Friday, September 29, 2006

Lip Syncing

Tonight was CpR's first 'outreach' of the school year - Lip Sync night. I put the word outreach in quotes because I think our definition of outreach is changing - in a good way.

It's always a blast to see how creative and talented the students are, in terms of choosing the music, putting together dance moves and combining it all for a few fun minutes on the stage. Don't believe people when they tell you suburban churches are not artistic and creative.

What was a bit different about tonight from other outreaches in past years was that there was a short time before the program started where kids were sent out into the community to bless strangers. I and some other leaders took some kids to a local high school football game to give away sodas and candy. Granted, there may not be very many people that will be interested in church because of getting a free soda. But this medium allows students to be stretched a little bit in terms of risking for others, blessing strangers and getting out of the church walls.

Photo: Some our Senior girls [LF in the black and AW in the red, from both the Brasil and Cam teams] - click to enlarge.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The One Thing You Need to Know - Buckingham - Chapter 2

I picked up this book on sale over the weekend and had skimmed it a few months ago. It was a good deal so I grabbed it. Tonight I read chapters 1 and 2. And it grabbed me. Look for more notes soon, but take a good read at some of the stuff here.

Chapter 2 - Managing and Leading: What's The Difference?
There is a vital distinction between managing and leading - they are not the same.

** On managing
...great managers are catalysts, and this analogy still holds. At their best, great managers speed up the reaction between each employee's talents and the company's goals.
The starting point [of the manager's responsibility] is each employee's talents. The challenge: to figure out the best way to transform these talents into performance. This is the job of the great manager.

** Qualities of leadership
When organizations say that each and every employee can be a leader, more often than not they are referring to those four behaviors: initiative, creativity, the courage of one's convictions and integrity. But they err when they label these behaviors leadership.
Yes, all leaders should possess integrity, but so should the rest of us. Integrity is not just a desirable leadership trait; it is a desirable human trait.
The same can be said of the other three behaviors. If you take initiative, improvise creative solutions to changing circumstances, and have the courage of your convictions, you will be a formidable and effective human being, and surely an asset to any organization, but you will not necessarily be a leader.

** The only satisfactory definition of leadership
Great leaders rally people to a better future.
What defines a leader is his preoccupation with the future.
You are a leader if, and only if, you are restless for change, impatient for progress and deeply dissatisfied with the status quo.
"I am not satisfied." This is the mantra of the leader. As a leader you are never satisfied with the present, because in your head you can see a better future, and the friction between the 'what is' and the 'what could be' burns you, stirs you up, propels you forward. This is leadership.

** The Leadership Talent of Optimism
If the core talent of great managers is an instinct to coach others toward success, then optimism and ego are the talents underpinning all great leadership.
The need for a talent for optimism is almost self-evident. As a leader you must believe, deeply, instinctively that things can get better.
When I say leaders are optimistic I mean simply that nothing - not their mood, not the reasoned arguments of others, not the bleak conditions of the present - nothing can undermine their faith that things will get better.
Properly defined, the opposite of a leader isn't a follower. The opposite of a leader is a pessimist.

** The Leadership Talent of Ego
However, no matter how reprehensible their actions [the recent spat of executive crooks - Enron, WorldCom, etc.] may have been, to explain their misfortune as a function of excess ego is actually a misdiagnosis. The reputations of these executives fell not because their egos were too strong but because their principles were not strong enough. They had too little integrity, not too much ego.
The key thing about leading is not only that you envision a better future, but also that you believe, in every fiber of your being, that you are the one to make this future come true.
Or think about Saint Paul returning to Jerusalem and informing the apostles that he, not they, knew what Jesus would have wanted for the young church, and that they should modify their practices to accord with his teachings, rather than the other way around. What gall. What ego.
This doesn't mean that they think they have all the answers. On the contrary, the best leaders have a strong expertise orientation.
Nor does it mean they are brash or abrasive. Nor does it mean they are egomaniacal. The difference between a leader with a powerful ego and an egomaniac is how the ego is channeled. The effective leader takes his self-belief, his self-assurance, his self-confidence and presses them into the service of an enterprise bigger than himself.
But this does mean that they make outstanding claims to excellence. It does mean that their self-worth is inextricably wrapped up in both their appetite to make such claims and in their ability to realize them.
So if you want to help develop a budding leader, don't tell him to deflate his ego into humility, to lessen his dreams, to downplay his belief in himself. This is confusing, negating advice. Instead, challenge him to be more inquisitive, more curious, and thereby more vivid in describing his image of a better future, and then encourage him to channel his cravings and his claims toward making this image come true.

