Friday, December 28, 2007

2007 in books

In no particular order..
1. The Making of a Leader
2. The Tipping Point [post]
3. The Journey of Desire
4. The Multi Site Revolution [post]
5. The End of Poverty [post]
6. God On Mute
7. Off Road Disciplines [post]
8. The Big Idea
9. Not Much Just Chillin' - The Hidden Life of Middle Schoolers [post]
10. The Wisdom of Crowds
11. Mavericks at Work
12. The Forgotten Ways
13. Deep Survival [post]
14. Soul Cravings
15. Into The Wild
16. Deadly Viper Character Assassins [post]
17. There's A Sheep in My Bathtub [post]
18. Mindset [still in progress]

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Orbiter Reading - December #2

::: Planning Rwanda
Link via My Heart's in Accra
If some of the dreams for Rwanda come to fruition, what are some elements one could capitalize upon to make Christ following communities a reality there?

::: Graphic - State of the Church in England via TSK
What observations can you make based on some of the graphs?

2007 in cities

1. Leesburg, VA, USA
2. Ocoee, FL, USA
3. The Animal Kingdom, FL, USA
4. Baltimore, MD, USA
5. Hagerstown, MD, USA
6. Malvern, PA, USA
7. Fairfield, CT, USA
8. Fulton, MD, USA
9. Vienna, Austria, Europe
10. Sopron, Hungary, Europe
11. Munich, Germany, Europe

I have to get out more next year...

[Related: 2006 in cities]

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

You Are Legend

In 2009, a deadly virus burned through our civilization pushing humankind to the edge of extinction. Dr. Robert Neville dedicated his life to the discovery of a cure and the restoration of humanity. On Sept 9, 2012 at approx 8.49 pm he discovered that cure. And at 8.52pm he gave his life to defend it. We are his legacy, this is his legend.
This is one of the best films of late that is a redemptive analogy.

In a slight twist on the title, we are taking some of our SPACE-invested Seniors away in January and calling it, "You Are Legend." It's got the same flavor and idea - if you were the only person left on earth, if you were the last hope for humanity, if the destiny of mankind were up to you, could you do it? My personal bet is that some of these seniors will become legends.

Tell you more about the Senior expedition later. In the meantime, go see the movie and take some good notes on what the story is saying about meaning and destiny.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! Blessings on this holiday season to you all.

We have family visiting this week, and our girls are in some Christmas kids programs at church later today. It's been a fun weekend so far.

Here is to hoping your Christmas season is refreshing as well, so that we can all get a break, spend time with family and friends and get back to it - you know, redeeming humanity. As John Eldredge says, "Spiritually speaking, this is no silent night. It is D-Day."

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Dear Kt,

Enjoy the celebration. Because...
In a ten years, you have:
- dreamed bigger than I did in 15.
- shared your soul with more people than I did in 20.
- traveled more to see God's mosaic of cultures and peoples than I did in 25.
- cared more about the marginalized than I did in 30.
- lived more in adventure, unknown and mystery than I did in 30.

God has done something miraculous in 10. I can't wait to see the rest of it.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Passion and Optimism Packaged in the XO

The international office has had it's XO for a few days now and we've certainly had some fun with it. Overall, it's been a very positive experience and the XO is going to be a tool that we will continue to use. Here are some quick highlights:

: The overall unit looks like a toy but is solid and sturdy.
: The keyboard is tiny, but you get used to typing with your index fingers.
: The screen is bright and clear.
: I plugged a USB wireless mouse into it and it worked instantly.
: Connecting to any wireless access point is simple. You have to click on the appropriate icon in your Neighborhood view. If you have a secured access point, it prompts you for your key code. Your key code is not kept permanently though, so every once in a while, you do have to re-enter it.
: It's not super fast but definitely adequate.
: Most of what I have used it for is web stuff. Gmail, Google Reader, Facebook, simple stuff like that. Uploading large files, like pictures to flickr or attaching a file to an email sometimes works really fast and sometimes not at all. I will definitely be using it when I travel for this same kind of stuff - short email, quick blog posts, etc. I just loaded the Opera browser on it this evening and it runs much faster than the default browser. It also has tabs, your favorite Firefox keyboard shortcuts and bookmarks. That is going to be much more fun.
: I had to cold restart a few times when the machine got hung. I just unplugged it and pulled the battery out.
: The Sugar GUI is very intuitive. My kids started composing music with TamTamJam in the first five minutes they had it.
: Moving files from an SD card to the internal flash memory back and forth is easy with the Journal activity. There is no hard drive.
: I attended the OLPC DC Learning Party earlier this week where there were about 40 people, half of them with XOs. I was able to see and 'friend' a lot of people within the mesh network there and two people at my table were able to get the Chat and Write activities [an application is called an activity] shared across the network. It was a lot of fun and really helpful to learn from others using the XO.
: Speaking about the learning party - every person there was a serious geek and proud of it. Not only that, every person there was just as serious about international development, education and fighting poverty. The cast of characters that I met included linux administrators; network engineers; college students; those interested in collaborative education; a guy who started a nonprofit to get XOs to classrooms in Nepal; and a group of ladies interested in partnership for the underprivileged in College Park, Maryland AND Guinea. And the organizer was Wayan, who was involved with the Geekcorps international tech-development organization and is now a director with Mercycorps and the publisher of OLPC News. In other words - it was an amazingly inspiring group of people to be around. Another real life example of cause creating community.

All in all, the XO is tons of fun and definitely usable for light web stuff. The XO will probably not be your tool of choice if you've got some heavy lifting to do and have the option of working on a 'normal' computer. The bigger scope here is of a tool that is innovative and creative in order to go against the status quo. And like they said of Jeffrey Sachs - optimism and passion. That is what the XO is about.

