Last week on this blog, we introduced the Breakthrough Partners Network conference that took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Read that post here. This week, we’ll continue looking at two key themes that arose out of this conference: unity and connection, through the eyes of Breakthrough Partners’ Director of Global Leadership Development Mark Mielbrecht.
While on the long flight to Africa, Mark suddenly felt inspiration from God. As soon as they had landed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, he quickly acquired a map of Africa. Mark then tore it into 30 pieces. Later, as he spoke at the opening of the Breakthrough Partners Network (BPN) conference, Mark placed a piece of the divided map in front of each of the eager participants. “Each person had a piece of the bigger picture God was creating for the future of Africa,” Mark recalled. “Not until we put all of our individual pieces together could we see God’s vision for Africa, the place where God has called us to minister .”
After Mark had divided up the pieces, they taped the torn map back together, making it whole again. However, it was missing one small piece. “It was small, but clearly a gaping hole,” remembered Mark. It wasn’t until the last day that the final piece was placed to fully reconstruct the map. “It was clear,” said Mark, “that if even one of us doesn’t step in to fulfill the purpose God has for our life, the whole body will miss that person’s contribution.”
Each of the leaders brought together in this conference are living into dedicated, fruitful ministries of service in their home communities. As a result of the conference, BPN is nudging these individual ministries to be collaborative, to work together and create sustainability in their work. In particular, the BPN network members are all seeking to create economic engines so their ministry communities can be self-supporting. This will enable local leaders to better meet the physical and spiritual needs of those they serve, and be less reliant on external support. In order to achieve this, the leaders who had gathered were encouraged to look for what they do currently have, to find what resources and skills they can bring to the table to initiate change. Ultimately, these leaders have promised to turn to each other, to collaborate, initiate, and help support the work of programs and projects being developed in their local context.
This is a movement of relationship and unity; a movement of connectedness and vulnerability to each other. These leaders have united and are seeking to follow God’s plan for their countries, so that true change, new change, will be brought to fruition.