Thursday, June 30, 2005

2005-2006 goals

Our director of student ministries asked me for my goals tonight. Haha.It is kind of funny huh... Anyway, I sent some stuff off the top of my head. I'm in vacation mode - we leave tomorrow for a week at the beach. And then a few days with PM. And then a LC missions weekend. Probably not much blogging until I get back. But maybe updates here and there.

I think its always helpful to list goals and how you are going to implement them. So here they are:

build the next generation of mission leaders
- continue to recruit college aged interested leaders to help with summer mission teams
- turn into a more formalized structure including meeting/teaching/homework sessions throughout the summer
- ES's mentorship

engage middle/high school students to impact GCC kidzone kids
- partner with children's ministry to run SPACEcamp, summer 2006

continue to provide missional, impactful community service environments
- DC - Sept
- DC festival - Oct
- the raking bus - Nov
- Orbit - early Dec

continue to send summer teams to GCC missionaries

- pursue opportunities with GCC families in Italy, Brazil, Cameroon (?), Trinidad
- maybe opportunities for follow on
- recruit more team leaders (see above goal)

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Operation World Blog

Yup.... the blog about one of the most significant tools for mission.... read it here.

Forge Emerging Summit

I posted some great intern principles I read about from Forge earlier this month here Steve Addision has posted his notes about a panel he is for the Forge National Summit.
- Thrive on chaos
- Christianity is moving south
- Most effective movements are tight at the centre and open at the edges.
- How do we catalyze the teenagers of today into leaders of a missional movement for the Church in the next 10-30 years? "The chance to do something. Now."

A few things come to mind as I think about these four points.  First, the desire to thrive on chaos isn't easy.  It is so much easier to have a pre-determined set of ministries and ministry plans already laid out, isn't it?  We have started to talk about next year for SPACE and one of the coolest things is that we know that every year is going to be different.  We could do the same things, but it's not part of the way we think.  One of our seemingly unwritten rules is that every year, heck, almost every event looks a little different, is a new experiement, is trying something new.

Secondly, like Alex McManus always says, the future is Indian and Chinese.

Thirdly, I like the way Steve talks about center versus edges.  It reminds me about how The Shaping of Things to Come talks about leadership being "THE strategic leverage for change," and how we must make sure that our leadership gets it and is commited to the values and ethos that we are trying to build.  Outside of that center, we can adapt, flow, be organic and allow others to come into the movement.

Finally, he's got it about teenagers.  We have loads and loads of students that are ready to do something.  They desire to be involved in something big, something that will make an impact, something that is congruent with what they believe about Jesus and the world He has placed them in.  And of course, they are ready now.

blogger template

I think when blogger added the image posting, it messed up my template... It might look a bit strange...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Another Kenyon Commencement Speech

In 2004, I posted the text of probably the best commencement speech I had ever heard/read. Another speech from Kenyon, from this past Spring, is just about as good. (via kottke)

Brazil team prep - treasure hunt

Some of the ideas we will be talking about Wed night. Taken from the Short Term Missions Workbook (I probably posted some of these last year as well - it's a great resource for prepping teams.)

Treasure Hunt
God invites us to lift up before other’s eyes the ways God is at work among and through them. We are not going on our missions trip to bring treasures, nor to take them home. Rather, we help discover treasures that are present among the people with whom we serve, and together with them, we praise God for God’s great kindness.

Turn the Principle into Action
1. Walk with humility.
Remember, you are showing up late to a meeting. God has been at work among these people long before you arrived!

2. Embrace with affirmation.
Your greatest gift to the people you meet will be affirmation, not criticism.

3. Live with vulnerability.
Don’t be afraid of weakness - it’s normal.

4. Practice flexibility.
Always expect the unexpected - you’re not in control.

5. Live as a student.
Be determined to learn from everyone.

6. Work as a servant.
Be willing to do whatever needs to be done.

7. Speak as a storyteller.
Let the Spirit tell God’s story through you.

two of you - tell us a really good story
two of you - tell me the most encouraging thing someone ever said to you
two of you - tell us how your plans totally went down the toilet
two of you - tell us your biggest weakness (scary so maybe LB and I)

Oh, and if you are a team member and you are reading this before Wed, that will give you more time to get involved in the discussion.

Rob Bell videos

from Willow Creek. List of them here via Lon. My favorite was the one where he cuts this kids hair on stage. Seriously.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Spiritual Entreprueneurs

In many situations, failure is the very thing that restrains God’s people from doing great things for God. They’ve been taught that failure is equivalent to sin, so they’d rather not try at all than risk failing. When you face failure with humility and hope, you teach others how to risk. When you affirm those who risk great things for God and count them successful even if their particular endeavor has failed, you have affirmed something far deeper than any particular project or strategy could ever encompass. It is not so much the experiment that is of greatest value, but the affirmation of spiritual entrepreneurialism among God’s people.
- An Unstoppable Force

We had one of the Turkey team from GCC over tonight for dinner. It was a great time for us to catch up, since MG was my co-dteam leader in 1999-2000. It was my first year as a dteam leader and he was a huge help. In a few months, he and a few others will be leaving for a one or two year commitment to live intentionally in Turkey. I think we are seeing the groundswell of some very innovative thinking missions-wise at GCC. There is a level of experimentation and entrepreneurialism that is so fun to see. I would hope that I'm part of it at least a little bit.