** Leaders Are Born Not Made
They are born. A leader is born with an optimistic disposition or she is not. If she is not, then no amount of 'optimism training' is going to make her view the world in an overwhelmingly positive, opportunistic light. To lead effectively, you must be unfailingly, unrealistically, even irrationally optimistic. Like it or not, this is not learnable.
The same applies to ego. Through careful nurturing you can make a person feel more self-confident and more self-assured than he used to be, but nothing you can do will ever imbue him with the kind of powerful, claiming ego that so characterizes the best leaders. He either has it or he doesn't.
None of this implies that a person cannot be helped to improve as a leader. She can be helped to refine her picture of the future, even to change it entirely, and to employ ever more effective ways to present this future to her followers. But what you cannot help her do is see a better future, believe in this future and have faith that she is the one to create it. here, she's on her own.

** Summary
The manager's starting point is the individual employee. He looks at her palette of talents, skills, knowledge, experience and goals, and then uses these to design a specific future in which the individual can be successful. That person's success is his focus.
The leader sees things differently. He starts with his image of the future. Only with this image clear in his mind does he turn his attention to persuading other people that they can be successful in the future he envisions. But through it all, the future remains his focus.

A few things strike me:
1. The measure that I have been using to determine potential leaders [the qualities of initiative, creativity, the courage of one's convictions and integrity] is potentially not the right measurement.

2. The ego talent found in leaders [you believe, in every fiber of your being, that you are the one to make this future come true] reminds me of Waking the Dead - how we have a crucial role to play and how if we don't believe it, that's the beginning of losing our heart.
"I'm sorry if I'm the one to break the news to you: you were born into a world at war, and you will live all your days in the midst of a great battle, involving all the forces of heaven and hell and played out here on earth." - John Eldredge

3. I'm interested to read what else the books says about reproducing leaders since they cannot be made. I'm not totally sure that I agree with ego not being able to be reproduced - to a certain degree. I know people who have been transformed - they didn't use to think they would amount to much, but these days, they know they will mark human history.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Are you an Aussie Sender?

Had a fun time meeting with JWinter this evening, who is a recent UofMD graduate and going to Melbourne, Australia for a one year term, leaving in November, working with a college ministry with Campus Crusade. She is in the midst of raising support and is part of our Fusion community at GCC. As well as a neighbor of ours we had never met before. As well as friends with RP and JP, who helped start the campus movement in Melbourne a few years ago. Small world.

I remember when R and J got ready to leave. We were all working with high school small groups and hearing them talk about Australia was part of the convergence of information at precisely the right time that helped birth SPACE. I can still see the passion in his eyes as he talked about the majority of Aussies that didn't even know the name of Jesus. It's pretty wild to once again be a small part of what is happening in Melbourne.

If any of you readers feel specifically called as a sender for people going to Australia and would be interested in hearing more about JWinter, leave a comment or email and I can put you in touch.

Blog Spam

Some of you readers that read from an RSS feed might have noticed a strange post last night in the middle of the night. Think Chinese characters with lots of vibrant, neon, disco colors. No, that wasn't anything about students, mobilizing or mission. It was better - it was spam.

Up until yesterday, I had enabled a blogger feature that lets you post via email. Simply jot down your post and email it to your custom email address and it gets posted automatically. It's a really cool feature and I've used it to post from my phone via a text message and from Internet cafes and the like. Most recently, I used the address to post an update from when I was in Cameroon. During my time there, access to the web was limited but I did have the ability to send updates over someone else's email. So as I would write updates to our home team, I also included the blogger posting email address. One slight bump - when people replied to all, those got posted too. Good thing I gave D all of my important passwords.

Anyway, I've disabled the email posting - hopefully no more disco colored Chinese characters on here for a while.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Summer of 1991

In the summer of 1991, right after I graduated from college and right before going to grad school that fall, I took a summer camp counselor job at Camp Shenandoah Springs in Madison, VA. It was kind of on a whim, I had spent a weekend there on a retreat and fell in love with both the place and the family that ran the camp. I applied for a position in the early spring and then suddenly, 4 weeks before camp started, they had a last minute opening and offered me the job - 8 weeks as a counselor for a Christian camp run on an old Civil War-era farm in the Shenandoah mountains of Virginia.

They had what seemed to be a pretty cool summer camping program with some very cool elements - a lake, horses and girls. About that last element... almost all of my ministry experience up to that point had been with high school guys. I felt like it would be a growing experience to work in a residential camp ministry with guys and girls at the same place. Growing it was.

We had an amazing staff team of 8, including the lead counselor, a horse whisperer, a lifeguard and three worship leaders. I taught canoeing, first aid, and crafts. I also got a reputation for driving a black 4x4 in and through Civil war farmland.