Photo: From the DC learning party.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuesday RocketFuel

::: Some view Europe's most diverse city, Marseille, as a laboratory of the continent's future
Link via The Where Blog

::: Alan Hirsch joins the leadership of Christian Associates International
If you are thinking of a future in cross cultural service, CAI should be on your short list too.
[Related - 2007Hungary]

::: LA and Gangs

Monday, December 17, 2007

Book Review - There's a Sheep in My Bathtub

Brian Hogan, the author of "There's a Sheep in My Bathtub", contacted me to see if I would be interested in reviewing his book. He sent me a copy and the book is certainly a lively narrative of one American family's journey around the world in an effort of reaching those that are literally unreached.

Those of you that enjoy this blog would likely enjoy Brian's book as well. As you learn about the Hogan's story, fundamental cross cultural concepts such as partnership, contextualization, leadership, and team dynamics are all illustrated. Theirs is a story that is inspirational, challenging, and at times, totally heartbreaking. It details the crazy things some people do when they are compelled by a love for others and is a total example of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
When I train new church planters headed for unreached people groups, I tell then that if they are successful, the churches that result will make the church planters uncomfortable. If a church takes on an indigenous character, then it will be outside the comfort zone of the apostolic messengers. It will seem weird to the missionaries.
Uncomfortable, apostolic, weird - yup, you would like this book too.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

First Post from the XO

just got it. pretty intuitive. keyboard is really small. D said arent you glad you provided one for someone in a developing country. yup.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Freakonomics Thinks About Urbanization

Some fun reading in a quorum on urbanization hosted by Freakonomics. [MichelleK, freakonomic fan - are you reading this?]
:: In virtually every affluent nation on earth, the old Nineteenth-century industrial cities have exploded outward, allowing densities to plummet at the core as residents move further and further out into low-density suburbia and a very low-density exurban penumbra around that. The city of Paris today has a third fewer residents than it did a century ago, and the suburban and exurban territory around it leapfrogs more or less from the English Channel to Burgundy.

:: The suburbs, for the most part, are toast. They have three possible outcomes in the twenty-first century: as slums, salvage yards, or ruins.

:: Cities are full of poor people because cities attract poor people, not because cities make people poor. Millions of the least advantaged come to urban areas not because cities are bad for them, but because cities are good for them. The opportunity to trade and connect offers a brighter future for rural migrants who come to the outskirts of Mumbai. Cities also often have public transit and a social safety net that is not available elsewhere.

:: Metropolitan areas, including suburbs, are much more ethnically diverse than they used to be. One person living alone (single, widowed, or divorced) represents the predominant household type in suburban areas today. The suburban male breadwinner family with a stay-at-home mom and two children living in a peaceful three-bedroom colonial with a leafy yard predominates only in reruns of old sitcoms.
And about that last sentence, the Sheng sitcom includes two dogs.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wednesday RocketFuel

::: Soul Cravings YouTube Trailer

::: The World's Worst Places to Be a Kid

::: The Four Essential Travel Phrases
435 languages, 242 dialects, and 49 colangs.
If you know me, you know that I think the phrase, "Where is the bathroom?" is quite essential...

::: The Blonde Map of Europe

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Not Much Just Chillin' - Book Notes

Some of my notes from Not Much Just Chillin' : The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers by Linda Perlstein. A pretty important book to read if you are around middle schoolers much, or as in our case, you have kids near that really fun time of life. If the thought of middle schoolers, as in being around them or parenting them, scares you a bit, this book will scare you more. Luckily for us, the middle school profiled in the book is right around the corner from us. Dear God, if you keep our kids from going to that school, I will going on a missions trip... oh wait ...

p. 5
A few of the parents have even read what little ‘literature’ is out on middle schoolers. They’ve learned that their children are about to go through the greatest period of physical and emotional growth, after infancy, that humans experience – years during which no significant part of themselves will go unchanged. They’ve read that the irresponsibility, the selfishness, the boredom their kids are about to exhibit are signs of progression, not regression – no, really. They’ve read to expect contradictions: Children start to fix their values and figure out who they are independent of their families, at the same time they are too timid to set themselves apart as individuals. Twelve-year olds are eager to turn everything into arguments but don’t have the cognitive skills to win them. They are at once submissive and defiant, idealistic and materialistic.
p. 121
...the brain’s emotional and logical control centers are engaged in a tug-of-war. The frontal lobes managing memory and learning also manage emotion, which, being the more developed skill at this point, wins this battle every time. If you’re sad that you rarely see your mom or dad, those emotions literally shrink the space available for your science test.
p. 99
If the Wilde Lake principal could have one wish, it would be for parents and teachers to resist a distance that seems inevitable and draw nearer to their middle schoolers instead. With parents of preadolescents immersed in their own worries … it can be tempting to indulge the "Leave me alone."
But look close, Ms. Thomas says, and you'll see that these budding adolescents, for all their bluster, are still needy children. A better way to think of a preteens changing relationship with her parents is as a reorganization, not a rejection. Wanting to be independent is not the same as wanting to be left alone. She wants to explore; she also wants a safe harbor.
So, I'm reminded that middle schoolers sometimes don't know why they act the way they do, which is sort of reassuring. I'm also reminded that the middle school years is a time of huge, huge change. Change is difficult. And I'm optimistic, both for my own kids and the middle school kids we all know and love. Because change usually equals opportunity.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Missionary Heart

The Missionary Heart
Cares more than some think is wise. Risks more than some think is safe. Dreams more than some think is practical. Expects more than some think is possible. - Karen Watson
via Ed Stetzer

Now That is Fresh

This was one of the acts at last Friday's CpR Lip Sync night. The song was to the theme of "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air," and the girl in the yellow [orbiter TriciaB] is a taxi-cab. You know, when the Fresh Prince arrives in Bel Air...