- The Turkey team. A group of young adults/college graduates, that all individually felt God's call to live cross culturally, for at least a short amount of time. Instead of choosing the location, they chose the team first. Thinking that the team was of greater importance in light of the mission, the got together first, and then started to pray for God's guidance for their location around the world. Note that one of the top three reasons first year missionaries come home is because they can't deal interpersonally. Another innovation this team brings is how they are doing support raising. Instead of support letters, these guys and gals are making personal appointments with people in their network. No missions support letter. Instead, they are doing personal time. A great idea. Np doubt, it's a huge investment on their part. But I think its a great one.

- SPACE 2005. I'm overjoyed to report that for the four summer teams, three of them are working with GCC missionary families or organizations. I know I've written about this before, but I can't help but go back to this fact. It is key for synergy with the church at large, for implementing the goal of serving and encouraging on short term (versus building, evangelism, etc.) and it is a huge investment in the families that have already gone out from our body. It's different than the usual, "Let's choose a place that is fun for our students."

- LB dessert. One of our Brazil leaders decided to throw a party. She is having a big ice cream dessert so people can hear more about her trip. Great idea. Not only a party, but she made a cool flip book, instead of the normal mission letter. Another great idea.

Granted, these are small ideas. But I hope we are building a culture of risk, innovation and creativity among the context of mission. Small experiments now, larger movements later.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Student Missions and Adult Church

Most youthworkers are aware of the subtle, yet pervasive problem of integrating their students with the 'adult' church. Students have their own small groups and their own church service and are not really well integrated into the overall life of the church as a whole. Sometimes, the integration looks like adults getting students to help in serving the church, sometimes its much less holistic than even that.

One of our goals for our summer teams is to be in total synergy with the adult church, in the stream of what they are doing with global missions. Combined with another goal - to serve in locations around the world where GCC missionaries already are - it's a great opportunity for the adult body to be aware of what students are doing besides the once a year Youth Sunday.

This morning, the adult services had a few slides about all the summer short term teams, including the four teams from student ministry. We also got to setup with all the teams in the lobby and were able to talk to people, hand out prayer cards, and answer any questions that they had. We had tried to do this last year and it didn't really work out. But this year, the Missions Task Force got it put together, which was so great.

Not only am I out to be strategic about the way we do student missions, I want the every adult at GCC to know about it.

Photos: Our teams hanging out in the lobby and talking to people in between services.

Summer 2006 - insane idea #2 - SPACE interns

For those college aged and above, that have a burning desire to impact the next generation and the nations - apply to be a SPACE mission intern.
As a SPACE mission intern, your responsibilities will include:
- attending a weekly, interactive, discussion with other interns focusing on mobilizing, missions and students
- weekly homework, delivered in some kind of media format (blog, journal, short film, audio talk, original rap song)
- assisting in the lead team for one SPACE mission team

- a vital, growing relationship with Jesus Christ
- live an evangelistic lifestyle
- past experience in student ministry
- envision your future as either a missions mobilizer or a goer

What you get:
- a first hand look at what it takes to send students on mission
- a great summer experience
- possible college credit
- a stipend (but don't hold your breath)

First hand account of a 'slum'

When I mention 'slum', like almost all suburbanites, I have no idea what I'm talking about. There are the facts that I know, that almost every major city in developing countries have one, that today there are around 830M people that live in those conditions everyday, by the year 2050 that number will increase to 1.6B people. But those are cerebral facts, since I've never even been close to one.
To get a first hand account, I was reading the following posts by a guy named Vikrum. They give an incredible insight not only into the conditions, but the almost intangibles like the smells, the temperature, and the extremes.
A view
Akanksha II
Akanksha I
Great narratives about some real conditions in the world that millions of people live in everyday. The next generation of Jesus followers needs to know about this.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Hard Times EC Cohort

Had lunch today with a bunch of EC folks. Dig the name huh? Stephen has all the details. Great fun to meet them.

Rob Bell Live

David posts some notes from a satellite live conversation with Rob Bell. Thanks David!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Brazil team prep - culture

Had a meeting with the Brazil team tonight (well those who were in town) [sidebar: I'm really worried that we are not going to be a team by departure time] and talked about culture. Specifically, what are the essential elements of American culture? What tangible items would you bring to another culture to symbolize those elements? Here is some of the list of elements of our culture they came up with:
- family
- extravagence
- de-stressing
- choices
- achievement
- efficiency
- being seen
- quality time
- comfort
- conformity
- multi-tasking

We took it one step further and asked them what are some elements of American Christianity that they could identify, and which ones of those are biblical. We also talked about how elements of a culture are not positive or negative, mostly. Sometimes, a percieved negative element of the culture is a positive one being misused, much like personal character attributes.

Doing this discussion was one of those ideas that just popped into my head about an hour before our meeting. And some people think this trip is soooo last minute. It turned out much better than I thought. This idea of elements of culture (I have now come to realize) is so huge, so important to talk about. I'm glad God popped this idea into my head.

On a slightly related note, in 6 weeks, SPACE missions has raised $13K.

Summer 2006 - insane idea #1 - SPACEcamp

Posting this here so I don't totally lose the idea...
Nothing in concrete, just an idea...

SPACEcamp on the new GCC property --

Three days of crafts, games, food and fun for elementary aged kids, focusing on:
- what is the Gospel
- world cultures and religions
- live GCC missionaries

Hosted by a partnership between SPACE and GCC children ministries...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

AZ notes

My *very very* rough notes for AZ...

1 - risk
your week of service is based on an intention to risk
risk being misunderstood
risk being taken for granted
risk your reputation with your friends
risk God taking you to the next level of your relationship
risk seeing God differently
risk what you care about now, for possibly what God wants you to care about later
all for the sake of furthering the Kingdom
if you aren't interested in some level of risk, your time here might be boring

2 - listen
hone the ability to listen to God
we must be crazy because we believe God communicates to us, not just us talking to God

3 - do it, but the right way
ministry is based on you doing it
doing the right things, doing them the right way
the ends don't justify the means

Yup, everything on this blog is *very very rough*

Google sightseeing

Famous landmarks around the world, via Google satellite maps. For the laptop traveler. Interesting. Link.

