Friday, December 31, 2004

happy 2005!

To all my readers out there - here is wishing you a great new year! Not great in the standard sense of prosperity and happiness, but great in the sense that I hope this year brings you closer to becoming all the God has in mind for you and engaging your deepest level of being into the revolution that Jesus ignited some 2000 years ago.
I'll toast to the mission!!

My first flame

When I started this blog, I never quite imagined that I would have hostile people reading it. Well, I got my first yesterday. You can read the comment under this post about the spiritual state of Sri Lanka.
I was pretty shocked when I read it. Not shocked at the sentiment, but that it was related to my blog. My last expectation was that someone would be upset with something that I wrote. Although now I should not be so surprised.
On another note, can you sense the emotion in his comments? I read a lot of anger and resentment, among other things. All the more reason that we need to really do our homework when we send students to other cultures.
I think Merl is a person who has seen first hand evidence to the statistic that 75% of our short term trips do detriment.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Prepping for Orbit

Met with my team last night to talk in more detail about Orbit. It was a good time. Their big responsibility was to brainstorm and jot down specific project ideas for each of these small groups that will come that evening.
Most of the ideas were good, but a bit lacking. And when I say that, I know I have very high expectations.
We can setup service projects that are good, normal, safe, predictable. Implementing them will certainly meet our goals - get kids serving in the community, make an impact, etc.
But there is something more to it than just the act of serving. I want people to say "WOW" about Orbit. I want to hear that the projects we did were out of the ballpark, they were weird and quirky, risky and loud, someone to wonder "Who thought that idea up?" I want kids to think that they could have never done that themselves, that they made some great friends in their small group from the experience, that had a great time with their friends and leaders.
As much as those things, I want my team to see that preparing kids to serve is a task that they can do, but that it requires us to be on the edge, dreaming and planning, that making these things more than ordinary is a core piece of what SPACE is about. It is way more than just getting kids to serve.
Did I say that I have high expectations?

Suitability for world mission

The Center for the Study of Global Christianity, located at Gordon Conwell Seminary, is the home of the World Christian Database:
The World Christian Database provides comprehensive statistical information on world religions, Christian denominations, and people groups. Extensive data are available on 9,000 Christian denominations, 13,000 ethnolinguistic peoples, as well as data on 5,000 cities, 3,000 provinces and 238 countries.
It's pretty intense. Under the link to the Global Diagrams page, which lists a bunch of graph samples on all kinds of statitiscs in pdf, I found a page titled World Christian Trends 2005.
The suitability of postmodern youth for world mission
. . .
Tools for Mission from postmodernity
- celebration of world cultures
- openness to dialgoue with and learn from other cultures and religions
- desire for community
- comfortable with uncertaintiy and doubt
- no need to have all the answers

- McDonalds, Starbucks, Gap in every country

"his word is in my heart like a fire"

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Lausanne update from Sri Lanka

Just got this in my mailbox and wanted to post it...
Dear Lausanne Colleagues,

By now you are fully aware of the devastating impact of the earthquake and tsunami on the peoples of Southeast Asia. The death toll is now 80,000 and rising. Millions of people are affected by this calamity.

Adrian de Visser is from Sri Lanka and is the Lausanne International Deputy Director for South Asia. He writes the following, asking for prayer and support. If your ministry/organization is planning to participate in relief work in this area, please feel free to be in contact with Adrian.

May the Lord be with all who are affected by this disaster and with those who are trying to help.

Dr. Tetsunao Yamamori
International Director, LCWE
A Message From Adrian de Visser - Sri Lanka

Dear Dr. Yamamori,

Thank you for calling and writing to us. The earthquake and the resulting tidal waves (tsunamis) have caused major destruction to the nation of Sri Lanka and beyond.

The Government has declared it a national disaster. The number dead has gone up to 21,500 (this is the government information) we believe it is well over 25,000, about one million displaced and about 250,000 homeless.

This morning I made contact with two leaders of the Christian community in the deep South and no aid has reached them yet. I will lead a team carrying dry rations, milk powder, baby clothing and drinking water tomorrow morning.

Last morning our staff worker in the North and East called to inform he is safe but was traveling to the uncleared areas (uncleared areas are the areas that are under the control of the Tiger movement). Many thousands have died in these areas, including new believers, who have come to know the Lord during the past few years. We are dispatching some essential goods tomorrow through him to the North.

We called off our 31st Night Service. This is the day all our churches come together - usually a day of great rejoicing, when our leaders introduce those who have come to know the Lord within this year and we have a large scale baptism ceremony. We cancelled the service out of respect for the mourning in our country. We will be conducting a week of praying for the nation.

Stage One
We are presently collecting food, dry rations and clothing from our believers, friends and community to help the people who are living in temporary camps. In fact all our elders, staff and believers are going from house to house at this moment collecting stuff.

Stage Two
We want to respond to the needs of the people in the South of Sri Lanka. This happens to be the most affected area. In their hour of need we feel compelled to express our love and concern for them.

Provide people with drinking water, milk food, sugar, tea, dry rations, stoves, candles, cups, utensils, feeding bottles and clothing.


Any financial aid can be wired to the following bank:
Account Name: Kithu Sevana
Account Number: 001-333418-001

In the midst of the pain and confusion we know and we believe that God is Sovereign, He will bring something good out of this. We deeply appreciate your prayers.

Rev. Adrian de Visser -

Sri Lanka

In light of recent events, I decided to read up about Sri Lanka.

From Operation World:
- Most of the Christians live in the urban areas of the island, yet there are 35,000 villages that have no contact with any Christians. Pray that Sri Lankan Christians would develop a vision to see the gospel spread all over their nation, especially into the poorer rural areas and urban slums.
- Religious breakdown:
Buddhist 71.93%
Hindu 12.00%
Muslim 8.00%
Christian 7.62%
non-Religious/other 0.20%
Sikh 0.15%
Baha'i 0.10%
- missionaries:
missionaries from Sri Lanka - 717
missionaries to Sri Lanka - 145

From the Joshua Project people group listing:
- 73 people groups, 19,138,702 people, 62 people groups considered unreached

From the CIA factbook:
- land is slightly larger than West Virginia
- age structure:
0-14 years: 24.8%
15-64 years: 68.2%
65 years and over: 7%
- language:
Sinhala (official and national language) 74%
Tamil (national language) 18%
other 8%
note: English is commonly used in government and is spoken competently by about 10% of the population

Updated profile

For those of you that might be new readers, I updated my profile to include some more information. Who am I, why am I here, etc.


In our role as pastors, shepherds, mission team leaders, whatever, there are going to be instances when we need to abort. This past summer, the night before I was to lead a student team to NYC, the city was placed under an elevated terror alert. I was put into the same kind of situation - proceed or abort? For good or bad, the decision was solely mine.
I believed that I had heard the call to go to NYC, and that every person on my team was committed to our work there. We had done significant preparation, raised the required funds, come together as a team. It was important work, and yet, could this last minute alert be a sign from the Lord. Not only that, but I was taking students with me. This trip was not just about me being responsible for me, parents were entrusting their children to me. That kind of thing is a big deal.
I'm left with the same questions tonight, although, thankfully, I don't have to make those decisions. I ran into a parent tonight of a college student, her daughter is on the GCC team that leaves for Banagalore and Chennai, India on January 8. The mother is obviously very concerned. Not only for the health of her daughter, but for the actual work they are tasked to be doing, for the conditions they will meet, probably for her daughter seeing what is unthinkable.
Aborting is a real possibility. We need to take into consideration all the people involved collectively: the students we serve, the parents who entrust us, the communities of faith that encourage us to risk as we follow Christ, the cultures that we travel to and come to love.
With this case, as a parent and as a mission coordinator, I would say abort. (Even though I have nothing to do with it.)
Here is why:
- Conditions are going to get a lot worse. Based on locations and ministries of the trip right now, including health and safety conditions. The lack of clean water, sanitation and spread of disease would be undue risk.
- The whole region is in upheaval. We are seeing 11 nations that are going to be maxed out with regard to disaster relief, distribution of food and water, finding and restoring local housing. Do we really want to burden them with a team of Western 20-somethings and are they really realistically going to be able to help?
- I'm not sure I would want my college age student exposed first hand to what is really going on there right now. Thousands of corpses on the beach, mass graves, families weeping when they collect their dead? It's one thing to expose a kid to reality in the third world, it's another realm when it comes to disasters of this magnitude. When they are older, they can make that choice for themselves.
Oh and just to follow up, this summer, we went to NYC and it was awesome. First, we listened to press conferences on the drive up, where we found out the alert was only for Wall Street instead of city-wide (and we were in Times Square.) Secondly, our backup plan was to stay at my mother-in-laws' house an hour north of the city, and to wait it out if we needed to. Both were viable alternatives that gave us confidence in delaying having to make a major decision if we needed to.
If we are going to do missions better, making the right decisions at the right time is integral. The right decision, in many cases, does not have to only do with the trip itself.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

from Wikipedia

From the Wikipedia entry about the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake:
The total energy released by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake exceeds the total amount of energy consumed in the United States in one month, or the energy released by the wind of a hurricane like Hurricane Isabel over a period of 70 days. Using the mass-energy equivalence formula E = mc2, this amount of energy is equivalent to a mass of about 100 kg (220 lb) (much more than is actually converted to energy in a nuclear explosion), or enough to boil 5000 litres (1,300 US gallons) of water for every person on Earth.

