Next steps....

So what is next….

As you may know we are moving to Anagni, which is just east and south of Rome in September. You may, as many have, asked why there and why now. Here is the short answer, to a long story. We were asked to come to Anagni to focus our efforts on establishing our outreach and teaching initiatives in central Italy. This makes sense on several fronts, first it is centrally located which makes it more accessible to students and allows us to travel more economically. The second reason was a property has been offered for use by the Academy, that is very conducive for teaching and training. One other advantage, it puts us much closer to the pastors training classes that we visit once a month, 2hrs vs 10hrs.

Although we were quite comfortable (maybe too) in the mountain village of Bobbio Pellice, we see the advantages of being near Rome in central Italy. In addition, it allows us to continue our work and make long term plans…beyond our lifespan; this is important as well that we pass the legacy to the emerging generation. The only two reason we identified for not moving to Anagni where we were comfortable and it increases our living costs, well neither outweigh the benefits. So we started the process last month and God immediately opened up a great home for us. I started the effort of moving our belongings to Anagni and put them into storage until we return. This the is the short answer…but for the inquiring minds, here is the rest of the story! 

As most of you know we partner with MIE in Italy, an organization formed by Mose Baldari about 40 years ago. Through this effort he has helped establish over 200 independent Christian churches across Italy. In addition to MIE, Mose established CATMA some thirty years ago. Its focus is to provide educational training for pastors of the MIE family of churches, and Italy, many might see some of the courses as continuing Christian education. CATMA is the training and sending process of making disciples. We are honored to be a part of the CATMA and look forward to serving in this capacity for many years to come. Just this past May CATMA commissioned 19 new servants for Christ.

Recently we were asked by Mose Baldari to form a team of Italian leaders to build and promote a “new” leadership academy in Anagni. We launched “Progetto Timoteo” and the Alpine Leadership Academy in Bobbio Pellice two years ago. Mose has asked us to develop a similar effort in the region of Rome. We accepted the challenge and immediately reached out to three other Italian leaders we have been working with through CATMA. Antonio, Maurizio and Corrado, they too are excited about making disciples! Recently Mose suggested we add a fifth team member, Professor Antonio Gaito a respected teacher of Greek and Hebrew. We look forward to adding a few others to our team shortly. This is an area we ask for your continual prayers; we believe this will produce much fruit in the coming years…well past our time!

The academy will host our “Timothy” training for central Italy, it will mirror what we have done in Bobbio Pellice that is now lead by Stefano Longo. My simple definition of the disciple making methods of Jesus is a four step process. He reached out to the marginalized with the words “come see”, then he taught them the scriptures as a way of life (I will make you fishers of men), he trained them to go do these very actions themselves (he sent out the 72) and he sent them out to go multiply (the Great Commission). The academy’s focus will be the first two steps; “Reach” and “Teach”. We want to reach the youth of Italy and teach them the Word as Jesus taught. Not just as knowledge, but as a way of life…a missional lifestyle. We will host camps and events through the academy to bridge relationships of young people to teach and engage them in the local churches. This is a “revolutionary” concept for Italy. We see it as the catalyst of a disciple making movement for Italy, not just a passing fad.

So with God leading and opening the door to the next phase of ministry, or as I should say just the next step, please keep us in your prayers! Oh yes with each new step comes new challenges…but Jesus told us this will happen. This will increase our “personal” needs budget due to the need of renting an apartment for the next couple of years until we can build a place on the new property…btw I am calling our new home of the leadership academy in the hills of Anagni “Monte degli Olivi”, the Mount of Olives. Once you visit I am sure you will see the resemblances. Please be in prayer for our leadership team; unity, faith and vision are the key needs. I will communicate more on these team members in the coming weeks.

Life as a disciple maker is an adventure, it’s filled with great excitement and great challenges; but as we remain in Him we have great peace through it all! You may ask, or think this is a children’s ministry. I ask you to consider this thought, a disciple maker must practice and model what they teach…just as Jesus did. The youth of the Church is the future of the Church; but youth are not engaged in most Italian churches. To see the church grow, flourish and transcend time the youth must be reached. Paul said to the Corinthians; “Imitate me as I imitate Christ” and Jesus said “do as I have done”. To abide in these teachings, we must be practitioners.  So the academy’s purpose has two integral missions, to reach & teach the youth and to train & equip disciple makers. The academy’s function is to bridge the youth seeking Christ to the disciples serving Christ!

Ciao, ciao and arrivederci