All that work...

I got my hair all cut off, like it used to look like. Number one on the side, flat on top. I haven't gotten it cut since February. It was a little sad. But I have to look nice and crisp soon.

VOM Persecution Blog

I've been following the Voice of the Martyrs Persecution Blog for a few weeks now. It is some really enlightening writing. I say 'enlightening' because I don't know quite how to put it otherwise.
Basically, it talks about people who die for their faith. You know, real persecution. Not the kind of persecution we face here in the US. As I think back about the times I have 'been persecuted,' I can't remember one valid time. Not even once where someone made fun of me or called me a name or ridiculed me about going to church. And that's not even real persecution...
Here is a snippet of a letter from a missonary posted on the VOM blog.

"All together the property is the size of a living room. And on this prpoerty are 12 pigs and 7 goats. It smells so bad. No one speaks English, no plumbing, and no electricity, and of course my new flash light broke the first day. The family has 10 members all together. The village has never seen a white man and I am constantly surrounded by people. People are bring ing me gifts and food always. My family makes me dinner and breakfast everday. It is disrespectfull not to eat the food and unfortunately the younger kids starve when i am here because i am eating their food. It is hard to eat and watch them starve. I am in a double bind. Breakfast consist of a runny oatmeal type food, they make it by sweeping some seed and dirt fromt he ground with hot water and that's my breakfast."

Looks like this will be a great resource for a lot of people.

this community of students

In a few weeks, I get to hang with this community of students.  Very, very exciting.  (Look for the post under June 22, with the first sentence " Write someone a letter."

Test msg from phone

Test msg from phone

The Sheng language

Wow, I had no idea there was a language called 'Sheng'...
"Sheng is a slang variation of Swahili, originating in Nairobi, Kenya, and influenced by the many languages spoken there."
More here.  Found this when someone hit this site googling "sheng language"

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Who is iMosaic?

via Steve

Billy Graham links

Billy Graham is getting lots of posts of late. Stephen of faithmaps has a post about him and a link to a few CT articles, as does Andrew.

For an inside scoop, check out Jeremy, who is on the planning commitee of the NYC crusade, which may be Rev. Graham's last crusade. Here is the latest post about a youth worship event to prepare hearts and minds in advance of the crusade.

Home Grown

In an organization, leaders must be brought from the outside. In a movement, leaders emerge from within. A genuine movement is a leadership culture. It values the identification, development and empowering of new leaders. A central component of a movement's success is not the selection of accredited leaders but of proven leadership. Leadership is not about how much education a person has attained but how much they have actually accomplished in a ministry context. In many congregations the only role that members can aspire to is to be a good follower. In the first-century church, there were no other churches to take leaders from. Everybody had to be homegrown. - Erwin McManus

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Article - Short Term Missions

"Study Questions Whether Short-Term Missions Make a Difference", read the whole article for the answer here .  A few things of interest to me here:
-  ""The truth is that they don't have to come here to build homes. … If they come, they should come for the friendships, for the cultural exchange," says one Honduran NGO worker quoted in the study."   And... "What I would do would be to increase fees to hire Honduran workers to work side by side with the volunteers," says Peterson. That way, the money would be sure to be raised, third world workers would be given work, and North Americans could still participate in valuable cultural and spiritual sharing."
One solid reason that I'm not a big advocate of work projects.  Think indigenous.  Work projects never seem to catalyze local, culturally relevant leadership.

- "This study shows that short-term missions as done now are not having the impact that people think or want, even if done to levels of excellence," says Ver Beek. "If that's true, it requires a whole rethinking of whether or not we're going to do this, and if so, how."
Amen.  And actually, I don't really think what SPACE is doing is in line with typical short term missions.  I would like to think that we have a totally different perspective.

- Instead, the STM needs to be treated as one small module that augments a much longer and more intense course of learning.
We need to be careful that we don't compartmentalize missions versus non-missions.  We should be building disciples that follow Jesus.  Period.

Misc links

- Gcensus - google maps with census information populated... Very slick...

- Adopt a Chinese blog

- "Ironically, high technology—or at least the Information Age—is devaluing information because everyone has it. People still say, "Knowledge is power," but it's less powerful than ever before because more people have it than ever before. It's really not knowledge that's so powerful anymore—it's imagination. Seventy years ago, Einstein told us that imagination is more important than knowledge, and it's especially true today." -  An Insider's Guide to Creativity

Monday, June 20, 2005

Worship in the Spirit of Justice

Worship in the Spirit of Justice, is an initiative to mobilize Christians and other people of faith in MD, VA, and DC for five Sundays of public worship and political witness in Washington, DC, around the theme of justice and peace in Africa, and especially in Darfur, Sudan.

I wish I could attend one of these, it would be really fun. And to bring a group of students that are involved in our Eclipse DC, that would be really cool.

DCist even mentions the event and here is the flickr worship4justice tag.

Connecting - the Brazil team

One of the primary goals of a missions team leader is to build a connected, cohesive team. If you consider the whole mission experience from the perspective of a loosly knit gang of individuals versus a tightly-bound, cohesive, caring and gifted team, the experience is so much less than what it could be.

The goal of building this team, creating and shaping individuals to care about others, to work together, to sacrifice for one another, is my primary goal before our Brazil team departs. The biggest tool I have is time - spending time with one another. That includes getting other things done as well, including updates on support, learning about the culture there, praying for our trip. With this specific team, there is one slight missing detail - summer schedules.

