How not to get a million men involved in your international ministry, part II


In our previous post we wrote about the historical appeal that never quite happened–the one that didn’t quite incorporate what we now know about the extensive involvement of ordinary champions in international affairs and how to channel that on behalf of our causes.

Today we rewrite history by rewriting the speech that Coach coulda/shoulda/sure wish he woulda given to the million men who had come to Washington DC for Promise Keepers’ Stand in the Gap event.

Here’s the speech that could have been (make sure to imagine this being thundered out in Coach’s good ol’ scratchy voice):

What we see here today is truly an awesome work of God. It happened because YOU spread the word to your friends, to your co-workers, to people you met on the road. And I can’t tell you how proud I am of every one of you, because I’d probably bust out crying. But we haven’t yet gone far enough! You’re all connected to the guys on your block, to the guys where you work… But you’re also connected to guys all over the world. So today it’s time for each one of us to take up the next challenge – the challenge of spreading what we’ve done here today, to every country of the world!

Instead, Coach kind of just dropped the “i-bomb” (“Promise Keepers is goin’ international–and we’re gonna need your support!”) on everyone, and it was total crickets.

Oh, people applauded and cheered. They just didn’t applaud and cheer like people who were really excited about something they were going to do. They applauded and cheered like people who had been told what someone they liked was going to do. “That’s great, Coach! Good on ya. So, what else are we doing today?”

You see, in that field full of men, there were men with connections in every country on earth. Places where their churches did mission work, or where their brother-in-law had once lived, or where their companies did business – places where the PK network could have expanded because the men in it took the lead. Instead, we tried to do it top-down – our plan, our ministry, with a million donors standing around in a field waiting for us to tell them where to send the check.

And, of course, it didn’t quite work.

What I remember most is that I was standing behind two big ol’ boys wearing PK baseball caps and PK polo shirts stretched tightly over their big ol’ bellies.  The one guy furrowed his brow, turned to the other guy, and said:

“International?  I ain’t goin’ international.  Are you goin’ international?”

We had missed the point.

Promise Keepers wasn’t “going” international. It already was international. It just didn’t know it.

Your ministry’s champions have already gone international, too. Maybe you just didn’t know that yet either? Or, if you did, how are you channeling that existing international involvement toward your cause?


About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is the former International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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2 Responses to How not to get a million men involved in your international ministry, part II

  1. Matt Bates says:

    So you are suggesting that the two guys in front of you were already international? Seems like PK the organization may have needed to do some convincing, some coaching, to encourage these two, and PK the movement to understand and embrace this. Instead, the received message was, “Oh, we thought PK was a movement, wherein we are the PKs, but it turns out it’s an organization, where we are supposed to support Coach. That’s nice, too, I guess. Go get ’em Coach!”

  2. EFoley says:

    What you wrote is exactly what I said in my head. It just got stuck in my arm and didn’t make it out onto the screen.

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