24 Apr 2019
On the morning of 8 November 2013, the newly-elected vice mayor of Tacloban City sat down for breakfast with his wife and kids. Joining them was a journalist friend and his news team, who hoped to shoot a good angle of the expected typhoon from the Yaokasin family’s home facing the bay.
The day before had been so sunny that people had laughed at the warning of an approaching storm, in true Noah-times fashion. No one would have believed that one of the worst typhoons in history was barreling toward the central Philippines.
Just as they were about to eat, the roof over the living room was suddenly wrenched off by winds reaching 310 km/hr (195 mph), one of the strongest recorded on earth. The Yaokasins and the news team ran to the ground floor, only to find that water was quickly rising inside the rooms. The typhoon had generated a massive storm surge—a wave of ocean water up to 30 feet deep that submerged the city within minutes.
Jerry, his family, and the news team barely made it out through the windows to the safety of higher ground. But many were not as fortunate. When the storm cleared, it left 3,000 people dead and 90 percent of the city’s buildings demolished. In total, Typhoon Haiyan affected a staggering 11 million people in the central Philippines. But nearly half of the total deaths were in Tacloban.
‘It was as if an atomic bomb was dropped in the heart of our city,’ says Jerry. ‘The most heartbreaking was the sight of dead bodies everywhere. Young and old. Babies. Small children. Adults and senior citizens. All waiting to be identified and buried. I remember the comment made by first responders: “You will know you are in Tacloban when you can start smelling the stench of death.”’
In the apocalyptic hours following the typhoon, widespread looting of food and wares began, setting the government back tremendously in their efforts to reestablish order. Inmates in the prison rioted, and some managed to escape. At night there was complete darkness. Survivors had no access to food or water; desperation and grief were everywhere.
It was the words of Esther 4:14 that kept Jerry going during those difficult days. He clung to the words that ‘God in his sovereignty and providence has put me in this position and in this place for such a time as this.’
Jerry and what was left of the local government worked as quickly as they could to get food, water, and shelter for the survivors, to recover and bury the dead, and to restore the city’s basic infrastructure of roads, electricity, water, and telecommunication services, all of which had been destroyed.
But for Jerry, the most important thing was being a presence of hope to the victims. ‘It is very important during a crisis to let your people know that you are there with them. While many fled, I stayed. While many cried, complained, and criticized, I comforted. I tried to instill hope in them, as many had lost hope at that time of ever recovering from the tragedy.’
Word spread among the churches in the Philippines that the vice mayor of Tacloban was a Christian. In a country with divided trust toward the government, many individuals, churches, and organizations were hesitant to send their support until they heard about Jerry’s faith. The donations and assistance they sent directly to his office allowed him to extend much-needed help to the victims.
Today, five years later, the city of Tacloban has mostly recovered since the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan, though its people are still hurting. As he completes his final term as vice mayor, Jerry continues to hold fast to a particular style of servant leadership that sets him apart. ‘Even though the city is mostly rebuilt, I know that my job is more than just rebuilding the city,’ says Jerry. ‘It is to rebuild the lives of our people.’
Perhaps this is the key that has won him an unprecedented three terms in office, completely unopposed in his last term. Unlike most other politicians who keep their distance from the public, Jerry draws from his past experience as a pastor to meet regularly and personally with his people, comforting them, helping them, and even praying with them. He sees it, in fact, as his ministry.
It’s a calling that goes back to the year 2000, when he left pastoral ministry to pursue politics after meeting other Christians in government positions. The paradigm shift that occurred that year led him to realize that Christians can and must be engaged in all spheres of life—including, and perhaps especially, in an area like politics that is often seen as ‘dirty’.
‘To be a public servant is a legitimate calling of God,’ he says. ‘Never underestimate what God can do in and through your life . . . he has called us to be the Josephs, Esthers, and Daniels for such a time as this!’
Jerry is not alone in his desire to bring the gospel to the workplace and its workers. In June 2019, he will be joining over 700 carefully selected participants from around the world for the Lausanne Global Workplace Forum (GWF). This global gathering, which will serendipitously be in the Philippines, is designed to serve as a major push to overcome the archaic secular-sacred divide and empower Christians in all workplaces to live out their gospel callings.
