The DNA Vision Conference can spark church-based community transformation.
Since 1997, movements of church-based transformation have been catalyzed in more than 60 nations through the Disciple Nations Alliance Vision Conference.
These events provide a unique opportunity to unite the local body of Christ around a powerful, biblical vision for church-based social transformation and to receive practical training and tools for immediate application.
The Vision Conference helps the Church:
- Understand God’s “big agenda” of comprehensive restoration described in Scripture as the advancing kingdom of God.
- Grasp the unique and vital role of the local church in carrying out God’s big agenda of restoration.
- Appreciate the power of biblical truth for social and cultural transformation–and be challenged to embrace a biblical worldview, integrating it into every area of life.
- Learn how to practically demonstrate Christ’s love through local-church initiated “Seed Projects.”
“It felt like an answer to prayer. It was an overwhelming sense that he [Rev. Dennis Tongoi, DNA speaker/trainer] had a message that would break the yoke of poverty that results from a disempowered and dependency-oriented worldview. This training has become an essential, foundational piece in the critical path for empowering communities with economic development, natural-resource management and child well-being outcomes.”
“I found the DNA Vision Conference to be one of the most exciting conferences I have ever attended, and the potential impact of this training is enormous, The demonstrated impact of the Vision Conferences is huge. Attendees from past Vision Conferences explained what had happened to their churches as a result of the DNA training, and it was truly inspiring. Churches had taken on numerous holistic ministry projects that had given their church very visible kingdom witness in their communities, and that resulted in some phenomenal increases in attendance. Overall, the entire experience was truly inspiring, and I felt personally challenged to re-examine my own worldview and Christian walk.”
Dr. Brian Fikkert
Co-author of When Helping Hurts
and founder of the Chalmers Center for Economic Development
“I was completely changed by the Vision Conference. I’m giving the rest of my life to see these messages go throughout Africa.”
Rev. Dennis Tongoi
Director, Church Mission Society Africa
VISION CONFERENCE SESSIONS AND DOWNLOADS
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1: The Transforming Story
God has given us a powerful story to tell to the nations. It is God’s story, and it has the ability to transform individual lives, lift communities out of poverty, and build nations that are free, compassionate and just. We must learn to tell the whole breadth and depth of the transforming story.
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- The Bible, when taken as a whole, presents a total view of reality. These truths have the power to transform individuals, communities and nations.
- The church is not telling the whole transforming story. The gospel of salvation is not God’s whole story. We must tell the whole breadth and depth of God’s story.
- The Great Commission is nothing less than the discipling of nations–bringing the depth and the breadth of the Bible to the whole person in all sectors of every society.
- “If the Church does not disciple the nation, the nation will disciple the Church.” If the Church is not intentionally bringing the entire biblical story to people and nations, then the prominent view of the culture or worldview will influence and shape the Church.
- The biblical story includes numerous transformational truths. Three are illustrated in this session: the biblical understandings of mankind, history and creation.
Now: (1) To grasp and express the main ideas of the lesson in their own words. (2) To share one aspect of the depth or breadth of the biblical story that has been learned with one other person within the next week.
Beyond: (1) To recognize what aspects of the depth and breadth of the biblical story the participant is not communicating, to repent, and to choose to align one’s thinking, seeing and living out of the whole story with what has been newly understood. (2) To commit to integrate this understanding of the whole teachings of God’s Word into all aspects of the participant’s areas of responsibility.
2: The Role of the Church in Society
God’s grand agenda is the reconciliation and restoration of all things that were broken in the fall. This agenda will not be completed until the return of Christ; however, until that time, God has established the Church as the primary instrument for the administration of that agenda.
- God loved all of His creation, called it good, and then reaffirmed His love with a covenant to all creation–including nature, individuals, and nations.
- The redemption of all that was broken in the Fall has been completed by the shed blood of Christ, but restoration is an ongoing process that will be completed when Christ returns as King.
- The Church is God’s chosen, primary vehicle for the administration of this restoration and reconciliation of all things–until the return of Christ.
- The end task of all leadership gifts in the Church is to equip believers for works of loving service.
Now: (1) To grasp and express the main ideas of the lesson in their own words. (2) To plan and carry out one new step in their personal life as a response to this lesson through a practical act of loving service.
