The other kind of prayer

Prayer for everyone

Prayer is important and we all want to be better at prayer.  But many of us have been put off by spiritual gurus who make a transforming prayer life sound as if it's out of reach to most mere mortals.  

     Part of the problem is that our modern, technological society naturally gravitates toward prayer that "avails much", i.e., productive prayer.  We want quantifiable results.  The results of intercessory prayer are easily quantifiable: was the prayer answered with the desired result?  If not, then change the expectation (the theologically conservative approach) or the method of prayer (the charismatic approach). 

     Contemplative prayer is "the other kind of prayer".  It's not so much about talking to God (or talking at God) but is about putting ourselves in a place to listen to God.  There are many tools for contemplative prayer and it's not necessary to become expert at each.  What's more important is becoming familiar with various tools and finding out which ones fit you best.

     A prayer retreat for your church or leadership team can take a morning, a morning and afternoon, or extend into the evening.  It will include teaching on contemplative prayer and introductions to various prayer tools.

Flourishing and Fruitful

Joy and purpose in later adulthood

     Did you know that every day 10,000 Americans turn 65?  By 2030 the US Census Bureau predicts there will be more Americans over 65 than under 18.  American society is facing a “silver tsunami”. Is the Church ready?

     We can prepare ourselves in two ways.  First, we need to know how to flourish and be fruitful in the years of later adulthood.  The Bible, unlike American society, offers us a picture of joy and purpose in later adulthood.  And this biblical picture is aligned with the insights of developmental psychology. 

     Second, local churches can equip themselves to engage people in later adulthood and benefit from the kind of intergenerational interaction that the Bible gives us as a social model.  The Crescendo initiative of the Evangelical Covenant Church offers coaching to help churches re-frame and redesign their programming to do this. 

     Steve is a resource specialist with Crescendo.  His “Flourishing and Fruitful” workshop is based on biblical and developmental insights that show how the later adult years can be full of vitality and growth.  On this basis, churches can learn to serve and engage Boomers and beyond in intergenerational ministry to benefit everyone in the church family. The workshop is available as two sessions, each two hours long, that include self-assessment tools. 

     The video below is a preview of the workshop.


Healing for a

healthy heart

As we go through life we face eight essential challenges or tasks (Erik Erikson’s eight stages of psychosocial development).  Each time of life has a task associated with it, but the task is not confined to that time of life. Any of the previous tasks can become present at any later time of life.  We can think of these stages as 8 facets of a healthy heart. If there is an injury or a state of un-health, then it makes sense to present ourselves to God for healing.

     This one-day prayer retreat includes a time of teaching on the eight stages of life and then presents prayers for discernment of injury and prayers to begin the process of healing in each of the stages.

"Why can't we all just get along?"

Intercultural development workshops

The events of 2020 have highlighted the increasing diversity of American society.  And the 2020 Census gives statistical confirmation of that diversity.  The Brookings Institution reports: "The new statistics project that the nation will become 'minority white' in 2045. During that year, whites will comprise 49.7 percent of the population in contrast to 24.6 percent for Hispanics, 13.1 percent for blacks, 7.9 percent for Asians, and 3.8 percent for multiracial populations.”


The Covenant Church is addressing this changing social landscape by multiplying ministry to Latinos. The Pacific Southwest Conference alone has planted 13 Hispanic churches in 2016-2018.  Our Latino seminary, CHET (Centro Hispano de Estudios Teologicos) has grown to serve over 550 current and future Latino church leaders.  CHET became a certified member of the Association of Theological Schools in 2015 and graduated 158 students in December of 2016.  

At the same time, neighborhoods are changing and diversifying.  Stores and businesses are putting up signs in Korean, Spanish and Chinese.  Local Covenant churches, in an effort to reach their changing neighborhoods are hosting Latino or Asian church plants or they are renting space to churches that use languages other than English because these churches are reaching these diverse populations more effectively than the established local church has been able to.

In the midst of this change, there is inevitable conflict, not just because of different languages, but because of different values resulting in different ways of communicating.  The understanding and skills needed to navigate this changing landscape can be called “intercultural competency" and falls under the broader rubric of "intercultural development".

Intercultural development workshops

The workshops offered below are intended to help organizations...
● Develop awareness of cultural differences.
● Develop essential skills for addressing cultural differences.
The goal could be termed "intercultural competency" or, better, “intercultural agility”, the ability to skillfully navigate the differences between one’s own culture and the culture of another. 

Intercultural agility is a skill that any determined individual can learn.  But the best application of intercultural agility for the sake of the Church’s mission goes beyond the individual church member.  The leadership team with intercultural agility will be able to lead the local church into having an impact for the Kingdom that truly expresses Jesus’ vision in Acts 1:8, a vision of his followers bearing witness beyond their culture of origin and having an impact on people who are from “the ends of the earth”.

Module A.

Understanding cultural differences (2 hours)

  • Intended audience: Leaders and others that desire to understand cultural diversity.
  • Purpose: Develop an initial awareness of cultural differences, begin to develop strategies for intercultural cooperation.
  • Desired outcome: A vision for better engagement between people of differing cultures

Module B.  Understanding differences in communication (2 hours)

  • Intended audience: Leaders and others that want to meet challenges resulting from cultural differences. 
  • Purpose: Understand differences in styles of communication and conflict resolution between people from different cultural backgrounds.
  • Desired outcome: A vision for improved engagement with people of other cultures.
  • Follow up: If continuing to Module C or D, participants will take the Intercultural Development Inventory.  For individuals there will be an individual  debriefing.  For teams there will be an individual debriefing of the results for team leaders.  The teams' profiles will be presented during Module D.

Module C.

Developing intercultural agility as an individual (3-4 hours)

  • Intended audience: Individuals (rather than teams) who are aware of cultural differences and want to start doing something about it. 
  • Purpose: Offers a developmental road map toward increased intercultural agility.
  • Desired outcome: A vision for increased communication with, enjoyment of, and productivity in relationships with individuals from other cultures.

Module D.

Developing intercultural agility in partnership (4 hours)

  • Intended audience: Church leadership teams who are working in partnership and want to address intercultural concerns in their partnership, e.g., the leadership teams of a host congregation and a guest congregation
  • Purpose: Learn each team's IDI profile, learn several models for intercultural partnerships, determine which model best fits the current partnership.
  • Desired outcome: Develop concrete goals for better partnership.


$250 per hour, including preparatory meetings plus travel costs (transportation, lodging).  Fee can vary depending on the size and resources of the church or organization.  The same fee applies to ongoing consultation for continued intercultural development after the introductory workshops.

Intercultural Conflict Styles Inventory (ICSI) or Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI): contact for information regarding administration, debriefing and costs of taking the inventories.

For information or to book any of these workshops, please contact Steve Wong.

  • About the

    workshop leader

    Steve Wong is a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory® and received his Certificate in Spiritual Direction from North Park Theological Seminary in 2016.  He is an adjunct professor for NPTS, teaching "Intercultural spirituality" in the Ignite program.  He is part of the leadership team for Crescendo (an initiative of the Covenant's Make and Deepen Disciples mission priority) in the area of Mosaic Advancement and offers workshops on emotional development, intercultural development and spiritual formation.  He has been a pastor since 1984 and planted Grace Community Covenant Church in 1998 where he continues to serve today.  He has served as the chair of the Board of the Ordered Ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church and has also served as the chair of the Multiethnic Ministries Commission when he was a member of the Executive Board of the Pacific Southwest Conference of the ECC. He was a contributor to the book, Growing Healthy Asian American Churches (InterVarsity Press, 2006) and has an MDiv in theology (1983) and PhD in psychology (1996).