Jerry hopes to collaborate with other leaders at GWF on new ideas and initiatives that can help engage the whole church in their calling, in whatever workplace they are in. Joining him will be other government leaders, as well as teachers, craftsmen, doctors, homemakers, businessmen, journalists, researchers, artists—God’s people in all their beautiful array of unique and necessary callings. Together, Jerry and the other GWF participants hope ‘that our Sunday faith will be demonstrated in the Monday marketplace; that we will realize that our calling to the workplace is as important as the calling to missions and to full-time ministry.’
Pray with Us
by Jerry Yaokasin
Father, we thank you for the gift of talents and skills and the opportunity to glorify you through our work. Help us to fully embrace our divine calling as your disciples in the workplace. May our work be our ministry and the workplace our mission field. Help us to stand firm in our faith, excel in our work, and bear much fruit for your kingdom.
04 Apr 2019
15 Jan 2018
10 Apr 2018
13 Mar 2019
This episode of the Lausanne Global Classroom is on Disability Concerns. Ministry among disabled persons is fundamentally ministry to people. People with disabilities are businessmen, professionals and pastors; they struggle and need counsel; many are children at risk. People with disabilities need the gospel. Neglecting to evangelise these individuals means neglecting 1/7 of the global population. Therefore, the global church must be catalysed to not only minister to, but also to equip, empower, and enable those with disabilities to fully engage in ministry and service to the Body of Christ. Current mission and church leadership must realise the reality that for the body of Christ to express itself fully in line with God’s design, the disabled must be involved as strategic ministry partners. This Global Classroom helps fulfil these goals, and seeks to inspire younger leaders, established leaders, churches, organisations, and movements to understand the importance of disability concerns in all their ventures. Learn more about Lausanne Global Classroom
Resources are available to use this Global Classroom episode in a variety of contexts including classrooms, small groups, and individual study.
13 Mar 2019
16 May 2018
Growing up in China, Peggy was not always a young Christian leader. The daughter of a loyal Communist Party member and a devout Buddhist, she came to know Christ in college through a campus fellowship group. Encountering Jesus and growing in discipleship began to shape her own vision and calling as she graduated and moved into senior management positions as a consultant. ‘Jesus not only taught and evangelized, he also helped the marginalized and the needy. So how do we as Christians play a role in the broader community to help the marginalized and the needy?’ In a country where the disabled and poor are largely invisible in society, Peggy desires especially to use her skills in management consulting to empower leaders across China with a heart for the marginalized.
She realized that in order to make this vision a reality, she needed a guided space to reflect on her experiences, targeted learning for her area of interest, and a wider perspective of the world through a diverse and supportive community. In short, what she needed was to enroll in a good graduate program. But she did not have the finances to afford it.
Across the continent in South Asia, Carlos shares Peggy’s conviction that leaders are the key to bringing lasting social change. Early on in his career, he co-founded an award-winning organization that has helped more than 20,000 people become better leaders. He went on to found a community that works to bring socioeconomic transformation in Asia through empowering thinkers, entrepreneurs, and investors to live out their Christian values in and through the workplace. He now finds himself needing a globally-recognized degree as he grows his influence outside the country. But like Peggy, a graduate degree overseas is simply not financially feasible.
Peggy and Carlos are not alone. The problem of not being able to afford or have access to globally-respected graduate-level education was one of the most common issues expressed by the hundreds of carefully selected younger leaders from around the world who met in Indonesia for the 2016 Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering (YLG2016), of which both Carlos and Peggy were participants. The resulting YLGen (Younger Leaders Generation) is a 10-year commitment by Lausanne to walk with these younger leaders as their influence expands.
Now, three years out from the gathering, a new opportunity has made it possible for them to move forward. Carlos and Peggy are among the first 15 recipients of a full scholarship through YLGen Educate. The new initiative matches partnering universities and seminaries with younger leaders of emerging influence who wouldn’t be able to afford or access graduate and doctoral education otherwise.