Should you be creating or should you be letting your students create?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

H2.08 reading #1

Reading list #1 for H2.08.
The Kinds of People the 21st Century Needs

Creative Sweat

The team that is going to this with me is supposed to comment here, but of course you other readers are welcome too!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Post Trip Elements

Last weekend, I took some seniors from SPACE to attend a post trip presentation by a GCC medical missions team that went to Haiti a few weeks ago. Presenting stories from your mission experiences is difficult, whether from a stage or talking to a friend/supporter one-on-one. And most missionaries don't do such a great job at it, me included. [For example, ask me about reading my nonblog post-Hungary report.] We are always trying to get better at this.

I loved bringing some of our students to this and hearing their feedback when it was over. That's one advantage SPACE has - it's a working lab with young people who aren't afraid to try something new.

Here are some elements the team identified with regard to post-mission presentations:
#1 - It's important for every person to get a chance to talk about their experience, if they want to. [Contextual comment - this will require some interesting planning since we may have around 60-80 people spread across five different teams. One question - have each team do one presentation or do them all together?]
#2 - Lots of video and images are great. Shared worship time is also great.
#3 - Our stories are meant to call others to action.
#4 - We have to concentrate on taking out any insider language in what we say about our experiences. It's too easy to make others feel left out.
#5 - We like the idea of an informal open house, with people milling from team room to team room, maybe with the idea of a 'mini-passport' to go from place to place. More intimate for teams sharing, can include cultural objects like food, etc.

For the next generation of missionaries, passionate and dynamic environments are integral for telling their stories.

Photo: Those are my feet on the screen. Cameroon team leaders LB and NLind talk on stage, August 2006.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

She Wants a Fish Pond for Christmas

In light of World AIDS day this past Sunday, Pastor Mark outlined even more about GCC's [Grace Community Church, Fulton, MD] partnership with a ministry based in Uganda called AOET. I was really thrilled to see a Sunday morning given to the AIDS crisis in Africa. After walking over to the Warehouse and saying hi to some students, I was even more excited to hear that the high schoolers had also talked about World AIDS day. One of the essential elements of SPACE is exposing students to the realities of the world and, of course, the AIDS crisis in Africa is a big one right now. Also, SPACE doesn't have to be the major conduit for this exposure - we are happy no matter how students get this information. But we are certainly hopefuly that students process this knowledge into action.

GCC also published a gift catalog in the context of this partnership with AOET, allowing people to give to specific needs in Uganda. Our girls gave some of their yard sale profits for a fish pond, malaria nets and funds to help care for AIDS orphans.

I don't know about you, but when I was six, a fish pond would have never made it on my Christmas list.

Wednesday RocketFuel

::: Danah Boyd on the Megan Meier story
Much to my dismay, parenting today seems to require absolute belief that you're child is the best child ever. Many parents think that their child can do no wrong and, thus, are unable to hear critiques of their own children. In some ways, it's not surprising... people have fewer kids (who are mostly wanted thanks to birth control), inhabit single family homes, and live in a nurture-centric world where their children reflect on them at every level. Doubting one's child means doubting oneself.
But as anyone who was not that cool in school can tell you, middle school sucked. It's ground zero for learning how to negotiate social interactions and many mistakes are made. This is when bullying and boy/girl-dynamics and other dramas really come to the forefront. It's awful, it's hell. Yet, the responsibility of a parent of a tween is not to try to fix all painful situations, but to teach their child how to negotiate them responsibly
Commentary on parents helping tweens learn social coping skills with the backdrop of a really, really sad story. Link

::: What about Christmas from the outside?
Christmas is the the only religious holiday that everyone has to stop working for. It's the only religious event that offices have parties to celebrate. These practices alienate non-Christians.
There are people outside of Christianity that don't really enjoy Christmas. Link

::: Youth Pastor advertising on YouTube
Ah, Hilton Head Island, what's not to like? By the way, our high school ministry is also looking for a high school pastor. The beach is about 3 hours away but The Mall is *very* close.
Link via Mark Riddle

::: Transit Maps of the World via FP Passport

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Fun with Vocabulary

Sample #1
disruptive innovator

Sample #2
quantum cloud community

Sample #3

At least I thought it was fun.

Monday, December 03, 2007

How Much Potential?

Apparently - Strong potential.... Hmm... This is either really good or really bad....

Ordinary people, like you and I, can do extraordinary things, like some of those below.
Have you personally led at least one person to faith in Christ in the past three years through the venue of one-on-one evangelism?
Do you regularly try to stay in touch with secular music, television or films for the purpose of having greater insight into how unchurched people view the world?
Do you know your present neighbors quite well?
Have you ever designed a ministry or event that successfully targeted the felt-needs of a specific target audience?
Do you consider yourself highly attached to your family?
Do you make friends easily?
In the past three years have you actively participated in an on-going peer support/accountability group?
Do you have a consistent pattern of regular daily prayer?
Have you ever created a ministry from the ground up?
Do you usually recover quickly from setbacks or disappointments?
Have you ever led a small group or team that created and fulfilled some significant set of written goals?
Are you highly adaptable to changes in your circumstances and environment?
Do you enjoy building small groups?
Can you identify three individuals (other than family members) whom you have 'discipled' in the past five years?
Can you list at least two spiritual gifts that you believe you have?
Have you ever successfully handed off a ministry you were leading to someone you identified, recruited and trained?
Two other quick thoughts:
+ "Every Christian is a church planter, every home is a church, every church building is a training center." [Related: My notes from Organic Church]
+ Church planting is the best method of evangelism.

Take the assessment here. And, I think I should have got a lot less than 14, because I cheated.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Orbiter Reading - December #1

Some links specifically for the Orbiters - they are supposed to comment here, but you are certainly welcome too as well.

::: Pendulums and Fire

The author describes two types of change: 1st order - gradual, slow, periodic; and 2nd order - fire, unpredictable, chaotic. Identify and briefly describe two changes in your life, one for each order.