To give you a feel about the team's schedules: FZ is in Europe for thirty days, LB is in Europe for ten days, BC is camping on the West Coast for twenty days, I'm on a family vacation in South Carolina and in Arizona for fourteen days, and the rest of the team is here and there as well. How do you build a team when they aren't even in the same country at the same time?

One of my attempts this year is to connect the team over email. I've written some updates including some significant questions that I think we as a team need to be thinking and interacting about. I've encouraged all the team to reply to all in an effort to get a real conversation going, even if online. I personally think it's a great idea. But of course, I thought of it (hence it might not be so great.) So far, unfortunately, response has been bad. I'm not sure why. All I can hope is that they are reading and thinking.

Some ideas that I've tried to get the team to think about:
- what is a team, what is not a team, and how does a team function
- how could someone serve you in your context, what does their attitude look like, and do we really have to die to ourselves
- will we be misunderstood in Brazil, why will we, and is being misunderstood for Jesus' sake biblical?

Photo: a team of SPACE kids serving at Helping Up Mission, Baltimore, October 2004.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

TSOTTC - book notes - Think Mission

"Don’t think church, think mission!" We don’t know how many times we’ve used that phrase in our lectures as part of the FORGE Mission Training Network. FORGE is based in Melbourne, and is a year long internship for radical church planters interested in developing missional churches....We have found it terribly difficult to get people to think in a missions-to-the-First-World kind of way, but those who can have felt liberated to dream creatively about new approaches to doing and being church. ... The seemingly steadfast refusal or resistance by the church to seriously contextualize the gospel is one of its greatest mistakes and will sadly hasten its declining influence on Western society. It is not taking standard cross-cultural mission principles seriously and is therefore not taking the gospel seriously.

There is a clear distinction between thinking about church and thinking about mission, even though, there really shouldn't be. I love the quote at the top. I am probably lucky, because as a component of a ministry, I'm not about church in the standard idea of it. I'm about mission. I don't have to worry about planning out the music in our church service this weekend, what kind of material our small groups are studying, how to prep the teaching team for the next week. Instead, I get to help plan with summer mission teams, dream about community outreach opportunities, reach out to current strategic GCC folks all over the world. Although the more that I think about it, and I think this is one of the tenets of the book, church should really look a lot more like mission.

Fathers Day 2005

Nice day today. I had to work last night from 11pm - 5am... Long night. But had a good time with the fam today. Had lunch at the Mall, did some shopping.
Best wishes to you dads out there today.

Friday, June 17, 2005


Long week...Some interesting circumstances...Mods to some of the info on my template...In the meantime -

- the six major questions in The Present Future, by Reggie McNeal, via Dan

- Fifty Writing Tools

- Alex McManus writes about eternal gifts we give our children.
"Pastors, church planters: Make your family and your kids a part of your whole life including the mission. Make sure they're not left behind while you serve others. Take them with you."

Some of the Brazil team hanging at Barnes and Noble. We asked them to find out some info about Brazil. Then we prayed for our trip. Most interesting observation - they are not nearly afraid to pray in public places like I was at their age.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

TSOTTC - book notes - Chapter 4

Subcultures: Now we are seeing such a dramatic fracturing of Western society into a range of subcultures, even in the suburbs, that one-size-fits-all is increasingly outmoded. This is called the subculturalization or tribalization of the West. In fact, it could be argued that the megachurch in America thrives mostly in monochromatic baby boomer suburbs. Having said that, we recognize it is a great generalization, and we don’t seek to explain the success of the megachurch phenomenon.

A few months ago, D and I were driving home in the evening from a date night. It was a weekend night and we drove through a parking lot that was literally filled with high school kids and their cars. It was like a scene out of "The Fast and Furious." Very wild. Reading that quote reminded me of that night - a vast, complicated subculture in a normally monochromatic baby boomer suburb.

Here is a list of some of the subcultures I come into contact with on a regular basis:
- groupings of Indian people at work, getting coffee, going out to lunch together, speaking in their native tongue
- young families, such as mine, getting together for kid parties, dinners together, etc. in local restaurants
- high school students hanging together at the mall
- more and more groupings of ethnic affinities, even in the suburbs
- college/young adults and their own church service

How about you, what are some subcultures you find?

Church: Church planter Andrew Jones cleverly says, "Any church that cannot get by without buildings, finances and paid experts is not fully being church."

Yup, people that must.

Leadership: If we could do church all over again, we would build clear leadership philosophy and vision, recognizing that imaginative, godly, biblical leadership is absolutely vital. It is the strategic area of leverage for change. We would focus on this first and keep focusing on it. It will be important in planting incarnational churches that the leader select a team only on the basis of a clear, demonstrated commitment to stated philosophy and vision. We have found that some people who can cognitively agree with the philosophy of the incarnational-church mode, still have great difficulty with it in practice. The attractional mode is so pervasive and so entrenched in the Western church that those who have grown up in it sometimes have a kind of default program in their imaginations.

If you are a leader, you would probably agree with me that this is much, much easier said than done. It is one thing to cast vision, to put your goals and values on paper, to talk to people about the direction you want to go. There is a big difference between someone who congnitively agrees versus embodies it with all of their being.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

DC resource 2005

Post for personal notes for me so I don't lose them later. One of the long term dreams is for SPACE to be a part of a mission exchange with another church from another locality sometime in the distant future. This is the first step - detailed notes about places to serve in the city.

* Metro one day unlimited pass - $6.50
If you buy a normal fare for $6.50, you can exchange it right away. Smartpass might be a good option too.

