Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What is Globalscope Celebration?

Once a year, leaving from places like Indianapolis, Atlanta, Mexico, Spain, England, Chile, and Germany, a bunch of crazy people convene at some designated spot on the globe. Every summer – well, every winter if you live in Chile – the Globalscope Steering Committee, special guests, and every long-term staff member of El Pozo, The Grapevine, En Vivo, Canvas, El Oasis, and Unterwegs leave behind whatever other important projects they are working on and get together for a very special conference. And every year it is a blessed time that proves worth the effort.

This event is known as the Globalscope Celebration, and the crazy people are campus ministers / missionaries / folks who’ve followed God’s call to various college towns around the world with the mission of creating Christ-centered communities for the young people in those places and being a part of God’s work to change lives and families and campuses and businesses and societies and nations and this world.

2010: This year’s (sixth annual) Celebration took place in the quaint environs of Nashville, Indiana, and was marked by several notable events including the first ever Globalscope Celebration Golf Scramble at historic Rattlesnake Creek Golf Course (complete with the Shanky Awards; Also please note: “Must wear shirts inside the clubhouse.”); the encouraging words of Columbian En Vivo (Spain) staff member HernĂ¡n (which reminded us all why we do what we do); the joint picnic with the CMF Furlough Retreat (which set a new record for most CMF missionaries ever in one place at one time!); and last but certainly not least the changing of the guard as the leadership baton was passed from the great Naomi Kouns (visionary founder and “Queen Mother” of Globalscope) to El Oasis Chile staff alum and new Director of Globalscope, Phil Tatum. These were some of the many highlights of this year’s Celebration.

For the past six years, this gathering of friends and colleagues has been one of the highlights of my year. To me, the Globalscope Celebration is many things, but mainly these three:

First, the Celebration is like an intensive ministry class. This year we benefitted from the wisdom of Atlanta Christian College professors Greg Moffat and Holly Carey, CMF finance guru Doug Germann, and East 91st Street Christian Church’s Daron Earlewine, whose exciting “Pub Theology” ministry in Indianapolis has immediate implications for international campus ministry. We also enjoyed the highly-anticipated annual unveiling of Wye Huxford reading list. Not to mention the fact that the daily devotions (by Doug Priest, Jim Donovan, David Giles, and Huxford) alone are worth the price of admission. It is so encouraging throughout the struggles and challenges we face between August and May to know that at least once a year we will be the recipients of an intense infusion of teaching on the Bible and practical ministry, that we will have the chance to be counseled by our wise and experienced leaders, and that we will sit down over meals and coffee to share ideas with our colleagues with similar ministries around the world. I can’t wait to blatantly copy the ideas we’ve stolen from our sister ministries in the coming months, and I love the fact that this kind of behavior is strongly encouraged!

Secondly, the Celebration is like a big family reunion. It’s the one time of the year when I get to gather with the rest of my tribe, to see all of my Globalscope “cousins” and really catch up face-to-face (rather than merely Facebook-to-Facebook) on their lives. The family atmosphere of this organization is something that I love about it and feel a connection to, having come from a big, loving, Southern family myself. This year, in addition to a beautiful time of thanking and honoring Naomi, we also rallied to help our temporarily understaffed Chile ministry with some financial gifts, welcomed back some beloved Globalscope staff alumni, and celebrated the faithfulness of Greg and Allison Coley, who are coming off the field after nine years ministering in Thailand. This year I really enjoyed getting to know several of the younger folks on the other Globalscope teams and had a great time playing bocce, playing cards, and just laughing and telling stories together late into the night.

Finally, the Celebration is … a CELEBRATION! I find the name very appropriate because, at the end of the day, yes we gather to learn. Yes we gather to offer and receive counsel. Yes we gather to share ideas. Yes we gather to grow the community and steer the organization. But more than any of this, we gather to celebrate God’s goodness and thank God for allowing us to be a part of His great kingdom work. Yes we gather out of a sense of mission, of calling, and of unity. But more than any of these, I think we gather out of a sense of gratitude.

The earliest stories of Globalscope are stories of how God began to move and certain folks found themselves along for the ride. That beautiful, wild ride continues, gaining steam – and the Celebration is one of my favorite stops along the way, every year.

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