::: The Six Lessons of Kiva
Describe how we could apply or how we already have applied one of those lessons to SPACE.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Before the Prom

Corp 1.3 had its annual Christmas party tonight. Dang - wouldn't you know it - one of our kids got sick last night. D got all dolled up anyway so we could take a picture together before I went stag.

World AIDS Day 2007


Watch the video by Emily Oster, "What do we really know about the spread of AIDS?"

Test your knowledge about HIV and AIDS with this interactive quiz.

Friday, November 30, 2007

SPACE's evolution - Mission and Leadership (4 of 4)

After doing this SPACE thing for a year or two, we became convinced that it was not about missions trips. If this effort was really going to help students transform the world, we needed to think differently about two fundamental things.

First, we started thinking about mission and not missions. Instead of focusing on mission trips, overseas or domestic, GCC missionaries or not, we needed to think much broader. We needed to concentrate on catalyzing students to serve mankind. The impact of our students in the next 500 years would be void if all we did was tend to next summer's destinations.

We also needed to re-engineer the paradigm of leadership. Although experienced, proven leaders were vital, we needed these same leaders to be ones that would empower, push and forge new leaders out of the very students that were in their charge.

Two quotes from Neil Cole helped frame a new perspective on leadership:
+ "Jesus also told his disciples not to import resources into the harvest but to find all the resources they needed in the harvest itself."
+ "The best leaders are not those who win the most followers, but those who create other leaders."

The future looks bright because of a new understanding of mission and leadership. Oh... and students.

Photo: Old church, young people. The 2007 Hungary team, Vienna, Austria.

[Related: SPACE's evolution #1 - The Real World, #2 - Culture, #3 - Progression and Partnership and The 3 Essential Questions]

Thursday, November 29, 2007

SPACE's evolution - Progression into Partnership (3 of 4)

Progression was an important idea. We didn't want our teams to contribute to the statistic that most mission trips do damage to their local hosts. Therefore, it was important to give students experience in serving and relating in their own culture before sending them to a foreign one. We would progress them both in physical proximity as well as cultural distance.

As a global missions launching pad, GCC already had significant friends around the world. Partnerships were very deep since most of these cross cultural workers came from within our own community. The most logical step was to take advantage of these extended GCC families. We would also reduce the unknown, have local hosts that understood us and our context, and have partners that we could trust. Overseas teams therefore, when we could, would work with GCC families.

Progression stretches students. We would deepen students view of the world by introducing them to friends they never knew they had.

Photo: A shared community service project; the second overseas SPACE team; Londrina, Brasil, summer 2005.
[Related: SPACE's evolution #1 - The Real World and #2 - Culture]

My Senior Superlative

in 1987....

yup, it's true.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wednesday RocketFuel

::: China's last cave dwellers

::: The 2007-2008 UN Human Development Index, released earlier this week.
Fast indices include:
- Life expectancy at birth(years)
- Adult literacy rate(% ages 15 and older)
- Combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrollment ratio(%)
- GDP per capita (PPP US$)

Some familiar countries and where they are on the index - out of 177 (Sierra Leone at the bottom):
Cameroon - 144
Trinidad - 59
Brasil - 70
Dominican Republic - 79
France - 10
Hungary - 36
Germany - 22
USA - 12

Most of you readers should spend a few minutes tinkering around with this.
[Related: The UN Millennium Development Goals.]

::: Sleep, kids and long term cognitive abilities
Link via Marko
"Would you let your daughter ride in a car without a seat belt? You have to think of sleep the same way."

SPACE's evolution - Culture (2 of 4)

If we were to engage the real world out there with our students, culture would be important. We needed to help them grow with tools and experiences for truly engaging culture. We would help them understand and perceive words, stories, legends, food, and music with more depth so that they could decode any culture.

We had work to do at home too. With phenomenal energy in Sunday morning student gatherings and weekly small groups, we began to broker opportunities for students to be out in the community and impact where they live. These became known as "Launches", one day service opportunities that focused on serving the communities we lived in. Not only did we serve some people in need, our students saw their own culture with more clarity than ever.

People serving in other cultures know they need to decode context. Our task included helping students learn how to engage culture, both at home and abroad.

Photo: The 2nd SPACE Launch - leaf raking in the community.
[Related: SPACE's evolution - #1 - The Real World, #3 - Progression into Partnership]

Monday, November 26, 2007

SPACE's evolution - The Real World (1 of 4)

In 2003, I realized for the first time what the world really looked like. And I had no idea. At the age of 33, I heard about concepts in global Christianity that I had never heard of before.

Some of these concepts included:
- What it means to be unreached.
- The 10/40 window.
- How there could be a ratio of around 800 churches in America for every one unreached people group in the world.
- How Europe was losing both population and faith in Jesus.
- The disparity of investment in those already reached versus the unreached.
- What it means to really engage culture.

Even more striking, I knew that most of the Christian high school students in America had no idea about many of these subjects. The majority of our youth workers had no idea either.

I was on a mission to change that. Certainly not every high school student in America. Probably not every student in our youth ministry. But one would be enough.

Next: SPACE's evolution - Culture
[Related: A Global Missions Primer.]

Monday RocketFuel

::: Culture, Environment Effecting Visual Perception
What you see will largely depend on where you live in the world.
Link via LindseyK

::: Spontaneous baptisms at Willow Creek
You read that right - Willow Creek. This summer in Hungary, I met a guy who interned there doing really innovative, missional stuff with their young adults. He is now planting a church with CAI in Munich. Willow's taken their hits, but they are still in the game.

::: Google cares about culture
India - ("Bollywood is everywhere … Cricket is king …").
Israel - "When you are offered a deal, you can say yes or you can say no. But never, never be arrogant."
China - "Baidu knows more [about China] than Google"

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Few Minutes of Thanks

I've been on a computer fast for a few days in light of the holiday, but now I'm sort of back and it feels good. Dennis tagged me a few days ago in his post about Thanksgiving, so here is a quick list of things that I'm thankful for this year.