Xmas summary

We had a great Christmas. My wife's fam is in town, a brother in law and his wife; a sister in law, her husband and daughter (Skyler - whom many of you have heard about); and the mother in law. It's been a lot of fun.
I got some good books :
- Epic and You Have What It Takes by Eldredge
- Renovation of the Heart by Willard
- Real Teens by Barna
The other night we watched Hero and me and the brother in law and I have been playing TopSpin and Rally2005 on his new Xbox. In other words, I've been goofing off quite a bit.
Probably the highlight was going to Medieval Times last night. My father in law was a huge fan of the place, he would take his middle school classes there on a field trip once a year. None of us had ever been, so we decided to go, mostly out of homage to him. We just laughed and laughed at how there was no wonder that he loved it.

My tsuanmi links

Of course, there is tons of info about the tsunami. If you are able, lots of orgs are taking donations for it. A few resources that have been helpful to me.
- Doctors without Borders, although right now they are experiencing heavy traffic. When the website is up, they can take a donation and withdrawl it directly from your checking account, rather than from a credit card.
- ChiensSansFrontiers - a few people blogging from SMS from Sri Lanka.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Tsunami and India

I think most everyone has heard the news about the tsunamis in southeast Asia. The stats are just staggering. After hearing the news today, what's really been on my mind is a few people that I know that are going to India, for a short term missions trip, like, right now.
First, David Trotter and a team from Revolution242 and RockHarbor are leaving tonight. Here is an summary of trip, here is a current website for their team.
Second, Praying Mantis and a team go to India on January 2.
Third, a team from GCC leave for India on January 8th, and they will be going to Bangalore and Chennai (which was affected by the tsuanmi).
Usually, my biggest hope is that the team members get transformed from their experiences, that their perspective of the world, their definition of following Christ, they way they see how and what the world really needs, that all of those things are lasting changes because of their mission trips.
Relief work is usually a hard fit for missions, because it's easy to come and do relief, but hard to setup lasting relief with indigenous leadership in charge of those kinds of relief activities.
In light of this disaster, I'm hoping these three teams just pitch and help all they can.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Rob Bell on Christmas

For the past few days, I've been listening to Rob Bell's Christmas series. It's overwhelming. The sheer amount of background information he has talked about is incredible, and I've only listened to the first two out of a series of three. He has described things that I have never, ever heard before and how they relate to the Christmas story. For instance:
- Caesar Augustus was a nut. He believed that he was the one that God sent, and he created the 12 days of Advent, in order to celebrate his birthday.
- People under Roman rule were typically taxed somewhere around 80-90 percent. Talk about some serious oppression.
- King Herod was a bad dude. Some believe he was the richest man ever. Technically advanced, he reengineered a desert to capture water for one of his palaces, he rebuilt a coastline so he could build a port there (Caesarea), he built a stadium which seated 500,000 people and had a track 1.3 miles long on the inside. He was also ruthless and bent over backwards for Caesar.
- He also wanted a palace on a mountain at a certain spot, so he built a mountain for it, and then the palace on top (Herodium). Apparently, if you look out from the Mount of Olives, you can see Herodium with the Dead Sea behind it. And that is where Jesus said that if you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could toss the mountain into the sea.
Interesting huh?
If you get some time, listen to them. You won't be disappointed.
The third message was just posted a few days ago too. I'm sure that's just as good.

Bathrooms in India

A gallery of bathrooms in India, found via BoingBoing. For all you readers going to India soon...

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Orbit 2005

SPACE announces Orbit 2005.
Friday Jan 7
The Warehouse

Orbit 2005 is a special evening all designed with your small group in mind,
giving you an opportunity to bond together via a serving experience.

All we require is that you bring:
- the students in your small group (they should bring some money)
- adult transportation for all of your students
- signed permission forms for each student
- a digital camera (and a way to get the pictures onto a computer - optional)

Your small group will be assigned a random service project that:
- will take about 75-90 minutes serving in the community
- will be relational (they will have to do at least some talking) and fun!!
- will add a new dimension to your small group dynamic via a serving experience

When you return from your Orbit, there will be light snacks,
a time to share for a little bit and some worship.
The only advance notice you need to give us is to let
Tony Sheng know that you are bringing a group.

Recommendation Letters

Every once in a while, students will ask me to write a recommendation letter. This week I got another request from a student who has been involved with SPACE. Most of the time, this time included, its a pleasure for me to write them. It's a neat opportunity to think about these kids, how much potential they have, how God has blessed them to bless others, and be able to totally brag about them.
This student gave me quite a packet, including:
- important things about the letter of recommendation
- a page filled with action verbs (which I'm going to keep)
- a page with colleges she is applying to, possible majors, career options, class rank and GPA
- a list of hobbies and extracurricular activities
- a resume
It will be a fun, little writing project.
A key item to being a good youthworker is the ability to relate and remember the time when you were a student. Kind of that whole relating to culture thing. I don't remember anything about my college applications, except that I know I didn't have any packet like that. Ah, those were the days.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Publishing Info for Mission Trips

I'm starting to see lots of publications and such about mission trips for 2005. If you are putting that together, I don't think you are too early. In fact, I know that I am late.
I thought I might be helpful to some if I shared how I go about it and what kind of information I publish.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Know your audience
All the information I publish almost always gets in an adult's hand. Trying to be witty because you are a wild and crazy youthworker seldom works, even in fun.
- Be professional
The information you give out is a big reflection on who you are. You are a professional, make sure your info packs reflect it.
- Error on more detail
When I put together packets for a NYC team in 2002, I included every possible task that the coordinating mission agency gave me. One of them was 'ministry to prostitutes.' Oh, did I mention it was a trip limited to high school guys? There were some fun interchanges there. Seriously though, a few parents had some very legitimate concerns about that, which forced me to call the mission agency and get some things clarified. The clarification was totally what was needed between me as the team leader, and the parents who were entrusting me with their kids. Very healthy. Most people will appreciate knowing more information, and if they have concerns, will approach you with them. It is a good thing.
- Put yourself in the other person's shoes
Just remember that, most of the time, we are asking parents to do a big thing - send your kid with me, to a new place, far away, doing new experiences, with a team of people that are all new. It's a big deal. Don't act like they are demanding the world of you just to get some more information or some clarity.
And you know, if they take the risk and send their child, if you have done your legwork and lived up to your part of the deal, their child will grow in phenomenal ways.

Things You Must Have:
- Why are we doing this?
Always, always, always. Hopefully, your mission trip is not based on your own personal travel whim. If it is, please stop. Talk about the need, the demographic, the background, what the calling is about.
- What ministry skills or tasks?
What does the actual ministry look like? I've been talking to a church planter about a team coming to help him a few years down the road. He was a bit worried that prayerwalking would be too boring for students. I told him no way, that they would love it, which is a truth. But be honest in your information packet.
- How to get in on the deal and when?
Give people specific things they must do with specific timelines. For our trips, we always have them fill out an application. It's a good formal step for students, a good sign of commitment for the rest of the process. I'm thinking about making interviews for overseas trips mandatory.
- Any required other meetings or training?
All of our teams go through some team preparation and we tell them those dates right in the packet. We also tell them that if they can't make the meetings, they need to seriously contemplate their involvement in the trip. I've also been thinking about a weekend retreat context instead of these periodic meetings.
- Deposit?
We collect a deposit and we tell people that the cash guarantees a spot. Hey, money talks.

A few of the really good examples that I have found so far:
- Mexico Missions, Los Altos UMC, Los Altos, CA, April 2005, including lots of links to downloadable forms
- Jonny Baker's trip to India
- First Pres of Nashville's listing of trips, with links for applications. (This is also Mark DeVries' youth ministry, the guy that wrote Family Based Youth Ministry.)

I'm sure there are way more and better ones. If you know of one, send or comment and I will collect into another later post.

