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.

Family Nights - Op Christmas Child

A few years ago, at the suggestion of my wife, we started doing 'Family Nights.' It was the summer before K started Kindergarten. The intention was to do them every Sunday night.
I started with the Focus on the Family book titled An Introduction to Family Nights. It's pretty good and gives some good ideas. One note that was interesting mentioned that once you started family nights, your kids will want more. I didn't believe it, but it was really true in our family.
Tonight, we did a family night based upon the idea that we are blessed in order to bless others. GCC is doing their part with Operation Christmas Child, putting together shoe boxes of things to send to kids all around the world. Samaratians Purse, who sponsors it, also puts in a Gospel tract (which I have a little issue with).
So we went to Wal Mart (yeah thats kind of ironic for purchasing things for kids in other parts of the world) and bought some cool items for little kids, like pencils, silly putty, gum, etc. We spent about $25 and we did two boxes. Overall it was a cool exercise, because my kids are (and I mean this in the best way, because they learn from their environment, ie - me) suburban, affluent and spoiled. It was interesting to see them gravitate from seeing all the stuff they wanted versus understanding that they were not shopping for themselves.

Uprising - skills versus character

Certainly a great deal of conflict that exists in churches is a result of individuals being moved to prominence for reasons irrelevant to character. Instead of raising up leaders, churches hire by resume. We prostitute ourselves in the name of Christ. Isn’t that exactly what we’re doing when we receive payment for our skills regardless of character? How many people have been used for their talents and later discarded for their infidelity? Fallen leaders reflect flawed communities.
From Uprising
A few thoughts about this:
- This really puts a high priority on an ability that leaders need to have when choosing other leaders. Leaders need to have insight into character and be able to discern the difference between character and skill.
- Is there a relationship between this character and spiritual growth? Can we tap an emerging leader even though he or she may be very young/early in their spiritual development?
- We need to be clear on a distinction between being a leader and serving. We have people in our ministry who are clearly leaders. They initiate, risk, engage, they move forward and draw peole into that movement. We also have people who are willing to serve, and will do what is asked. But they do not do the things that leaders do. It is easy to call them leaders, but we should be careful on that kind of distinction.
This is off the top of my head, so it may not make any sense. Other thoughts?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

SPACE Nov Launch - almost final logistics

Well here are our almost final logistics. I say almost because those of you that work with students know about saying 'final' anything. But isn't it more fun that way?

* 39 students.
* 1 school bus that will hold 44 comfortably or 66 uncomfortably.
* church van to hold rakes.
* 5 adult leaders.
* 5 target yards to rake:
-family that lost an infant.
-family whose wife is fighting cancer.
-single guy who has not heat right now, do some weeding there too.
-family whose husband/father just passed away from cancer.
-family whose mother fighting cancer and works in the GCC office.
* if we are cranking through these yards, we will work on neighbors too, just for kicks.
* about 50/50 split between middle school and high school kids.
(one of our goals has always been to have middle and high school kids serving together since within the ministry, they are almost never together)

Now, I'm getting really excited. I can't wait to see reactions from people when they see this bus pull up.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Better Late Than Never

I'm working through three books right now. What I like to do when I read something seriously is take notes of the book, outlining it and typing down verbatim quotes or paragraphs. I know, its kind of anal.
Anyway, two of my good friends recently read A New Kind of Christian. I know, I'm like decades late. I like it, but for some reason, I don't feel like raving about it like these two guys have. I don't know, I think it's just me.
I'm also typing in some notes from Uprising. This is the third time I have read it, and it's only starting to make some sense to me now. I do like this idea of the character matrix though, and reading it with that in light has helped.
And for some kind of psuedo career development, I'm reading First, Break All The Rules. It is very, very good. Just reading right now, no notes yet.
I will probably post some notes from these books eventually and, of course, make some observations about mobilizing students for mission.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Sunday aft family movie - The Incredibles

It was as good as they all say it is. K my 6 year old loved it. E my 3 year old fell asleep for the first hour or so, but when she woke up, it still kept her attention. We asked K if she got any themes or messages from it. One was the idea of staying/helping your family. Another one we kind of let her chew on was the idea that it is okay to be different and that God likes the differences in people.
In our ever growing media saturated culture, our kids so need to critically examine pop culture.