- My family. My wife D and my kids are just amazing people. Most of the time, I don't see the lives they lead with enough perspective. Thanksgiving and parent-teacher conferences are good catalysts.

- My job. I've been at a new job since March and it's been going great. I could say lots of drama about being delivered from the old one, but I'm not going to.

- SPACE. It's really an honor and privilege to be involved with students and friends all over the world.

- Our puppy was pretty sick last week but is doing much better now. It's really nice to have her all better.

Related: The idea of a threshold of gratitude that PastorMark spoke about at GCC this past Sunday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Blog Birthday and Books

Today is my blog's 5th birthday. That's right, Mobilizing Students for Mission has existed for 5 years.... isn't that amazing??!? This blog includes a little over 1900 posts, a little over 37,000 hits, averaging around 1000 hits per month and around 1500 comments.

This blog has been a great experience and has been an integral outlet for my thinking and interaction on all things regarding engaging students and mission. And it's been a ton of fun. But most of all, the interaction with you readers has been the best part. So to celebrate five years, I'm doing a book giveaway. Giveaway as in free. Yup, totally free.

Here are the books I'm giving away. Most of them I got free or at a very big discount price. Or I stole them from a pastor. [kidding, sort of.] Most of them are slightly used, with some lines or paragraphs underlined. But all are definitely still able to be read. Here is the list of what is up for grabs:
Planting Churches Cross Culturally
God on Mute - Ryan Imel
Off Road Disciplines - Chris Marsden
The Christian Husband
Execution - Dennis Poulette
The Big Idea - Ben Boles
Outflow - ESunde
Whistle While You Work
Messy Spirituality - Rodney Olsen
Into The Wild
The MultiSite Revolution
How The Irish Saved Civilization - EmGberg

Here is how this will work.
- Only one book per person.
- Leave a comment with which book you want. I will then confirm with you via email and get your mailing address, etc. I will mail these books anywhere in the world, if you are local, I will drive them to your house.
- Wait for your book to arrive and enjoy.

This is my gift to you readers. Thanks for being a part of this blog and thanks for what you are doing in your own contexts to make a difference for humanity.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Organic Leaves

SPACE continues to evolve and change and this year is no different. Probably the most symbolic is our - with no better way to describe it - leaf launch. During our first year, we ran with the idea of renting a school bus, driving around the community and raking people's yards - with the hope of attracting attention and having lots of kids be able to serve people that couldn't do that kind of yard work on their own. [For those of you outside the mid-atlantic part of the US, raking up leaves is a pretty big deal in the Fall.] We did this in November of 2004 and 2005 and it was a ton of fun. [And it wasn't my original idea, I picked it up somewhere along the way.]

Last year, we decided to skip it, but I can't remember why. Well, this year we resurrected it, sort of. Instead of a big production with a school bus, we wanted to make it much more organic - with students leading smaller raking teams, serving people they knew needed help and inviting their friends to be a part of it. I wanted to change the emphasis to be on students and having them organize themselves organically. Dependency is also part of the long term view - when you live a missional lifestyle, you aren't depending on a school bus, or anything else, to get you to where you need to go or who to impact.

Much smaller in scale, they raked three homes - two for active duty families serving overseas and one that was kind of random. Smaller in quantity but larger in momentum. Sometimes, the adults are the ones with dependency issues.

Photo: On the front porch. We sort of knew the people that lived there...

Friday, November 16, 2007

SPACE Book Club #3

From the entries on Intimacy from Soul Cravings --

Some lives can be explained only by the maddening effect of love. #7.

If your soul is disconnected from it's source, it will die. #8.

Film - The Constant Gardener/E.T./A.I. #8.

Undying love has a history of premature death. #9.

If love is such a profound emotion, why do we love everything and anything? #10.

God is not passive, for love is never passive, but always passionate; and passion always leads to action. #11

While our brains may deny it, our hearts know it: love is proof of God. #15

When we live outside of healthy community, we not only lose others but we lose ourselves. #17

More powerful than any data or doctrine, love is the proof of God our souls long for. #20
My absolute favorite is the fifth one. We act because we are passionate about those He is passionate for.

Friday RocketFuel

::: Stopping future pandemics by figuring out how viruses spread from bushmeat to humans.

::: Getting a South African drivers license
It is helpful to learn South Africa’s extensive and sometimes charming traffic code, which sometimes rates children between 6 and 13 as one-third of a passenger and includes a road sign that depicts a stick-figure man astride an ostrich.
Link via Freakonomics

::: The Most Eligible World Leaders

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The XO

I have been in the market for a new or used laptop every since I left job 1.2. So when I read that the XO had come out, the thought of buying one had crossed my mind. Just as cool, the only way to buy one is if you donate another one to a child in a developing part of the world - Afghanistan, Haiti, Rwanda or Mongolia. Last night, D convinced me.

Built in wireless, rugged and waterproof, small and compact, it sounds like it would be a great companion both at home and while traveling. And the technology behind it sounds pretty cool - mesh networking, exponential battery ability, built in video camera and two mode lcd screen...

This is one of the occurrences of 'put your money where your mouth is'. As a family, we say we believe that we need to act for a world that is less fortunate, that we are to be a blessing because have been blessed, that my experience in Cameroon makes living here different. Values and beliefs are only as good as their actions.
"OLPC [the organization behind the XO] is not, at heart, a technology program, nor is the XO a product in any conventional sense of the word. OLPC is a non-profit organization providing a means to an end—an end that sees children in even the most remote regions of the globe being given the opportunity to tap into their own potential, to be exposed to a whole world of ideas, and to contribute to a more productive and saner world community."
So I just put my order in.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Book Review - Deadly Viper Character Assassins

Ethur was kind of enough to send me a copy of Deadly Viper Character Assassins a few weeks ago. This book occupies two extremes. One on hand, it's really fun to read. The images, graphics and overall design of the book are really cool and slick. The writing is witty, energetic and engaging. I read it in less than an hour and some of the stories had me laughing out loud.

