Nearly 250 leaders from 61 world areas met 8-13 January in Hyderabad, India, for the global Third Wave conference hosted by Nazarene Youth International. Beginning in 2004, Third Wave has been held on five different regions, including Ecuador (South America), South Africa (Africa), Thailand (Asia-Pacific), Costa Rica (Mesoamerica), and India (Eurasia).
The purpose of Third Wave is to connect the global Church of the Nazarene family to strengthen mission and leader effectiveness. NYI director Gary Hartke often describes the event’s vision through an African Proverb.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,” Hartke said.
Hartke has seen the benefit of Third Wave over the years as NYI leaders have shared their experiences of the event with him.
“My favorite part of Third Wave was the worship services,” said Sophia Chaeeun Yoo, a participant from South Korea. “All nations [worshipping] together; I felt I was in heaven. I believe that God called me in Third Wave, and it will be [a] turning point in my life.”
Third Wave’s teachings focused on the three NYI strategies of evangelism, discipleship, and leadership development, also referred to by NYI as BE, DO, and GO. The participants had a first look at NYI’s newly released books developed on the three strategies, written by 18 authors equally representing each of the six regions organized by the Church of the Nazarene. These books are available on the Wesleyan Holiness Digital Library in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. A French version will be available soon.
An evening event called the World Market — a time where participants set up booths to sell small wares from their various countries — raised a total of $2,300, all of which will be donated to the India Hope for Life project, which supports two Nazarene drop-in centers for prostituted women and their children. These women participate in vocational training and self-help groups, and the ministry creates a safe place for 75 children by offering long-term prevention care and learning opportunities each morning and afternoon.
Additionally, to resource the 24 Nazarene Compassionate Ministries child development centers in India, Third Wave participants brought various school and classroom supplies to give back to the host community.
Several participants representing creative access areas also participated in Third Wave, sharing their testimonies with the rest of the participants. Creative access areas are designated as such by the Church of the Nazarene when Christianity is prohibited or extremely difficult to practice, requiring new and innovative methods to share the gospel. Speakers from these countries — as well as Global Missions personnel — shared personal experiences, information about the church’s role, and ways others can pray for these partners in ministry.
“It was inspiring to join together, even for a brief moment, to take in the triumphs and challenges of creative access ministry around the world,” said Nell Sweeden, NCM director. “We celebrated the power of God’s call upon these lives and our collective responsibility to lift up our brothers and sisters in prayer to overcome barriers that the light of the gospel would shine through.”
This event also provided an opportunity to recognize Hartke’s transition from NYI director to general secretary, made effective 1 March. After 18 years of service, Hartke is passing off the position to David González, who was elected December 2018 and will assume the role as the 14th NYI director.
Third Wave concluded with a message from General Superintendent Eugenio Duarte challenging the leaders to live ready to serve God in any moment. The participants closed the event by singing the Doxology a cappella in their primary language, followed by the final word of the song being sung in unison — “amen.”