Monday, December 20, 2004

My favorite guardrail

Last night, the Baltimore DC area got an arctic blast of air and light snow, right after a day of mixed rain. Temps dropped fast and a lot so with the snow there was patches of ice all over the place.
Since I have an SUV, I love the snow. I just love to put it into 4x4 and drive. I don't try to do anything stupid, I just love to get out and have a little bit of fun. Part of it is man and machine, part of it is just the fun, part of it is a small sense of adventure.
Last night, I got a too much of the third. I was driving down one of our major highways to rent a movie, the same way that I go to and from work everyday. I came down a hill, onto a bridge which crosses over a reservior. At the beginning of the bridge, I felt a strange sensation in the truck, and then quickly figured out that I was sliding on ice, sliding a wee bit to the left. I tried to ride it out, when the truck started to lurch and spin to the right. At this point, I'm sure I was screaming something. I remember thinking to myself, "Time to brake", and I'm pretty sure that I was standing on my break pedal.
Eventually, I crashed the rear end into a guardrail, looking at the traffic behind me. I then realized that I was a sitting duck if other cars started to slide. So I drove backwards up the shoulder, once I figured out I was okay.
A police car and an ambulance were there within 2 minutes. Looking back, there was an accident on the opposite side of traffic right before I got to the bridge. As I sat there stunned, I watched probably ten to twelve cars on the other side of the road begin to slide, swerve and hit each other on the bridge too. It was crazy.
God really protected me last night. I didn't hit any of the jersey barriers on the bridge, instead slid all the way across it into a guard rail. It's only the rear bumper. It was only me in the car. The truck didn't roll over, and it didn't plummet into the reservior (you guys know about my lack of swimming ability.)
I went back today to get some pictures.

Here is the guard rail, I guess I put a nice dent in it. It is now my favorite guardrail. (Although I didn't have a favorite before last night.)

Here is the bridge.
Notice the jersey barriers along the span. My slide from the middle of the bridge to this side was a pretty lengthy one.

The small dent compared to what it could have been.

I was really spooked about driving back home, over the same bridge, last night. Actually, I'm still really freaked about it today. Just a little while ago, I had to run an errand (deciding to work from home) over the bridge too. It just made me think about how sometimes God protects us, yet He brings us close to this edge of danger, risk, comfort. And yet, many times, He calls us to continue, to go back to the experience when it's not so risky, to continue to expand our character, to get back on the horse. If we don't meet our fears, living with a faith that demands risk, we will fail to be the people that bring the Kingdom forth around us, because we are too scared or too worried, or had an experience that made us captive.

Quotes from The Younger Evangelicals

I've been working through The Younger Evangelicals. It's a really good read. The concepts are good, although not entirely new to me. Each chapter has a summary chart at the end, which is a cool idea, although isn't that a bit modern? (haha.) The big thing about the book to me is that depth of quotes from experience. Webber has read and talked to a whole lot of people. Below are some of the quotes/notes that I found interesting and important.

We had an issue in the first few months of our existence as a church with people being rude in the parking lot. The traffic jams were causing people long delays.. you know the drill. So I told the church that if you were not a follower of Jesus and you had been joining us, we were thrilled to have you in our midst. But if you were a follower of Jesus and you were being rude and mean in the parking lot, you needed to stop this behavior. And if you continued, then we would get your license plate number and treat this as an issue of church discipline. I made it clear that if we could not live up to our high calling in the parking lot, then we had no business going into the world. And besides, we could use your seat.
The place erupted in applause.
My spanking of the congregation, or at least some members of it, was met with such affirmation it was unnerving.
We have learned that people are starved for honesty. They want to be told the truth regarding money, leadership, sin, challenges facing the church – whatever it is they are desperate to know they are being given a straight dose. Even if it’s ugly.

The harder we push, the more clear we make the demands of the cross, the more we teach about self-denial and service and commitment and losing your life, the more people come. The higher we try and raise the bar, the more people join us. The greater emphasis we place on the fact that Jesus calls us to lay down our lives, the bigger the numbers.
We are learning that deep down people were wired for revolution. Nobody in the culture is calling them to anything worth dying for. They were created to live for massive, global purposes, and yet all day long they are bombarded with messages about how their life would be better with more products.

I literally announced one Sunday that a particular message I recently preached wasn’t as faithful to the text as it could have been so I was going to preach it again.
So I preached the same exact text over again.
People still remind me of that Sunday.

We actually believe that the biblical text is a living and breathing Word. For the first year or so of our existence as a church, I preached through the Book of Leviticus, verse by verse.
Yes, that’s right.
Menstrual blood, goat sacrifice, and no shell fish, please.
Every verse.
Now if you at this moment are smiling or laughing or thinking that is crazy, what have you just said about the biblical text? Do you have a canon within a canon? Either you believe that God speaks through his entire text, or you stick within the evangelically approved texts that are tamed down enough for the local congregation.
- Rob Bell, Mars Hill Church

Leroy Armstrong, pastor of a church in Kentucky, responded that the mega church movement of the last twenty years has been led by 'superstar' pastors who are now 'dying out or burned out' without having mobilized lay people for ministry. As a result, the church, which should be an army, 'still looks like an audience.'

Examples of the future of youth worker ministry:
- rooted in an embodied apologietic
the question today is not ‘Can Christians prove what they believe?’ but ‘Can Christians live what they believe?’
- youth workers will reach youth through process evangelism
- the young will be reached through narrative – a story oriented evangelism.

Theological education that is not nothing more than information boxed in by a modern statement of faith will not attract, engage or hold the minds and hearts of the new postmodern generation of evangelicals.

Younger evangelicals long for training the will lead to wisdom and spiritual leadership. Seminaries that are still committed to an Enlightenment education tend to produce critical inquiry. Biblical studies have more do with authorship and historical criticism than the message. A student may spend a semester on whether there were one or two Isaiahs or study Ephesians and wrestle with what portions came from Paul and what came from a later writer in the school of Paul. In the meantime, the message is not adequately discussed or applied to pastoral ministry. The problem with modernity is that it has separated theology from practice. All the early church theologians were pastors. The younger evangelical craves this unity between theology and practice knowing that in theology one finds wisdom for the practice of ministry and that all good practice is embodies in good theology.

"If you graduated from seminary before 1985, you were trained to lead a church that no longer exists."

"Silence every radio and television preacher, stop every evangelical book or tract, take down every evangelical website and simply ask Christians to show one tangible expression of Jesus’ love to another person every day. We would be far better off."

Good book, definitely recommended.

Friday, December 17, 2004

possibly some template changes

If you are reading this direct (instead of thru an RSS feed), you might notice some template changes over the next week or two.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Saturn font

Does this scream SPACE or what?

Mentor - reading list v. 1

I've been spending the last few days putting together a reading list for the possible mentorship that might be happening in early January.
I thought I would post it here. But before you read it, here are a few disclaimers.
First, I realize this is a whole heck of a lot of reading. At least, it looks like it. A lot of this might be trimmed down. I want to believe that this reading is going to be really good, but I also know that the mentoree (is that the right word?) will probably get more out of doing than reading. It's usually like that with most people right? I know it certainly is with me. So the list can easily be cut, and I won't be afraid to cut from it.
Secondly, this is a list of significant things in my past. But I want more from this process than to create another me. I want a person who is me, but way way more. So although this list is my favorites, I'm hoping it catalyzes this person into way more.
Thirdly, the mentoree will be required to write up something after each reading. I know that might be asking a lot too. But there has to be something to cement the ideas, concepts and experience. So thats why there is writing involved in the mentorship. (I'm a pretty big advocate for doing debriefings.. and doing them well, but thats for another post.) So it's not just reading for reading sake, but it's reading for learning and articulating it out.
Ok... here it is

* Reading/Listening
each assignment will require some kind of summary in writing
POWCM - Perspectives
Waking the Dead, John Eldredge
An Unstoppable Force, Erwin McManus

Phase 1 - Foundation
Week 1 - article - A God-centered Motivation for World Missions, John Piper
Week 1 - article - Finishing the Task, Ralph Winter
Week 2 - sermon - Disciple, Rob Bell
Week 2 - sermon - Discipleship, Erwin McManus
Week 2 - POWCM - 31. Apostolic Passion Floyd McClung
Week 3 - POWCM - 112. What it Means to Be a World Christian David Bryant
Week 3 - Waking Dead - chp 1 Arm Yourselves
Week 3 - Waking Dead - chp 2 The Eyes of the Heart
Week 4 - Waking Dead - chp 3 The Heart of All Things
Week 4 - Waking Dead - chp 6 Walking with God

Phase 2 - Context
Week 5 - POWCM - 38. Four Men, Three Eras, Two Transitions: Modern Missions Ralph D. Winter
Week 5 - POWCM - 34. The Church is Bigger Than You Think Patrick Johnstone
Week 6 - POWCM - 40. Women In Mission Marguerite Kraft and Meg Crossman
Week 6 - sermon - Mission 2, Erwin McManus
Week 6 - article - William Carey, William Carey library