Beyond: (1) To recognize which aspects of God’s cosmic agenda they are not currently advancing, repent, and commit to advance His whole agenda from what has been learned. (2) To work as a leader to equip other believers for loving service participating in God’s agenda to reconcile and restore all things.
3: The Irreducible Minimum
Scripture reveals to us the summation of the Law. The Law is summarized in the Scriptures as “Love God and love your neighbor. The principal way we demonstrate our love for God is by loving the “neighbors” he has placed in our lives. If we neglect this love for others, the love of God is not in us.
- Jesus said, “To inherit eternal life, it is important to love God and our neighbor.”
- The Law is summarized in the Scriptures as both the love of God and neighbor and the love of neighbor.
- If we neglect the needs of others, the love of God is not in us.
- The irreducible nature of God’s image in us is love acted out toward others.
Now: (1) To grasp and express the main ideas of the lesson in their own words. (2) To plan and carry out one new act of loving service that can be done as a response to the irreducible minimum of God’s Law in the next 24 hours.
Beyond: (1) To recognize which ways they are neglecting the needs of others, repent, and commit to advance His whole agenda from what has been newly understood. (2) To work as leaders to equip other believers for loving service, as part of their discipleship process, to fulfill the command to love God and our neighbor.
4: Jesus’ Model for Growth and Service (Luke 2:52)
Luke teaches us that Jesus grew physically, spiritually, socially and in wisdom. Jesus became all God intended Him to be as the ultimate servant. He is our model for growth in our personal lives and for serving others to help them grow into all God intends for them.
- Jesus grew in four areas: in wisdom, physically, spiritually, and socially.
- He developed perfectly despite less-than-ideal conditions.
- Jesus’ purpose in development was to become a servant–serving God’s agenda.
- Ideal human development is moving toward God’s intentions in all areas of life.
- Our purpose is to serve God’s agenda–principally to help others grow toward God’s intentions for them in all areas of life.
Now: (1) To grasp and express the main ideas of the lesson in their own words. (2) To plan and carry out one new step in response to a main idea of this lesson in order to grow in all areas of life and develop as a servant.
Beyond: (1) To recognize that Jesus grew wholistically to become a servant of God’s intentions, and to commit to intentionally grow in the same four areas of their lives. (2) To commit to serve others helping them also grow as Jesus did in all areas of life and live as a servant.
5: The Power of Story
Everyone has a worldview. Every culture has a “story,” a worldview. Worldviews are powerful because they determine how we see the world, how our values and behaviors take shape, and the kinds of societies we will build. In some cases, even the Church has abandoned a biblical worldview, and the consequences have tragically influenced our understanding of the nature of the Church and the Great Commission.
- Worldviews shape individuals, societies and cultures. They shape what we see, how we interpret what we see, and what we believe about how the world works. Ideas have consequences.
- Ideas spread horizontally, through time, and vertically.
- There are three major worldview categories: Animism, Secularism and Biblical Theism. Each worldview understands humanity, nature and history in different ways.
- Historical progression of dominant worldviews in the West from the Middle Ages to the present.
- The Church has had two general responses to Secularism: Liberalism and Evangelical Gnosticism. Both accommodation and reaction has led the Church to have little impact on its surrounding culture.
Now: (1) To grasp and express the main ideas of the lesson in their own words. (2) To share one aspect of the Power of Story lesson that has been learned with one other person within the next week.
Beyond: (1) To analyze your own worldview and its effect on your life, to repent, and to commit to adjust it according to a biblical worldview. (2) To begin to assess one’s own culture’s worldview and its specific effects.
6: The Wheel of Wisdom (The Three Relationships of Man)
Biblical wisdom is God’s instruction for living. We achieve the blessed, balanced life God intended when we carefully follow His instructions for all areas of life. There are three primary relationships–spiritual, physical and social–out of which all other relationships come. Knowing and applying biblical wisdom in each of these relationships will move us toward God’s intentions for our lives.
- At creation, God gave us three primary relationships: God/spiritual, creation/physical, and people/social.
- God gives us specific instructions for each of these relationships. These scriptural instructions are known as biblical wisdom.
- Blessings and balance in life come from fulfilling God’s instructions in all relationships.
- We move steadily toward God’s intentions when we are in balance in our lives.
- Neglecting God’s instructions brings destruction and imbalance in one or more of our relationships.
