By Tom Yaccino
The word, “convergence” has been on my mind & heart a lot lately. According to the dictionary, Convergence is the act of moving toward “union or uniformity”. It is the “coordinated movement of the two eyes so that the image of a single point is formed on corresponding retinal areas”.
As I travel around the world to walk alongside, coach, support, and connect women and men in the Inspired Individual program, I am amazed by these true heroes of God’s alternative way of living, working, relating, and loving. One thing I continually hear is how God has orchestrated people coming together, which results in radical expressions of love and justice that are changing the world.
The amazing thing about the Kingdom convergence that I have observed is the oftentimes unplanned, surprising ways that it comes about. Rarely do I hear one of these inspired individuals tell how they made it happen. What I do hear is how they let go of their natural tendencies to control the given situation and let the spirit lead and reveal God’s will.
It is in the act of letting go of their control, that my friends shine and exhibit their greatest courage and faithfulness. When Kingdom convergence emerges it surprises everyone involved with joy and gratitude. It is such a beautiful thing.
When we become available to God, to be used by Him to participate in His restorative mission in the world – we suddenly find ourselves “coming together” or “unified” in convergence moments. The key is to be in tune with the Spirit and to live in the posture of Jesus’ prayer, “thy will be done”.
When we are in this heart and mindset, God can reveal to us all of the unseen connections and move us to be active participants in His transformative plans. Our eyes begin to see as One and we flow from our human nature of being disconnected and dependent on what is known into connectedness.
Last year I helped facilitate a gathering of Inspired Individuals from all over the world who are dedicated to serving youth in situations of high risk. We came together to share our hearts and experiences and to learn from one another and build community. This gathering invited participants to come be refreshed and reenergized to carry on the often taxing and difficult ministries among at-risk youth. The diversity in the room was enormous. But the passion and call to serve young people who are in trouble and marginalized by the rest of society was singular.
As the conversations developed, a convergence moment started to emerge. The theme of restorative justice emerged as a central theme of our conversations. One Inspired Individual, who works with incarcerated youth in South Africa, shared her experiences and practice of restorative justice in moving these young men towards wholeness and transformation. Others who had never heard of this method felt the potential for transformation that it could unleash in their contexts.
The sharing around restorative justice intensified throughout the week and coalesced into the focus of our gathering, something that none of us expected. The meeting came to an end and everyone returned to their particular contexts and continued to serve and support the young people they love.
One woman, a pastor and leader is a ministry to youth living on the streets, began to go deeper in her understanding of restorative justice, researching all that she could, studying examples of it in practice from all over the world. God opened the door for her to speak with government officials, and leaders in the prison and justice system of her country. She shared her heart with them and the door opened further for her to teach other prison system officials about restorative justice. She then learned that other colleagues in the Inspired Individuals program had experience with restorative justice and God opened the way for them to come together.
Within 6 months from the time of our gathering in South Africa, God orchestrated a movement that brought people together from a diverse group of faith-based, government and secular arenas to create an alternative to that nation’s criminal justice system, especially in response to youth first offenders. What started as one person’s passion to simply seek justice for the young people who are considered “disposable” upon entering the prison system, grew to have enormous impact. Governors, judges, and officials from the President’s cabinet converged around the idea that was brought to the table by one of God’s faithful and courageous servants.
None of us could have ever planned out or even imagined that this systemic change on a national scale would come out of our gathering. We were surprised by the joy of connecting – God’s preferred method of bringing about transformation.
So how do we live in a way that opens us up to these God orchestrated connections, these convergence moments?
As I come to know so many of God’s special change agents around the world I think I can identify a few common traits that might be worthy of imitating:
May we be mindful of these attitudes and traits and prayerfully seek “convergence” moments along the Way. It is God’s desire and invitation that we are being welcomed into these Kingdom connections as active participants in His mission to make all things new!