Calvary Church of Valparaiso, Indiana is sending Senior Pastor Lionel Young to develop strategic partnerships with overseas charity organizations. Their mission is battling poverty in Africa. Young will embark on a three month research sabbatical in the Spring of 2012.
The first phase of Young’s time away will be studying how Western Churches can effectively work together with impoverished people. For nine weeks of the sabbatical, Young will study in England at Cambridge University. Cambridge is home to some the world’s finest sources to help explain the complex relationship between the Western world and the African continent. Young remarked, “When an American organization builds a village for orphans with Western money on a massive scale, but cannot be sustained by the local economy, African leaders feel that they are being set up to fail. What African Christians want is a new kind of missionary to come and empower them, work along side them, or provide relief; not tell them what they already know how to do.”
Following his stay in England, Lionel Young, accompanied by his wife and three children will travel to Africa where Calvary Church has been cultivating charity partnerships for many years. This will be an opportunity to interact with African Christians and further understand their perspective on issues with Western churches. Young’s objective is to discover what is and is not working well, how Calvary Church can maintain integrity of funding and foster alliances.
Young’s fieldwork will enhance Calvary Church’s current involvement in global charity partnerships as well as its local ministry efforts. Through some of Calvary’s existing charity associations (Kids Alive International, Bethesda Outreach, Mission Mitaboni) they help to care and feed thousands of orphaned children in the world’s poorest countries - for more information about Calvary Church or its full list of ministry partnerships, visit http://www.CalvaryWeb.net.
Beyond financial support, Calvary Church frequently sends groups of 10-20 overseas to provide medical care, dental care and housing assistance (In September, Calvary Church is sending 15 men to Mitaboni, Kenya to build housing for children orphaned by AIDS/HIV).
Sabbaticals are times for intentional exploration and regaining the enthusiasm and creativity that is imperative for a vibrant ministry. The late R. Garry Bradley explained, “the knowledge that is gained from this sabbatical will help us to plan ministry partnerships wisely for many years to come.” Dave Gring who serves on the Calvary Church Elder Board said, “I’m excited for Lionel to go. What a great opportunity for the members of Calvary to step-up and fill in where Pastor Lionel personally leads. This time away gives him a unique opportunity to be refreshed with new information that he can use for teaching at Calvary.” While Young is absent, his pulpit will be filled with well-known guest speakers from around the United States.
In the process of revising its global missions initiative, Calvary Church applied for the Lilly Endowment Grant for Clergy Renewal and was awarded $49,600. Calvary will use this grant to fund the research to help impoverished people who often earn less than $2 a day. The Lilly Endowment (http://www.clergyrenewal.org) seeks to strengthen congregations by providing opportunities for Indiana Church senior leaders to briefly step away from persistent obligations and to engage in a period of reflection. Lilly has learned that helping fund sabbaticals strengthens and extends a pastors time in the pulpit.
Young remarked, “I don’t feel like I deserve this, because not everyone gets an opportunity like this. The research helps Calvary learn about the larger body of Christ and helps us become better connected to the church around the world.”
Lionel Young has earned multiple Bachelor and Master degrees and is a PhD candidate at the University of Stirling, Scotland where he is studying World Christianity. In addition, he holds several community advisory positions and professional society memberships. He has been in pastoral ministry for 23 years and is frequently invited to be a visiting professor and speaker in the United States and abroad. Lionel has served as the senior pastor of Calvary Church for 14 years where he has lead Calvary’s growth from 300 to nearly 1000 weekly worshipers. In September of 2011, his book titled “A New Kind of Missionary: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Global Church” (Toronto: Clements Publishing) will be released.