The Kashmiri fisherman lowered his net into Lake Dal early one morning. We rowed over to his boat and inquired, “Can we buy your fishing net?” A few minutes later we paddled away with a sloppy, smelly, fishing net while he proudly held a U.S. twenty-dollar bill. We continued on our way to teach church planters about unity.
The stinky net became our object lesson that day and our inspiration ever since.
The net shows us that God’s mission requires us all to work together and do our part in order to display his kingdom among the least reached areas of the world,
This fishing net also represents the “dual burden” of 10/40 Connections:
1. A burden for those with limited access to the Gospel. – THE FISH
2. A burden for the Church to engage in God’s mission. – THE FISHERS OF PEOPLE
The Ministry Unfolds
In 2000, the founders of 10/40 Connections, Chad and Leslie Neal Segraves were 26 and 27 years old. They had no money, no networks, and only limited experience. But over many months of prayer, fasting, and seeking God, he spoke clearly to them about what they were to do – three years, three nations, three worldviews, mobilize churches from different denominations.
They incorporated 10/40 Connections in May 2000 with the vision to live among the least reached while mobilizing churches in the U.S. to engage effectively. Mission agencies told them, “You need to decide if you want to work overseas or in a church in the U.S. You can’t do both.” To their inquiring minds, however, it seemed that the greatest missionary ever – the Apostle Paul – had done both.
Over the next three years, seven churches joined them in this tri-nation experiment. During that time, Chad and Leslie learned the value of “drinking tea and eating rice,” which enabled them to learn from local believers and build deep friendships.
As 10/40 advocates from each partnering church mobilized prayer, awareness, and opportunities among our seven partnering churches, Leslie and Chad saw fruit as hundreds were exposed to the Gospel, people accepted Christ, new believers were discipled, demons were cast out, orphans were cared for, and house churches were started. And through God’s divine connections, He graciously helped them meet and befriend many key Christian leaders in each of the nations.
The Ministry Develops
When Chad and Leslie returned home after their three years abroad, the 10/40 Connections Board of Directors chose to continue the ministry. Over the years, 10/40 has continued to grow through word-of-mouth and by divine connections. Chad and Leslie direct the organization, and they “Thank God every time they remember” the church partnerships, indigenous collaboration, and the global networks in which 10/40 Connections engages.
Like any ministry, 10/40 has spent considerable time trying to clarify its vision and narrow its focus. Though we at times have begged God for one main focus, He continues to use two analogies to keep us moving – a sailboat and a fishing net.
A Sail Boat – Years ago, God directed us to Isaiah 33:21-22. “There the Lord will be our Mighty One. It will be like a place of broad rivers and streams. No galley with oars will ride them, no mighty ship will sail them…For the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us.”
We desire to be an organization that receives our direction and power, not by human strength and ingenuity, but by the Holy Spirit.
The interconnected nature of our organization means that development in one area quickly affects other areas. For example, expanding our Voice for the Voiceless curriculum touches our Lunch Change schools and the women rescued from trafficking. Also, our church planters use the VFV curriculum as a practical door-opener that blesses new or difficult areas. Each of our ministries can be examined in this way.
We sit back in awe and rejoice that when the Lord directs us to cast our net “on the right side of the boat,” he brings in a massive catch.
Therefore, at 10/40 Connections we are simply holding our net and encouraging others to do their part. Together, we can cast hope to all peoples. We would love for you to join us!
To learn more about 10/40’s vision, core values, and distinctives – click here.
Jesus said, "Pray the Lord to send out laborers, for the harvest is plentiful, but he workers are few." That is the mission of 10/40 Connections – to follow the example of Jesus by connecting the body of Christ, equipping believers, and engaging the least reached.