* SOME - 71st O street NW
Take Red Line to NY Ave/Florida Ave/Galludet stop
Walk right out of station, walk left on Florida Ave, until you hit New York Ave.
Left onto New York Ave, walk over bridge over North Capitol Street. Look left and see the Captiol Dome. Take a right onto North Capitol Street at the Big Ben corner shop. Second left onto O street. SOME is all the way down on the left. Not safe at night, nominally safe during the day.

* Captial Area Food Bank, NE - 645 Taylor Street, NE
Easy to drive to. Never taken the Metro there.
Metro stop - Brookland/Catholic U.
Walk 2 approx. blocks N on 10TH ST NE.
Turn left on QUINCY ST NE.
Walk 1 approx. block W on QUINCY ST NE.
Turn right on 7TH ST NE.
Walk 2 approx. blocks N on 7TH ST NE.
Turn left on TAYLOR ST NE.
Walk a short distance W on TAYLOR ST NE.
Total walking is 0.44 miles.

* Air and SPACE Museum has a great food court. Of course, it's McDonalds...
security checks at the door, so lines may be long.

* Great fountain located at National Sculpture Garden, north side of Mall, right next to the Museum of Natural History.

* Smithsonian Folklife Festival - June 23-27, June 30-July 4. Dates will vary, but takes up huge amount of real estate on the Mall.

* Plan for activities to be inside during hottest part of day.

* NCC is open to people hearing about them as a local, indigenous community for people to connect with.

* Union Station has a great food court.

* WWII memorial is the newest.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

DC #1

Today was our first mission day in DC, the first out of two planned for the summer. The DC movement was meant to be much larger than it is turning out, but thats okay. We had a great group of kids go today. A few of them are meant to be leaders among their peers.
We worked at SOME from about noon to 1.30pm, helping them serve a meal to the homeless. This included setup, serving and cleaning up. They actually serve two meals every single day. Getting there via Metro and walking was interesting. Probably not the safest part of the city.

Afterwards, we made our way down to the National Mall and went into the Air and Space museum. Get it - SPACE?!? We had some ice cream and went over some basics with the students about how to share their faith. How to start conversations, what is the CORE of the Gospel, how to end a conversation. Two other college age leaders (who are also on the Brazil lead team) helped out with pieces of those. We actually ended up doing a round robin small group thing in the food court of the museum because it was really loud in there. We spent about 45 minutes in there between cooling off, having a snack and talking about cultivating conversations.

Afterwards, we went back out and broke into groups and did the culture and religion survey. Two goals with the survey. [1] to learn about other cultures. [2] to get used to being a learner of other cultures. We [ all the leaders for today ] had a problem with trying to do cold evangelism [ one of my goals all summer is to NOT use this word ] with people on the street. So instead, we turned it around so that they would be learning from other cultures, asking questions, actively listening, etc. The students really got into it, it was really great. They meant people from so many parts of the world, other world religions, etc. Six questions were on the survey:
1 - What country are you from?
2 - What region/city/people group?
3 - Are you religious?
4 - If so, what religion?
5 - How does it affect you day by day?
6 - Did you religion originate from your cultural upbringing?

NCC sent me some great contact cards to give out too, to people that we might have gotten into conversations with. So great.

The original plan after the survey was to go to an ethnic restaurant in the Adams Morgan neighbohoood for dinner. Some of the leaders, my wife included, felt like maybe that wasn't the best idea, since none of us had really been to that neighborhood. Some of them were also feeling like we walked through a pretty seedy part of the city on the way to SOME already once on this excursion and another experience like that might not be such a great idea. I could totally understand. Instead, we left the city, and had dinner at a sandwich place in College Park, near where we had parked to get on the Metro.

I think we impacted the kids in two ways. First, they got to serve the homeless. They went out of their way, devoted and invested some time on a weekend to be intentional with serving someone less fortunate than them. We may oversensitize our students a little bit to the homeless, but if that means they serve more than average, I would be okay with that. Secondly, I think they 'saw' culture a lot more than they are used to. Most of them never imagined all the different cultures and how they could learn from them. If we are building students to be Jesus followers that keep in mind the perspective of culture, I think it's a great start. And if we don't keep culture in mind, we are probably making a big mistake.

The one other thing that hit me today more than ever, probably because my wife went with us [ my wife - who is so _much_ more level headed and realistic than me ], was the notion of risk. How much do you risk with students? Is feeding the homeless too risky [ I know some would balk at this question, but just understand my progression. ] Is walking through a bad section of the city too much or too little? How many drug deals on the street have you seen while on a missions excursion with your students? How big of a group can you take and actively lead safely into the inner city? How much can you really ensure?

Please don't get me wrong. Parents have every right to know their children are safe with you. As a parent of two kids, 7 and 4, I will demand the right things be planned for safety and logistically with regard to my kids. Every parent has that right. And they have the absolute right to ask you as a youthworker about it. And they have the right to be told the truth, honestly and forthright.

I know we can't know all the possible risks that we take when we invite kids to come with us on mission. But there is a balance between taking the risk, making the sacrifice and serving versus keeping kids totally safe in the all consuming suburban world. Keeping them safe and thereby squandering the future of the Church Jesus wants to use to meet the nations. I guess I'm still thinking about the balance. And it's a really good thing to be thinking about.

Friday, June 10, 2005

SPACE 2005 - Eclipse DC #1 - revised B

The plan that is a little smoother...