‘Not everybody in the world needs higher education to do what God has called them to do,’ says CJ Davison on the YLGen Educate team. ‘But we believe there are specific situations where God is calling young Christian leaders to a significant role—regionally, in the country, or globally . . . and a graduate or doctoral degree might be required in the future for some of these younger leaders.’
In September 2018, Carlos and Peggy began a one-year online Master’s in Organizational Leadership program at a university in the US, and it’s already bearing fruit. For example, Peggy has been able to design a cultural fluency assessment for an Australian leader struggling to lead her Chinese team at a center serving autistic children. ‘That was really helpful for her because she’d never thought that some of her leadership challenges had been simply because she didn’t understand the culture,’ says Peggy.
Through experiencing an education not embedded in his own culture, Carlos has been able to sharpen his thinking about board advocacy and become more skillful in navigating the often choppy waters of cross-cultural teamwork. He cites the real-time case studies of diversity leadership and challenges as giving him ‘the framework to solve the current challenges I face and to equip me for the future’. That future for Carlos includes hopes to establish a school for training young board leaders.
So far, 12 universities and seminaries have partnered with YLGen Educate to offer potential scholarships totaling over USD 750,000. ‘God’s using the YLGen Educate team and the ministry, reputation, and history of the Lausanne Movement to really open up doors that would otherwise not have been opened,’ says CJ. ‘That respect in history and faithfulness has gone a long ways, and institutions know that. That’s why they’re willing to open up incredibly generous gifts to us, and in return, we connect them with the kind of younger leaders they’re looking for.’
Peggy and Carlos represent only a small snapshot of what emerging leadership looks like around the world. But for many younger leaders, a graduate program is the necessary but unattainable key to unlocking their visions. CJ and the YLGen Educate team hope to continue making that key more attainable in the coming years. ‘A big part of our vision would be to expand our range of partnerships with institutions,’ he says. ‘We want to add more programs globally so that younger leaders can study closer to where they live, in a language they are fluent in.’
Thoughtful, well-educated, skilled young leaders in every region are the up-and-coming movers and shakers of the world, whose lives and ministries have the potential for broad, deep impact. To equip and support them is to lay the foundation for a brighter future—for all those whose lives they touch, and for us all.
Learn more about the Younger Leaders Generation initiative and YLGen Educate.
Names in the article have been changed for security.
12 Feb 2019
15 Jan 2018
Welcome to the March issue of Lausanne Global Analysis, which is also available in Portuguese, Spanish, and English in audio format. We look forward to your feedback on it.
In this issue we continue our exploration of how we should respond to growing religious persecution around the world, focusing on Islamic State (Daesh) atrocities and legal/political responses to them; we examine how we can present the gospel to cultures dominated by secularism, relativism, and ‘tolerance’ worldwide; we consider how to develop an effective multicultural team in cross-cultural Christian service; and we make the case for the use of local languages and resources in urban ministry.
‘Some of the most glaring recent examples of religious persecution are the mass atrocities perpetrated by Islamic State (Daesh)’, writes Ewelina Ochab (legal researcher and human rights advocate). Daesh became infamous because of its genocidal atrocities against Yazidi and Christian religious minorities in Syria and Iraq in its attempt to establish an Islamic state. These atrocities required an urgent response. Some steps have been taken but have not been fully implemented yet. These include stopping the atrocities, assisting the survivors, and bringing the perpetrators to justice. Despite a growing consensus that Daesh committed genocide and crimes against humanity, not a single Daesh fighter has been charged with either. Justice will not be achieved if we continue to downplay the level of the atrocities. In addition, we need to put the victims and survivors first. They have to have their ‘day in court’ and have an opportunity to tell their stories. Their full participation will also assist the process of reconciliation that is essential to build a better future for the survivors and generations to come. It is also crucial for us all to engage politicians and diplomats to influence our governments’ foreign policy so that they take pro-active steps to protect vulnerable religious minorities and make protecting them a policy priority. This requires a united response. Evangelical leaders could play an important role in uniting the church in a common purpose to protect religious minorities. ‘Unity of purpose is key, and we all have a part to play in this’, she concludes.
