Friday, June 30, 2006

Ready for a vacation

Well we are ready. I'm not answering my cell phone for a while. And I'm sure people will manage. And someone is at my house just so you know. Here is the to-do list as of the past few weeks. Most of it has been quite worth it.

X DC - MR - CSM drop in?
X find DC mini vans
X cam visa - notarized letter from parents
X cam visa - letter from church
X team pictures to church office
X merge packet to jess w
X merge registration
X MMaloy JGuy Rmsings Mission Advance prep
X Cam team shot info faxed to Mary
X SPACE mission advance updated info sheet
X SPACE projected payment info to accountant
X find Mission Advance worship leader
X Drop visa batch#1
X LC moms - drinks for Mission Advance help
X list of families for Taiwan host to EOBrn
X projected church van need to SM
X DWoo - Merge guys paperwork
X meet with LB - funding and visas for next week
X input checks for this week
X input checks for last last week
X send out team financial reports
X write my personal thank you cards
X follow up with visa guy on status of first batch
mission adv finance close
X cam DI stuffs
X cam next mtg schedule
X RB LA release
X pay mission advance "citation" if that is what you call it
X swim across the pool for the first time
find student for merge team opening

See you in mid July. Might be some posts that are prewritten and published with a simple click before lounging at the pool. Or might not be.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Best Debriefing Resources

Seth Barnes, Executive Director of Adventures in Missions, has a series of 10 posts that deal specifically with debriefing and reentry. I've thought for a long time that there was not a lot of material available on this subject and I think Seth's posts are probably the most comprehensive I have seen. Some of you may want to read, study and print these posts out.

#1 - Overview
#2 - Biblical Perspective
#3 - Why Do It?
#4 - Areas to Cover
#5 - 30 Questions to Ask, #5b - Continued
#6 - How Debriefs Make A Difference
#7 - Different Ways
#8 - Why Debriefing is Important
#9 - Debriefing Sharpens Our Spiritual Sight
#10 - Untangling Lies

A few things out of Seth's series that I try to specifically do:
- Instant, daily and post trip debriefs.
- Using journals and photos a lot.
- Encourage people to come up with different summaries of the trip for different people - 30 second, 2 minute and 20 minute versions.

Things out of his posts that I'm going to think more about:
- looking at those 30 questions more.
- more focus on planning for the future versus just processing the experience.
- more thinking about the 4 re-entry patterns and how they matter.

Related posts:
- Brasil 2005 Reentry
- The Next Mile debriefing resources

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Skype, Smores and a Sombrero

The girlies are at the Madres in CT this week. She has been gracious enough to have them so that D and I could pull off this past weekend together and not have to worry about our girls. The girls are, of course, having a great time there and in no hurry for us to pick them up. Oh to be so carefree....

The whole pale-skinned side of the family decided to buy webcams and download Skype to keep in touch. I just got a webcam yesterday and we were able to video talk to the girls for the first time last night. Very fun and works pretty well. Our video last night was a little choppy and might have been due to both a bad connection and the electrical storms in our area.

I've been using Skype on and off for about a year and started to use it to talk to GMcM when we were getting ready for Brasil. Who would have imagined it would be so easy to keep in touch with friends around the world?

Photo: Kt and Em [in the foreground], smores and a sombrero; the sombrero courtesy of the fun effects that came with our webcam.

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Urban Impact NY blog

Read about his heart... and let me tell you - it is real on the web like it is in person....

SPACE Mission Advance 2006

I'm back from Mission Advance 2006. There is so much to tell, but although exhausting as it was, it was definitely worth it.

The two big goals for the weekend was to have the teams bond together by spending time together and give the students a bit of preparation about culture, teams and their summer trips. Every piece of the weekend was centered around these two goals.

