International Ministries

Conflict Transformation Trainers TNG

March 21, 2017 Journal
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Since 2012 the signature program for my peacemaking ministry has been the intensive 10-day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT).  We started doing one TCTT a year, and have done two per year since 2015.  This February Sharon and I led a TCTT in Egypt with people from 13 countries.  We were joined in the leadership of the training team by Manal El Tayar from Lebanon.

One of the key concerns in the TCTTs is empowering the next generation of peacemaking leaders and trainers.  Obviously, the training itself speaks to that purpose, but since 2014 I've also invited some TCTT graduates to lead later TCTTs with me.  Manal was in the 2015 TCTT in Kiev, Ukraine.  After that she had worked in a peace organization working across the Middle East and North Africa.  Recently she was hired to direct the peace-building initiatives of the Institute for Middle East Studies at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary.  When Sharon and I planned to lead a TCTT in the Arab world Manal was our obvious choice as a co-facilitator.  Though still in her 20s she is emerging as a tremendous Christian peacemaking leader.

Manal facilitated various tools in the Egypt TCTT with me consulting and coaching.  However, she also brought her own gifts and skills into her leadership, doing things differently from how I do them, as should be expected.  Sometimes I'd watch her and think, "Wow, that works really well--I'll try that next time I lead it!"  As the three of us worked on the plan for the training, Manal suggested a major empathy exercise that fit in well with the goals and design.  We added her piece to the overall plan, and it ended up being one of the most emotionally intense moments of the training.

Mentoring is not a one-way street, passing on the wisdom from the older, more experienced one (me, in this case) to the younger up-coming one (Manal).  Yes, there is much wisdom and experienced passed on.  But in a good mentoring relationship the wisdom of the older one includes an openness to learn from the younger.  Manal was a full member of our team, growing in some ways as a trainer, but also teaching Sharon and me as well as the participants.  Sharon, Manal and I with our particular personalities and stories connected to different participants at deeper levels, helping them stretch their thinking, take risks in trying new things, and processing all that was being stirred up in the training.  Together as a leadership team we were able to impact people's lives much more than if I was working solo.

Watching the rising generation of leaders like Manal gives me hope.  God is raising up outstanding women and men who have a passion to follow Jesus into some of the really tangled places of our planet.  God's reign continues to break into our wounded world!

In peace and hope,