Alaska: home to the highest mountain peak in North America. Denali, the Great One, is a fierce mountain rising 18,000’ above the alpine grasslands. Climbing to the Summit is something only a few ever achieve, taking years of preparation, planning, and perseverance. But here on the InterAct Ministries Lazy Mountain Campus, we have also forged our way to a Summit, a landmark, through the ministry partnership of LEaD Alaska.
There was evidence that God had been calling ministries in Alaska to begin a different trek toward greater heights of collaboration, partnerships, and purposeful ministry together. Twenty-one months ago God brought together a team to join this ministry trek. The LEaD Alaska Development Team began meeting on a monthly basis. The objective was as monumental and risky as any mountaineering expedition attempting to reach the South Summit of Denali. Through detailed preparation, planning, and tremendous perseverance we purposefully mapped out our trail. Our expedition would accomplish two goals if successful. First, we would create a leadership and discipleship ministry to help equip Native believers and leaders in Alaska. Second, we would do this through a formal partnership.
Alaska Bible College, Alaska Freedom Journey, Alaska Mission Connection, the Evangelical Covenant Church of Alaska, and InterAct Ministries comprised the expedition. Together we mapped our trek, identifying crucial landmarks for our journey. Our team passed a critical landmark in October when the ministry of LEaD Alaska began with students. Landmark goal number one- passed! As a team, however, we continued to travel upward, striving to reach the Summit. It was on March 20-21 that our team successfully topped out at the “Summit!”
The LEaD Alaska Governance Summit included leaders from each organization, our original team, and our facilitator, Dr. Larry Perkins. As we basked in the glow of having climbed to such heights, it was a precarious time. Our objective at this Summit was to formalize our ministry partnership, the second of our two original goals. During the course of this weekend, Dr. Perkins guided the members toward this goal. We worked in small groups to refine our ministry vision, purpose, and outcomes. Then we began the difficult task of reviewing a formal document, a Memorandum of Understanding, through which each of our organizations would commit to the partnership of LEaD Alaska.
Dr. Perkins (having reached several such Summits in his ministry experience) kept us on the path, and heightened our awareness of just what kind of trek we had embraced. Not only had we begun a new ministry impacting Native believers (the ministry of LEaD Alaska,) our journey also has mapped out a pathway whereby diverse organizations can formally partner to accomplish God’s work in Alaska! One leader shared, “This is one of the most exciting things I’ve done!” Another stated, “We could be partnering together for all kinds of ministries.” It has been exciting to participate on this trek!
So, we reached the Summit. What next? May 9 was the concluding ceremony for year one of the ministry of LEaD Alaska, and we celebrated all God did in the lives of these four individuals. The Development Team transitioned to the Governance Council, which began meeting on May 11. We congratulate Don Shugak as the Council Chairman. We are seeking God’s direction as we begin accepting applications for LEaD Alaska 2015-2016. Who will God send to trek with us for another year, another expedition?
What Summits has God brought into your lives this year? Where do you see yourselves stretching out, with perseverance and purposefulness, to trek the unknown. A daunting task? Absolutely. But the view from the Summit—incredibly worth the journey.
Written by: Steve & Jill Horsman, LEaD Alaska Staff Serving with InterAct Ministries