Now: (1) To grasp and express the main ideas of the lesson in their own words. (2) To plan and carry out one new step in response to a main idea of this lesson on bringing balance and wisdom to all relationships.
Beyond: (1) To recognize the need for balance in all our relationships, identify undeveloped areas, and intentionally work to build those areas. (2) To work as a leader to inform, encourage and equip other believers to develop wisdom and balance in each of these primary relationships.
7: The Church as a Window--Man's Need and God's Intentions for the Future
Sinful man’s condition is hopeless without God. God’s compassionate and glorious intentions for broken man include forgiveness of sin, restoration of the relationship between man and God, and restoration of the broken creation. He has made a perfect provision for our redemption and has promised a wonderful future at Jesus’ return.
- Sin has broken the relationship between man and God and between man and creation.
- Sinful man is hopeless and headed for God’s wrath.
- Through Jesus’ death, man can be forgiven, and a way is opened to restore man’s relationship with both God and creation.
- God promises complete renewal of all things in the future–at Jesus’ second coming.
- We are to participate in the restoration of what has been broken and to proclaim this good news until Jesus returns.
Now: (1) To grasp and express the main ideas of the lesson in their own words. (2) To plan and carry out one new step in response to a main idea of this lesson to participate in the restoration of what has been broken by man’s disobedience/sin.
Beyond: (1) To recognize that it is the plan of God for man to participate with Him in restoring broken relationships between man and God, between man and man, and between man and creation until He returns. (2) To work as leaders to communicate God’s intentions to reconcile all of the broken relationships, and to activate believers to participate with God in this purpose until the return of Christ.
8: The Church as a Window--God's Intentions for the Present
God’s present intention is obedience. Believers’ obedience to Christ’s commandments demonstrates the goodness of God’s intentions for salvation and restoration both in the future and in the present. Our disobedience creates a wall that keeps the world from knowing about God’s great love for them. The Church is like a “window” through which the broken world can see God’s intentions.
- God commands His people to demonstrate His good intentions now, in all areas of life.
- Our sin (our lack of obedience to God’s present intentions) created a wall that prevents the world from seeing and experiencing God’s love.
- When God’s people obey Him, they become a window through which others can see His good intentions and are drawn to Him.
- Scripture provides numerous metaphors to illustrate God’s intended role for the church on earth today.
Now: (1) To grasp and express the main ideas of the lesson in their own words. (2) To plan and carry out one new step in response to a main idea of this lesson to let someone see God’s good intentions through a simple act of loving service.
Beyond: (1) To recognize that they have not shown God’s love to others, repent of their sin and disobedience, and commit to intentionally express God’s loving intentions for both the present and the future. (2) To work as leaders to communicate and challenge God’s people to intentionally express God’s good and loving intentions for the present and the future.
9: The ABCs of Culture
There are fundamental building blocks of culture. Satan lies to individuals and nations by replacing Kingdom building blocks (Truth) with his counterfeit building blocks (lies), resulting in the impoverishment and enslavement of nations. The more Truth a culture embraces, the healthier it is. The more lies it embraces, the more destruction, poverty and enslavement it experiences.
- Ideas are the building blocks of culture.
- Satan lies to nations at the level of their culture.
- By dying for us, Christ has disarmed the one who has enslaved us through his lies.
- Followers of Christ who have been transformed by the renewing of their mind are commanded to replace false thinking with Truth revealed in Scripture, providing a strong foundation for their culture.
Now: (1) To grasp and express the main ideas of the lesson in their own words. (2) To share one aspect of the ABCs of Culture lesson that has been learned with one other person within the next week.
Beyond: (1) To analyze the building blocks that exist in your culture, identifying some of the truths and lies, and to ask the Lord what lies you can begin to replace with Truth. (2) To work as a leader to assist others to analyze, and plan ways to bring Truth into their cultures in practical ways.
10: Kingdom Math
God invites us to give Him whatever is already in our hands, no matter how small it is, so we have the privilege of being participants with Him in the extension of His Kingdom. God supernaturally uses our sacrificial obedience and multiplies what we entrust to Him. God’s way sets us free from depending on outside resources for growth and development.
- God requires all believers to invest what they have for Kingdom purposes. Both those with little and those with much have something to give.
- God multiplies our gifts given in loving obedience even when we don’t see the multiplication.