Up until that point, I had had a lot of great ministry experiences. But boil them down and they were mostly about having a lot of fun. Summer camps, high school retreats, weekend camping trips, intentionally spending time with students. They sounded right on, but this summer made me see something that was missing - someone that had passion.

I had never seen someone weep - and really weep - for the future, watching them count the days they had left with these precious students. I hadn't really experienced living with someone who gave - almost at every moment both waking and nonwaking - to the charges they had been responsible for 24x7. I had never experienced morning staff prayers like this one - where our unified team openly begged God for safety, mercy and impact. This was the summer that I saw passion embodied - it was packaged in camp counselors.

A few days ago, one of the counselors I worked with connected with me via this blog, after not being in touch for over 10 years. He told me they were having a 25 year anniversary party today and asked "So, what are you doing this weekend?" The girlies and I were able to go and it was a great time to reconnect with some great friends - friends who like to package passion in human form.

Photo: CFine, BGoins and me, 15 years after serving together.

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Conversations ...

- with a college student trying to find a missions experience this coming summer
- with the director of a parachurch youth min in our area about Bulgaria and Cameroon
- lunch with one of our GCC Turkey team who is now aligning his future with his values and personality
- going to listen to a college grad who is going to Melbourne Australia for a year - following up on the work on a college campus that some of our friends [R and J] started a few years ago
Let's continue to find those workers....

D and I are getting away for the night. Our house is well guarded at night by two dogs and two dog sitters and guarded by day by MAB the mad roofer who is a really good shot with his staple gun.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Temporary Solace from the Cubicle of Doom

Balance of $0

Well we have almost closed the summer finances and I now have a whopping $0 in our SPACE fund. It's definitely a weird sensation. Some of you readers will remember that last December, I was asked to put a plan together to spend quite a bit of extra I had in the fund, instead of just letting it sit in the bank.

My spending proposal [which was approved] was outlined in the post entitled Extra Cashola. Out of that proposal, here is where the money actually went:

- gift for support for JAB and FZ and their team from IV-UofMD to a week in NOLA - December 2005
- help cover costs for SPACE winter expedition, January 2006
- send 3 leaders/students to one day training with the Urban Youth Worker Institute Seminar, March 2006
- help pay for leaders to be a part of the Senior NYC weekend, May 2006
- bought 30 StrengthsFinder books - part of Summer Leader Development, May 2006
- help cover costs for Mission Advance, June 2006
- gift for support for AMsr - going to India for a semester with Adventures in Mission [I think she left yesterday or today], June 2006
- help cover costs for Cameroon team, summer 2006

Since we have no money now, that really means we have to be totally self-sufficient. If we want to do something, provide an experience, buy some books, plan a winter expedition, we will have to come up with the resources ourselves. And I don't think that is a bad thing to have to do at all.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

GCC Leader Development

My post entitled Leader Share [and the post with my answers] was a small attempt to frame my mind for some structured leadership development that was coming up. I'm humbled and very excited to be a part of a pilot leadership development program at GCC. The general structure of the program is that it is centered around mentor/coach relationships that already exist in some capacity, with complimentary workshops to help address specific areas of leadership. These workshops are held once a month for three months this Fall, the first one being last night. Along with workshops, each gathering also includes a 'Grace Anatomy,' where the ethos of GCC is peeled back and communicated. The intent is that most of the learning and development happen in the context of the coach-leader interaction so there is an emphasis on action plans based on the principles touched on in the gatherings and workshops.

As we finished this past summer, leadership development was a concept that I really felt like SPACE needed to focus on and this pilot program was a great opportunity. I think SPACE can serve as a conduit to identify, grow and launch missional leaders - we just have to figure out how to do that best and this program and the ideas from it can really help serve that goal.

Last night's sessions included an outline on GCC's flavor - our 'tribal smell' and Principles of Servant Leadership, and both were well done. I was especially energized by the tribal smell session - so many of the ideas like:
"We are committed to the World Missions enterprise"
"We are volunteer driven - paid staff is to mobilize the saints"
"We unleash people"
helped remind me why our family is a part of this community and why GCC is exists.

Since the coach-leader relationship is where the learning should be happening, I'm thinking that this whole thing is going to require a bit more than I originally envisioned - which I think is a good thing. What I don't want to do is to keep it academic and informational only. But that is going to require some thought, creativity and experimentation. Tell you some more about this later.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Monday Potpourri

** A quote from Shane Claiborne's The Irresistible Revolution:
Sometimes people ask me if I am scared, living in the inner city. I usually reply, "I'm more scared of the suburbs." The Scriptures say that we should not fear those things that can destroy the body, but we are to fear that which can destroy the soul (Matt. 10:28). While the ghettos may have their share of violence and crime, the suburbs are the home of the more subtle demonic forces - numbness, complacency, comfort - and it is these that can eat away at our souls. (p. 227)
from Al Hsu's blog, the author of The Suburban Christian. Both are on my to-read list.

