeting of the International Association for Mission Studies (IAMS). Bob serves on the board of reference for one of IAMS’s study groups—DABOH (Documentation, Archives, Bibliography and Oral History). Meeting with historians, missiologists, academics, and archivists, their purpose is to ensure that mission activity and impact is well documented and used around the world. Bob’s time at the conference was filled with exchanges with archivists of evangelical collections from Ghana, Belgium, Argentina, and Singapore.
This is a great fit for the BGC Archives, since our collecting on North American nondenominational missions and evangelism is a subset of this larger plan. And it fits well into one of our passions: to support and contribute to the gathering and accessibility of documents about the spread of the gospel in other parts of the world among evangelical Christians. This is especially true in an era when we have seen the Church mature and expand greatly in the Majority World. Find out more about DABOH or IAMS >>
How do you stay grounded in your commitment to Jesus even as you deal with great change? How has change brought about good in your life? We would love to hear about it! Let's continue the discussion on our facebook page >>
Posted August 28, 2012
Karen Swanson is Director of the Institute for Prison Ministries at the Billy Graham Center.
I recently attended The Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit. I was one of the 72,000 who attended. This was not my first summit and I have always found them to be inspirational and valuable to my own personal and organizational leadership. As with many conferences, this was like trying to take a drink from a fire hose. I am still processing the information I heard and thinking of ways to implement my key takeaways. Willow Creek Community Church founding and senior pastor Bill Hybels reminded us of what a great privilege it is to lead and to be grateful to God for the opportunity.
Condoleezza Rice was my favorite speaker. One of the responsibilities of leaders, she identified, is to help others see their leadership. Jesus did this with the disciples.
Who are you investing in to help him or her to develop his or her leadership?
Rice talked about the need for leaders to have the characteristic of optimism. All leaders face times of struggle, but out of struggle comes victory. Just like after Friday, there was Sunday.
And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. - Romans 5:2-5
I don’t think many of us would consider it a privilege to struggle—but it is. Just like many of the heroes of the faith, described in Hebrews 11, did not see the fruit of their labor, we may be called to lead in areas that seem impossible without ever seeing the changes for which we long. But as Rice stated, “We are to lead not as the world is, but as the world should be.”
What is the key for you as you deal with leadership issues? We would love to hear about it! Let's continue the discussion on our facebook page >>
Posted August 23, 2012
Diane Garvin is Coordinator of the Billy Graham Center Scholarship Program.
Three People; Rather, Three Seed-Planters
Jeremy, Ruiz, and Kara came to the Wheaton Graduate School to get the tools, skills, and resources to evangelize and disciple those who are unreached or underserved. Since 1975, the Billy Graham Center Scholarship Program has been helping students such as these three to receive first-class training to make them more effective witnesses where God sends them around the world.
A Missing Piece
During his first term, Jeremy, a Christian worker in Thailand, felt there was a missing piece in his preparation for service. Although he received great preparation for cultural adaptation and cross-cultural communication during his undergrad work, he sensed a need for stronger Bible study skills to support him in his heavy Bible teaching, counseling, and planning role on the field.
Through the graduate school and while supported by the scholarship program, Jeremy was able to receive the missing piece to make him a “much more careful student of God’s word and thus a more faithful communicator of it.” Jeremy and his family will be returning to Thailand later this year. He is a BGC furloughing missionary scholar.
Shaping his view and understanding of life and ministry is how Ruiz describes his spring semester at the graduate school. Studying clinical psychology while concurrently putting those principles and honed skills into practice is helping him bridge the gap between the lack of resources and the depression and stress experienced by Latinos in the city and the extreme needs they have. Putting these skills to work immediately provides practice, feedback, and shaping. He is already offering hope, healing, and well-being in the context of a church setting. Ruiz will begin his second year of study this fall while concurrently serving in his ministry. He is a BGC urban missionary scholar.
Connecting the Dots
Looking back, Kara sees how God has been connecting the dots as she moves toward mission mobilization overseas. Coming to the graduate school, another dot on the map of her life, Kara feels more ready and qualified to step into full-time overseas work. She feels Wheaton equipped her with tools to be a quality teacher, an adapter to culture, and an effective witness. Her next step is final mission preparation and mobilization to a new location overseas. Kara was a BGC Pre-Field Missionary Candidate scholar.
While it is sad to see them leave us, nothing surpasses the pleasure we have when we learn how God has strategically placed them around the world and the fruit that results from their labors.
How have you experience God preparing you to serve him? We would love to hear about it! Let's continue the discussion on our facebook page >>
Posted August 15, 2012
Roy Oksnevad is Director of Muslim Ministries for Wheaton College through the Billy Graham Center.
The Danger of Witnessing?
When I speak in churches, one of the most often asked questions is, “Isn’t it dangerous to share the gospel with Muslims?” My response is no. One gas station attendant whom I have befriended and with whom I have given a Life of Christ DVD and shared my faith with finally said, “I don’t want to talk about religion. I don’t want any books or DVDs.” The challenge is to get the Muslim to consider something different and ask their own questions instead of parroting the same objections they have heard from their leaders. Progress is not always easy to measure. In fact, sometime they just give in to the pressure of their community.
Once a person has accepted Christ, the challenge is walking with him or her on to maturity in the faith. Believers from a Muslim background (BMBs), like all people, carry with them their cultural heritage, patterns of behavior, and values that are uniquely shaped by their religion, culture, and family.
Conflict, for instance, is a major component in the life of the BMB. Coming to Christ causes conflict with the family. At times, the conflict can be brutal and unrelenting. Often, the North American Church does not understand the depth and complex nature of the conflict BMBs face. Not relating to one’s family is not an option when the family is trying to disinherit them and take all their property—as one person I know is currently experiencing. Another person stated, “Conflict is in our lives but we are not trained in how to deal with it. We typically sweep the conflict under the carpet and don’t deal with it until it finally explodes.”
In response to these pleas for help, we chose this topic for our third summer retreat for believers who come from a Muslim background. We began with a panel discussion exploring the experience each had with conflict—from growing up in their community to current conflicts they are facing.
As we shared intimately with each other, several key elements emerged: (1) there was a level of trust that allowed us to open up with the conflicts in our lives and (2) trust allowed participants to open up and be vulnerable. There was no judgment since all faced similar situations.
This type of honest sharing is rarely experienced in our ministry. This weekend retreat gave hope that there are multiple good responses to conflict found within the Bible.
Ministering to Muslims is not dangerous for us, but Muslims are under great pressure from their family and community. We should not draw back in our witness; instead, we should persevere, walking alongside anyone whom God puts into our paths. Who knows what God might do through you.
What does ministry to Muslim look like for you? Have you seen God work in your relationships with Muslims? We would love to hear what you have experienced! Let's continue the discussion on our facebook page >>
Posted August 6, 2012