‘Much of the formerly ‘Christian’ world is leaving its roots behind and is dominated by secularism (death to religion) and relativism (death to truth)’, writes Ben Pierce (missionary of Steiger International). The Bible is no longer considered the moral compass; rather, everyone is free to decide for themselves what is right and wrong. Young people see the church as irrelevant to their daily lives. Secularization, a trend closely tied to the globalization of culture among urban youth, is impacting cultures in urban centers of every region of the world, including the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. At the heart of any culture are the core ideas that form its view of the world. For the globalized youth culture, these core ideas are secularism, relativism, and ‘tolerance’. In a culture dominated by secularism, relativism, and tolerance (at least as it is liberally defined and applied), it is no wonder that Christianity, with its exclusive truth claims and absolutes, is incompatible. More and more young people reject Christianity because to follow Jesus is to swim against the current of our times—the road is too narrow, the cost too high. As followers of Jesus, we need to respond by developing authentic relationships, by gently challenging presuppositions, by seeking God in prayer, and by stepping through fear. We must boldly preach the cross, take Holy Spirit-inspired risks, and not wait. ‘We may feel as though we have all the time in the world, but we do not’, he concludes.
‘Playing a healthy and contributing role on a multicultural team in cross-cultural Christian service is increasingly part and parcel of the normal requirements of serving Christ well’, writes Scott Moreau (Professor of Intercultural Studies and Academic Dean of Wheaton Graduate School). Over the years many have noted both the benefits and the challenges of multicultural teams. Their development parallels in several ways the process of culture adaptation that individuals go through when they cross from one culture to another. For healthy cross-cultural teams, that process often comes in four phases: 1) the Honeymoon phase; 2) the Shock phase; 3) the ‘Third Way’ phase; and 4) the Effective Synergy phase. The two most significant challenges multicultural teams face in arriving at the Effective Synergy phase are getting stuck in the Shock phase and the ever-changing composition of the team. Teams may get stuck because they cannot move beyond one or more unhealthy approaches to team relationships. Furthermore, multinational teams in cross-cultural ministry are rarely static. How the remaining core of the team handles personnel changes will determine what happens next. Much more may be said about each phase and about getting stuck (and unstuck). This simple overview hopefully helps you put your own team(s) in perspective. Perhaps it makes it easier for you identify where you are as a team, and whether you are stuck or not. ‘If you are, take the time to check out the resources noted in the article—they may provide just the thing you need to progress towards becoming an Effective Synergy multicultural team’, he concludes.
‘Urban ministry has obvious attractions for today’s missionaries’, writes Jim Harries (chairman of the Alliance for Vulnerable Mission). Missiological arguments have also been made in its favour. This articles asks specifically how satisfactory it is for a missionary to reach and engage urban people in regional or international languages and how important it is to make (quite likely ‘costly’) efforts to reach them in their indigenous tongues. The sound of newly introduced ways of life, such as the good news of Jesus, when communicated using non-indigenous languages, will make them appear to be foreign. The categories presupposed in Western languages are not the familiar categories known by people in the majority world. The foreignness of communication means that gospel teaching can appear to be addressing someone else. Furthermore, learning and then using an indigenous language will demonstrate that a missionary is serious in wanting to relate to nationals. Having ears that enable hearing of debates engaged by locals will enable a missionary to begin to understand the local contexts actually faced by native people, as they themselves understand them. Vast literature points to the importance of contextualization in cross-cultural mission, where use of an indigenous tongue enables contextualization. The importance of accurate contextual understanding is the prime reason given in this article for advocating that it is appropriate to use indigenous languages, even in urban contexts, in the majority world. ‘So my practical advice is to use local languages and local resources in what you are doing’, he concludes.
We hope that you find this issue stimulating and useful. Our aim is to deliver strategic and credible analysis, information, and insight so that as a leader you will be better equipped for the task of world evangelization. It’s our desire that the analysis of current and future trends and developments will help you and your team make better decisions about the stewardship of all that God has entrusted to your care. Please send any questions and comments about this issue to [email protected]. The next issue of Lausanne Global Analysis will be released in May.
07 Feb 2019
Lausanne Global Analysis