** Advice for [Design] Teachers and Students
For teachers:
- Assign at least 3 books for each course you teach.
And a bunch of blogs, and magazines. But...
- Don't test them on that reading.
... Send the message that reading is a natural, wonderful part of becoming a designer; that that's just what designers do. Also, not testing them will evidence something else: that you trust them. You assign a book, you expect them to read it; you're not wasting their time, and they're not children.
- Teach them to write thank you notes.
Designers need other people—for research, collaboration, support, everything. But people skills are hard to teach. This one's easy. Thank you notes are the right way to do business (or pleasure), and will help inject some civility back into this world.
- You don't teach a class.
You teach a group of individuals. Whether it's a lecture or studio or seminar or fieldtrip, you must never forget that you are teaching unique students who happen to show up at the same time and at the same place.

For students:
- Hone your presentation skills.
Walking the walk and talking the talk are different skills. And no matter how good a designer you are, without a certain level of presentation skills, nobody will ever know. Practice public speaking, present your head off in class, and write, write, write.

- Photograph everything.
... Make sure you bring your camera to class (not the expensive one though—your roommate's) and have fellow students photograph you presenting your work, conducting interviews, that kinda thing. Finally, have others take pictures of you making your models up in the shop. When you've looked at enough portfolios (car, toothbrush, chair, toy, form study, car, toothbrush, toy…), those "process" photos are positively the most exiting thing in your book to a jaded interviewer. "Did you make this model?" Well, yes. I did.

- Do more; consider auditing a class.
"The people who do more are people who get more done." Duh. It's no secret that busy people often get a lot accomplished, and this is the same for students.

- Read the paper.
This is the single best way to be and stay connected with the outside world. A killer-talented designer with nothing so say isn't much use to anyone (though the marketplace would expose the idealism of that argument!), and there's nothing more dangerous than an ignorant mass producer.

- Don't work alone.
I know you know that design is a collaborative effort, so there's no reason why you shouldn't practice getting along with others while you're still in school.
I'm not a design teacher [or a teacher at all]. But I think these principles have a lot of relevance to the way we mentor and lead people and how we can challenge ourselves to continue to be learners. And we should be concentrating a little more on the concept of Design. [Maybe more about that later.]

** From this month's Next Wave - Brenda-Based Youth Ministry vs. Family-Based Youth Ministry
When I scheduled the youth group to prepare a meal for the homeless shelter, I didn't get the expected hesitation of too many minors in the industrial kitchen without the appropriate number of adults. I got a chipper relief in her voice when I told her we do youth group with our parents required to be involved. But that is not why we do it.

We do it because we realize that teens take their spiritual cues from their parents. Even if they don't have spiritual parents but spiritual longings, these teens attach themselves to other parents who do. Sometimes even fondly calling them "mom" or "dad." So in all reality, a teen's faith will only grow as far as the parents' faith. So why not challenge the parents alongside the teens?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Leader Share - My Answers

Here are my answers from my Leader Share questions from a number of days ago. Not too late if you want to add your answers.

1 - Name a leader you look up [can be someone you know personally or not] to and the character attribute you most admire about them. [You don't have to name them here if you don't want to.]
Erwin and Alex McManus - for their level of innovation and creativity. From the way they can evoke your engagement while they talk about a story in the Bible, to the way they imagine how to erupt passion from a community, to creating and shaping a culture that impacts the future, it seems to me like they are another species.

2 - Envision the future of your community of faith in 15 years - what is the biggest impact you would have made on it and what compels you about this area of impact?
My vision of the future is that GCC is at the epicenter of a vision of what a church could do to resource, train and send people to other cultures - and not neccessarily overseas. GCC becomes an body of people that blurs the lines between a church and a mission - and the culture of the body delights in it's function as blurry. "Well we are sort of a church, but a lot of people come and go for really big purposes." This vision compels me because it can start with middle and high school students.

3 - In what area of gifting, talent or character have you grown in within the past 10 years?
I've grown in my toleration of risk and the unknown.

Photo: One of our sessions at Kribi, Cameroon. [a few images photo stitched together for wide wide angle.]

Friday, September 15, 2006

Packing List Extras - Video

For the text and more details see the Post titled Packing List Extras.