Fri 09.30p arrive
Fri 10.00p intro and worship
Fri 10.30p team time
Fri 11.00p snack
Sat 12.30a lights out
Sat 09.00a breakfast
Sat 10.00a team build 1
Sat 11.00a team build 2
Sat 12.30p lunch
Sat 02.00p team build 3
Sat 03.30p free time
Sat 06.00p dinner
Sat 07.30p mission workshops
Sat 09.00p worship
Sat 10.00p snack
Sat 11.00p leader mtg
Sat 12.00a lights out
Sun 08.30p breakfast
Sun 10.00p close
Sun 11.00p depart

Team Building
Team Building 1 was a sand castle contest between four summer teams. Each team was given a bucket filled with random, obscure objects that D and I got from the dollar store. Their objective was to build a sandcastle using those objects. The activity was meant to be fun and light-hearted, to get teams working together and give them a bit of time on the beach. It went really well. The leaders decided to just let the students do the activity together while the leaders formed their own team and built their own castle. This was fun for the leaders, although it didn't give them the opportunity to observe how their teams were working [or not working] together. I didn't think about it, but I should have made sure they were watching their teams.
Team Building 2 was having the teams go through an activity called Lost At Sea. Some of you may have seen this before. It's an exercise in decision making and the intention is to show how working as a team usually results in better decision making compared to making the decision by yourself. Most teams enjoyed it although since this was a sit down exercise, we probably could have had more fun doing another interactive, outside activity. See for the whole exercise.
Team Building 3 was meant to get the teams out on the boardwalk of Rehoboth Beach, doing some kind of light service project outside of camp, and taking some risks as a team. The ideas included filling up parking meters with some change that were close to expiring, serving and blessing some kids and families at Rehoboth Beach's Fun Land by giving them some free tokens, picking up some trash at the beach, and starting a soccer or volleyball game with some strangers on the beach. The Cam team played skeeball most of the time [no, not really.] Actually, we had an intersting discussion about who on the boardwalk would be a 'person of peace.' Most of these ideas worked well, but the weather was overcast and rainy. Fun Land was definitely a great place to see kids serve people they didn't know.

MMaloy told this story at dinner:
"Some guy was playing a game and his game finished. Someone from our team came and gave him a token to put into his game. His game finished again and someone else from oru team gave him another token. "This is the second person that has done this to me today!" "

Mission Workshops
JGuy - the ideas of obedience, prayer and trust on your missions trip.
MMaloy - how do you define success on your missions trip.
N and B Rmsing - culture - what is it and how can do we relate to it.
They were all excellent and the students appreciated the different topics and perspectives. The timeslot, being late in the day, was not optimal, but that was due to a last minute logistics change.

Cape Henlopen State Parks, in the youth group camping section.

The weather had some fun with us this weekend. Ideally, a weekend without rain would have been perfect. But Sunday was literally washed out, with rain and thunderstorms all night long Saturday night and flash flooding warnings during our whole drive home. In fact, part of the trip home was driven through a quarter mile of highway with water 2-3 feet deep.
I had been planning a kind of send off thing for the leaders to be part of on Sunday morning. It would have involved leaders annointing there students with a drop of oil on their foreheads and praying over the students as we worshipped on the beach, with no rain. Unfortunately, it didn't stop raining and our worship leader broke a string on his guitar. So that plan fizzled.

"I think this was my summer missions trip." - D [whose help in the kitchen was immense.]
"Adaptability is what it is all about." - N Rmsing

My two favorite parts - the mission workshops and our short leader gathering Sat night. I loved being able to bring some guys and gals with some good expertise and giving them a chance to share with these students. And I loved being able to share and hang with these leaders. Again, I can't tell these guys and gals enough how much I appreciate what they are going to do this summer.

Photos: All of SPACE Mission Advance; the Baltimore Merge team; the LC team during one of the workshops; the LA team admist the floods; most of the summer leaders. More photos at my 20060623missionadvance tag.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Pray for Mission Advance

Well, we are almost ready to go for Mission Advance. It is sort of coming along nicely.

Here are a few things we would love for you to pray about:
- safety in getting 58 or so people down to the beach and back.
- for good weather - some of our team stuff is going to be outside - and, of course, we need good weather because we are going to the beach...
- for the team leaders - that they make the most of their time with their teams
- for two students and their job situations - that they are able to go because I really want them there.

As always, we really appreciate your praying for us.

Photo: The Cam team got shots on Tuesday. Most of their arms fell off that night.

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Mission Sunday 2006

I meant to post this a few days ago, but, like I mentioned before, Sunday was a total blur. If you asked or told me about something on Sunday, you should email it again.

