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An Interview with Lisa Espineli Chinn - Part Four


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For fourteen years, Lisa Espineli Chinn was the National Director of International Student Ministry at InterVarsity. She thought she was moving into retirement, but is finding herself drawn to mentorship and further ministry. Recently she sat down with The Rev. Canon Andrew Gross to share more about listening for God in this new season of life.

Click the links below for the entire interview:

Part One: From the Philippines to Washington DC
Part Two: From Accidental Church Planter to InterVarsity Director
Part Three: International Students Ministry
Part Four: Next Steps
Part Five: Marriage and Cross Cultural Ministry


PART FOUR
Next Steps


Tell us a little more about what you are doing these days.

I coach young leaders just helping them with leadership. Some of them are ethnically minorities so “What does it mean to engage in a predominantly white organization and culture?” I bring a cross-cultural lens into the situation, bring in leadership questions. I have a few women leaders, so “What does it means to lead as a woman? What does it mean to be a wife of young kids,  and trying to figure out your place of significance and contribution in God’s Kingdom?” Part of it is spiritual direction, “Where is God in the picture? What are you hearing from Him?” All of that has been since I retired from my full-time directorship. That has been real fun kind of role that I didn’t expect. It kind of just naturally unfolded for me. I do conferences as I am able.

I also enjoy doing women’s retreats. I’m doing one in Virginia with a few churches joining together. How can we make the women of our churches more missional? Sometimes women’s retreats can be an excuse to have a pedicure. I’m not downgrading that, please I love that too, but what I’m saying is, it can be very insular. How can we capture opportunities in the church to grow the congregation, to grow the people who are crossed-culturally sensitive, who are welcoming, who know that hospitality has nothing to do with matching silverware and napkins? I like that, but I think we overemphasize it, and that keeps us from being welcoming because “welcoming” really is to make room. Whether it’s in a conversation or because I gave space for this person, that’s hospitality.

I enjoyed that because I feel that my journey, first as a long-time single woman, and then marriage, children, grandchildren… I feel that God has taken me through that journey and I feel like I can walk alongside other women my age or even younger to really say, “What’s our place in God’s kingdom? How can we be involved?”

I also do cross-cultural consulting. I was a thought leader in the area of reentry for international students. We send people to a foreign land for short-term missions. We have over a million every year from North America going overseas. We send them out, which is commendable, but the thing is, who’s helping them transition back after their lives have been shaken? After being in Haiti or Honduras what do they do with the shaking that God does to our worldview, to our priorities? When we start questioning our affluence, our upbringing.  You wanted to bring the Gospel, but now I’ve got to drive on the highway in the US where there’s food, where there’s clean water. Somebody has to help them with that transition. That’s been part of what I do as well, it is to help international students, mission participants, career counseling. I kind of dabbled, but dabbled in a way that became an original pioneer with international student reentry.

I think the key is, you offer who you are before God, all that you are, all you’ve been through, and I feel like, “God, you’ve given me certain experiences and insight, how do I use that to advance your kingdom?” Not just me as the foot soldier, as it were, you kind of back up a little bit and say, “How can I encourage the next generation? How can I pass on to my own kids what I’m learning?” Sometimes I feel like I’m in the exit lane, and then I find myself back in the fast lane, and I say “Lord, I thought I heard you say take a backseat,” and then I come to AGMP and I think, “We can do this, or we can do that.” I am in a period of discernment. What does it mean to hear from God? What does it mean to be selective? You cannot do a lot but what is the most impactful? Who are the people I want to pour myself into so that these people can multiply? I see that already, the people I’ve invested in have multiplied so I feel like I can step back, but what does stepping back mean? What does it mean to be the coach where you don’t have to shoot all the baskets? You get doused with the water when they win but you get fired if you don’t!


Click the links below for the entire interview:

Part One: From the Philippines to Washington DC
Part Two: From Accidental Church Planter to InterVarsity Director
Part Three: International Students Ministry
Part Four: Next Steps
Part Five: Marriage and Cross Cultural Ministry

Lisa Espineli Chinn will be a plenary speaker at Assembly 2017 in Wheaton, IL (June 27-30, 2017).  Click here to learn more and register for Assembly 2017!