No more "Small World" for us!

Photo by Horia Varlan

People say it when they they meet someone new and discover they have mutual friends. They sing it at Disney World and experience it on FaceBook and Twitter. Factor in globalization, the speed of travel, and the wonders of technology and it seems more true today than ever.

“It’s a small world!”

But there’s another kind of small world that Synergy is working to change, not merely for ourselves, but for our daughters and other women we know. It’s the small world women inhabit when we embrace a small vision of ourselves and of God’s purposes for us in this world. It leads inevitably to small living that is antithetical to our calling as God’s image bearers.

In her provocative post on Her.meneutics, Caryn Rivadeneira is emphatic:

“… if only men are oriented to transform this world, women are in trouble, because a woman who is being “good” and eating healthy, hoping that the world changes for the better as it twirls around her, isn’t living the gospel.”

Two of this year’s Synergy2011 plenary speaker—Andy Crouch and Nikki Toyama-Szeto—are going to blow out the walls on small world thinking and open our eyes to a much, much(!) bigger world and to a bigger gospel!

I won’t be forgetting the first time I heard Andy Crouch speak at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary last year. Author of Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling, Andy is unleashing a stirring manifesto, calling Christians to bring all of ourselves and all of our gifts to the enterprise of culture making. Once you hear him, you won’t think of yourself (or others) in the same way. And the possibilities for kingdom living will truly explode!

Former Synergy speaker, Lauren Winner calls Andy’s message “bracing” and “super-smart”, adding:  “I am hard-pressed to think of something that twenty-first-century American Christians need to hear more.”

If you’ve been to InterVarsity’s Urbana Conference, you will need no introduction to Nikki Toyama-Szeto, Urbana Program Director and co-editor of More Than Serving Tea. Nor will you need anyone to explain why hearing her is hugely important.

I met Nikki last year in Dallas at the gathering of U.S. Delegates to Lausanne. She completely blew me away with her powerful presentations designed to expand our vision of the rest of the world and how our lives and ministries will be enriched if we avail ourselves (and impoverished if we don’t) of the resources, wisdom, and insights that are flourishing beyond our borders.

Having long been painfully aware of the disadvantage to American Christians when we isolate ourselves, our study of God’s word, and our thinking from the rest of the world, for me Nikki’s presentations broke open a whole new vista of ideas. I knew Synergy needed to hear her message!

I’m thrilled to death that Sheryl WuDunn is speaking at Synergy2011 in Orlando. And I intend to keep talking about her and urging everyone to come hear what she has to say. But let there be no mistake about it—both Andy and Nikki are well-worth the price of admission. Their messages will stretch our thinking and usher us into a bigger world that where we’re living now.
I for one can’t wait to hear from them!

The thought that both of them are speaking at the same conference—individually and then together—ought to send everyone racing to secure a place at Synergy2011.  

Our world is bigger than we imagine. And our gospel is richer and more powerful than we’ve yet seen.  So don’t miss out!  Join us in Orlando for this mind-boggling experience and let’s catch a bigger vision together!

Register here!

About carolyncustisjames
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to No more "Small World" for us!

  1. Helen says:

    I have had the privilege and good fortune to have seen Andy Crouch in action–as a writer, an editor, a speaker, a worship leader–and he excels in every area. I've never heard him speak and not been deeply touched and challenged. And I firmly believe in the premise of his award-winning book Culture-Making, that the best way to make an impact in the world around us is to respond to the creative calling God has given each one of us. You will not want to miss him at Synergy! I've also heard Nikki Toyama Szeto speak at Urbana, and she is wonderful as well–what a treat to have these two talented, thoughtful individuals at Synergy this year, as well as Sheryl WuDunn. It's going to be an amazing gathering, I predict!


  2. Karen Wilson says:

    I heard Andy Crouch speak at Biblical Seminary last year. He issued a challenge that has stayed with me:

    Does our use of power restore the image of God in the world… or does it make it appear less likely that He is the true God?

    If it's in your power, come to Synergy! You'll be encouraged, energized and, yes, empowered!


  3. MFace says:

    I personally know Nikki Toyama-Szeto and I am so blessed by what she is about. She is about real people and their stories. She is about her life being on journey with Jesus. And above all else, she is a vanguard for many things for God, including standing in the gap for those who may not have a voice or for those who have a limited voice due to injustice or prejudice. We will all be challenged in our faith. As leaders, Nikki will also open our eyes to the realities of leadership from a different grid. We are all in for a treat out in Orlando at the Synergy Conf. Not too late to register. It will be a great time. I personally count it a blessing to know her and her words.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s