On the opposite extreme, this book deals with some very sobering topics related to how you and I can torpedo our leadership and influence quickly. This is an honest book written by influential leaders that shoots straight.

Here are some snippets that stood out to me:

:: On Character Creep --
We are saying there is an inefficiency in the market place because the market place doesn't properly value this characteristic of character. And all we're doing is taking advantage of that mispricing in the market and trying to make money off of it. We don't approach our investment from a moralistic standpoint, but we believe that the world and the market place doesn't fully understand the value of character. Really at the heart of it is that being good wins. - Dan Cooper, from Rox River Financial describing their strategy of investing into companies where the integrity of the CEO is strategically valued.
Marcus Buckingham - If he doesn't feel like talking to someone, his assistant isn't allowed to lie. "He is unavailable," is okay to say, "he is on the phone," is not okay to say.
:: On Lying --
If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything - Mark Twain
We travel with a buddy or family member.
If we don't travel with someone, we then stay at the homes of friends who live in the cities we're visiting.
Find yourself a good friend and give them 100% access.
:: On Emotions --
...we need to funnel our emotions toward things that really matter. If we're truly going to rock the world, we need to stop wasting so much juice on stupid, trivial stuff. Some of us need to grow up and stop acting like junior high wieners and stop thinking everything is about us.

- Refrain from reading attacks on ourselves whether it be in blogs, forums or letters.
- If we are getting frustrated or irritated, call a Coca-Cola break
- Be the Duck - let it roll off your back
- When we are really ticked or irritated, we go to a movie.
- We do not use email to handle relationally-sensitive subjects or issues.
- Remind ourselves that if we crush or destroy someone in the organization, they will cease to contribute to the organization.
- Be fast to forgive
:: On Work and Rest --
Fast Company theme - Balance is bunk
You must lead yourself.
Day off each week.
What fills you up, emotionally, spiritually, physically. Baseball game, reading, evening schedule as well as who [what relationships you keep] fill you up.
Push the limit but not beyond the limit. Furious work = furious rest - Louie Giglio
:: On Sexuality --
Most people in leadership will get the opportunity to hop into the sack with someone inappropriately.
When we are on a business trip, we leave our homes on the latest flight possible and come back home on the earliest flight possible. We don't hang out.
Sexuality is powerful and mysterious. We must honestly respect its influence in our lives.
:: On Materialism --
Junky Car Club
The danger of drawing personal value from your stuff.
If you think for one split second that your possessions will define you as a significant leader, think again.
:: On Pride --
The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we would become - Charles Du Bois
Overall, a fun and important read that highlights some character assassins and encourages putting together plans to beat them.

Related - The Deadly Viper blog

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Am I Need

As you might have imagined, SPACE makes lots of new friends every summer, and this summer was no exception. One of our new friends, SDoyle, was in town this weekend, in town from Brussels, Belgium. He is a church planter with CAI, assisting in an expression of church called The Well. [Some of you might remember the stats on Brussels - mix of French and Flemish, 150,000 people, a third are immigrants, hq of the EU.] We first met at Connect in Hungary when a bunch of our team realized this S's wife graduated from the same high school some of our kids went to and that her hometown is indeed Ellicott City.

We saw S Friday night when he stopped over to hang out at one of the CpR Fridays and a few us got coffee with him on Saturday morning. I've said this from the beginning of SPACE - SPACE only exists as one component of the student ministry and only because our students are of such high quality. It was neat for one of our SPACE friends to see a bigger picture of GCC and her students.

S is also really involved in an international movement called Serve The City, an offshoot of CAI that focuses on serving the marginalized and needy in a specific city. The idea is to serve those who need it, not because they are a spiritual project, but because they are human. I anticipate that one of these years, a SPACE team will assist with a Serve The City. Think of Mission Advance, but seven days long, dozens of service projects, hundreds of workers, and thousands being helped.

The embedded video below is entitled "I Am I Need" and was from one of the STCs in Brussels. The church of the future is a community based on cause.

Photo: EllyK, TriciaB, MichelleK and SDoyle. And my kids in the background...

Friday, November 09, 2007


In February, I'm traveling with a team to attend Humana2.08. It's difficult to explain exactly what the conference is, and that is okay.
A national convergence
Of creative kingdom entrepreneurs, catalysts, Church planters, pastors, visionaries, professionals, missionaries and activists

A living translation
Of the immigrant gospel from western christianity present to global humanity future

A leadership matrix
Like no other
I'm most excited about traveling and processing with this team of people - MPM, our logistics coordinator [Trinidad 2005]; JBourq [LA 2006 and NYC 2007]; TriciaB and EllyK, our orbiters [DC 2006, Cameroon 2006, Hungary 2007]; TMurray [DC 2006 and England 2007 and been on numerous middle school mission summers]; and ESunde, our 2005-2006 intern [Cameroon 2006 and Hungary 2007]. And, all the more reason, it's in Orlando. Let me know if you are going to be there.

This is not an experience that will give us a methodology or three steps to try or a program to implement. I'm almost sure that we won't have immediate action items. Instead, it's going to inspire, compel, and impassion us. Again. Because you and I don't need more information or knowledge. What we need is to be reminded why we must.