YLG 06 blog

From September 24-30, 500 young Christian leaders will will descend on Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from all parts of the globe for the Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering(YLG-06). These hand-picked leaders represent the next generation of those who will be responsible for leading churches and missions towards completing the Great Commission. Keep up to date with the YLG06 blog. Also, check out the leadership workshop listing here.

If I was going, here would be the workshops I would attend:
- Leadership in context
Understanding the world we’re living in. How can we consider some of the cultural, ethnic, religious and political realities of the world we’re trying to reach?

- Leadership and disciple-making
Learning to disciple others to follow Christ for a lifetime. How can we model a faith that others will want to chase after?

- Leadership among poor people
Developing Holistic Ministries around the Gospel. How should the church really serve poor people? How can we encourage those around us to engage with poverty?

- Leadership and family
Keeping My Marriage growing and strong in a demanding leadership role. How can I give my best to my ministry and to my family? Which comes first? How have older leaders kept ministry and family in balance?

- Leading the Way
How can I keep focused on what I believe God is calling me to? How can I cast a clear vision and set a direction to help others move forward with me?

- Learning to grow
How can I keep developing as a leader? Understanding the bigger picture of leadership development, including formal and informal education, on the job training, feedback, reflection and evaluation.

Sounds like a phenomenal time. [related post here]

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Back to School Night Sighting

The book K is reading - found in her desk. I'm such a proud father!

Packing List extras

Well after Cameroon, I learned some more about what to bring.

1. A headlamp - better than a flashlight.

2. A high quality water bottle. Even though you will probably be drinking bottled water, this will still help. And sometimes you may be getting water from filters, like in someone's home. I didn't bring one to Cameroon and I wish I had.

3. Lemonade [or other drink mixes] in single serving packets. To reduce the monotony of drinking just water - although keep in mind, there might be some people living in the country you are visiting that don't have access to clean water.

4. This really cool book light I found at Target for $2.50. Also really great on the plane.

5. A nurse. Or if you can't bring a nurse, a good first aid kit with a thermometer. Body temperature is something important to monitor if someone gets sick.

6. Purrell or other equivalent hand sanitizer. In the 2 oz bottles. Plan on one bottle lasting about 2 days of vigorous sanitizing - vigorous for a group of about 8 or 9.

7. Toilet paper from your house. Before I left, D rolled a bunch of it for me into Ziploc bags. She estimated how much each 'outing' would take. One more hint - you can roll one outings worth into the tube and save space that way. And yes, it did come in handy.

8. Your life will be easier if the electronics you bring run off normal batteries instead of having to be charged via an electrical outlet. Shavers, cameras, music players, etc. Bring double the amount of batteries you estimate. I used a set of new batteries for my digital camera every 3rd day and I took about 400 pictures in 12 days.

9. A flash drive or two with any important info.

10. Copies of passports and visa documents. Each of our leaders had copies of both [and emergency contact info.] I also scanned in passports and sent the images to my email.

11. Journal and extra pens.

12. American money. If for nothing else, to show and give away.

13. Hair clips and scrunchies for little girls - to give away.

14. Insect repellent. Let me just say that I hate wearing repellent. But this Off Active stuff isn't too bad. And you don't want to get malaria. So buy it, bring it and wear it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wednesday Potpourri

** Globally, overweight people now outnumber the undernourished. There are one billion overweight adults and 800 million undernourished. Link via BoingBoing.

** AfriGadget blog - a blog about solving everyday problems with African ingenuity. Also via BoingBoing.

** Church Planter reading list. Good list of books and I think not limited to just church planters. Via Jordon.

**, a collection of wallpaper from Google Maps photos. Via Kottke.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Intern First Steps

This year's SPACEintern gathered a few of her friends a few weekends ago and went into downtown DC to hang out in the city, make a few waves and impact a few people. Her team went to the city with no set agenda - rather it was more of an exploratory outing. Sounds like something SPACE would be a part of huh? This non-agenda approach concerned her dad a bit and I can relate to that. They had a good time, were able to bless a few strangers and it was a generally positive experience. [Read more here.]

Here are a few things that are off the top of my head regarding this outing:
1 - KCoats has initiative and this isn't just a pipe dream. I know I've said it here before - tons of people have tons of ideas but don't do anything about them. Not with her - she is taking the initiative and trying tons of stuff out. It's a good thing.

2 - It is important to say that, although random acts of service are great, there is greater value in learning from people and organizations serving in a full time basis in the community. Acts of service are a great way for people to be exposed to the realities around them and to grow in that kind of mindset. Taking people and giving them an environment to learn from ministries that live and serve full time is an opportunity for us to grow to the next level.