Anyway, besides it being Fathers Day, and me working until 6am the night before, it was Mission Sunday - the Sunday where GCC promotes all summer mission trips. In theory, it is a phenomenal idea. The whole church gets to see and hear a little bit about some its own going out to different places and serving with different ministries. There are seven summer teams this year and I'm really ecstatic to have a small role in five of those teams.

Our graphic artist put together thousands of prayer cards for each of the teams. [See my previous posts.] She also printed the cards poster size. Each team had its own little area out in the lobby after each service where people could pick up a card and meet and chat with some of the team. It was really fun and like I told all of the kids - its a great opportunity to share with someone a cool thing you are doing this summer.

During the service, they had slides for each team, as they announced each team and showed its slide, they had people on those teams stand up. All of us sat mostly together during the 2nd service [see blurry photo] and it was pretty cool. The mass of student mission humanity.

Mission Sunday is a great idea. However, two things come to mind for improvement. First, Fathers Day isn't the best Sunday to do it. Secondly, on a much broader scale, mission isn't just about going to another place. We all know that, but have to make sure we don't glorify missionaries more than anyone else that is living with intention and purpose.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Meet the SPACE 2006 DC Team

Meet the SPACE 2006 LA Team

Not My Helmet

So the heavens opened up and I found a worship leader for Mission Advance. I love it when a plan comes together. Of course, I know the plan will continue to hmm how shall I put it - evolve...

This is BCoe [the one without the helmet on]. He has been on a few of our SPACE teams, including NYC 04 and Trinidad 05 as well as on our Senior weekend last month. It will be lots of fun to see how he shapes our worship environment this weekend. Probably the coolest part is that he has been well involved with SPACE and will be able to shape the worship environment from that perspective.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Enter the Matrix

In order to try and keep all our teams organized, I use Excel like it was the end of the world. Here is a quick snippet.

Names go down the rows. Teams are across the top for columns. Two more columns include attending Mission Advance and whose car they are in. An x in the column for each student signifies who is going on what.

Way over on the right are summary tables using important function = COUNTIF(L2:L79,"x"). That counts the number of how many cells have 'x' within the range.

Click on the image for full size.

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Expert Mission Trip Advice

A few months ago, I reached out to some experts to answer the question, "If you could give one piece of advice for people going on mission trips, what would it be?" I got some great responses and did a series of posts about their answers.

Here are the links:

#1 - PrayingMantis.
#2 - Justin Long.
#3 - Steve Addison.
#4 - Andrew Jones.
#5 - Dr. Ryan Bolger.

Good advice - learn from those who have gone before you.

Mission Trip Advice #5

This is the fifth in a series of posts entitled "Mission Trip Advice." [Post #1, #2, #3 and #4 in the series.] So you have signed up to go on a mission trip, and maybe you don't know exactly what to expect. And you are maybe looking for some advice. What is one piece of advice that experts could give you?

Dr. Ryan Bolger is assistant professor of Church in contemporary culture at Fuller Seminary and teaches classes on emerging churches and postmodern/global culture. Ryan is coauthor (with Eddie Gibbs) of Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Communities in Postmodern Cultures (Baker Book House, Fall 2005).

Dr. Bolger's advice:
The key thing for your students to understand is that the trip is for them and not who they are going to...It is to develop their awareness, wake them up, spark something. Rarely do the recipients of these trips experience long term change (although there are always exceptions!). I would encourage your students to journal and to process what is going on for them a changed Westerner can mobilize even more efforts when they get home...
Yes, we can change the world, but it will involve the rest of their life and not just two weeks...but praise God for small beginnings...
Much thanks to Dr. Bolger for his advice and experience!

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Already a Blur

This weeekend is moving way too fast...

Today was:
- lovely time at the pool with D this afternoon
- out to Reston with the fam to have dinner with an old college roommate and his family, he and his family of a wife and three girls under 5 are moving in two weeks to Bangkok, Thailand
- I'm at work now - it's when most normal people are sleeping

Tomorrow is:
- Fathers Day
- Mission Sunday at church in the morning - don't know if I will make it or not
- extended family's wedding in the afternoon


Saturday, June 17, 2006

It Actually Might Advance

So, this Mission Advance thing might actually work. Lord be with us.

