I'm traveling to Belgium in late June on a vision team with some global strategy leaders with GRACE. Our purpose is to scout out some faith communities, ministries and social enterprises for some potential long term partnerships as part of GRACE's efforts to in Europe. This partnership also has some specifics like focusing on the emerging generation, being involved in a church planting movement and helping us learn about post-Christian culture. I'm excited to both go there and to participate on a team like this - I've never been on a vision team before but read lots of vision team reports. It's a unique purpose that requires some interesting skills so I'm looking forward to learning a lot.
The first part of something like this is similar to traveling for other reason - check out the demographics. For instance, Brussels has a population 1.8M with a population density of 16857/sq mile. Compare that with where you live [DC is 617K and 10065/sq mile; Baltimore is 619K : 7671/sq mile.]
But what we are going to be doing is a lot of observing and discerning. Here's some of the big things I'm thinking through:
cultural icons - symbols; heros; organizational, environmental and physical structures - what do these things tell us about the culture.
concepts, context and execution - which of these are transferable and which ones aren't and why not.
handles - where can people step in and tangibly get involved.
serving vs. systems - like handles, getting people involved in serving is easier than systems for serving.
reciprocity - can we go to them is a simple question. can we host them in our context is much more complex.
Here's some vision-type stuff I've been reading of late.