JUST A MINUTE: HANDING OVER THE BATON
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
C. S. Lewis
2019 is upon us, not unexpectedly but still unexplored. However, for Helen and I, and for the ministry of INcontext, we already know that this will be a life-defining year. This year we, as a couple, will be celebrating 40 years in ministry and I my 65th birthday. I don’t share this to boast or with hopes for either benevolent wishes or reassurances that 65 is really not that old. I am truly grateful for my age. I am sharing this because it gives me joy to be alive in a season of harvest and to be of service for yet another year. I finally figured out that the secret of growing old gracefully is by finding joy in every moment and by continuing to find purpose in every encounter. This seems to be something worth remembering.
However, the “golden sixty-five” carries with it the expectation of stepping down. Many people have asked us if we plan to retire when I turn 65. Well, the answer is a simple – NO! Especially not in a season of harvest, when all we have laboured for throughout the years are finally bearing fruit. We will definitely not be stepping down, but we do plan to STEP OUT, to STEP UP and we are grateful to report that the Lord has prepared a next generation to STEP IN.
Time to STEP OUT
It was Nelson Mandela who said, “Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great.” I firmly believe that one of the greatest disservices we can do to the young generation of today is robbing them of greatness in the season that God has destined for them. As an older generation, we sometimes fail to see how the potential of the ‘millennials’ match the opportunities of the age. Someone once said that we should never put pavement where the grass is growing, and sadly, the biggest threat in ministry today is not a lack of young leaders but the inability of older leaders to hand over the baton.
When INcontext was birthed nearly 10 years ago, we had a meeting with Dr Paul Negrut from Emmanuel University in Oradea, Romania. His words guided our vision for the future: “A ministry is only successful if you have a successor.” We knew that if we wanted to produce “fruit that will last”, we had to invest in the lives of a future generation. We knew then that at the age of 65 we would hand over leadership of the ministry to release a generation that is able to invest passion, energy and urgency in the ministry in new ways. It is now time for us to step out – but only out of leadership, not out of INcontext!
Time to STEP UP
We believe in the principle of shaping our personal ministry according to the seasons in our lives. We believe this new season offers a chance to be more active in the field and less involved in the everyday inner workings of the office. For us, the new season presents new opportunities to step up and use what the Lord has entrusted to us during the past 40 years of ministry. This will no doubt give us the opportunity to assist in the media development at INcontext, as well as continue with the development of the different international bases, the consultations and the speaking engagements. It will also free us up to spend longer periods of time in the field with the different partners and projects.
Time for others to STEP IN
Our prayers have never been for the Lord to use us in a mighty way – our hearts’ desire has always been to invest in a next generation to be used by the Lord in a mighty way. And the Lord did not disappoint. Passionate, skilled, principled and quality young people were added to the team from Day 1 and we soon realised that the Lord had sufficiently provided for the future and we are now able to move on.
Together with the leadership team, a unanimous decision was made that Gustav Krös, heading the Project Department for the past seven years, will take over leadership at INcontext in 2020 and that I will spend 2019 mentoring him in this new role. Both of us will still fulfil our current roles in 2019, but then, as of 2020, we will officially step into our new roles at INcontext.
We are humbled by the thought that we will enter INcontext’s 10th year of existence in 2019. The Lord’s favour has truly amazed us and we are overwhelmed by His goodness and grace to us personally, to INcontext as a ministry and to the team as a whole. 2018 has been a transformational year in many ways, and 2019 will no doubt be a year of excelling as well.
We are truly looking forward to this and trust that you will continue your partnership with us.