- The greater the sacrifice, the greater the multiplication.
- God is honored and others are blessed through our sacrificial, loving and obedient giving.
- The consequences of not giving what we have to God are drastic. It is very dangerous to hold on to what we have instead of investing it in the Kingdom.
Now: (1) To grasp and express the main ideas of the lesson in their own words. (2) To plan and carry out one new step in response to a main idea of this lesson, sacrificially and obediently investing what we have in order to advance God’s Kingdom.
Beyond: (1) To identify the various resources God has already provided, commit to invest those resources to serve others, and recognize that God multiplies their giving. (2) To work as leaders to teach, challenge and encourage other believers to obediently and sacrificially give what they already have in order to serve others.
11: The Kingdom of God
The Kingdom of God is any realm where Christ the King reigns – where His will is done. His Kingdom is God’s total answer to man’s total need, and that is good news. The nature of the Kingdom of God and its members provides a framework for personal transformation that will move outward, bringing transformation to communities and nations.
- The Kingdom of God is anywhere God’s will is done–where Christ the King rules.
- The nature of the Kingdom of God is opposite of the world’s perspective (right-side up), where “greatness” is defined by humble obedience and sacrificial service.
- Salvation is the entry point into the Kingdom. Everyone is welcome, and no one is inferior in this Kingdom.
- In the Kingdom of God, all things done before the face of God (coram Deo) are sacred.
- The Kingdom is both now and not yet.
Now: (1) To grasp and express the main ideas of the lesson in their own words. (2) To share one aspect of the Kingdom of God lesson that has been learned with one other person within the next week.
Beyond: (1) To identify specific opportunities to demonstrate the good news of the Kingdom of God in one’s life each day. (2) To commit as a leader to assist others to understand the importance and nature of the Kingdom of God and their roles as ambassadors carrying out God’s will and representing His purposes until Christ returns.
12: Reviving the Reformation
At a time when all the nations of the world were materially impoverished, the Protestant Reformation brought a transformation to those nations that embraced the biblical ideals and values taught by the Reformers. Those nations were some of the most free, just and compassionate societies the world has ever seen. The principles brought by our reformer fathers are valuable lessons for the Church today.
- The Reformation of the 16th century was used by God to profoundly lift entire nations in Europe out of poverty.
- The Reformation is summarized by a set of mottoes in three areas: theology, economics and politics.
- When the biblical understandings of these three realms interconnect and exist in balance and harmony with one another, the results are transformational for individuals and nations.
Now: (1) To grasp and express the main ideas of the lesson in their own words. (2) To reflect on the importance of the ideas that the reformers communicated, consider the implications in one’s own life, and share with one other person what was learned sometime in the next week.
Beyond: (1) To use each of the Reformer’s mottoes to prayerfully reflect on one’s life and ask the Lord to bring a reformation in the areas where necessary. (2) To work as a leader to model, teach and equip others to live out the lessons contextually within their communities.
13: The Discipline of Love
The image of God is best reflected in man through sacrificial servanthood. This is a simple spiritual discipline that is an effective discipleship tool designed to help followers of Christ learn to demonstrate God’s love through serving others. Believers will become aware of the need to personally reflect Christ’s character in four areas of God’s concern (wisdom, physical, spiritual and social) in the world in which they live (family, church and community).
- We were created in the image of God. Servanthood is the highest reflection of God’s image in man.
- Jesus is the incarnation of God’s love as expressed through servanthood. We are to be conformed to Christ’s image–that of a willing, obedient, and loving servant.
- God’s love is demonstrated through our obedience in serving others in all areas of life.
- Discipline is necessary for training and growth in godliness. We have to train ourselves to serve.
- We can intentionally plan, act, reflect and be accountable in our serving.
Now: (1) To grasp and express the main ideas of the lesson in their own words. (2) To plan and carry out one Discipline of Love in the next 24 hours.
Beyond: (1) To recognize that loving servanthood is the highest expression of the image of God and to commit to complete at least one full cycle of the Discipline of Love in the next 3 months. (2) To work as leaders to teach, encourage and lead others to live a disciplined lifestyle of loving others.