Mentoring Network

The International Mentoring Network, something from Mosaic. An eight month process, with a seven day immersion in LA, web based conversations and courses by Alex and Erwin McManus, temperment and strength assessment.... wow talk about an experience...

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Vision for Service in Small Groups

One of the things that I am sort of responsible for is the integration of a service mindset into our student small groups. Our youth ministry is strong with small groups, they form the backbone of what we are doing. Since we started SPACE, one of the goals has been for all aspects of the ministry to support all the others. Between small groups, program teams and SPACE, they all build, encourage, drive each other.
What we have not done very well, so far, is build a vision of service in the small groups. This is only the 2nd year and I do believe that is changing. We have community service days where kids can come and serve, but we are not providing a venue where small groups can come and serve, as a part of the community that they have already worked hard to build.
To bridge this gap, I've started toying with a service evening for small groups around the holidays. It would like something like this:
- small groups come to the Warehouse
- bring adequate adult transportation
- bring a digital camera with a way to get your pictures onto a computer
- bring some spending money
When they get there, we give them some preplanned, short service things they can do around the area. Short - 75 or 90 minutes. Focused on something related to the holidays. Engaging, relational, involving as many kids in their group as they can.
They come back, we have some food, maybe some short worship time. We get their pictures on the screen. Some of them talk about the experience, describe the pictures.
I really like the idea. I think the issue is that the holidays are already so incredibly busy. I'm not sure I want to throw one more thing into the mix.
I already have the name of it - Orbit. This image of going around, but coming back. Like I've said before, this SPACE thing... the cliches are almost endless...

High School Outreach - Variety Night

We had another CpR friday night last night. I was only there for part of it, but there were some pretty awesome acts. What I managed to see was:
- a rendition of Wayne's World
- some kind of funny chanting dancing thing
- a very cool set of acoustic worship
(Our student worship teams went on a worship leader retreat a few months ago where they just holed up and wrote original worship music, they did some of it last night.)
- a drama about the Woodchcuker (I know I've heard the story before but can't remember where or whom) which incorporated all kinds of pop music, ballet, acting, dancing and closed with powerpoints of notes written by students to other students.
It's so fun to see how talented these students are, and that it all has a serious purpose, like last night, which was to encourage those around them.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

summer 2005

Hard to believe, but we are already thinking about the summer. Last year, I had kids tell me that their parents had decided on summer camp schedules by Christmas. It just seems nuts. But if we are going to have viable summer missions, we have to toss our hat in the ring at the right time too.
Tonight, I meet with a team of leaders for a specific grade level to talk thru their options for this coming summer. And I have another group of leaders that are ready to help out with preparing, leading, etc. The cool thing about this second group is that they are middle school leaders. Middle school is really where you foster a vision for long term youth ministry. If you want to reap something with high school kids, sow it in middle school kids.
This is only the 2nd year that our ministry has had a team to focus on summer missions, so its very cool to see leaders gravitate towards using those resources.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Back from NYC

The Mrs and I had a great time in NYC, it was really fun. It was too short, but alas, its always nice to come home to the children.
Tuesday night was my corporate party. It's always pretty surreal when you see people you work with out of context. Even more so, when there is drinking and a dance floor involved. The club that it was at was pretty wild. They had a girl on a trapeze right over the dance floor at a few points during the party. That was kind of cool. A very nice venue for a celebration. The food made me a little sick though.
Wednesday morning, we galavanted around Times Square.
This is a shot I took of us in Saks Fifth Avenue, where we saw a pair of rabbit ear muffs on sales for $100.

We also sent into St. Patricks Cathedral, which I had never been into before. That was very cool. I wrote about St. Patrick more here. Most people don't realize he's a pretty big missionary dude.