09.30 Depart Warehouse
11.00 Arrive - start serving at SOME
01.30 Finish serving
02.00 Arrive - The National Mall - How to Cultivate
02.30 Learning from other cultures - literally
05.00 Depart the Mall - go to Adams Morgan
05.30 Some kind of ethnic dinner
06.30 Depart for home
07.30 Back at Warehouse

We also wanted a local contact in DC, if we bumped into anyone that was curious in their journey. What better place than National Community Church, the church that used to just meet in Union Station. Now, they meet there as well as in Ballston Mall, in Rosslyn. So I emailed them asking if it would be okay if we could give out their name and location and service times. They said no problem and even sent me contact cards. I don't have them yet, but we will use them in July. Mark Batterson, lead pastor of NCC, blogs here.

Intern Educational Philosophy

Lots of posts about the National Forge Summit. Forge is the organization that the guys that wrote The Shaping of Things to Come started and work in.

I was checking out the web page a little bit this morning, after getting paged for a work related issue that I could only listen about. Work - bad. Reading about Forge - good.

You long time readers will remember that I have an intern starting in Aug of 2005, a mere three months away. Hard to believe.

I was checking out Forge's educational philosophy, here are some of the bullet items:

- Actional context is primary
People cannot learn mission removed from the context of mission. The same applies to leadership and ministry. Therefore the vast majority of the learning and training must take place in the organic context of the intern’s workplace or mission setting. Furthermore different leadership styles will emerge from different mission contexts. Context is everything.

What I get from this is actional vs. theoretical. That the learning is based on actions not just on getting information.

- Interns are placed in edgy learning environments
We try to place the intern in a position where they are ‘at risk’ or out of their comfort zone and therefore most inclined to learn. We then bring the learning to them when they need it most.

Isn't that great? I would actually be scared to be an intern there, but that is so crucial to the experiental learning process isn't it? I would also posit that in order to learn how to incarnate cross cultural ministry, you have to be placed in an edgy environment.

- Action-reflection learning model
Action is the starting point for reflection and fundamental to the learning and discipling process. Mission cannot be learned in a classroom removed from the context. Real learning occurs primarily within an action-reflection element.

Sounds like they like to team up action with reflection as neccessary compliments of each other. Reminds me of a lot of debriefing activities (topic for another post - have you met anyone or come across any training info that is really good for this type of stuff? I have but only once in a long while)

- Relational empowerment
Relationships are the primary means of transferring leadership and influence and are indispensable in the training of missional leaders. Therefore weekly coaching sessions and monthly regional meetings form the backbone of the FORGE internship process.

- Practitioner-teachers
A person cannot teach what they do not know and they cannot lead where they themselves will not go. We expose our interns only to leaders who have a direct and current experience at a cutting edge mission, church plant, or ministry project.

I love this. What I think is the next step is to make sure that those interns repeat the cycle to a certain degree. They should continue on the path and lead somewhere, leading others to where they have been.

- Inspiration, then information
People are not motivated by information alone. Real motivation arises when they connect with their basic passion and calling. Interns must be moved and inspired to act with passion for the Kingdom of God . Our training aims primarily at inspiration, not simply on new information.

- We value imagination as a resource for leadership
Imagination is the basis of vision, innovation and creativity. Interns are stimulated to think in pioneering and innovative ways of engaging in mission and building Christian community.

Very interesting. I would love to learn how they actually implement this. I know in the book they talk about different styles of brainstorming as a leader team. Fun.

- We aim at leadership development, not just skill development
Leadership is the key leverage area for change and mission. Our primary focus is developing and nurturing distinct leadership qualities and characteristics, and then on providing skills.

Amen to that. Skills versus character.

- Multi-dimensional leadership systems
We believe that the church needs to recover the apostolic, prophetic and evangelistic modes to be an authentic missional church. Our training focuses primarily on developing these functions in relation to mission and leadership.

- Rigorous intellectual engagement
Growth of the intellect is essential to missional leadership development. If we are to meaningfully engage our cultural setting we must first understand and interpret it. This requires significant intellectual development and skills. However, we believe there are other ways beyond the system of the academy with which to develop an intellectual grasp of theology and ministry. We aim to engender a deep love of learning in all that we do.

So maybe these interns are kind of geeky too. Thats cool. Seriously though, it sounds like a series amount of learning in the classroom too. The intellecutal grasp is definitely key as well. For my intern, I've planned a lot of reading. What I worry about is that it won't be 'action-oriented' enough.

Looks like I've got some work to do in thinking more about this intern. But I love these ideas.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

SPACE 2005 - Eclipse DC #1 - revised

The plan that is a little smoother...

09.30 Depart Warehouse
11.00 Arrive - start serving at SOME
01.30 Finish serving
02.00 Arrive - The National Mall - How to Cultivate
02.30 Learning from other cultures - literally
05.00 Depart the Mall - go to Adams Morgan
05.30 Some kind of ethnic dinner
06.30 Depart for home
07/30 Back at Warehouse

My friend MM

My friend MM is now blogging. Read him here.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Airline tickets

I'm almost ready to purchase airline tickets to Brazil. Team of 10 people, roughly around $13K. Here is one clincher - I'm scared to make the commitment. They are no refund, no exchange, etc. This means it is for real. That final step is a doozy.

Here is another clincher. So far, our team has raised $480. Yup. That's it. Don't get me wrong, the letters from every member except me (I already sent mine) are just about in the mail.

If I were a running this like a business, I would, obviously, not be able to purchase these tickets, no matter how good the schedule sounded or what a deal they were. Spend less than you make. Spend money that you have.

But, I'm lucky and blessed, because I am part of a community of faith that doesn't mind saying it walks by faith and then does it. Some other financial details are also in order, and so we are actually going to purchase these tickets. And not out of my pocket.

I say it to myself a lot, and again I remind myself - this is a pretty unique community of faith.