Workshop Team:
There will be three guests coming with us - specifically to do some mission prep sessions:
JGuy - who was a student in the ministry and then became a Dteam leader. He has participated on numerous cross cultural mission trips, as well as helping to lead a SPACE team to Trinidad in 2005, assisting a GCC family living there. This past February, he spent 3 weeks in Southeast Asia, living with another GCC family.
MMaloy - who will be starting his third (!) rotation as a Dteam leader in the fall - he is either nuts or crazy. Seriously though, MMaloy is a well seasoned youth worker and has loads of experience with student missions. He has helped lead teams to DC, Trinidad, and Canada. He was also a big part of our most recent Senior missions weekend to NYC.
N and B Rmsing - N and B lived in Africa for a number of years and bring some very relevant cross cultural experience to our teams for this weekend.

Nothing too elaborate. Easy to eat breakfasts. Deli meat sandwiches for lunch. Meatball subs for dinner. Easy to eat and clean up. Two middle school mothers have volunteered to help and JBourq is also going to help. We will make teams come in and do meal prep and clean up for different meals and call it team bonding, when it in fact is just cheap labor. It's either help for your own meal or work in an iPod factory. Our kids were away tonight at Grannys and D and I went to a warehouse store and priced and bought a bunch of stuff. I'm much more optimistic about the whole thing after doing that. Almost all of these good ideas come from D.

Barley enough cars to get there. I think.

Worship leader:
Pray that the heavens open up on this one.

I guess since this weekend's idea was mine, I'm responsible. Not only for the logistics going smoothly, but the overall tone and direction of the weekend. I guess at some point I'm going to have to talk about why we are doing what we do.

Team Bonding:
There are going to be two specific points for team interacting, bonding and growing, besides all the informal times. One is going to be very relational with the teams having to interact outside of themselves. The other is going to require some creativity and innovation, as well as just teams having a lot of fun with each other. Wish I could say more, but it's a fantastic idea. And it wasn't mine, it was Ds. And of course, the whole focus of this weekend is for the teams to grow together, just by being together.

Tell you more maybe after this coming weekend is over.

Photo: The Sheng girls, at an end of nature camp picnic for E. School is out!

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Delicious on the Sidebar

I just added a linkroll on the sidebar - which lists my most recent links saved into my account. If you save a lot of bookmarks for future reference, you should get a account. Firefox has a cool extension so that you can save bookmarks to your account really easily.

I also recently added a few people [Lon, Breathfire] into my delicious network. It seems like a cool thing. If you have an account and want to be in my network, let me know.

I also added some world clocks to the sidebar a little while ago too, showing significant places to SPACE around the world.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Getting Started With Mission Team Preps

I've had a few people ask me lately about how to get started preparing a mission team. Here are some of my thoughts and some tools that I have used a few times that seem to work well. The two primary aspects of team preparation should center around team unity and expectations.

First - team unity. Your team should get to know each other. They should begin to interact. They should get to know you and the other leaders. The members of the team will soon need to act as one versus acting as individuals.
"For the Christian, there are strictly speaking, no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, 'You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,' can truly say to every group of Christian friends, 'You have not chosen one another, but I have chosen you for one another.' The friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument which God reveals to us to each the beauties of all the others." - CS Lewis
I know I've quoted that before here on the blog but its worth quoting again. Essentially, you are trying to build a sense of community - but not community for the sake of community. The community is because of team's role and mission to the world. If not for the mission experience at hand, the team would not exist. Like they said at Origins - "fellowship is what you do while you change the world." And like the quote, someone else has been putting together your team, perfectly.

Building this aspect of the team can be intangible - it happens as you spend time together. Sure, some of your activities will center around activities designed to get to know one another, but most of it is going to be shared time and experiences. Your leader team will be a model for the team at large. A leader team that is tight, welcoming and warm will create an environment that will grow a team that is unified, empathetic and humble. And no surprise, your example matters the most.

Second - expectations. This is the more meaty part of your team preps - actual discussion and activities to prepare you for the actual experience - ministry activities and training, discussions and roleplays about culture, language training and that kind of stuff. You want to prepare your team as much as you can for what you know about. You also must prepare them to be flexible, to be innovative and creative, to be as improvisational as they can - because without a doubt, the plans you know of now are going to change.

