Dear DRI friends,
On behalf of the Discipleship Resources International Nashville team, I send you greetings of the Christmas season and pray God’s blessing upon you and your families.
Here is a brief update about developments in DRI.
As you may know, the General Secretary of Discipleship Ministries, Junius Dotson, asked me in late September to lead The Upper Room in the absence of a publisher. To address the change, we in DRI have taken several actions.
1-I will continue to oversee DRI, but I play backup to DRI directors Kara Oliver and Robin Pippin who will lead the way in all three facets of our work: central conference publishing network, e-reader libraries for theological education, and leadership development.
2-We are also bolstering DRI staffing. In October, we hired Junie Nkonge, MBA, and a national of the Democratic Republic of Congo, to support the team in the role of logistics coordinator and administrative assistant. Junie is super. We are also relying more heavily on our great DRI representatives in Africa and in the Philippines—Julu Swen and Earlie Pasion-Bautista. (We ask your prayers for Earlie, who is experiencing difficulties with her pregnancy.)
In January 2017, Robin and Kara are going full-time. It’s hard to imagine how they were not already full time, given the quality and quantity of what they routinely accomplish. We have a great team.
3-We are experimenting with new ways of working that prove efficient and economical.
As you know, we typically make annual visits to each publishing team and seminary. But the number of teams and seminaries are growing; our Nashville staff and funding are not growing. But in November, publishing team leaders of several teams met with me for three days in Kitwe, Zambia (at the GBGM’s New Life Center). Participants included our publishing team leaders in the DRC (Central Congo, East Congo, and North Katanga), Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, as well as Zambian church leaders who want to start a team in 2017.
Afterwards, we evaluated. Everyone felt that this new way of meeting afforded better opportunity to see the big picture, learn from each other, discuss common challenges, exchange resources, and make plans together for the good of the whole. It was also empowering. Two participants served in leadership and teaching roles.
Kara is planning a similar meeting in 2017 for several other teams in southern African.
In late November, Robin gathered E-reader Project managers in Maputo from several UM seminaries across Africa for training, problem-solving, and planning. Those she gathered represent our e-reader “hubs” for resourcing certain areas of Africa on behalf of all 20 participating schools. Once again, the approach proved beneficial, empowering, and generative.
We are making progress! Our motto is “doing more with less.” I hope you will do the same.
We wish you a merry Christmas season and a good start to the new year.
May God bless you all!