3 - In light of #2, we are going to make her have a bit more structure for the next few outings. The structure will be that she and her team are serving with organizations and groups that have ministries, plans and firm strategies. I see a progression for her that ties ministries and organizations first and then more movement second.

AWNM - Abundance

Just a few more from A Whole New Mind about abundance...
- During much of the twentieth century, the aspiration of most middle-class Americans was to own a home and a car. Now more than two out of three Americans own the homes in which they live. In fact, some 13% of homes purchased today are second homes. As for autos, today the US has more licensed drivers - which means that on average, everybody who can drive has a car of his own.
- Self-storage -a business devoted to providing a people a place to house their extra stuff has become a $17B annual industry, larger than the motion picture business.
- When we can't store our many things, we just throw them away. The United States spends more on trash bags than ninety other countries spend on everything. In other words, the receptacles of our waste cost more than all of the goods consumed by nearly half of the world's nations - Polly LaBarre

Saturday, September 09, 2006

End of Summer 2006 Mission - Media

Sorry it's taken a little while but I've finally uploaded some media related to our summer mission teams. Both the video and audio here are from the Mission team reports held at GCC on Sunday, August 20.

Video - developed by the GCC video team.
Audio - from the 1st service. Cameroon starts at about 8:27.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Rendezvous #1

Culture and Cities
Fact 1 - What does the Bible mean when it says "Nations"

Fact 2 - Cities - A Strategic Mission Field

Fact 3 - County Census - 2005 - Foreign Born Population
Howard County Census - 2005 - Foreign Born Population

After reading these three factoids, we had to go around our mall with a magic marker and a transparency print out world map and ask random people to show us where they were born. The image above is the three transparencies on top of each other, showing all the countries that we met people from - right in our mall. Pakistan, Nepal, India, Korea, Chile, Peru, Mexico, China, Russia, England, Ireland, Germany, and one country in Africa. Notice also that the 10/40 window is roughly outlined.

You will hopefully be seeing some of the students adding comments this coming week - their homework was to intentionally meet someone from another culture face to face AND share that with a virtual online culture.

AWNM - Symphony

I've been working through "A Whole New Mind" by Daniel Pink and it has been a fascinating read. It is a book that deals with our culture in light of the global landscape, gaps in our primal human instincts due to changes in culture, technology and economics, and the skills you and I and our kids are going to need in order to be successful as our culture and the world is transforming. Some people classify it as a business book - I think it's much, much more. Most readers of this blog would enjoy it.

The first section is on background - what Mr. Pink refers to as the movement from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. The second section focuses on six 'senses', specific skills that will help people effectively engage and be successful in this new Conceptual Age. In many ways, the six senses are the primal human urges that the Information Age forced out of our culture, the six senses being Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play and Meaning. Just read over the list and compare it to the high-tech, linear, get-it-done world we are used to. I think you will agree that they have been missing from our culture and there is a groundswell to get them back. Each sense has a chapter devoted to it and - this is what I loved - has a section in the back called 'Portfolio' which includes a bunch of resources and exercises for you to look up in order to get better at that sense.

I particular was entranced by the chapter on Symphony - I think because I have that Arranger strength. Here are some of my notes:
Symphony is the ability to put together the pieces. It is the capacity to synthesize rather than to analyze; to see relationships between seemingly unrelated fields; to detect broad patterns rather than to deliver specific answers; and to invent something new by combining elements nobody else thought to pair.
Automation has taken over many of the routine analytic tasks that knowledge workers once performed. Many of those tasks are also heading to Asia, where they can be done equally well for much less. That is freeing and in some cases forcing professionals to do what computers and low-wage foreign technicians have a more difficult time replicating: recognizing patterns, crossing boundaries to uncover hidden connections and making bold leaps of imagination. [Idea of pattern recognition the true sign of intellgience.]
1. Boundary Crosser - develop expertise in multiple spheres, speak different languages, and they find joy in the rich variety of human experience.
offshoring creates demand for people who can manage the relationship between the coders in the East and the clients in the West - literate in two cultures, comfortable in both the hard science of computing and the soft science of sales and marketing, able to move between different, sometimes antagonistic groups with the ease of a diplomat. Boundary crossers reject either/or choices and seek multiple options and blended solutions. They lead hyphenated lives filled with hyphenated jobs and enlivened by hyphenated identities. Those who possess this talent often elude traditional gender role stereotyping. As Samuel Taylor Coleridge said two hundred years ago and as boundary crossers remind us today, great minds are androgynous.

2. The Inventor - The journey from innovation to commodity is so swift that successful individuals and organizations must be relentless. Most inventions and breakthroughs come from reassembling existing ideas in new ways.

