On Thursday, August 4, I hopped on a New Jersey Transit train at Penn Station for my first (ever) trip to Princeton, NJ. CTC ran a five-day workshop for 22 network leaders from 10 different countries on how to deliver the Urban Incubator training we've developed at CTC in their own countries.
I arrived in the middle of the morning session, and immediately realized this was not your typical lecture-style learning environment: poster-sized post-its on the walls, five tables of church planters brainstorming and presenting ideas as teams, and a big clock projected from a laptop onto the wall to remind the guys of the time. The day was jam packed with presentations and simulations, and the time was squeezed for every ounce of productivity. But it was also full of good times and guys who were clearly enjoying each other's company.
Our lunch break, in the Princeton Theological Seminary cafeteria, was the most memorable part of the day for me. I was the last one into the dining hall, and sat down at the last available seat withMikey Lynch (Geneva Push, Australia), Andres Garza and Pablo Chavarria (church planters in northern Mexico).
They were already engaged in a conversation about Australian culture when I sat down. Andres described the Mexican perception of life in Australia as being comparable to the Texas cowboy (and, Pablo added, to Crocodile Dundee). Mikey countered that urban Australian culture was similar to that of Brooklyn (my own borough), and said that the Dundee types were very rare and located in more rural areas.
The conversation then turned to Australia's origins as a prison camp, and Mikey explained that his hometown of Hobart, Tasmania, was the harshest of the prison camps. Andres stopped him and said, "What a great way to convey the gospel!" and proceeded to explain how the gospel could bring life out of the most desolate environments, as well as some other relatable examples he had used in his own preaching in Mexico. I like the way Andres thinks.
During our conversation, Andres mentioned a video that he needed to create for a church that supported his ministry. Since I had a camera with me, I was able to shoot a quick video with Andres for the next 15 minutes, speaking directly to the DSLR. A few days later, after I edited the video and sent him the clip, his response was, "Tim, thanks for saving my life."
It's hard to not be moved by Andres as he talks about the work God is doing in Monterrey, Mexico.Here's a clip from that video.
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