14: Seeds and Seed Projects
God multiplies small actions (seeds) of obedience to extend His Kingdom. Seed Projects are an effective tool for enabling local churches to express God’s love to their communities through the use of local resources. The process for planning a Seed Project is a simple model for identifying and carrying out small Kingdom projects. Reporting allows us to learn from completed Seed Projects and to plan future projects that make the demonstration of God’s love a balanced and integrated ministry lifestyle.
- The biblical parables involving seeds provide key principles for ministry.
- Seed Projects are small projects done by local churches with their own resources for the purpose of demonstrating God’s love to the people outside the church.
- Outcomes of Seed Projects include people being drawn to Christ, a broad range of community needs being met through the love of Christ, freedom from dependency on outside resources, and experience being gained for larger future Kingdom endeavors.
- There are nine overall characteristics of a Seed Project.
- Seed Projects are most effective for bringing about transformation when they are ongoing, balanced and focused on the same people over a period of time.
Now: (1) To grasp and express the main ideas of the lesson in their own words. (2) To explain the idea of Seed Projects and their nine characteristics with one other person within the next week.
Beyond: (1) To identify at least one way to meet a community need that would demonstrate God’s love and concern for those outside the church. (2) To work as leaders to teach a group about seed projects in the next month.
15: Seed-Project Planning and Reporting
Planning is biblical. Seed Project planning is a simple model for identifying, planning and carrying out small-scale kingdom projects in local communities. Reporting enables local churches to learn from their completed Seed Projects, plan future projects that demonstrate God’s love and concern for the community’s needs, and grow in a lifestyle of wholistic service.
- Planning reflects our Creator. He is a God of order.
- Seed Projects reflect God’s concern for a specific area of brokenness in our communities. Seed Project planning identifies one small step we will take toward that concern.
- Good planning helps us identify the sequence of steps and responsibilities needed to achieve the final goal.
- The plan must intentionally consider all Seed Project characteristics.
- Reporting and reflecting on completed Seed Projects helps us learn how to better honor and glorify the Lord and help others see His love and grace.
- Evaluation of completed Seed Projects includes what was beneficial, what was problematic, and what could be improved.
- After reporting and evaluation, plan the nature and timing of future Seed Projects so they will be ongoing, balanced and focused on the same people over a period of time.
Now: (1) To grasp and express the main ideas of the lesson in their own words. (2) To identify an area of God’s concern in their communities outside the church and plan one Seed Project during the lesson. (3) To grasp and express the main ideas of the lesson in their own words. (4) To talk with one person in the next week about the importance of doing Seed Projects that minister God’s full intentions to the same people over a period of time.
Beyond: (1) To recognize the need for ongoing, balanced and focused seed projects being done in their communities, and to commit to plan additional Seed Projects as a form of wholistic evangelism. (2) To work as leaders to complete one Seed Project with a group in their local church in the next month. (3) To recognize the importance of ongoing, balanced demonstrations of God’s love, and to commit to plan, carry out and evaluate all Seed Projects done in their communities. (4) To commit as leaders to make time to report, reflect and evaluate their first Seed Project within the following three months.
How to Host a Vision Conference
Determine if there is a critical mass of interest in your area for hosting a Vision Conference.
Form a hosting committee. This committee—usually three to five people—might include respected leaders from local churches, seminaries, Bible schools, denominations, or other ministry leaders. Vision Conferences provide a wonderful opportunity for the local body of Christ to work together, so the greater the diversity of churches and organizations represented on the coordinating committee, the better!
Request a speaker for your event.
Work with the DNA Conference Coordinator to determine the dates of the conference and the trainers who will facilitate.
Get planning! Secure a venue, advertise and promote, arrange for necessary food/lodging if necessary, etc.
The hosting committee is responsible for all expenses associated with hosting the Vision Conference. These include:
- Transportation and room/board costs for trainers
- The printing of conference materials and participant handouts. In some situations, conference materials will need to be translated. If so, the hosting committee will be responsible for translating the materials, including the costs. Vision Conference materials, including session PowerPoints and participant handouts, are freely available above.
- Costs for securing a venue for the seminar
- Costs for promotion and advertising
Typically, these expenses are recovered through attendance fees paid by participants.
A Word on Trainers
The DNA will provide one or two experienced trainers for approved Vision Conferences. DNA trainers reside in North America, Latin America, Africa and Asia and speak a variety of languages. Where possible, we will send trainers who speak the local language or are familiar with the local culture and customs.
Questions? Contact us.