BCM Africa Conference at Emseni Conference Centre – South Africa

Stewarding God’s Mission in US and Others

By: Dr. Rick Rhoads, President BCM International

A dear mentor once said to me, “You can only take others as deeply as you’ve gone yourself.  Principle being, you can’t offer to others what you haven’t experienced yourself!”

I’ve found this principle true in my personal spiritual journey as well as the discipleship and leadership development relationships I’ve lived. As I reflect upon this guiding principle, I am reminded of how God wants to transform each of us first, then through that transformation use us to impact others. The following are a few highlights and observations from this first year as president of BCM International.

We are part of a larger BCM family. This year has encompassed six international journeys spanning five continents and over thirty countries (see also Reflections from the Road, BCM World, August 2023). My wife Naomi was able to join me on two strategic trips. As we’ve met many dear BCM ministry leaders, both Naomi and I have felt incredibly blessed, welcomed, and made to feel a part of this extraordinary global team. These relationships are priceless.  Thank you!

BCM Hungary Elim Center

REFLECTIONS FROM UK/EUROPE TOUR

An evening meal in Hungary.  On the first leg of my fourth global tour, teammates from Ireland and Germany, including BCM Europe director Richard Thompson, accompanied myself and president emeritus Dr. Marty Windle to meet our Hungary team at BCM Hungary’s Elim Center (see Here I Am, Send Me—to Hungary?, BCM World, March 2016). Though I was meeting almost every teammate for the first time, the evening was filled with deep laughter, profound conversation, supportive prayer, and a renewed presence of how God brings all of us together. And of course, an incredibly delicious meal. We finished the evening having experienced deep community that fueled each of our souls and profoundly ignited new vision for future and ministry.

BCM camps in Netherlands and the British Isles. I am always struck by God’s creation and how it declares His power. We visited three BCM camps on this trip—De Herikon in the Netherlands, Castledaly Manor in the Republic of Ireland (see Historic Ireland Guesthouse Becomes BCM’s Newest Camp, BCM World, Fall 2010), and Mullartown House just off the shores of the North Sea in northern Ireland (see Celebrating 70/40 in Northern Ireland, BCM World, October 2018). As I wandered camp grounds and took a prayer walk along a North Sea beach, I drank in the beauty of God’s creation and marveled at these stunningly picturesque properties God has provided to BCM. The “Emerald Isle” lived up to its reputation of greenness and colorful foliage as did the magnificence of the historical estate that is now De Herikon (see A Look Back at BCM Netherlands, BCM World, Fall 2007). More amazing was hearing many stories of how God is transforming children and teens through the ministry of these camps and our BCM teams there.

De Herikon Netherlands

With BCM Hungary-Germany Team-Elim Center

REFLECTIONS FROM AFRICA TOUR

In mid-October, I had the opportunity to fly to South Africa for the first Pan-Africa conference in the history of BCM ministry on that continent. Teammates from Kenya, South Africa, Madagascar, Uganda, Zambia, and Eswatini were in attendance. The conference schedule was a collaboration that included worship music from Uganda and devotions by key leaders from Uganda, South Africa, Madagascar, and Kenya. Each morning, teammates gathered in silence for Scripture reading, then prayed for each of Africa’s fifty-four nations.

Time was also given to developing the soul of a leader through collaborative discussion sessions, vision casting, prayer practices, and providing space for individual teammates to care for each other through listening and prayer. Through these discussions, four regional working teams were formed with at least three different countries represented on each team. The goal for each team is to follow up with further work in a specific area, then bring their recommendations to the entire BCM Africa team and its director Rev. Dr. John Peter. The four team assignments are Prayer Group, Funding, Promotion, and Leadership Structure for Africa.

Mable Ngoma – BCM South Africa Sharing BCM Africa Conference

REFLECTIONS FROM EUROPEAN CONFERENCE

Our sixth BCM Global Tour came to an end with the biannual BCM Europe conference held in Wisla, Poland (see Still Reaching Poland’s Next-Gen, BCM World, December 2023). As teams from Hungary, Poland, Germany, France, Ireland, Poland, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Ukraine came together for the first BCM Europe conference since the COVID shutdown, a significant communal spirit was palpable. Some countries unable to attend such as Russia, Spain, and Italy were able to join through live-streaming.

A special blessing was the arrival of all twenty-two adults and six children of the BCM Ukraine team. They expressed what a special gift it was to be in a place of safety and respite from war even if briefly. The rest of us were equally blessed to spend time with our Ukrainian teammates and challenged by their ongoing faith and commitment to continue carrying the gospel to conflict zones under fire.

An outing on Wisla’s famed “choo-choo” tram. Touring the Polish president’s summer palace. A guided historical tour of the area. Visiting over outstanding meals. Each gave opportunity for conversation, laughter, reconnecting with BCM Europe teammates, and simply being present together in community.

As I continue to reflect on all God is doing throughout our world and specifically in and through BCM, I am humbled and amazed at how He never gives up on us, transforming us from the inside, then inviting us into the opportunity of transforming others. I am grateful for the honor of serving alongside each member of this remarkable global family.

BCM Europe Conference Outing – Wisla “Choo-Choo” Tram

Madagascar Team Leads Worship – BCM Africa Conference

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