On a broader scale, there are some expectations that you have of the team that will not be relegated by logistics or plans. Attitude, how they spend their time while on the field, and constant goals about witness and behavior are some good examples. For instance, no matter how our plans will change in Cameroon, one team expectation is that we are there to bless our missionary family. The expectation does not change even when plans do. If the plans for the camp fall through, the team knows the expectation is still to serve and bless these families, whether that is doing the dishes, taking their kids out for some fun, or organizing a pick up game of football with students.

Some tools that I have used in the past with good success:
- The Hardy Personality
- The Short Term Missions Workbook [I know, I know, you've heard about this a million times by now]
- Myers Briggs Personality Temperament
- The 5 Love Languages Tester
- StrengthsFinder - which I just gave out to leaders this summer for the first time

Here is a rough idea of what is left for my Cameroon team and their preparation:
- Shots and collecting all the rest of the visa paperwork
[Related to the visa paperwork, we get a notarized parental release form from all the parents for everyone under 18, and that gets submitted with the visa packages and we as leaders carry them everywhere we go. Also related, we carry scanned images of passports and those images are also uploaded to an email account just in case we need to get to them.]
- We will be talking about how to lead a Bible study, especially how to lead a Bible study for high schoolers - high schoolers leading a study for their peers.
- Breakout of team packing list which will include Bible camp supplies as well as special treats for our host families and stuff from the US for our GCC family
- A final packing party
- More discussion about the team as a body
- More discussion about a lifestyle of risk

The more I look at this list, the more sense Seth Barnes has about splitting between spiritual director and logistics - see previous post.

Photo: The first mission team I ever led, the summer of 1992. I'm the one with the really cool hat on.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Two roles of a mission project leader

Seth Barnes writes about two roles of a mission project leaders:
Spiritual Director
- Provides spiritual direction for the trip
- Ensures that our project mission and objectives are met
- Oversees logistics coordinator
- Equipped to train groups in listening prayer
- Leads debriefs
- Ensures learning
- Ensures unity of spirit and purpose

Logistics Coordinator
- Ensures safety
- Keeps things on schedule
- Compiles ministry charts
- Communicates logistics
- Understands and can enforce standards of excellence

The Spiritual Director usually functions best by overseeing the Logistics Coordinator rather than the other way around. The project is a spiritual exercise before it is a logistical one.
It's definitely some sound advice. I like the idea of splitting the logistics and spiritual direction because I think both are large enough undertakings that having two people fulfill those roles is a great breakdown of the huge task that mission experiences are. And right now, I'm in the midst of the hugeness. I also appreciate his concept that the experience is spiritual before logistical.

Maybe what some of this means for SPACE is that we find out which side people have more strengths on - the logisitics versus the direction. Interesting division that needs more thought.

Support Trending

Another reason why we use Excel to track financial support - Excel charts!

I love Excel charts!! This chart is the trend of the amount of support by date. [click for full size]

We are currently about 18% for all the summer teams, after about 3 weeks of donations. I think we are going to continue to get lots of donations at least for the next 3 or 4 weeks. If you might be interested in giving some financial support, we would love it, email for specifics.

Related post: Big picture of our support process, July 2005.

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

My Sunday At Church

Sort of typical summer Sunday morning at church:
- show up for LC parents meeting, but a bit late. Have K meander around the Warehouse as long as she doesn't leave. Meeting ran out of time - no time for SPACE. Oh well.
- talk to a parent of two middle schoolers going on our LC trip. Parents have loads of cross cultural experience, including Teen Missions and growing up in Africa. Ding ding. Talk to them for a few minutes about our ideas of progression and strategy. Need to follow up with them for future Mission Advances - like that's going to happen.
- run into three 03 guys. All are doing really well. Especially TP - which has been a series of posts by himself. I can't tell you how good this news is - he looked absolutely fantastic. What can I say - it's the Developer strength in me.
- take K to class - move up Sunday, she is now in 3rd grade.
- back to Warehouse. LB and I collate all the visa materials - ones that are ready, ones that are not. She doesn't mind walking around with passports - she has more guts than me.
- introduce our potential NYC transplantee to some SPACE people.
- talk to our Senior High Admin about a venture with an overseas youth missions org, long story. Wish we could be better equipped, involved, partnered up.
- talk to our Senior High Pastor about projected church van use. The church van was on fire last Friday. Goodbye old green friend.
- collected one person's paperwork for Mission Advance - not due until next Sunday, but one is a good start.
- reviewed on LA team member's support letter. Not in the mail yet I guess?
- picked up more summer support donations.
- went to listen to Senior High Pastor SM talk during high school service. He showed pictures of real demon possessed people. Go SM, go!
- followed up an invitation to someone to lead worship at Mission Advance. She can't do it.
Busy, busy.