Phase 3 - Culture
Week 7 - Unstopp Force - chp None Atrophy
Week 7 - Unstopp Force - chp 1 Friction Traction
Week 8 - POWCM - 30. Suffering and Martyrdom: God's Strategy in the World Josef Tson
Week 8 - POWCM - 55. Culture, Worldview and Contextualization Charles H. Kraft
Week 8 - POWCM - 57. Redemptive Analogy Don Richardson 397
Week 9 - POWCM - 58. Why Communicate the Gospel Through Stories? Tom A. Steffen
Week 9 - POWCM - 60. The Flaw of the Excluded Middle Paul G. Hiebert
Week 9 - POWCM - 63. The Viable Missionary: Learner, Trader, Story Teller Donald N. Larson
Week 10 - POWCM - 81. State of World Need World Relief Corporation
Week 10 - POWCM - 82. Evangelism: The Leading Partner Samuel Hugh Moffett
Week 10 - POWCM - 84. The Urban Poor: Who Are We? Viv Grigg
Week 11 - POWCM - 87. The Spontaneous Multiplication of Churches George Patterson

Phase 4 - Infinity and Beyond
Week 11 - POWCM - 88. His Glory Made Visible: Saturation Church Planting Jim Montgomery
Week 11 - booklet - Church Planting Movements
Week 12 - Unstopp Force - chp 4 E-motion
Week 12 - Unstopp Force - chp 5 Cultural Architecture
Week 13 - Unstopp Force - chp 6 Cultural Architect
Week 14 - Unstopp Force - chp 8 Soul Environments
Week 14 - sermon - The Primal Essence of Spiritual Leadership, Erwin McManus

evangelist Eric Olson

Marc writes about evangelist Eric Olson, who just passed away, and the impact he made on arctic Russia. The post, with links to stories, is a must read.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

2005 Global Missions Storytellers Conference

A gathering to encourage and equip global missions storytellers. More info at the conference website.

LWCE - Issue Group on Reconciliation

Chris Rice writes here about his days at the LWCE in Thailand and his experiences within the Issue Group on Reconciliation.
Here is the link to Day 1. Make sure you read the updates from all the days, pretty cool stuff.

Table of Contents for Perspectives Reader

Sorry to be so verbose.. but I thought some of you might be interested in some of the chapters in this book...

Perspectives on the World Christian Movement : A Reader
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Foreword xi
Introduction xiii
Acknowledgments xvii
The Biblical Perspective
1. The Living God is a Missionary God John R. W. Stott 3 (7)
2. Israel's Missionary Call Walter C. Kaiser, Jr 10 (7)
3. Everyone's Question: What is God Trying to Do? Stanley A.Ellisen 17 (4)
4. The Bible in World Evangelization John R. W. Stott 21 (6)
5. The Biblical Foundation for the Worldwide Mission Mandate Johannes Verkuyl 27 (7)
6. The Story of His Glory Steven C. Hawthorne 34 (15)
7. Let the Nations Be Glad! John Piper 49 (6)
8. On Mission With God Henry T. Blackaby and Avery T. Willis, Jr 55 (4)
9. Witness to the World David J. Bosch 59 (5)
Two Forces Jonathan Lewis 60 (4)
10. The Gospel of the Kingdom George Eldon Ladd 64 (14)
D-Day before V-E Day Ken Blue 72 (6)
11. God at War Gregory A. Boyd 78 (12)
12. Beyond Duty Tim Dearborn 90 (4)
13. Jesus and the Gentiles H. Cornell Goerner 94 (6)
14. The Master's Plan Robert E. Coleman 100 (4)
15. A Man for All Peoples Don Richardson 104 (4)
A Violent Reaction to Mercy Patrick Johnstone 106 (2)
16. Mandate on the Mountain Steven C. Hawthorne 108 (5)
17. Discipling All The Peoples John Piper 113 (5)
18. The Turning Point: Setting the Gospel Free M.R. Thomas 118 (3)
19. Acts of Obedience Steven C. Hawthorne 121 (6)
20. The Apostle Paul and the Missionary Task Arthur F. Glasser 127 (8)
21. A Church for All Peoples Kenneth B. Mulholland 135 (2)
22. The Church in God's Plan Howard A. Snyder 137 (5)
23. Prayer: Rebelling Against the Status Quo David Wells 142 (3)
24. Strategic Prayer John D. Robb 145 (7)
25. Prayer Evangelism Ed Silvoso 152 (4)
26. Lost Robertson McQuilkin 156 (6)
27. The Uniqueness of Christ Charles Van Engen 162 (7)
28. The Supremacy of Christ Ajith Fernando 169 (10)
29. If I Perish Brother Andrew 179 (2)
30. Suffering and Martyrdom: God's Strategy in the World Josef Tson 181 (4)
31. Apostolic Passion Floyd McClung 185 (3)
32. The Hope of a Coming World Revival Robert E. Coleman 188 (7)
The Historical Perspective
The Expansion of the World Christian Movement
33. The Kingdom Strikes Back: Ten Epochs of Redemptive History Ralph D. Winter 195 (19)
34. The Church is Bigger Than You Think Patrick Johnstone 214 (6)
35. The Two Structures of God's Redemptive Mission Ralph D. Winter 220 (11)
36. Missionary Societies and the Fortunate Subversion of the Church Andrew F Walls 231 (10)
37. The History of Mission Strategy R. Pierce Beaver 241 (12)
38. Four Men, Three Eras, Two Transitions: Modern Missions Ralph D. Winter 253 (9)
39. A History of Transformation Paul Pierson 262 (7)
40. Women In Mission Marguerite Kraft and Meg Crossman 269 (5)
41. Europe's Moravians: A Pioneer Missionary Church Colin A. Grant 274 (3)
42. Student Power in World Missions David M. Howard 277 (10)
43. A Historical Survey of African Americans in World Missions David Cornelius 287 (6)
Pioneers of the World Christian Movement
44. An Enquiry into the Obligation of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens William Carey 293 (7)
45. The Call to Service J. Hudson Taylor 300 (5)
46. China's Spiritual Need and Claims J. Hudson Taylor 305 (4)
47. Tribes, Tongues and Translators Wm. Cameron Townsend 309 (2)
48. The Glory of the Impossible Samuel Zwemer 311 (6)
49. The Responsibility of the Young People for the Evangelization of the World John R. Mott 317 (6)
50. The Bridges of God Donald A. McGavran 323 (16)
The Status and Future of the World Christian Movement
51. The New Macedonia: A Revolutionary New Era in Mission Begins Ralph D. Winter 339 (15)
52. World Mission Survey Ralph D. Winter and David A. Fraser 354 (15)
53. Are We Ready for Tomorrow's Kingdom? Ralph D. Winter 369 (4)
The Cultural Perspective
Culture and Communication