We also stopped by The Lamb's Theatre to see if the good people of Urban Impact were there, and we got to talk to Larry for a few minutes. It was fun to see him again and to have D finally meet him.
There is some good stuff that is going on up there:
- potentially starting a full time ministry center in an ethnic neighborhood that they have been working in for a few years.
- partnering with YWAM NY for a Discipleship Training School focused on unreached people groups.
- maybe starting Baltimore Muslim focused ministry.
We also ran into

one his way into work. He is finishing his internship with Urban Impact pretty soon and is one cool dude. He worked with my team quite a bit when we were in NYC this past summer.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

NYC next two days

Not much posting for the next two days. I'm going to NYC for my corporate party. Hopefully will be stopping in to the offices of Urban Impact NY to say hello.

Article - Worlds Apart

But as Ali and the Bangladeshi students walk to their bus, they try to make sense of what they've just witnessed. How, they ask, can Americans spend so much money on a fireworks display for just a few thousand people? How can they consume those kinds of resources when people in their home countries don't have food to eat?

When Ali arrived in the United States, he thought Americans would know about his country just as he knew about America. He waited for people to ask him about the new South Asian trade accords. He waited for Americans to discuss the troubles in Kashmir. But the questions never came. Then one night an American student aide explained why: "I don't care."

More from an article titled Worlds Apart, from the Wash Post Mag, which chronicles a State Department program which brings a few dozen Muslim students from Arab and South Asian countries and shows them America. Good read about culture. Free registration required.

Monday, November 08, 2004

SPACE - Fall 2004 prayer update

A prayer update that I just sent out to some friends.
Posted here so you pray too, if you feel led...


Dear Friends,
Thanks for your support for SPACE, the service and missions component of GCC's youth ministry. I just wanted to take a few minutes to jot down some great things that are happening so you can continue to pray and uplift these precious students.

This past summer, we had three phenomenal summer mission trips:
- A middle school team went to help CMTS ministries, a ministry that focuses on serving missionaries through providing automobiles and related services.
- A high school team spent a week with Center for Student Missions in Washington DC, working with a variety of inner city ministries.
- A high school team went to NYC, working with Urban Impact NY, helping with ministry activities related to the goal of reaching unreached people groups in and around NYC.

The next two months have two community impact/service activities planned:
- A service day where we rent a school bus and drive around the community raking people's yards. Most of these yards will be people that we know are disabled or ill and somehow connected with Grace. This will happen on Nov 20, and we are anticipating 30-40 students being involved.
- An opportunity to have youth ministry small groups be a part of Operation Christmas Child.
Our hope is that this activity would help students understand that the world is much larger and much different than maybe they know.

In addition, we are starting to plan for summer missions for the upcoming summer. As we continue to think about a progressive and strategic flow for summer missions, trips on the plate include:
- middle schoolers going back to CMTS for a service project.
- sending a team to SEMP, which is especially formative for experiences in sharing the Gospel story in our culture.
- two trips that are potentially further way in both culture and locality.

Some other random things that are happening in and around SPACE:
- A core team of students that have come together for the purpose of leading, planning, and dreaming about SPACE. It's been an awesome experience to spend time with this team about twice a month. This team prays for God's voice for the summer 2005 plans every day at 7am.
- A high school senior from my NYC summer team who is exploring a possible career in missions.
- A college age team from GCC going to Guatemala this summer. I might be lightly assisting with some team preparations for them.

Finally, thank you for continuing to support the ministry with your prayers. Engaging students to be involved in mission, both in their communities and
around the world, is not an easy task, but we know that it is well worth the investment. Thanks for continuing to pour your prayers into the lives of these students.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

ACMC conference reflections

Well the ACMC Midatlantic conference was today. I didn't get a lot of really good practical things out of it this year, but it was still good to go. And it was good to spend some time with some of the people that I encouraged to go, including two students from my NYC team from this past summer and two of the team leaders for the Guat trip coming up this summer. Most of our MTF was there, and I saw an old youthworker friend of mine that I hadn't seen in about 8 or 9 years. I'm going to list each component of the day and some reflections.
Workshop 1
Preparing New Missionaries for the Mission Field