: My Humana 2.0 - 2007 post
: One of Leslie's posts from the session on Creativity, Humana 2007
: Thoughts after Origins 2004 - 6 weeks later

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Being Abroad Is Not Enough

Some interesting quotes from the article "The Foreign Legions", via WorldHum:
The number of students going abroad may be growing — to about 6 percent of American college students, not counting those who don’t get course credit — but their profile has not changed. The latest figures available from the Institute of International Education, for 2004-5, indicate that 83 percent of participants were white; 10 years earlier, 86 percent were white.
There is a consensus today, much like the one about science and math studies after the launch of Sputnik 50 years ago, that globally fluent graduates are essential to American competitiveness. International exposure, whether study, volunteer work or internship, has become a must-have credential.
And for a generation whose life is calibrated by a multicolored spiral daily planner, just being abroad is not enough.
Not all students are prepared to cope with the challenges that arise from being immersed in a foreign society. "There are students who aren’t ready to separate themselves from American culture and language," says Eric Singer, dean of international studies at Goucher College, in Baltimore, which has begun requiring students to earn at least three credits abroad. "They don’t want to be challenged about language, food, sports or what have you," he says.
Not to blow our own horn here, but SPACE could actually give you a huge advantage as a high school student *applying* to college.

Imagine an overseas, cross cultural experience, doing something worthy with long term, local, indigenous impact, in the context of a well prepared team, expert team leaders and careful, well connected, expert mission hosts. Elements of this experience also include pre-field cross cultural training, post field processing and re-entry, and being a part of a community of friends with the cause of making a difference for humanity's sake, even after you return home.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Tuesday RocketFuel

::: Hollywood Status Quo?
"...would they have crawled into a hole of protecting the status quo or would they be forging a new, exciting, optimistic future through force of will and creativity?" - Marc Andreessen on the Writers Guild strike
Forging an optimistic future or protecting the status quo - what about you and your future?

::: 100 Questions To Turn You from a Teacher into a Learner
from Steve Argue
Related - The Viable Missionary: Learner, Trader, Storyteller
[one of the foundational texts from the Perspectives class.]

::: Water as evil
"Jews see water, sea as dark and evil. Look at Noah, Jonah, Moses and the sea as the dark chaos of creation. In order to bring the message of hope Paul must go through the dark and evil sea."
- N.T. Wright, via Jordon
This gives me a new dimension in thinking about those Biblical stories where water is involved. And it reminds me of Cameroon too.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Plans To Give A Future

I've been involved in a few meetings and conversations already about summer 08. It's been fun to dream. In more than one of these conversations, people have commented on my "I've got this plan for you," tendency. It's a bit like Jeremiah 29:11, except I'm not God - one slight detail.

It's important that we have some kind of plan, progression, and movement for the people that we serve - whether you are a Developer or not. As leaders, we must be moving people towards something. Whether it's personal growth, larger impact and more responsibility, or being able to lead in ambiguity, none of that occurs unless we see the path marked for them and implore them to get there.

How are you helping those you serve with move?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Your First Podcast?

K did her first podcast this past week with some friends for her "tech-a-nology" class. Are these nine year olds what you would call early adopters? I think I was 35 when I did my first podcast....

Listen to it here.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Friday RocketFuel

::: Seth Godin on college admissions.
"Here's the amazing part: According to The Chosen, an exhaustive study of college admissions, there's no measurable difference between the outcomes of education with the most exclusive schools and the next few tiers. Graduates don't end up happier. They don't end up with better paying jobs. They don't end up richer or even healthier. The whole thing is a sham (which costs a quarter of a million dollars a person at the top end)."
Related fact - college debt is the number one reason why young people who desire to go to the mission field cannot.

::: McLean Bible Church's Future Leaders Program
One year long, full time, you get compensation, housing and benefits.

how many people across the planet will give a dollar, and then we’ll give it away to the poorest communities in the world.
via Alan Hirsch

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Spirit of Collaboration

SAdams, Organizational Partnering Catalyst for Christian Associates, crashed at the international SPACE office earlier this week. He's been doing an East Coast tour building and strengthening relationships between CAI and churches and other like-minded organizations, including meeting some of the GCC MTF. S and I first connected when we were working out logistics for our Hungary 2007 team to serve at Connect, their annual staff conference. He's also been doing fun Shengri-La stuff, like going Ghosting; dinner at the Inner Harbor; and conversations that included processing this summer, leadership development, the apostolic and staffing a surf shack in Uruguay [Besides a focus on Europe, CAI is also doing a bit in Latin America.] If I was going to be a full time cross cultural worker, CAI would be on the very short list of organizations I would be applying to.

Collaboration is a big thing that S is working on for possibilities between churches and CAI and it could look something like:
: Short Term
- Serve the City teams - addressing practical needs in a city, particularly those of the poor and marginalized
- Discovery trips - exposure to the emerging culture of Europe, learning about the development of postmodernism and its implications for ministry
- Exploration teams - exploring new cities for potential church planting through demographic research, strategic contacts, and prayerwalking [I would *love* to take students on something like this.]
- Extension teams - extending the impact of an existing missional initiative or church through special projects, outreach events, training, etc.

: Cross Training
- leadership exchanges for training in spiritual formation, leadership development, impacting the city, church planting and more
- idea exchanges and dialogues on innovative missional practices
- mentoring, coaching and interning of emerging leaders

If you are interested in learning more about those opportunities in Europe or high impact churches in Europe's urban centers, email or comment and I can put you in direct contact with S. I don't have first dibs on the surf shack. Yet.

Photo: iChatting with his kids.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


with the devil
to stand still
up that hill

oops. back to my post...

K ran the annual Great Pumpkin Run at her school yesterday and she did great. It's a one mile run that all kids from 3rd grade up do, right around Halloween. The last time I ran a mile was in the early 80s. But D was thinking I should run it with her next year. Pondering that, training may start tomorrow. When was the last time you ran a mile?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Mission Trip Quotes - Ice Age 2

Some quotes from Ice Age The Meltdown and real life scenarios where they could have been used.

[Sid, talking about the vulture who is predicting doomsday.]
"He must have been a real pleasure to have in class."
Me, about TFS, who went on a 15 minute rant about how he hates United Airlines, unbeknownst that two United pilots were sitting behind us on the shuttle bus, Brasil, 2005.