54. Cultural Differences and the Communication of the Gospel Paul G. Hiebert 373 (11)
55. Culture, Worldview and Contextualization Charles H. Kraft 384 (8)
56. The Role of Culture in Communication David J. Hesselgrave 392 (5)
57. Redemptive Analogy Don Richardson 397 (7)
58. Why Communicate the Gospel Through Stories? Tom A. Steffen 404 (4)
59. Three Encounters in Christian Witness Charles H. Kraft 408 (6)
60. The Flaw of the Excluded Middle Paul G. Hiebert 414 (8)
61. Social Structure and Church Growth Paul G. Hiebert 422 (7)
62. Communication and Social Structure Eugene A. Nida 429 (9)
63. The Viable Missionary: Learner, Trader, Story Teller Donald N. Larson 438 (6)
64. The Difference Bonding Makes E. Thomas and Elizabeth S. Brewster 444 (5)
65. Identification in the Missionary Task William D. Reyburn 449 (7)
66. God's Messenger Phil Parshall 456 (4) Gospel and Culture
67. Do Missionaries Destroy Cultures? Don Richardson 460 (9)
68. Toward a Cross-Cultural Definition of Sin T. Wayne Dye 469 (5)
69. Cultural Implications of an Indigenous Church William A. Smalley 474 (6)
70. The Missionary's Role in Culture Change Dale W. Kietzman and William A. Smalley 480 (3)
71. The Willowbank Report The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization 483 (26)
The Strategic Perspective
Strategy for World Evangelization
72. Finishing the Task: The Unreached Peoples Challenge Ralph D. Winter and Bruce A. Koch 509 (16)
73. Who (Really) Was William Carey? Vishal and Ruth Mangalwadi 525 (4)
74. The Mission of the Kingdom Ralph D. Winter 529 (2)
75. On the Cutting Edge of Mission Strategy C. Peter Wagner 531 (10)
76. Covering the Globe Patrick Johnstone 541 (12)
77. The Challenge of the Cities Roger S. Greenway 553 (6)
78. From Every Language Barbara F Grimes 559 (3)
79. How Many People Groups are There? Larry Walker 562 (2)
80. Healing the Wounds of the World John Dawson 564 (5)
Strategies for Development
81. State of World Need World Relief Corporation 569 (6)
82. Evangelism: The Leading Partner Samuel Hugh Moffett 575 (3)
83. What is Poverty Anyway? Bryant Myers 578 (3)
84. The Urban Poor: Who Are We? Viv Grigg 581 (5)
85. Transformational Development: God at Work Changing People and Their Communities Samuel J. Voorhies 586 (6)
Strategies for Church Planting
86. Dependency Glenn Schwartz 592 (3)
87. The Spontaneous Multiplication of Churches George Patterson 595 (11)
88. His Glory Made Visible: Saturation Church Planting Jim Montgomery 606 (7)
The Shopping Window of God Wolfgang Simson 608 (5)
89. Evangelization of Whole Families Chua Wee Hian 613 (4)
90. A Church in Every People: Plain Talk About a Difficult Subject Donald A. McGavran 617 (6)
91. The Evangelization of Animists Alan R. Tippett 623 (9)
92. Christian Witness to Hindus The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization 632 (7)
93. Christian Witness to the Chinese People Thomas Wang and Sharon Chan 639 (7)
94. Reaching Muslim People with the Gospel Ishak Ibraham 646 (4)
95. On Turning Muslim Stumbling Blocks into Stepping Stones Warren Chastain 650 (5)
96. Going Too Far? Phil Parshall 655 (5)
The C1 to C6 Spectrum John Travis 658
97. Must all Muslims Leave "Islam"to Follow Jesus? John Travis 660 (4)
98. Context is Critical: A Response to Phil Parshall's "Going Too Far" Dean S. Gilliland 664 (2)
99. Going Far Enough: Taking Some Tips From The Historical Record Ralph D. Winter 666 (2)
Case Studies of Pioneer Church Planting
100. A Pioneer Team in Zambia, Africa Phillip Elkins 668 (5)
101. A Work of God Among the Hakka of Taiwan Ernest Boehr 673 (2)
102. The Impact of Missionary Radio on Church Planting William Mial 675 (2)
103. Pigs, Ponds and the Gospel James W. Gustafson 677 (3)
104. South Asia:Vegetables, Fish and Messianic Mosques Shah Ali with J. Dudley Woodberry 680 (3)
105. Reaching the Baranada People of Barunda Paul Pearlman 683 (3)
106. God Wanted the Matigsalogs Reached Jun Balayo 686 (2)
107. Sarabia: An Indigenous Arab Church Greg Livingstone 688 (2)
108. An Upper Class People Movement Clyde W. Taylor 690 (3)
109. Ann Croft and the Fulani Fatima Mahoumet 693 (1)
110. Distant Thunder: Mongols Follow the Khan of Khans Brian Hogan 694 (4)
111. A Movement of Christ Worshipers in India Dean Hubbard 698 (4)
World Christian Discipleship
112. What it Means to Be a World Christian David Bryant 702 (3)
113. Reconsecration to a Wartime, Not a Peacetime, Lifestyle Ralph D. Winter 705 (3)
114. Senders Steven C. Hawthorne 708 (6)
115. Charting Your Journey to the Nations: Ten Steps to Help Get You There Steve Hoke and Bill Taylor 714 (4)
116. Join the World Christian Movement Ralph D. Winter 718 (6)
117. The Power of Integrated Vision Bill and Amy Stearns 724 (5)
118. The Awesome Potential for Mission Found in Local Churches George Miley 729 (4)
119. Tentmakers Needed for World Evangelization Ruth E. Siemens 733 (9)
120. The World at Your Door Tom Phillips and Bob Norsworthy 742 (2)
World Christian Partnership
121. A Global Harvest Force Larry Keyes 744 (4)
122. Lessons of Partnership Bill Taylor 748 (5)
123. The Power of Partnership Phillip Butler 753 (6)
124. The Lausanne Covenant 759
Scripture Index, Index, About the Editors
Scripture Index 764 (8)
Index 772 (9)
About the Editors 781

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Cousins Blog

My cousin is in the military and has started a blog about it. He's got a unique sense of humor. Read it at Tales from Iraq.


Believe me readers, I'm no Erwin or Alex McManus. So this is not an attempt at anything even close to their International Mentoring Network. After all, I'm not that international.
However, I had a student on our SPACE crew team approach me a few weeks ago about doing a mentorship with SPACE. Here in our county, students can put together a mentorship and get high school credit for it, its kind of like work-release and programs like that.
I'm really excited about it. Most of you readers know that a lot of my student ministry background is from leading small groups, mentoring and discipling kids. So the running of SPACE (the title is coordinator of student missions), is a bit different than what I've done before, and frankly, I have missed the opportunity to really shape and mold students on a more detailed level.
The other thing that I'm stoked about is this opportunity to potentially replicate myself into someone. This is a chance to take everything I've learned and dump it into a person, who could come out of this experience and replace me, except only better.
Our next steps is for the student to get all of the paperwork together for it from the school side.
Here are some of the rough ideas I put down on paper just to get it started. Believe me, I've got lots more details and ideas...

** SPACE (Students Prepared to Act for Christ's Empire) announces an opportunity that is out of this world - SPACE mentorships.
As a participant in a SPACE mentorship, you will have the opportunity to work directly with the coordinator for student missions from GCC, assisting GCC youth ministries with their student missions movement.
** The mentorship is focused on growing both your character and your ministry skills. You will have vital opportunities to grow both while you assist us in our efforts to prepare students to meet the challenge of missional service for Jesus' church in the 21st century and to infinity and beyond.
** You will be immersed in real time learning and experimentation with regard to leadership, character and spiritual environments; be given a hands-on direct role in the implementation of key components of student mission projects,and rub elbows with leading practioners of mission movements around the Baltimore/DC area.

Key elements of the mentorship include:
- relevant reading and writing projects orbiting around topics such as world mission, service and the future of the Church.
- practical skills development based on real world student mission and service projects; including administration and oversight, technical support skills and relational student ministry.
- real time conversation, debriefing and dialogue throughout the mentorship with leading practitioners of student missions.

Cutting to cope

A great article called Cutting to Cope that talks about teenagers and cutting.
First, we need to respond in love. All of the kids I spoke with said it was important for the adults in their lives not to "freak out" on them. As Christians we need to extend the unconditional grace and love of Christ to these kids, letting them know they are accepted. Kids who cut already feel unloved, unaccepted and unwanted. More than anything they need to know they are valued. Parents should remain calm, and build a trust with the kids so they know they have someone to go to in hard times.
A lot more great suggestions in the article. As always, CPYU does a great job in their research and writing about it to youthworkers.
I haven't had first hand experience with this, but it sounds like its almost inevitable the longer you work with students.

Update - 2006-02-06 - Article moved to this link.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Another Family Glimpse

I've written in the past a few times about this inside glimpse we youthworkers have on family moments (one posting about releasing students is here). I had another one this morning.
One of my dteam guys went right into the Army right after high school. He has spent the past few months in Iraq and had come home a few weeks ago. When I saw him in church, I went up to him, gave him a hug, asked him how he was doing. Just small talk, really, but I wanted to really make sure that he knew I was happy to see him.
So much of what we do is making kids feel like they are wanted.
Another person came up and thanked him for the job that he was doing in the war, it was pretty cool. He said he had been home for twelve days, and that he was leaving in three, to go back.
When he said that, I noticed both a look of pain and a few tears on his mother's face. It was a look of desperation, of finality, of the pain of having your child suffer. After talking to my friend, I gave his mother a hug. It felt like it was the least I could do.
We've got this awesome privilege that God has granted us. Sometimes, it feels like we just can't do enough.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

SPACE crew - Christmas adopt a fam

In light of my recent lamenting about SPACE stuff during the holidays, our team did adopt two needy families from a local elementary school. We did the shopping and wrapping for them tonight.
At the beginning, before any of the shopping, I read them the stuff from Eldredge in my previous post. It was cool, they got it.
It was as fun as it looks.

Christmas idea in Bangladesh

I subscribe via an RSS feed to Kevin Stout's blog. Kevin is on staff with Compassion International and has just helped start their Bangladesh office. It's some pretty awe-inspiring reading. Kevin writes about the Compassion staff and what they decided to do as a Christmas gift.

Friday, December 10, 2004

John Eldredge's image of Christmas

Over the past few days, I've been reading some rather critical writings about John Eldredge. It's intruiging to me, I'm certainly not fully believing or fully discounting the writings. I guess I'm just a little apathetic towards some of the points. Are these really core issues that pertain to the Gospel? Believe me, I'm not theologian, I'm probably just too simple.
"For example, he writes about how God speaks to him, even audibly." I will admit, I know nothing about this guy. I'm pretty much reading it without any context. But that statement bugs me - God doesn't speak any more? Hmm, really.
Anyway, I'm still a fan of Eldredge. So I'll close this post with a quote from Wild at Heart:
Rev 12
1A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. 5She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.
7And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

"As Philip Yancey says, I have never seen this version of the story on a Christmas card. Yet it is the truer story, the rest of the picture of what was going on that fateful night. Yancey calls the birth of Christ the Great Invasion, 'a daring raid by the ruler of the forces of good into the universe’s seat of evil.' Spiritually speaking, this is no silent night. It is D-Day."