The afternoon was lighter. Bob Evans, Staples and Borders and then dinner at Grandpas and Grannys with K.

Photo: In homage to our old green church van, the rear and front of it the last time I drove it after successfully parallel parking it in NYC [with a spotter of course]

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Saturday Potpourri

-- Hotel Safety Tips via Gadling
Immediately upon check in, get two business cards or matchbooks with the hotel name and address on them. Place one by the phone in the room so you know where you are and keep the other on you when you leave so you know where to come back to. If you get lost, you have the address and phone number handy. There is nothing more frustrating than telling a cab driver to take you to the "Marriott" and they ask which one?? That could be one very expensive cab ride. Or if you are in a country where you don't speak the language, you can simply show a taxi driver the matchbook, and you're on your way back to the hotel.
-- Dr. Ed Stetzer, who is a researcher and missiologist for the North American Mission Board, now has a blog, via Mark Driscoll.

-- A multi-site student ministry strategy.

-- Coca-Cola economic index
The relationship between cola and an index developed by the United Nations to show general quality of life.
via Kottke

Friday, June 09, 2006

Fri night

The house is really quiet - D and Em are up north, K is at a sleepover party. I dropped in on an LA team meeting tonight and then came home and tried to finish up my little project of putting in a new phone port on the other side of our fridge. If you had a free Friday night, what else would you do?

Did you know that you can still get a dial tone but not caller id if the green and red connections are reversed? At least, that's what I think the fix was.

Urbana as a Mobilization Tool

If you haven't heard already, this year is an Urbana year. Urbana is InterVarsity's triennial student missions conference. The first conference started in 1946 and since then, Urbana has seen over 220,00 students be a part of the conference. From the Urbana website: Urbana has sought to accomplish four objectives:

1. Declare God's character and mission as revealed in Scripture (missio Dei).
2. Inform participants about the current realities in global missions.
3. Call all participants to join God's mission.
4. Motivate participants to serve in global and crosscultural missions.

We have sent some college students from GCC to Urbana ever since I can remember. In 2003, I helped coordinate our group that went. Although I have never been to Urbana, I think it can be a great mobilization tool, given the right environment and context. If you are thinking of sending a group of students, or even going yourself, I offer the following ideas to think about:

1 - In order for there to be real, sustainable transformation, your students should have someone to guide them through the experience. This is a large scale event with this year's estimates being 20,000 students, 200 seminars and 300 mission agencies. If you love information about missions and the state of the world, I'm sure Urbana has the best, most recent statistics, trends and figures [something this blog loves by the way.] But information alone does not transform and big is not always better.

Ideally, each group would have a mentor-type of person go with them, that would organize a time for the group to come together every day or other day, simply to interact about the information that the group has gathered.

2 - Do they have a calling to vocational missions? Our last group included a group of 5 guys that knew they wanted to serve short term within the 10-40 window. They had essentially already assembled a team, had a fix on a locality and had some thought out goals. At the mission agency fair, or whatever you call it, they had recruiters chasing them down. That summer, the spent 3 weeks in Kazakhstan. If your students have a call to full time vocational cross cultural missions, this would be the context to make a great connection. If they don't, they may have to wade through a lot of options.

3 - Follow up with the group. Similar to a reentry or debrief, people that go to Urbana need to process what they have experienced. In 2003, we hosted a party for the students that went, which served to give them time with each other just to talk about the experience again.

To give you a feel for our experience, in 2003 we had about 22 people from GCC go. A small group of these students had gone before in 2000 and were going for the second time. Roughly, 12 of this 22 did some kind of cross cultural experience since then - 4 of them with SPACE including this coming summer. Not all of that was missions either, some of them studied abroad. Out of the older group that went to Urbana in 2000 and 2003, a few of them decided to go for a year or more in the 10-40 window and are there right now.

