Comings and Goings is a blog written by Theology, Worship and Education Director Charles B. "Chip" Hardwick as he travels throughout the church. God is on the move out and about in the world, working to redeem all things in Jesus Christ. As we join this mission, by the power of the Spirit we see God on the move. This blog contains glimpses of how Chip finds this to be true in his comings and goings.
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Last Saturday I was in Vero Beach, FL, for my first board meeting with Haiti Partners, a non-denominational Christian ministry whose tagline is “Helping Haitians Change Haiti through Education.” My seminary (M.Div.) classmate Kent Annan co-directs this ministry with John Engle and they invited me to join the board earlier this year. I was quite impressed by what I saw and learned.
The meeting included ten US-based board members and staff from both the US and Haiti. The first sign of the ministry’s living up to the inclusion of “partners” in its name was that the Haitian staff participated fully and contributed meaningfully to the discussion. Constant interpretation made this possible (and helped me reach back to my French minor in order to get a newcomer’s ear for Creole). The gifts, insights, and most importantly, spiritual wisdom of the Haitian staff made the meeting much richer than it would have been without them.
I also came away very impressed with the organization’s commitment to witnessing in both word and deed. The ministry includes a broad range of activities, including partnerships with schools and its own children’s academy as well as programs developing entrepreneurial skills among participants. The commitment to social justice and acts of compassion (witness in word) is clear. However, the ministry is also committed to raising up churches and nurturing pastors’ skills and experiences—emphasizing evangelism as well (witness in word).
Finally, I was proud to see my friend Kent in action, providing such excellent leadership alongside John as co-directors. Kent is an accomplished author, having written two books—Following Jesus through the Eye of the Needle (about the challenges of wealth and Christianity) and After Shock (about what Christianity has to say in the wake of tragedies such as the cataclysmic earthquake in Haiti a few years ago)—as well as cover articles for Christianity Today. He is transparent, faithful, winsome, and a great husband to Shelly and father to Simone and Cormac (see picture above). I knew all of that; it was great (but not surprising) to see him providing fantastic leadership to the organization as well. I look forward to all God will do through Haiti Partners in the future, and am glad to have a front row seat on the board!