Rob Bell quote - The Younger Evangelicals

The most dangerous place to be in the universe is the center of God’s will.
That is where we want to be.
I hope we never think we’ve nailed it.
I hope we never believe that we have arrived.
I hope it is always dangerous.
Always chaotic.
Always flying by the seat of our pants.
Never settled.
I hope the struggles keep us begging God for guidance.
I often hear Christian leaders tell what God has been saying to them in their times of meditation and study and prayer and I’m often amazed. He tells them the most profound, eloquent things.
All I seem to ever hear is: "Rob, get out of my way."

Quoted from Rob Bell, The Younger Evangelicals

Thursday, December 09, 2004

SPACE around Christmas time

Last year, SPACE kind of took a break around the holidays. This year is no different. I'm not sure how I feel about it. On one hand, I enjoy the time with not much going on. On the other hand, I'm restless. In a third sense, I feel like we aren't redeeming the time, that we are letting it slip away.
I remember last year feeling like we didn't do enough during the holidays. Ironically enough, for a ministry whose sole purpose is to engage kids in serving and mission, we had little to show for it. Little to show for it during a time when people are most sensitive and receptive to engagement about giving, sacrifice and service.
There are practical reasons for the slow down. First, it's a really busy time of the year. I always feel bad about asking small group leaders to come 'do' one more thing during the holidays. These are the guys and gals that meet with kids every week, all through the year. To lump one more thing for them to do during the Christmas season could be a bit unfair and insensitive. Not to mention, they have jobs, spouses, kids, etc. I know when I led a small group, another event during the holidays would have been a bit much.
Secondly, it's hard to find the right project. Last year, we adopted a bunch of needy families from a local school and delegated those families to student small groups. Some of the groups worked well, some didn't. Some delivered their stuff on time and to the right place, others didn't. Part of it was just the organizational logistics, part of it is finding a project with the right essence.
This year, unfortunately, I'm feeling the same way. We did encourage student small groups to do the Samaritans Purse project. And on Saturday, we are meeting with the SPACE crew members (although most of them can't make it) to buy, wrap and possibly deliver some gifts to needy families from the same elementary school as last year. But other than that, I'm left with the same gnawing, neglectful, "we've wasted another Christmas season" feeling. It's a drag. It's a drag, because it's true.
Dang. So next year, it won't be three years in a row.

Christian rock on 60 minutes

I don't know if many of you were able to check out a segment on 60 minutes last night about Christian rock. Read the transcript here, but I don't know how long it will be available.
Included were snippets with Third Day, P.O.D., Kanye West, and the CEO of Relevant Magazine. Overall, it wasn't as skeptical as I thought it could have been.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Travel the Road - DVDs

I posted a few days ago about the extreme missionary reality show Travel the Road. You can purchase the DVDs from the show's site, but I found 3 out of the 4 of them a little cheaper on Amazon.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Lame - O

An adventurer from Seattle got HP to give him a bunch of digital cameras and printer so he could go to Papua New Guinea and try those products out on a community that has no connection with the outside world.
"...Bangs says he purposely selected a group that has never seen a digital camera. They live in an area with no roads, no electricity and no modern way to communicate with the outside world."
""We'll sort of surprise them," Bangs says."

From the article Digital World set to Invade No-Tech Culture
I think you readers know what I think.
In any case, its a good opportunity to think about Papua New Guinea.
872 people groups, 4 classified as unreached, about 5.8 milliion people. More specific people group information at the Joshua Project, organized by country here.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Fun with the India Team

Had a great great time with the India team tonight. Very cool to meet them, see them interact, learn about where they are in the process. They also had a few of their support team there to interact, listen and learn from what I did with them. It was a fun time, and it was really interactive, which I think they enjoyed.
My rough notes are below. There was a lot more to it, we talked about the ideas for about 90 minutes. Really fun.

Team Leader Feedback, premeeting
1. Your thoughts on sharing your faith in the context of a short
term missions trip - challenges, preparation, ideas
2. I am going to have our group write out our
testimonies - your input on them would be appreciated
3. Lessons learned from going on missions trips before

Who I am
coord for student missions at Grace

My first cross cultural experience
The DR
paint spilled in luggage
American compound
can't flush toilet paper
sleep with mosquito netting
got sick on July 4
infectious diarrhea

My goals
learn about your specific plans and how its going
set you up so you set up indigenous team to succeed

1. sharing your faith
Acts 17
Paul is babbling
They ask him to tell them more
Paul sees elements of their culture that point to something more
* tell a good story
its no longer just about giving information
you can teach on truths all you want
people are rarely transformed by just information
think about a story that is culturally relevant for us
that illustrates the Gospel story
useful for our society as well
post Christian, unchurched, but very spiritual

M - Grinch that Stole Christmas
A - Shawshank Redemption, Dazed and Confused
J - Fight Club
J - Giants vs. Mets 2000 division playoff, game 9
C - themes of superheros and extraterrestrials
M - The Hurricane
V - Lord of the Rings, Dogma, DaVinci Code

*redemptive analogy - definition
The Peace Child

*object lesson
white towel, stain, stain remover
card tricks

2. testimonies
don't need me to listen to them
critique and roleplay with each other
earn the right to be heard
focus on letting indigenous leaders talk

3. what I've learned
Kazhakstan team staying with families
guy going to Indonesia - 3 phrases and no planned place to stay
English class in NYC
our American church is not the best after all

*evalulate ministries objectively
be a student
are they doing stewardship the right way
not overly critical

*teachable moments
so important when it comes to students - build and train the next

*set up the indigenous leadership
I can disciple a student or I can teach a student to disciple other students
reach more Chinese when you minister to one student at U of MD
our goal for teams should be to set up the local leadership

4. hw
hardy personality


Travel the Road

I wrote about Travel the Road, the first reality based missions show, quite a while ago, but never got a chance to see it until this weekend. Mostly because it's on at 1am EST. We just happened to find it after watching Alien on Saturday night. (Alien, what a great, great movie!)
The episode we saw followed two of the guys around Thailand and Laos, showing them traveling through the jungle, driving 13 hours of mudslides in the middle of the night, and sharing the Gospel story in a remote village with the help of an interpreter. It was pretty cool stuff.
Looks like the show is well connected with Overland Missions, which is focused on mobilzing the young adults, using the latest technology for missions, and expedition style teams, all with a motto of "Any Road any Load any Time."
Outside Magazine has an article about Overland in their November 2003 issue, which looks to be a bit skeptical when it comes to the argument of missions empowering and saving versus totally destroying indigenous cultures.

I met him on the Internet - #2

I had breakfast with Theophilus this am, the second time I met with a blogger in real time. Actually, T and I were friends a while ago when we attended the same church. It was fun to catch up and talk about our different roles in our churches now. Check out his blog when you get some time.

Youth Leaders Christmas party

We had a youth leader Christmas party last night, and the whole intention of the thing was to honor our leaders. I think it went really well. It had kind of a coffee house look and feel to it, with alternating music acts, students and staff speaking, skits, etc. I think the leaders really felt appreciated, which was the overall goal. It was neat to be a part of.
A very very rough paraphrase of what I said (everyone only had 2 minutes):

This past summer, we took a team of middle schoolers
to help out a missionary supported by Grace, a guy who
sends fixed cars all over the world.
One of the ways we served him was by mowing the edge of a cow pasture.
On the outside edge of this pasture was a electric fence
that had been turned off.
When we got up there, I held up one of the wires to get our mowers through
and about 20 seconds later, I got shocked. And it really hurt.
One of our leaders, NLind, was mowing all day but was really scared of the
fence. She was just petrified of it.
And I remember right after she got shocked, we all got shocked that day. Her face was really red,
she was half crying and half laughing, and she was really jittery,
hyper. She also had this look like she had just gotten this huge rush.
I think its a great picture about all of you in this room. You take students
to this edge, and sometimes we are scared of it, sometimes its unpredictable,
and sometimes we get shocked. It's risky, hyper, jittery.
But in the end, thank you all for being willing to go to that edge with
your students, and thanks for being willing to get shocked like that
every once in a while, for the sake of these kids around here.

Oh, and I work with a staff team that is incredible.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Epic Reality

If you are a John Eldredge fan, check out EpicReality. It's a pretty cool summary of a lot of the ideas he writes about.

pop culture on The OC

Read it here from USA Today. I think my favorite is the one about "Nobody puts Julie Cooper in a corner."
Link originally from Thunderstruck.