So far, I don't think anyone in this group has chosen to be career vocational missionaries, although some are very close. But most of them are definitely people that live on a mission, that know that God chooses to bless others through them. Urbana didn't do that exclusively for them - but it certainly gave them the means to live some wild experiences in another culture.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Seeking Chinese Christian Americans

I’m currently conducting a survey among Chinese Americans age 20-70+ and was wondering if you could help me pass along the link. My survey focuses on religiosity and how it is beneficial to Chinese American behavioral practices because of the support network. There has been a lot of research on other ethnic groups (African American, Caucasian), but very little research on Chinese Americans. It has been especially difficult to find willing participants that are both Chinese American and Christian, so if you could give me some advice or help I would really appreciate it.
Thank you,
Jeanine Yang
Survey link =
via DJChuang

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Random Wannabe-Mission Stats

- 35,000: Total American missionaries (down from 65,000 in 1988)
- 99%: Those committing to mission service who never make it.
- 7: The usual years it takes for a wannabe missionary to actually go.
- 50%: Those missionaries who return before the end of their first term.
- 40,000: The missionary candidates stymied from going because they can’t raise financial support.

Read more about "Minority" Missionaries from the ITeams blog.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Is It Still a Great Idea?

Ok... So SPACE Mission Advance was a great idea when it was conceived in, hmm let's say November. Now though, I'm thinking it may be one of the worst ideas I will ever try to execute.

Here were the original ideas behind why it would be so great:
- teams travel together for a weekend before their mission trip
- bring in some guys to facilitate sessions on missions - culture, your story, state of the world, etc.
- give the team leaders some concentrated time with their teams to do whatever they wish
- send the teams to the beach during Sat to do some kind of service/relational/culture project [of course, no tracts]
- teams get to hang out together and chill at the beach
- the momentum of everyone on the teams seeing all the teams together

Even as I type this, I still love the concept.

So, lets go through why this might just crash and burn -
- scope of 65 people
- transporting them all there - via cars, drivers, etc.
- food for all of them
- getting a worship leader - someone who will dare to create and shape the environment through worship
- did i mention feeding all of these people?
- oh and it's in two weeks

So we will pray this weekend into existence. This absolutely is one of those things that will not work unless God comes through and blesses our efforts.

Cameroon Team Leader Interaction #3

[This post is specifically for interaction between the Cameroon team leaders. Although other readers - please please feel free to add your ideas too.]

Leaders, last Friday we had dinner as a team. It was our first real time as a whole team interacting both with ourselves as well as our guest. Additionally, we got exposed to a big part of any culture - the food. Make some observations and some predictions about the team from what you noticed on Friday evening.

Also, feel free to skim and continue to interact from the previous posts below:

#1 About the riskiest experience you have had

#2 About teaching others to study Scripture

Photo: We thought it was something else, but its actually chicken.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Leader Prayer #2

Some things you could pray about, if you think of them:
- DC
transportation logistics
team meeting this week

- LA
team meeting this week
support letters to get in the mail

- LC
students to actually go on the trip

- Merge
support letters

- Cam
visa stuff
LF to find her passport

Photo: Some of the SPACE summer lady team leaders.

Missions Anniversaries

- Fifty years ago five missionaries were martyred in Ecuador, an event depicted in the move End of the Spear, released last January. All five missionaries cultivated their passion for lost souls while they were college students...
- Sixty years ago InterVarsity held its first student missions convention in Toronto. Two years later it was moved to the University of Illinois and became the Urbana convention.

[I'm working on a post called "Is Urbana worth it?"]
- Seventy years ago the East African revival occurred, bringing great numbers to faith in Rwanda and Burundi.
- One hundred years ago the Azusa Street revival began, which launched the modern Pentecostal movement. "If you are among those Christians who believe that tongues and miracles and signs and wonders have ceased, don’t travel," [Paul] Borthwick said. "Because the church around the world doesn’t know this." While attending a convention of the Nigerian Fellowship of Evangelical Students, Paul said he asked his driver how he became a Christian. "Oh, Brother Bob over there raised me from the dead," the man told him.
- Two hundred years ago the Haystack prayer meeting was held at Williams College in Massachusetts, launching the modern missions movement in the United States.

More from the article entitled "Church on the Move Globally" in Assist News.

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Sodality and Modality

When I first heard these two terms - sodality and modality - I had a bit of trouble understanding the concepts, much less keeping in line which was which. [I still can't quite keep it in line.]

