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Bangkok, Thailand OPEN Connect a Real Success



An Exciting Update from the OPEN Network - OPEN – think about that word.   OPENness, open doors, open up, open ended, open heart, open source, open bar.   Everywhere the world is opening up.  OPEN is a word that denotes possibilities.  I am tremendously excited about the possibilities for the future.
 
With these words, so began the OPEN Connect in Bangkok last week.  120+ OPEN workers, coaches and apprentices gathered to learn and love, to share and sharpen one another.  The overwhelming consensus was that we should do it again.  Many liked the larger format even better than the Huddles.  The OPEN leadership team is considering doing this again in 2014 or 2015.
 
The reviews are extremely positive.  B commented, Can you feel His presence here?  This is the most exciting conference I’ve been to in years!  Surish added, I am so blessed to be here.  His presence and anointing upon this event is so evident with each passing day.  
 
Another OPEN worker, R wrote; There are few things I dislike more in life than conferences. I don't exaggerate when I say that. I had to attend and organize conferences at my church job and of course workers have like 90 conferences a month they could attend.  This was by far the best I have ever been to. It may be preference, but I found it tangibly helpful. Most conferences I have been to spend most of their time talking at 30,000 feet, but OPEN was different. It was EXTREMELY practical and helpful. Each day I walked out with a number of things that I could actually implement, change, or work towards. They were not ideas, but solutions.  You guys did a great job of making it practical. Especially for someone like me who is new to the whole thing. I really appreciate the heart of everyone and am proud to be part of this network. You guys are doing a great thing! 
 
The wives and children were also encouraged.  S a mother commented; We appreciated a lot how you have invited whole families to this conference, and the team that came from the US to serve our children did an excellent job. All of our children felt welcomed at the children's sessions, which was quite unusual for them, as English isn't their first language which makes them uncomfortable.  We would encourage you to have more of these family-conferences in the future.   
 
The messages were uplifting and challenging. M clarifies; My wife and I agree, we don’t know if we have ever been to a conference where we left feeling so refreshed. 
 
The worship was sensational, a blend of contemporary and traditional.  The worship band received a standing ovation at the end.  D explains;  When a group of field workers gathers who exist out on the front lines, far out of reach from… music ministry, soaking in that is truly a deeply spiritually renewing experience.  Thanks for making that happen.
 
The workshops were led by experts in their topics and varied from “Coaching” to “Evangelism in the Work Place” to “Writing a Business Plan”.  T stressed their practical value when he said, This was tremendously helpful.  I can honestly say I left every workshop and every session with a specific takeaway and application. 
 
Thank you for involving the women the way you do.  L
 
All of the speakers were practitioners or coaches.  There was a common thread throughout all the messages with an emphasis on trusting Jesus more, and “being better” at what we do.  In answer to your prayers, many sought out coaches and/or mentors, plus interns.  There were many discussions about ways of doing accountability better.  There was a large consensus agreeing that missions need both relational leadership, and greater transparency.   Everyone left encouraged, and many with practical next steps for upgrading their lives and work.
 
The time with the B4T workers and the responses are showing OPEN is meeting a real need, scratching a real itch.  The challenge for us now is two-fold; one, to follow up with these OPEN workers and two, link the OPEN workers to the churches and Christian business people in our sending communities.  We want to clarify the message we heard from basically all the field workers in Bangkok and press forward with seeing B4T (Business for Transformation) become an acknowledged avenue for reaching the unreached and planting churches. 
 
We discussed and identified the reasons why there’s been some disconnect between the coaches and business people back home and the OPEN workers.  Now we need to implement these solutions.  One solution is a new website which is now operative.  This website should be a big step toward facilitating coaches and interns making connections directly with OPEN workers.  You’ll be hearing more about this in the next few weeks.  We also decided to begin asking for an annual donation for OPEN members.  The leadership team will also revamp our presentations at the OPEN Expo in LA to reflect the things the OPEN workers are crying out for.
 
We are also happy to announce that Bill J has rejoined the leadership team.  He brings a maturity and spiritual depth which we all look forward to growing from.
 
These are exciting times.  Thanks for kneeling with us.

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posted by Justin Forman | 9.14.2012 - 5:55 AM

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