This workshop talked a lot about the idea of a disciple and what that looks like. It wasn't a workshop talking about practical details of how one prepares missionaries. Instead, it was at the higher, theoretical level. Which is too bad. I really thought it was going to be pretty meaty and have a lot of stuff to take home. The speaker was also the prof who graded my Perspectives final paper, so I was looking forward to it.
Right after lunch, everyone regroups, and they do some admin stuff. They also let each of the exhibitors share a little bit about their ministry. This year, they brought up a young guy who had been involved in some hip hop music ministry around the world and he did a bit of rap and stuff for everyone to hear. It was pretty cool. So many of the mission type things are filled with middle aged people. The average age there today was definitely in the 30s, although there were a lot more young people than I expected. So if we are going to engage the emerging generation in this idea of cross cultural mission, we better get used to rap music. What was really cool was that the crowd actually really loved him.
Workshop 2
Women as Missions Advocates

I was one out of two men in this one. Actually, I couldn't decide where to go, and by that time, it was too late. This one was in the chapel, which was easy to sneak in and sit in the back, with some really comfortable chairs. But this speaker was probably the best one I had heard all day. She is the director of Sisters in Service which is a really cool womens missions ministry. I spent part of the time reading Companion to the Poor which I bought at the book table and part of it listening to her. Those were some nice chairs.
Workshop 3
Sending Short Term Teams

This third workshop turned out to be a big infomercial for a mission team leader training workshop that the two leaders were going to run sometime in December. Most of the material covered in the training session seemed to be common sense to me. Topics like team building, talking about culture, having worship be a part of your team meetings, ministry skills training... Shouldn't all cross cultural mission teams prepare by visiting those kinds of topics?
From the outline that they gave out:
"Short term team leaders are disciple makers... The leader focused on developing people personally and ministerially will see workers mobilized long-term for God's kingdom. Through this approach, short-term mission trips become a step in a life development process, not merely a one-time experience."
Maybe I'm pretty thick. But I guess I never thought we would have to spell it out in such detail. I guess I take for granted that most people that desire to lead a missions trip are already fully engaged disciple makers.

Friday, November 05, 2004

ACMC conference tomorrow

Well I'm off to the ACMC conference tomorrow. I think its going to be really good. Unfortunately, I will have to be late. But here are the workshops I'm going to try to catch if I can:
- Preparing New Missionaries for the Mission Field (taught by the prof who graded my final paper for Perspectives)
- Ministering to the World's Street Children
should be sobering if not a bit desperate
- Sending Short-Term Teams
this is probably the one that I most want to go to.

I will post some notes and reflections later.

Non coincidence

Last night I hung out with TP. Some of you might have remembered me writing about him before. I usually have torn feelings about meeting him because most of the time, our conversations are one way, driven by me, with him responding with very little detail, elaboration or emotion. I usually wonder what else I could be doing, who else I could be meeting with, what other progress I could make instead.
Last night, I spent just a bit of time praying about it, asking God to really bless it. Part of that was my general feelings about meeting him, part of it was also the fact that I had said some pretty harsh things to him a few days earlier. Long story shortened into this fact - I'm evil.
Our time together was incredible. He shared a lot from his heart, he was emotionally engaged, he is learning a lot about himself, his background, his upbringing, and what all that means for his future. In other words, he is growing up. It's a joy for me to see that progress, but it also continues to sadden me about what he has experienced so far in his young life.
I was also talking to another friend of mine this morning, T. T mentioned that for some strange reason, he thought about TP last night and prayed for him, at, say, around 10pm.
Yeah. Feel the burn.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Father Food