3. The Metaphor Maker - metaphor - understanding one thing in terms of something else/imaginative rationality/Metaphorical imagination is essential in forging empathic connections and communicating

Big Picture
The boundary crosser, the inventor and the metaphor maker all understand the importance of relationships. But the Conceptual Age also demands the ability to grasp the relationships between relationships. Systems thinking, gestalt thinking, holistic thinking. Simply the big picture.
Fun book, you guys would enjoy it. Oh and... I wrote Mr. Pink a little email with some questions and he wrote back with a phenomenal response. Very cool.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Leader Share

Thought up these questions the other night for something sort of related to SPACE - feel free to share your answers...

1 - Name a leader you look up [can be someone you know personally or not] to and the character attribute you most admire about them. [You don't have to name them here if you don't want to.]

2 - Envision the future of your community of faith in 15 years - what is the biggest impact you would have made on it and what compels you about this area of impact?

3 - In what area of gifting, talent or character have you grown in within the past 10 years?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Mission Advance 1.1

D and I have had lots of ideas floating around our heads this weekend about SPACE for this year. It's been both surprising and interesting to me. By the end of the summer, I was pretty toasted and unrealistically wondering what viability SPACE really had left in it. In other words, it was a phenomenal summer but I was pretty spent.

This weekend was definitely a rebound. The meeting I had on Saturday was so energizing and a lot of thinking has been catalyzed because of those discussions. So, here is the first piece of some of it.

If we have enough viable summer teams this summer, we are going to do Mission Advance again. Call me crazy but I'm not. During the actual weekend, some people heard me mutter that I would never do it again. But I was dead wrong and it only took 3 months for me to really see it clearly. [Pass the word on to other people that I was wrong....]

Here are some expanded thoughts about the weekend:
- Everyone involved loves the idea of teams going away together to get to know each other and that will continue to be one of the central goals. The other goals also remain the same [some missions prep topics, some kind of community impact, formal and informal group building and dynamics.]
- We will strive to make the destination every year different - build the unknown to make it more fun and different - much of the same feeling that you get on a missions trip.
- We will toy around with the idea of doing Mission Advance in an urban setting.
- We will make it a hard requirement for team members and leaders - ie if you can't go on the weekend, you can't go on the actual summer team.
- We will attempt to get some students involved in facilitating one of the discussion/workshop pieces.
- I will ask for more help for the weekend and I will ask a lot earlier.

One Month

Well, one month ago, August the 4th, I was in Cameroon. On that day, we toured a local trade school, had lunch in town and attended the first high school small groups the Navigators ever had in Yaounde. [See more from the Cameroon Metapost.] Yesterday, I emptied my Cameroonian bag of the straw that it was made from and double ziploc bagged it and wrote on the bag, "The Smell of Africa." Ah, the smell.

Today is an American holiday called Labor Day, originally devoted to the American worker. Nowadays, in addition to a welcome holiday off of work, it has become more of a symbol that summer is over, school has started and life has gotten back to some sort of routine. And the real time to apply all the convictions you got from your summer mission experiences to your life in the day to day.

Photo: the bag the Cameroonian Navs gave me, along with the bottles of Purrell I emptied while I was there.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

SPACE Rendezvous

Rendezvous is the name of our new SPACE gathering - one of the ideas that we are going to experiment with this year. This gathering will focus on investing in students that have been a part of our summer teams and/or are students interested in global cultures, cross cultural mission and the future of the Church. These gatherings are one of the key strategies in our slight change in direction for SPACE this year and I think it's going to be really cool to see how it works out. The essence will be to invest in these kids in those aforementioned areas - culture, mission and the future - but also give a slight spin to those topics towards some kind of leadership development. The gathering is going to be in two parts - information and action. Not only will the students learn something [I hope], they are going to have to go and do something about it - both right then that evening and also the next week. And I like that the name we are using is French. Ha.

Here are the details for Rendezvous #1:
Friday Sept 8
Meet in the food court at Columbia Mall - in front of McDonalds. Bring a pen, a little extra money and a journal or notebook.

Incidentally, last Friday for the first CpR Friday, SM and all the kids that showed up went out in the pouring rain and blessed two other youth ministries in the county. I wasn't able to go to the beginning as they went out, but was able to show up at the end when they closed the night with some prayer and worship. Many of the students told me it was the best Friday night ever. GCC's student ministry is transforming into an epicenter of sending.
Don't think church, think mission!- The Shaping of Things to Come

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A Saturday for the Future

I spent over 2 hours this morning doing some evaluation about our summer trips with a select few people. This morning, the elder at GCC in charge of missions, his wife who is the head of the Missions Task Force, a lady who is the coordinator for adult short term trips and myself had some deep discussions about this past summer and planning for the future.

