Nik and Ruth Ripken wowed 165 attendees at Transform Minnesota’s February Insanity of God conference. Here’s what some participants said about the powerful, practical, Biblical and affirming lessons taught by the Ripkens, the authors of The Insanity of God:
- “This weekend with the Ripkens was off the charts. I don’t know that I’ve ever been so encouraged by a speaker and excited to get back to the field.”
- “Exceptional teaching. I left the conference with a changed heart and attitude and a desire to be a stronger witness to nonbelievers.”
- “So helpful for my own ministry. I learned so much. It was empowering, challenging, and inspiring!”
- “This has been a defining opportunity to identify our strengths and weaknesses as missionaries.”
Cross-Cultural Ministry Equipping
The sold-out 2-day conference at Celebration Church, Lakeville equipped those in cross-cultural ministry, by emphasizing the call of suffering on the mission field, whether in a participants’ own community or overseas in a persecuted region.
“Nik has been repeating the importance of meeting with believers and breaking bread, and meeting with unbelievers and breaking bread, in their homes and in our homes, and how do we model life in the resurrection of Christ for believers, for unbelievers, for families, and for the community,” said one missionary man in East Africa.
“This conference was affirming that we are doing what we need to be doing among the people that we’re supposed to be doing it.
…a defining opportunity to identify our strengths and weaknesses as missionaries.God is already there and working in their hearts so we don’t have to do anything special except for to obey and love them well and pray and follow the Holy Spirits’ leading, knowing God is already working in them,” said one young women from Des Moines doing outreach to immigrants and refugees.
Nik and Ruth Ripken have lived and ministered in Somalia, South Africa, Kenya and the Middle East, in addition to visiting 72 countries where they’ve absorbed invaluable lessons from over 600 believers in persecuted situations. Much of what they shared at the conference on how to be an effective, life-changing witness for Christ was communicated from the lessons the Ripkens gleaned from their work with the persecuted church.
Identifying Truth Carriers
Some of the guidance and in-depth training focused on developing faithful leaders within unreached people groups.
“They gave the leadership criteria of how to identify leaders, and how truth carries in a culture. This was very helpful to raise-up the truth carriers that you are looking for within a culture,” said one missionary woman in East Africa.
“I appreciated the practical tips Nik gave us about leadership criteria for people who are influential and respected in the community. The potential of leading a family to Christ and with their influence they’ll be able to lead others to Christ; this gives direction to our team. We’d like to start pursuing relationships with families, and more influential people in the communities. That is a really practical and encouraging application in our ministry,” said a young man from Des Moines doing outreach to immigrants and refugees.
Implementing What Was Taught
One teacher at a local University says he plans to implement some of the teaching exercises they did during the Insanity of God conference in his classroom.
“I really liked how Nik Ripken talked about the Christmas story, the exercise we did really hit me, and gave me a different perspective on how other cultures see the same story differently. I’d like to do the exercise in my classroom with missionaries training to go out into the field, and let the Holy Spirit use it,” said the teacher.
One of the main principles for ministry Nik Ripken shared was about deciphering the three phases a community could be experiencing related to their interactions with the Holy Spirit. The pre-Pentecost phase would be those who are non-believers, who have not come into the Kingdom,
…practical tool for the mission field that we don’t have, or sharpening the tools we already have.the Pentecost phase is where they are coming into the Kingdom in large numbers, and post-Pentecost phase would be the established work of the Kingdom.
“This Pentecost criteria was really eye-opening, I previously didn’t have verbiage for recognizing the different moves of God, and how to identify with each one of those and identify leaders within each one of those,” said one missionary woman in East Africa.
“All three of those phases are all within our East African town. Now we need to recognize which area we are actually in, so we can recognize which context we’re in, and figure out what we need to be doing in that context,” added her missionary husband.
Among the strategies shared for overcoming barriers to faith in the Gospel, the Ripkens emphasize the need to immerse oneself in the culture and language of the people groups to which you are witnessing.
“Let’s learn the language and cultures of others, because that’s what we would want others to do for us. Let’s treat others as we would want to be treated. This conference has been opening our eyes to things we haven’t thought about, and to see what we don’t know, and to start the journey of learning,” said a young missionary as she prepares to travel back overseas.
Serving God in Our Backyards and in the Nations
One young missionary shared his renewed passion for the mission field following The Insanity of God conference.
“This conference really helps by giving us the practical tool for the mission field that we don’t have, or sharpening the tools we already have on and off the field. We are learning, growing and getting excited and amped up to serve God in our backyards and in the nations.”
And to that we say, Amen!