Mars Hill - Global Outreach

I spent a little bit of time listening to a message by Rob Bell titled "Change the World Sunday." It was pretty inspiring. He starts the talk by telling how when Mars Hill was started, they decided 25% of the budget would be given away around the world. He then goes on to talk in detail about how that money is being invested all around the world, with strategic partnerships, where Mars Hill is helping with mercy ministries, the AIDS crisis, church planting partnerships, etc. North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia. Really cool stuff.
Their mission's component is called Global Outreach and it looks to be a pretty dynamic, catalytic team. Additionally, they have published "The Love Book" (pdf), which is resembles a yearly report on what the GO team has invested in. Very well done.

"There are no God-forsaken places in the world... just church-forsaken."

What a great thing to have for the people that belong to your church, something like this 'Love Book', making sure that everyone in your community knows how this type of giving is engaged. At GCC, the Missions Task Force just started giving out prayer booklets of our missionaries. The first day they started giving them out, they ran short. Most people in our church had no idea that we have strategically and purposely sent families from within our community on intentional mission all around the world.

CPYU - The Rainbow Party

Walt from CPYU hits it again.... Read his latest post about "The Rainbow Party", (look for the posting from 6/5/2005 - no permalinks) a fictional book targeted for pre-adolescents. With two kids ages 7 and 4, this is scary...

The bottom-line on Rainbow Party is that Ruditis gives out lots of what he probably thinks is "neutral" information on something that sadly, is really happening. But in doing so, he’s sparking the interest of a generation of kids who are in the process of curiously realizing the emerging gift of their God-given sexuality, and giving them more sexual options to consider in a context void of moral absolutes and solid guidance.

SPACE 2005 - Eclipse DC #1

The *very very* rough plan:

09.30 Depart Warehouse
11.00 Arrive - start serving at SOME
01.30 Finish serving
02.00 Arrive - The National Mall - How to Cultivate
02.30 Start cultivating
05.00 Depart the Mall - go to Adams Morgan
05.30 Some kind of ethnic dinner
06.30 Depart for home
07/30 Back at Warehouse

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

TSOTTC - book notes - A Person of Peace

A slight break in the postings from this book. I would like to stop for a second to think about this term 'person of peace' that the authors talk about. The context for this term Chapter 4, titled "The Shape of the Missional Church," or what the missional church really looks like.

Missiologists like Charles Brock and George Patterson suggest that finding a 'person of peace' is central to a healthy church-planting process. But few churches start this way. Many churches spend significant parts of their budget on advertising. Finding a person of peace and basing our ministry there seems like a less effective method in the short-term. But in the long term, a church-planting project that emerges out of the local, indigenous leaders will be much richer and more effective.

They use two examples in terms of talking about this person of peace.
1 - Jesus in Luke 10, sending out the party of 72 disciples. "If a man of peace is there..."
2 - Paul, in Acts 18, focusing on Priscilla and Aquila.

"People of peace are key people who are spiritually open, have good reputations, and have influence in the community. When they become believers, they then share their faith confidently with their networks of friendship and start new home-based churches."

This is a new idea to me, and a nice surprise. I have heard about most of the ideas in this book via Perspectives. This book seems to take it to the next level, taking those ideas about cross cultural ministry and integrating them into the life of a community of faith. But this idea, this was totally new to me. Good to think about.

It also reminds me of an idea I heard at the Orlando Regional Origins conference - that we should be focusing on reaching leaders and not just followers. And that we need to be a leader to reach other leaders.

Can you think of a few 'people of peace' in some of your contexts? How about work, school, where you live?
What about reaching leaders? Can you list a few leaders in those contexts too?
Does it seem to you, like it does to me, that there is probably a natural intersection in people of peace and leaders? Maybe, maybe not...

Rob Bell on church growth

"My theory of church growth is simple," said Bell, leaning across the table to deliver the coup de grace. "People drive a long way to see a fire."
Read the entire article here.

Is your community of faith on fire?

The Right Brain

Liberated by this prosperity but not fulfilled by it, more people are searching for meaning. From the mainstream embrace of such once-exotic practices as yoga and meditation to the rise of spirituality in the workplace to the influence of evangelism in pop culture and politics, the quest for meaning and purpose has become an integral part of everyday life. And that will only intensify as the first children of abundance, the baby boomers, realize that they have more of their lives behind them than ahead. In both business and personal life, now that our left-brain needs have largely been sated, our right-brain yearnings will demand to be fed.

From the article "Revenge of the Right Brain". Not only an important article about the future of information workers, Asia, abundance and automation, but it says some pretty important things about our culture, the search for meaning and The Conceptual Age. Adapted from "A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to The Conceptual Age."

Sunday, June 05, 2005

TSOTTC - book notes - Chapter 3 - The Incarnational Approach

- Incarnation provides us with the missional means by which the gospel can become a genuine part of a people group without damaging the innate cultural frameworks that provide people group with a sense of meaning and history. David Bosch is right when he notes that "it should not bother us that in during different epochs the Christian faith was perceived and experienced in new and different ways. The Christian faith is intrinsically incarnational."

- The great danger in failing to practice mission incarnationally is cultural imperialism. This form of imperialism, itself a sin, is easily observed in so many countries where Western missionaries import without critical reflection their cultural forms of the gospel and impose them on a people group. Even though conversions often result, the long-term outcome is the loss of a genuinely local, indigenous culture.

- What is now clear to us about non-Western contexts is also becoming appallingly clear regarding our own context. We can so easily impose a cultural form on the people and the groups we hope to reach with the love of Jesus. We so often make the gospel synonymous with a bland middle-class conformity and thereby alienate countless people from encountering Christ. How often have we seen public opinion polls that reflect the attitude of "Jesus, yes! Church, no!"