Sam Metcalf has a good summary of:
sodalities - apostolic structures
modalities - local church structures

If you are a frequent reader, his summary would probably interest you too.

I understand that both are distinctly different, are needed and that both complement each other. I just wonder if a group of people can be both at the same time. Is SPACE a sodality or a modality? Which would I prefer? And does it matter and why or why not?

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Saturday Potpourri

- Secret Service confiscates tracts. Can they just keep them?

- "The church in Japan is small, and virtually irrelevant. The non church movement however, is evidence of the Mission of God being expressed in Japan and I believe deserves a second look by missiologists." Read more about Japan here. Via Jonny Baker

- "Demographers deal in a rigorous and scientific manner with some of the most profound and exciting issues surrounding human populations, such as life, illness, death, birth, migration, growth and decline, size, density, distribution, composition, marriage, family and ageing, and their effects on the social, economic, political and environmental conditions of communities, provinces, nations, regions, and the world as a whole." An interview with a demographer on Guy Kawasaki's blog.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Cam Team Prep #3

The Cam team met again tonight. Fun times. For those of you interested, here is what the evening looked like. [And as always, for those of you preparing your own teams, feel free to use these notes as you wish.]

- Filled out visa paperwork at my house while we all gathered. Thankfully, LB takes the lead on answering with the right answers and organizing between passports, pictures and forms.
- Had dinner at a Cameroonian restaurant in Wheaton [about 45 minutes from my house], Savannah, Chez Mado. A connection that D made during her Perspectives class, KPatman, met us there. KPatman spent a number of years working with Wycliffe in Cameroon. He actually scoped out the place for us. Very valuable resource that really enjoyed hanging out with our team. He brought a photo album and shared some great wisdom and experience with us.
- Before dinner, everyone was to come up with a list of two or three questions to ask KPatman during dinner.
- As we ate, we rotated around so that everyone had a chance to sit next to KPatman and ask him questions. Our team was very studious about their questions and jotting down notes about their answers.
- We sat at dinner for about three hours or so. Most everyone tried everything, including the bushmeat dish. That is cow hooves on the plate on the left side of the picture.
- Right after dinner, we grouped up outside the restaurant before driving back home to recap. While there, a guy who was with a band that was getting ready to play in the restaurant came over and started asking us all kinds of questions. Turns out he was from Cameroon, and invited us back in to hear his band play. I would have loved to have gone back in, but we had kids to take back home and some of them had SATs in the morning [gross.]

Homework includes:
- Taking their questions and answers and writing down one practical way to implement the advice they got tonight. What are you going to do about it?
- Expanding their Bible study hw from last time - develop four or five questions that would be relevant to the topic of their Bible study that could be used to get people interested in spiritual things possibly interested in their Bible study topic.

Next meeting includes meeting at the doctors office for shots, team building, and talking about how to lead Bible studies.

Summer Schedule

My summer schedule as it stands.

June 23 - 25 - SPACE Mission Advance

July 1 - 10 - family vacation in LA
Doing the Disneyland thing, seeing some family, the Madre is coming with us.
Hoping to go to Mosaic for church [I really want my kids to experience a Sunday there] and dropping in on Harambee but I have to be careful to make sure it is a *family vacation*.

sometime the week of July 10 - 15 - dropping in on our DC team

July 15 - dropping in on our LC CMTS team

July 26 - Aug 7 - Cameroon, Africa

Aug 8 - end of Aug:
days - in the cubicle nation
evenings - at the pool with my kids
nights - reflecting on the summer and gearing up for the Fall

Thursday, June 01, 2006

My StrengthsFinder Results

So I took my StrengthsFinder test tonight. Hmm, quite interesting. Here they are. I'm sure this is going to require a bit of unpacking.

Developer: People strong in the Developer theme recognize and cultivate the potential in others. They spot the signs of each small improvement and derive satisfaction from these improvements.

Woo: People strong in the Woo theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person.

Futuristic: People strong in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could be. They inspire others with their visions of the future.

Positivity: People strong in the Positivity theme have an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.

Arranger: People strong in the Arranger theme can organize, but they also have a flexibility that complements this ability. They like to figure out how all of the pieces and resources can be arranged for maximum productivity.

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