Does the civil forum fit into the PEACE Plan?
It fits into building bridges to the government. I have these three great objectives in my life. One of them is to restore responsibility to individuals. Everything is a gift from God, and what we do with it, we are responsible to God for-stewardship. The second one is to restore credibility to the church. One thing I wanted to do in this forum is say: The church is at the table, the church is intelligent, and the church believes in the common good, not just the Good News. That leads to the third goal, which is to restore civility to civilization. I've been influenced by William Wilberforce on the restoration of manners. You can actually learn more about the candidates through a civil discussion than you can through an antagonistic debate. I have a letter going out to all the pastors in our network saying, "Look, I did it at a national level, but you could do this at a community level."
Where did the PEACE Plan's emphasis on government, business, and church partnerships come from?
When I was at the Davos World Economic Forum for the first time, I kept hearing people talk about public and private partnership. What they meant was that government and business need to get together to work on poverty, disease, and illiteracy. I'm thinking, Wait a minute. You are close, but no cigar. You are missing the third leg of the stool-the church. You are missing the component that has the most distribution, that has the most volunteers, that already has the boots on the ground, that already has the motivation to do it for free.
The "P" in PEACE 2.0, "Promoting reconciliation," has replaced "Planting churches." Why did you make this change?
Everywhere I went there were broken relationships. Everywhere we went, we had to be bridge builders, moderators, and peacemakers. Get right with God and get right with each other.
When I looked at the PEACE Plan, church planting was the only [point] that had a prescribed method. We are still doing church planting, but now we put it under partnerships with the local church. We don't expect government and business, the other two legs of the stool, to do church planting. But there are biblical principles of reconciliation that apply to everybody. If you listen before you speak, you are going to have better relationships, whether you are a believer or not.
There are more than 1 billion Roman Catholics and Orthodox believers. Where do they fit in?
We need to mobilize a billion Catholics and Orthodox [believers]. I'm not really that interested in interfaith dialogue. I am interested in interfaith projects. Let's do something together. You are probably not going to change your doctrinal distinctives, and I'm probably not going to change my doctrinal distinctives. We have different beliefs. But the fact is, we do serve the same Lord. Let's work on the things we can agree on.
At Saddleback's PEACE summit in May, you spoke about what you call a "new wineskins" model for Christian leaders. What did you mean by that?
The essence of the new wineskins concept is that hierarchy is going to be replaced by network. The organization of the future of Christianity is the network. PEACE is a framework and a network for global missions. It's not my framework. All I am saying is: Let's do it the way Jesus did it. The lesson of Jesus is: I do it and you watch. Stage two is: You do it and I watch. Stage three is: I'm out of here and you're doing it on your own.
Every time the Word of God has been taken into a new technology, there is renewal, revival, or a reformation. Now we've got the Internet. I can talk to somebody in Sri Lanka as easily as I can talk to you. PEACE is also a network in which local churches can now work with each other instead of being in denominational silos. It allows collaboration in global missions that we could never have done before.