Friday, December 03, 2004

pastor to the Attorney General

Mark Batterson, who is pastor at National Community Church, which meets in the movie theaters in Union Station, writes about the Attorney General calling him. Pretty cool.
I've been fascinated with NCC for a few years, although I have never been there. They are now one church that meets in multiple locations, Union Station in DC and Ballston Common Mall in Northern Virginia.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

This Weekend's Projects

Two things I'm currently working on, with due dates this weekend.
1 - Something to say about the leaders that work with me, for our Youth Leader Christmas thing. I know it has to be short, and I'm not even sure my leaders are even going to be there. I think I'm going to say someting about how much fun it is to intentionally take kids out of the church building. Sunday night, which will be here sooner than I think.
2 - Meeting with a team going to India for 2 weeks in January. I've written a little bit before about this team. The leader wants me to come and talk about sharing your faith on a short term trip, giving feedback about their testimonies, and lessons learned from previous trips. It's going to be way more facilitating than me talking a lot.
Both things require a bit of thinking, but aren't huge deals. And both are absolutely cool things that I feel honored to be a part of.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Apostolic Passion

I was going through some old notes from Perspectives and found this quote. I poked around to see if I could find the whole article online, and lo and behold...
"If you have apostolic passion, you are one of the most dangerous people on the planet. The world no longer rules your heart. You are no longer seduced by getting and gaining but devoted to spreading and proclaiming the glory of God in the nations. You live as a pilgrim, unattached to the cares of this world. You are not afraid of loss. You even dare to believe you may be given the privilege of dying to spread His fame on the earth. The Father's passions have become your passions. You find your satisfaction and significance in Him. You believe He is with you always, to the end of life itself. You are sold out to God, and you live for the Lamb. Satan fears you, and the angels applaud you."
From the article, "Apostolic Passion" by Floyd McClung.

Convergence - ANKOC, Perspectives and Origins

Well I'm going to go out on a limb here...
I've been digging through A New Kind of Christian for the past few weeks. I know that I'm way behind on that book. Recently, two really good friends just raved about it, and one of them got me a copy. So I dived right in. And for some reason, it just didn't hit me that hard. I liked it, most of it is good, but it just didn't capture me like it did my two friends. So I've really been trying to figure out why.
Two major big deals in my life were taking the the Perspectives class in early 2003 and going to Mosaic's Origins conference earlier this year. Both had a huge impact on me and gave momentum for a huge change in thinking for my approach for student ministry. It's funny because neither were focused on youth ministry per se.
As I thought about the book and why it was kind of anticlimatic for me, I think it's because a lot of the concepts were ideas that I had been exposed to at either Perspectives or Origins (and also reading An Unstoppable Force).
So I decided to list some big concepts in ANKOC and list parallel ideas and notes from both Perspectives and Origins/Unstoppable Force. I'm mostly doing this for me, but also so that you readers might benefit from this as well.
#1 - The grand story of the Gospel – Chapter 6
"The Bible tells the family story – the story of the people who have been called by the one true God to be his agents in the world. So I think we need to let go of the Bible as a modern book, but that doesn’t mean we discard it. Not at all. When we let it go as a modern answer book, we get to rediscover it for what it really is; an ancient book of incredible spiritual value for us, a kind of universal and cosmic history, a book that tells us who we are and what story we find ourselves in so that we know what to do and how to live."
talks about Gen 12 to Rev 5 being one cohesive story
God’s people formed to participate in His purpose – active communicators of His blessing
"The story of the Bible is God’s intention to bring the nations to himself. Genesis gives us the context of the problem, Revelation gives us the hope of the ultimate resolution.
1 – the story of Jesus
2 – stories of those within the culture whose names have faces and who not only bring the mythology of heroes and legends but demonstrate the humanity of everyday people who are neighbors, family, friends.
Apostolic leaders are not only great storytellers, in many ways their lives tell a great story. The themes are consistent with our faith’s core metaphors of sacrifice, death and life."

#2 - Conserve and preserve native cultures, instead of an aggressive conquest and control model – Chapter 9
Idea 1 - Redemptive Analogies - artifacts/analogies of culture that fits in with Biblical worldview, reflect the Gospel story through symbols of the existing culture
Idea 2 - Missionary communication as:
- learner
- storyteller
- trader
Idea 3 - Samuel Voorhies’ ten principles of holistic Christian transformational development (see middle of the article)
One of their guiding principles is "Relevance to the culture is not optional."

#3 - idea of a cultural Christian versus a Jesus follower - Christianity as an enemy of the Gospel – Chapter 8
"Demonstration must accompany proclamation. Instead of saying ‘They are wrong, we are right, follow us,’ we should say, ‘Here is what I’ve found, what I’ve experienced, what makes sense to me. I’ll be glad to share it with you if you’re interested.’"
Idea 1 - #1 argument against Christianity in the Asian culture – Christianity is a foreign religion – they must see that it is possible to be fully Chinese and fully Christian – popular saying is 'one more Christian, one less Chinese'
Idea 2 - the Muslim C scale – how far Muslim and following Jesus at the same time?
"A Christian revolution must live in tension with human societies and cultures. We want to see an authentic Christian expression in every culture on this planet – in fact we are called to make it so. But there must never be a moment when we perceive Christianity as equal to the culture itself. When we begin to see being a Christian and being American as indistinguishable, we lose the transforming essence of our faith. The ultimate goal of American Christianity should not be to make us good citizens but to make us revolutionaries in the cause of Jesus Christ."

#4 - Let the Bible read us.
God wants us to dream big about reaching the nations
A story makes people tune in. “My wife and I …”
People connect with a story.
You’ve seen yourself in Scripture at one point or another.
Preach versus share
You can preach doctrine all you want without ever changing one heart.
Are you sharing from your actual experience with the living God?

Celebrate Leaders

We've got this person on the youth staff that is a huge advocate for our volunteer leaders. She really goes out of her way to serve, encourage and appreciate them. What's interesting to me about it is that, 1 - it is a constant mindset that she has, 2 - I don't think you find that attitude among ministry staff very much, but I don't know that for sure, 3 - it is a thing that she is propogating among the other staff as an element of our culture.
We have a Christmas party this Sunday night for the youth leaders. We usually have one every year, just an informal time for everyone to get together. This year, there is an actual program, which includes some students talking, some students singing songs, some students doing a skit, and even (gasp) a student doing a dance, all to encourage and honor our leaders.
Each staff person (high school, middle school, guys small groups, girls small groups, admin/catalyst, missions) will also get a few minutes to talk about leaders that are under their care, which is kind of cool. We are also working together as a team to setup, decorate, and tear down after the event too.

World AIDS day

A great resource page from World Relief about World AIDS Day, courtesy of Will.
Also, take the Online AIDS Quiz.

Joel News Blog

Joel News International is a leading special interest bulletin on prayer, church growth and revival. We offer a keen selection of the most encouraging news reports, the most challenging developments and the best resources from over 100 reliable sources in six continents. Joel News International is a great help and time-saver for thousands of Christian leaders and intercessors in over 120 nations.
Joel News now has a blog, thanks to Marc.
Looks to be very good.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Yearly Mission Statement

Over the past few years, I have jotted down a document that serves as my mission-goals statements. It's been a great exercise, if for nothing else to make me take stock of what the year has been and what I want for the next year coming up. I thought through a bit of this over the holiday weekend.
Like the majority of people, I probably jot down some great ideas and notions, but that is as far as they go. In any case, I thought some of you might be interested in pieces of this and maybe you could share some of yours too, either in the comments here or in your own blogs.
So enjoy, and hopefully, we can all use some of these ideas to spur us on to be a blessing to others.

Section 1 - Principles of Mission
This is the section where I have jotted down principles that I have picked up along the way about what my life should be about. Some of the notables include:
- I believe leadership begins on the inside of my life and moves out.
- I will never substitute persona for character and integrity.
- I affirm that God uses all the experiences of my life to prepare me for what's next.
- I pledge to be led by God before I attempt to lead others.
- Learn the rules and then break some.
- When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
- Comparison is the cardinal sin of modern (or postmodern) life.

Section 2 - My Roles
Here I have jotted down some specific roles that I play in life and some key goals in each one of these roles. I've listed some examples here.
* God's servant
- in the Word consistently
* D's husband
- disciplined scheduled time for us
* Ks and Es father
- Our home should be the place they feel the safest and one of the places that they have the most fun.
* V Manager (day job)
- Serving others w/ technical excellence
* Missions Mobilizer
- vision and growth to the SPACE crew team
- catalyst for individuals thinking about career missions
- sharpen X and Y

Section 3 - Specific 2004 Goals
* Specific prayer points
* Finances
* Time
- significant time with kids x times per month
- one family get away every 3 months
* Exercise
* Read 12 books a year
* A Sabbath once a week (no work, outside, intentional connection with family)
* Family nights twice per month
* Bible memory with my kids - 1 verse a month

Section 4 - Monthly Goals
specifics listed by month
* March
- increase giving
- family getaway
* July
- mission trips
* Aug
- family vacation

Section 5 - The 2004 story
Last year, I decided to add a section where I could just tell some stories that happened through the year. I like having that, giving the year some more context and depth.

Section 6 - 2004 Thanks
This year, I decided to add a section where I could just list things that I was thankful for through the year. I think that's a healthy response to how good God is, and it's too easy to forget about it. Mostly, I got the idea from the message at GCC yesterday.