One of the recurring themes at Mens Frat, which is the Men's fellowship that GCC has been doing for the past 4 weeks, is this idea of 'father food', that fathers are significant and do have a dramatic impact in the lives of their children. The idea speaks of intention, purpose, and mission.
The speaker touched a few weeks ago on Matthew 3 - that at the beginning of Jesus' public ministry, the Father spoke significant words into His life. "At the critical junction of his life, the father spoke authoritatively." I like those words.
I know some people think Steven Curtis Chapman is dry and middle aged and what not, but his music has always and consistently spoken into me and the Mrs. He writes in the liner notes of his new album about a song that he wrote for his oldest daughter, about he had the chance to sing it at her high school graduation.
"...I also sang it for her graduation, and I did fine until haflway through the song. I knew if I looked at her and she looked at me that was going to be the end of it and I wouldn't be able to finish the song. So I had kind of just been roaming the crowd with my eyes as I wa singing, but I did make eye contact with her about halfway through the song. She was in full melt-down mode and the lump came up in my throat, and I immediately started to buckle! Even so, I somehow made it through."
What an experience, to be able to share words like this to your child, in such a context, at the threshold of adulthood. That is some father food. Below are the lyrics. May we fathers be as significant in mission with our children.

I Believe in You
Steven Curtis Chapman

Aren't you the little one
That hid in my arms afraid of the thunder?
Are these the little hands
That held so tight to mine?
Didn't we both agree you'd never grow up
And now here we are
And here you go
Of all the things I want to say
The thing you really need to know is...

I believe in you
Yeah, I believe in you
Everything you are
Everything you are becoming

And I believe in you
Yeah, I believe in you
So spread your wings and fly
On the winds of knowing I
Always believe in you

So many prayers we've prayed
So many dreams to get to this moment
Now this is where we stay
While you go change the world
But I'll be where I have always been
Up in the stands cheering you on and
Singing this song
A song the very God who made you
Has been singing all along

I believe in you
Yeah, I believe in you
So spread your wings and fly
On the winds of knowing I
Will always believe in you

And when you rise and when you fall
I'll still believe in you
Just close your eyes and hear me calling
I believe in you
Oh, I believe in you

Election Night

Wow... might it be a long night...
Officials predicted a turnout of 117.5 million to 121 million people, the most ever and rivaling the 1960 election in the percentage of eligible voters going to the polls. That in and of itself is pretty awesome.
I talked to a friend this morning about his experience growing up in India, where the voting process was incredibly corrupt. He told me a few stories of people trading boxes of real voting cards for fake ones, officials turning a blind eye while people stuffed ballots, and a climate where people ran to vote early in the morning in case they closed the polls due to intimidation and cheating. We really do have quite a privilege in this country.

I met him on the Internet

Today I had lunch with a guy I met on the Internet. That sounds so weird. Haha. Seriously though, today, Will Samson bought me lunch. We had Mexican at a place close to his work and my house. It was really cool, Will is a great guy. We had a great rolling conversation about the emerging conversation, church as an institution versus Christ's Church, what we are doing with SPACE, his background church planting and upcoming decisions for seminary, what Greenbelt was like, blogs we read and a whole slew of other topics. Very fun.
What was slightly less cooler than actually meeting Will was this blog thing enabling me to meet, hear and dialogue with someone that I would have never met ordinarily. I could tell from reading his blog that Will is a man of wisdom and that meeting him would be a great experience. He is, and it was!

Monday, November 01, 2004

NY in the Fall

So I get to go to NYC again. About a week from now. The company I work for has decided to throw the project I am on a big party, and have decided that it would be ok to spring for everyone to travel to NYC for an overnight. It's pretty cool as well as unprecedented. The project I am on is pretty visible from all aspects of the corporation and we just finished a pretty huge milestone, so this is the celebration party. But in almost 10 years of working here, I have never before been invited to a party out of town.
I like to think of myself as pretty down to earth. I like the hang out in T shirts, jeans and sandals. We rent videos, we eat at chain restaurants, we shop at the mall. We don't go clubbing, don't go to salons, don't eat a lot of French food. Not that those are bad. But, I will certainly feel like a fish out of water at the place where the party is. Uh, yeah.
So a party in NYC will be kind of novel and fun. I'm excited because NYC always brings back great memories of students engaging in mission around the city.