Dallas II - Better Together
Collective Impact for God's Mission
A Working Consultation to Respond to Three Critical Global Issues
October 5–7, 2012 at the American Airlines Training & Conference Center, Fort Worth, Texas
Read this article about Dallas II from Presbyterian News Service
As a group of Presbyterian mission leaders who gathered for the first Dallas consultation said in 2008, we must be committed to “doing mission in the way of Jesus who humbled himself, showing the way of self-giving and self-emptying.” (Philippians 2)
The collective energy and excitement coming out of the Dallas II consultation from the more than 200 participants from across the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) spectrum, young and old, from around the world, near and far, and even bridging ecumenical divides, shows that God’s vibrant mission movement is already underway.
How do we feed it?
- Build relationships with confidence
- Build capacity
- Get grounded spiritually
- Catch the crest of the wave!
We are on that wave. We can make choices to pretend we are living out what it means to be the church we were 15, 20, or 40 years ago. Or we can look forward and swim like mad, trying to catch the crest of the wave. God is definitely at work. Even if we don’t catch the crest of that wave, God’s work continues. But if we do catch that wave, it will be one incredible ride!
Dallas II brought together a richly diverse group of grassroots and national mission leaders from across the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), including Presbyterian Women, young adults, mission networks, Presbyterian mission organizations, mission workers, congregational mission leaders, Mid-Council representatives, and others. The full participation of ecumenical and global mission partners from across the United States and from 20 other countries made Dallas II a unique and dynamic platform for sharing ideas and global mission initiatives.
The diverse participants formed a new, cohesive missional community as they affirmed that Christians should be actively and enthusiastically engaged in God’s mission of love to the entire world. The members of the Dallas II missional community trusted each other to explore “being the church” in new and different ways.
The participants strongly affirmed the new strategic direction of Presbyterian World Mission as it focuses on three critical global issues: addressing the root causes of poverty (especially as it impacts women and children); partnering in evangelism to share the good news of God’s love in Jesus Christ; and working for reconciliation amidst cultures of violence, including our own. The concrete strategies flowing out of the work of Dallas II will enable Christians to form global initiatives to address these critical issues, and participants affirmed World Mission’s emphasis on equipping Presbyterians to respond, while inspiring and building connections for prayerful service. World Mission encourages mission workers, U.S. Presbyterian mission participants, and global partners together to build communities of mission practice.
Dallas II participants celebrated World Mission’s continued role as a mission sending agency:
- Legacy of the past: World Mission has missiological wisdom distilled over 175 years of noble efforts, numerous mistakes, and intentional learning. The result is that more than 94 million Christians around the world now belong to churches that were founded or co-founded by Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) mission workers.
- Faithfulness and effectiveness of the present: World Mission has maintained and nurtured historic relationships with global partners and serves alongside and in support of quality institutions, often in difficult-to-reach places. The majority of our mission co-workers work in education, evangelism, or health and community development ministries. They continue a heritage that gave birth to hundreds of churches, schools, and hospitals around the world. They serve at the invitation of a partner church except in areas where there is not yet a church. In those places, where many people have little or no knowledge of the gospel, they help plant congregations. One day churches will form in these countries and we will work together as full partners in mission.
World Mission has restructured itself to support Presbyterians in mission, listening carefully to partners around the world and in the U.S., and helping to shape and carry out a common mission agenda.
Forty-seven of the 200 Dallas II participants stayed up past 1 a.m. Sunday morning to refine mission priorities, and, using the image of a tree (envisioned and illustrated by some of the many young adult participants at Dallas II), visualized the key outcomes of the consultation.
- The roots of the tree are our common values as Presbyterians in mission.
- The trunk is a vital network of communities of mission practice.
- The three main branches are the global initiatives: addressing the root causes of poverty, especially as it impacts women and children; sharing the good news of God’s love in Jesus Christ through evangelism and discipleship; and being agents of reconciliation amidst cultures of violence, including our own.
- The canopy of the tree comprises action plans to engage churches in God’s mission.
Participants volunteered to continue their work in crafting concrete strategies for addressing the critical global issues by forming working groups to:
- coordinate the next steps coming out of Dallas II, convening broad-ranging discussions and action;
- use all available media and methods to communicate with participants and bring them together;
- edit the key messages, suggested action plans, strategies, and statements into a “mission trail guide” for Presbyterians involved in mission.
World Mission is reviewing what participants said at Dallas II, and together with Dallas II leaders, will shape concrete strategies for implementing global initiatives, while inviting U.S. Presbyterians and global partners to affirm and join in these missional movements.
“Our prayer is that Dallas II planted seeds for a new, organic association of mission orders—people with different passions, concerns, and charisms who can come together, be nourished, encouraged, and trained, and then go out into the world to engage in God’s mission of love and service to the entire world,” said Hunter Farrell, Director of Presbyterian World Mission following the consultation. “We are excited to see how these seeds will grow in the months and years to come.”
The Dallas II Better Together blog provides a space to share experiences with – and strategies for engaging – three critical global issues that PC(USA) global partners are challenging us to address together as the body of Christ. These three issues are (1) addressing root causes of poverty, especially as it impacts women and children; (2) sharing the Good News of God’s love in Jesus Christ; and (3) working for reconciliation in cultures of violence, including our own. The purpose of Better Together is to continue feeding the conversation that began at the October 2012 “Dallas II: Better Together” consultation.
How can you be a part?
- visit the Dallas II: Better Together blog to read and comment on background information about the consultation, and reflections from partners in the United States and around the world; and
- visit the Dallas II Facebook page to share ideas and strategies to address or engage in each of three critical global initiatives that will determine the course of Presbyterian in mission together.
We hope you will join us on the blog, Facebook and Twitter.