Hope that is helpful to some of you as you think about the year that is closing and the year that is on its way.

LATERM - Azusa Pacific

An article here (free reg required) that describes a program at Azusa Pacific called Los Angeles Term:
"We are challenging the students to live out their faith in the realities of urban life. When they journey from their familiar territory to a more multicultural setting of L.A., their monocultural faith gains a multicultural dimension. Their faith begins to reflect the color of the mosaic of L.A."
"Students have a choice of interning at any of more than two dozen community groups involved in economic development, community health, urban education, environmental justice, human rights, and moral and spiritual renewal...
In addition to the internship, the students use only public transportation, live with families in the city and take classes at the school's L.A. Regional Center on Wilshire Boulevard in Koreatown for the semester."

SCC concert

D and I went to the Steven Curtis Chapman concert last night. A few things really impressed me.
First, the music was awesome. Between Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin and SCC, all the music really cranked.
Secondly, it didn't seem like the concert was a medium to make a lot of money. There wasn't a huge amount of merchandise that was for sale. The artists really didn't seem too much into self promotion. Rather, all three of them talked about the privlege of coming to play in order for the crowd to be engaged into worship.
Finally, and probably my favorite aspect, Chris Tomlin seemed to be so incredibly humble. He opened his set with "O Come All Ye Faithful", which transitioned into "Holy Is The Lord". It was a cool way to start. At the end of his set, he taught the crowd a new chorus, and they kept singing it without the band, and them him and his band just quietly walked off stage. He was totally saying "This is not about me."
Right before we went into the doors, we saw two of my SPACEcrew kids and one of their dads. Their parents were just going to hang out somewhere in Fairfax with their laptops and get some work done. Instead, we offered to drive them home back to Columbia, so their parents could just go home. So we got to hang out with some students too.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Recognizing a newly planted church

"How do we recognise when a new Christian church has been planted in a people
group?" asks New Tribes Mission, which works among unreached people groups around the world. "Is it the presence of a concrete church building, or a straw-thatched meeting room? No, a new Christian church has been planted when the locals start to tell their own story of how God freed them from their life of sin to worship him."
Quick blurb from the Friday Fax.

Dismantling a Bomb

Wow... I was going to be patient but after reading all the reviews, I bought it last night. And they are right, you have to play it LOUD!
I wonder if the fam will mind it blasting during Thanksgiving dinner...
To all of you readers, best wishes for great times with your families this Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

World City Photos

Just found a link for World City Photo Archive from checking out the real time bookmark postings at The site has an incredible number of pictures of cities from all around the world, grouped by country. Pretty amazing.
Also, my bookmarks are at

Team Prep - India

There is a team of 7 of so young adults from GCC that are going to India in January. They have asked me to come and speak to help prepare their team. "Speak" is not the right term... more like lead a discussion.
Still waiting to here back from the team leader for some feedback about his team, where they are in the preparation process, what they are going to be specifically doing, etc. Feedback from the leaders is always vital.
I might be going over The Hardy Personality with the team. I picked this up from a short term missions seminar about a year ago at an ACMC seminar, the speaker said that in almost 15 years of running short term trips, he always uses this.
The meeting isn't until early December but I will post some reflections on it after I'm done.
Ooops... I meant to write a little bit more about the trip itself.
The team will be spending about 6 days with New Life Fellowship in Bangalore. After that, they will be working with Compassion International in Chennai. Pretty neat stuff.
I don't know too much more detail other than that. The team leader has been to India before and has some experience with traveling there. It will be neat to sit down with the team and get to know them a little bit.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Post LCWE website - oral learners

The Chronological Bible Storying website has been created as an outflow of the LCWE issue group on "Making Disciples of Oral Learners."
The site has tons of resources including case studies, a Bible storying manual for short term teams, and loads of other resources.
Here is a previous post with some stats about oral cultures.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Leader Training - Short Term Missions Trips - Baltimore

If you are in the area and are leading a short term trip this summer, you might find this seminar interesting. I've seen the outline for the training session. Overall, it looks pretty good.
One of the precepts of the material is that your mission trip can be a tool for the discipleship of the participants. To me, that is kind of a no-brainer. I don't want a leader leading a short term trip that is not interested in discipleship. Period.
Read more here. (See the second paragraph down.)

SPACE Nov Launch - summary

Here is an email that I sent to my prayer list.
Thought you readers would enjoy it too.
Thanks to all of you that prayed for it this weekend!!

Dear Friends,

Thanks so much for praying about our November Launch this past weekend.
I wanted to give you a quick update to encourage
and excite you about the movement of students that are loving the community
for Jesus' sake.

Here are some quick highlights:
* 35 students and adults
* raked 9 yards including:
- a GCC family who lost an 11 day old baby
- two GCC families who are battling cancer
- a GCC youth ministry couple who are close to having their first baby
- three families with indirect ties to GCC
* introducing the day with Psalm 1 and debriefing with pine cones
* talking about Grace with four or five neighbors
* filled approximately 120 leaf bags
* clouds all day but no rain until after we were done (and then it poured)

You can see a group photo here:

Thanks again for your prayers and support of SPACE.

launched to launch,

Teen Missions 2005

Teen Missions has just published their 2005 summer trips. Having gone to at least a few days of Boot Camp (even though it was for their 4-6 year old parent assisted program), I can tell you that the way they prepare students for the mission field is intense. When you leave, you get the sense that almost anywhere would be better than Boot Camp, and in many cases, the mission field that students go on to are at least a little nicer.
TMI is also top notch when it comes to logistics. A fair analogy would be a huge summer camp program that has each participant going on an extended, international field trip.
For students that have no connection with a local church's extension into the world with their own missionaries or students that maybe want to experience more, TMI is a great medium to have a cross cultural missions experience.
I have decided that my response to our students that show an interest in TMI is to encourage them to go, and then come back the next summer and help us with SPACE. This past summer, I had two TMI alumni help out and give some great feedback.
Here are some bullet items from one of their new trips for 2005:
Orphan Foot Washing
- The purpose is to show the love of Christ by going to the villages surrounding the AIDS Orphans Rescue Units in Zambia, and literally washing these poor AIDS orphans’ feet and putting shoes on them—many who have never had a pair.
- In order to help a greater number of destitute children, we will require you to take only a sleeping bag and air mattress in your duffel, plus whatever you can fit into a Teen Missions issued carryon bag. The rest of your luggage will be filled with shoes and socks to be given to the orphans.
- Team members can help by collecting new or good used, closed-in shoes or tennis shoes for children ages 2 – 12.
- Your life will never be the same as you follow Jesus’ example of humility in washing these orphans’ feet and putting socks and shoes on them.
- Debrief will be held in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

Now that is intense.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Aron Ralston's inspiration

Having spent my first 10 years of youth ministry involved in an outdoor, wilderness context, reading Outside magazine and Patagonia catalogs makes my heart run a bit. When I first heard the story of how Aron Ralston had to amputate his arm in order to save his life, I was purely amazed. Incredible.
Ralston has recently published his story - Between a Rock and a Hard Place.
Ralston says he does not regret what happened to him in Bluejohn Canyon. He believes the experience launched him on a spiritual journey that has given him a new purpose in demonstrating his exhilaration for life and the importance of letting go of the past. He doesn?t blame God for the loss of his hand, but rather he credits divine intervention for giving him the inspiration to set himself free.
More here.

Weekend activities

Here are some of the things I will be doing up to and including this weekend:
- Scoping a bunch of yards for raking for tonight. Also making sure my directions are correct since I'll be directing the bus driver. Also going to buy gallons and gallons of soda. One of my NYC kids, T, will be going with me tonight. He is the Caucasian kid in the picture in my blog profile. (The Asian one with the eyes closed is me. The African American kid giving the gang sign is Dewayne, I think.) Tonight will be fun, its been a while since me and T have hung out. Part of my role is this type of stuff, taking students with me, rubbing elbows together, planning and executing these kinds of things for the larger ministry. It also has an element of apprenticing, a younger person following and learning from an older person. Although I'm not sure T would see it that way, he's just along to have some fun.
- Paying for 12 feet of Subway. Picking up a video camera.
- Tidying up our house a bit. The bus will stop at my house and the kids will have lunch there. That will be cool. I love having kids at my house. We've never had 50 students over before.
- The launch on Saturday. More info here.
- Working two releases at work Sat night. All night long. Ouch.
- Meeting up with K Sunday night. Always a good time hanging out with him. A kid who is passionate about following Jesus to the ends of the earth.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

SPACE - orbit

Orbit - I think we are doing this...

Uprising - I'm slow too

As Eric mentioned in a comment, he had a hard time reading Uprising. Me too. Like him, I liked Erwin's previous books a lot, and found this one a little slow and had to muddle through it. Anyway, Adria has a good grip on the progression of the book. And she was apparently an intern at Mosaic for a summer and is involved in the Nashville plant. Some very good reading over there.