- Incarnational mission means that people will get to experience Jesus on the inside of their culture and their lives because of our embodying the gospel in an incarnationally appropriate way. Most attitudinal research on the subject indicates that in terms of the public perception of the unchurched, to become a Christian is synonymous with becoming a somewhat happy but bland, usually white, almost always middle-class, middle-of-the-road person. This kind of person is exemplified by Ned Flanders.

- Heterogeneity is a discipleship issue, not a missional one.

Some really good quotes about incarnation. What I love about some of these ideas about mission are that they are so applicable not only to cross cultural situations (which is a big point of the book) but student ministry.

One of the balances I have been thinking about lately is the idea of program vs. incarnation. Lately, whenever anyone implies 'program', whether its some kind of curriculum, discipleship ladder or whatnot, I cringe and tune out.

2005 SPACE missions prep meeting

What an awesome day yesterday! We had about 35 students show up for a 10-3 training day for all summer teams. We had four teams - Brazil, Trinidad, Light Company (middle school) and DC. Great turnout, there were only a few people that couldn't make it.

The morning had four workshops, with the four teams rotating to each one, for about 20-25 minutes each. The workshops were:
1 - learning in a different culture
taught by a couple from GCC that had served in Tanzania for four years
2 - team personality
a combination of Myers Briggs and Love Languages discussion, led by one of our SPACE leaders who has been to China, Panama, Germany and various other places
3 - developing your story
how to communicate your story about Jesus, taught by three post college guys and gals who are on a team from GCC going to Turkey for a few years, leaving in September.
4 - the state of the world
taught by me, going over basic concepts including the 10-40 window, unreached people groups and the latest State of Christianity 2005

We had lunch after the workshops. My wife slaved away the night before cooking 15 pounds of ground beef for taco salad. She IS a gem. She gets dragged into all the details of SPACE.... haha

After lunch, another friend MAB, came and did some team building exercises for us. Another set of 3 exercises, rotation style.
1 - team relay including spinning your head on a golf club 10 times.
2 - walking as a team with the hand/foot ski things
3 - team communication while on a balance beam

After being outside, the same teams got a few bags of big and small marshmallows and a tub of toothpicks. The object was to build the largest structure that we could in a certain amount of time. I think the middle school team won. Theirs was massive. My teams, on the other hand, was an art deco piece. Ha.

The final piece of the day was a debrief. MAB and I go way, way back, so it was fun to have him come out and do the team building stuff for us. His favorite phrase is "For every physical lesson, there is a parallel spiritual truth." The discussion was very engaging, lots of kids were willing to talk and dive in to discussing that principle from the stuff they just did. Some ideas that came up included: its not easy being first, you have to learn to work together, chaos is not always bad, and it's hard to know when to lead.

Overall, I think the day was a really big success. My two main goals were [1] to give these kids some great perspective from people that have been involved in missional experiences and other cultures and [2] to have a great time of bonding with their teams.

Photos: The Brazil team, minus one female leader; our SPACE 05-06 intern, E, spinning her head on the golf club; the LC marshmallow structure; the Trinidad team on the beam; the Trinidad team minus three team members

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Summer teams momentum

All of the summer teams are mostly finalized now. Brazil, Trinidad, a DC team which will be open to all students, and a middle school team. Wow. Just like last year, I'm still in a bit of shock that it has come together like it has.

Looks like we will have about 30-35 students on Saturday for the mission prep workshops and stuff. That still has me in disbelief too, that we are mobilizing that many students to get out of the church and be on mission.

One of the major challenges this summer is to form a tight, cohesive leader team for the Brazil trip. Out of four leaders, two of them are in Europe for 1 and 4 weeks respectively. I'm also away for 2 weeks somewhere in there. Nuts. On Sunday night, since three were in town and I was away, we did a virtual meeting over IM. It was the first time I ever did that for something outside of work. We do that stuff at work all the time and it usually works pretty well. Our meeting on Sunday was great as well.

Here are a few tips I've learned about IM group chats:
- Sometimes you will have to address your message. Instead of "When are you going to do that?", you should use, "Pablo - when are you going to do that?"
- It might help to outline your topics as you move from one subject to another. "Item #1 - schedule" instead of "How about schedule?"
- Get used to lots of people talking at once. Make your window really big so that you can see it all scroll quickly. It's a little manic at times, but hey, thats what makes it fun, right?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

TSOTTC - book notes - Chapter 2 - The Missional Church

Three flaws in the Christendom-mode church - attractional, dualistic, hierarchical.
We believe the development of indigenous, contextualized worship occurs in partnership with new believers from one’s host community. The tailoring of worship services is a lot further down the priority list for missional church leaders. The Come-To-Us stance taken by the attractional church is unbiblical. It’s not found in the Gospels or the Epistles. Jesus, Paul, the disciples, the early church leaders all had a Go-To-Them mentality.

Church in the Missional Mode
- Proximity Spaces - Places or events where Christians and not-yet-Christians can interact meaningfully with each other. (Café, art gallery, etc.)
- Shared Projects - Shared or joint projects between the Christian community and its host community
- Commercial Enterprise
- Emerging Indigenous Faith Communities

Getting It Right - incarnational, missional, apostolic.

A few thoughts:
- There is that word again - indigenous.
- When you envision the standard components of a church, how many of the aspects above come into your mind? Like me, I think you only see one - the faith community. And it doesn't always look indigenous either.
- Taking that a little further, when you look at the standard youth ministry, can you envision a student ministry having those components above? One idea - people in our student ministry have thrown around the idea of launching an art gallery event - a proximity space.