The topics we discussed included an evaluation of each trip from this summer [GCC had a total of 7 trips - our 5 SPACE teams and Uganda and Honduras,] Finances, Leadership Development and Training. We also tried to do an honest evaluation for each trip - should we go back, was a short term team part of their overall strategy, how did the concept of a locally, indigenous team working with the ministry fit in with the trip. All in all, a really fun discussion because each one of us are passionate about how GCC can be mobilizing workers for the world.

Here is a short list of things we decided to do in the future:
- Find a locally based travel agent and use them for all of our travel logsitics. Must ensure that they can get 'missionary' rates. Also, apparently British Airways allows you to check in 3 bags instead of 2 if you are a missionary or something like that.
- As support funding comes in, that information should go directly to the team members, instead of relying on the team leaders to get the information out. This will allow for team members to know their support status faster and is just as easy over email.
- Target knowing what overseas teams are going in a January timeframe. [They were all laughing at me when we were talking about this...]
- Attempt to have people that might be interested in short term trips make themselves known to the MTF in the Fall.

It was not, at first, at the top of my list on what I wanted to do on a Saturday morning. But there is definitely an organic movement of people in our church that are interested in going on short-term trips. I know that our discussion is going to help frame how GCC is going to get even better as a church that is serious about sending people and helping create churches for the future.

Friday, September 01, 2006

End of Summer 2006

Well happy readers, sorry its been so sparse here. We've had our first week of school, I thought I should spend a little more time on my career and getting up in the middle of the night with the puppy has been - er - interesting. Anyway, the school year has started and SPACE is going to change a bit like I alluded to in a previous post. I'm excited to try a few more new things.

Since it's now September, I thought I would officially close out the summer with this post. Most of you know our summer was phenomenal. We took SPACE to a new level this summer and it wasn't just incremental change - it was scary change. This new plateau is based on a few things. The two biggest things were almost doubling the number of students we sent on summer teams [and the associated financials to support these teams almost doubled as well] and implementing Mission Advance - a weekend away to prepare kids and build their teams. Both were huge. The other aspect to this summer was the trip to Cameroon. I think we broke new ground with the level of risk and unknown we allowed student teams to embrace. The idea of a student team going to Africa was a big emotional block for many, me included. But this summer proved it could be done if all the right circumstances lined up for it. I'm not saying that our students should now go anywhere and everywhere, but I think the mere sending of a team to Africa will open up our imagination even more for the future.

Finances have been foremost on my mind this week - trying to close the summer and ending up in the black. Our total expenses were broken down by something like this:
Cameroon - $30,103.41
LA - $10,463.53
DC - $6,840.00
Merge - $4939.00
Grand total - $52,345.94
[The LC team is a self-funding team since we don't pay hardly any expenses to go and serve there and the kids pay a flat fee to go.]

When I got home from Cameroon, I was really worried about our financial status - we were way in the red. My beloved wife, who has this weird gift of faith when I don't, was always confident. And the good news is that we are very close - less than $400 I think. And rumor has it that at least that amount came in via GCC's general offering for summer missions. And overall support raising for the summer included over 630 individual contributions. Amazing.

If you gave financially or prayed for a team or hung out with a student or thought about me or read this blog - THANK YOU - you were a huge part of what we did this summer and you invested a lot in the future.

Besides the standard mission team stuff, you should be proud of these two investments:
- a hotel room in Paris so a bunch of students could tell me, "That was the best shower I have EVER had," after ten days in Africa.
- a full scholarship for a leader to help lead his team after the sudden passing of his father this past spring.

And two more stories...
Our team in LA...
CUt said he had been praying about the trip and a name kept coming to him, Miguel. Wouldn't you know he met a Miguel the first day that he really connected with. They became best of friends, having conversations in Spanish sharing stories, Miguel telling CUt his plans and dreams, playing soccer and basketball and just hanging out. The way CUt loved on Miguel and other kids you sensed that he belonged there in many different ways. God speaks and CUt intently listened.

Our team in DC...
One of our team leaders along with the CSM host got into a slight scuffle at one of the ministry sites - and one of the other parties had a gun. The gun was never fired, everyone was totally safe and it was quite an interesting situation. Luckily, none of our students were there and our leader handled it great. CSM also did a great job with the DC police and making sure our team was both physically and emotionally healthy. After our team was told about the incident they were given the option the next day to go back to the same ministry site where the incident happened or to a different one. They all chose to go back to the same place, because they felt compelled to be light in the dark. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped. Prov 11:25

Photos: all of our teams at the beach; SF, Miguel, and CUt; KQ tutoring.