[Manny thinks he might be the last mammoth.]
"Look at the bright side - you have us."
Me to my many teams, many times, referring to the leaders as "us."

[Cholly as he breaks wind on Sid.}
"My stomach hates me," and "Don't that put the stink in extinction."
Me and infectious diarrhea in the Dominican Republic, 1993.

"This is too hot. The ice age is too cold. What will it take to make you happy?"
Multiple scenarios huh?

"There are whole continents moving faster than you."
Our whole team through the palace tour after flying all night to Austria, 2007.

"From now on, land safe, water not safe."
After two hours paddling up a river in a dugout canoe, outside of Kribi, Cameroon, 2006.

"Making friends everywhere you go."
After sharing the Gospel with a Pygmy Indian tribal chief, translating from English to French to a tribal dialect and back, outside of Kribi, Cameroon, 2006.

[Sid, arriving at the Fire King place]
"Who is your decorator, this is nice!"
Arrival at our four star hotel resort in Sopron, Hungary, 2007.

[Sid, after all the little sloths tie him up.]
"This is either really good or really bad."
Finding out our team had been bumped off of our flight to Brasil, 2005. [Turned out to be good.]

And some other gems I'm sure you could work in to your experiences:
[Sid to Manny after Manny makes him stop singing songs about extinction.]
"Ok... someone doesn't like the classics."

[Sid says to Manny, "You might be the only two mammoths left."]
"I'm sorry, when did i join this dating service?"

"Can we slow down a little. I'm dying here. It was just a figure of speech! [after seeing the vultures]"

"One truly is the loneliest number."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Some Blog Housekeeping

I've been doing some light housekeeping around here of late. Here are some things you readers might be interested in:

- Twitter updates [I already posted about this though... and I'm *really* liking it.]
- Added a section for what gets "Starred" in my Google Reader. These are things that show up in my rss reader that I want to read and process later. Lower right.
- Each post now has a button if you want to save the link to your bookmarks. Click on the icon towards the bottom of each post, just to the right of the email icon. [Also, the email icon lets you email the post to someone you like.]
- Added some connecting points via Facebook, LinkedIn and M. If you are on any of those social networks, would love to add you as a friend. Lower left.

As a reminder, you can always subscribe via GoogleReader, Bloglines or MyYahoo or subscribe to get posts sent to your email. Click on the appropriate icons on the left sidebar.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

SPACE Book Club #2

We had our 2nd SPACE book club meeting tonight, discussing Soul Cravings by Erwin McManus. We focused on the 3rd set of readings entitled "Meaning" and here were some of the statements from the book we used for discussion.
I've learned something about us humans; we just don't do well when we feel our lives are meaningless.

We have outgrown so many fairy tales that we once believed were reality. Maybe it's an inherent flaw in the human species, but we are predisposed to believe.

Is there a bigger question than why?

Is it possible that God created us with the power to create the world of our choosing?

The truth is not about data. Truth is more than the gathering of information.
Photo: RobynB and TriciaB in H&M after our book club. And, no, I didn't give Tricia any advice on shoes for homecoming.

Thursday RocketFuel

::: 19 cities with 20 million people in the 21st century
Great web intro to megacities based on, a multi-year, multimedia initiative to collect population data for urban and business planning. If the idea of global urban migration is new to you [and if you've been around here for a while, it shouldn't be...], click through the web demo.
Link via Ethan Zuckerman's Monitor Network's conference summary on megacities.

::: High school to college transition
For those of you getting ready for college. Or just starting there.
[Didn't feel like embedding this one.]
via GMcM, our 2005 Brasil team host.

::: Build your vocabulary while donating free rice
I can't get past level 29. What an impasse.
via LB

::: Ebay getting involved in microfinance
Link via Freakonomics

Image: The top 26 largest cities from 2005, with the 10-40 window outlined.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Every teenager I have ever met wants to be different. There is this primal urge in the adolescent soul to be unique and one of a kind. The absolute last thing they want is to be ordinary. And isn't that one of the things we love about young people?

Sometimes, becoming older makes you mediocre. But it doesn't have to. Some of you know we bought a new-to-us car last week. It's a really nice one, and honestly, it has a lot more than we need. One thing I realized about myself - I don't care what kind of car I drive as long as it's not ordinary. It can be a total clunker as long as it's unique. Edgy, distinct, just not like everyone else.

Adulthood can mean mortgage, minivan, cubicle farm, soccer mom, suburbia. It can mean the height of boredom. But it doesn't have to. Becoming an adult [whatever that means] does not give you permission to become ordinary. In fact, just the opposite. With more resources - like finances, wisdom, maturity, deeper relationships - you are even more poised to continue to live a unique, one of a kind life. A life that is poured out, playing the rescuer, battling through the dark, making others sit up and notice.

Photo: Loading pumpkins in our new-to-us SUV. The height of sport utility...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tuesday RocketFuel

::: Long Term Design Guidelines for Anti-poverty and Development
- if you haven’t had conversations with at least 25 poor people before you start
- if it won’t pay for itself in the first year
- if you can’t sell a million of them

don’t bother designing your product. Products for the developing world need to focus on:

- affordability
- divisibility
- infinte expandability
Now, that is a futurist talking. Paul Polak on design for the world's poor. Read also about his inexpensive drip irrigation system made from a rice bag, some plastic tubing and wooden stakes. Link via My heart's in Accra.

::: The Bible is in Harry Potter
[Besides all the press about the gay guy lately...]
But if she was worried about tipping her hand narratively in the earlier books, she clearly wasn't by the time Harry visits his parents' graves in Chapter 16 of "Deathly Hallows," titled "Godric's Hollow." On his parents' tombstone he reads the quote "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death," while on another tombstone (that of Dumbledore's mother and sister) he reads, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
The MTV interview via Brewing Culture

::: I'm using Twitter
and have integrated it with Facebook statuses. See sidebar on the left. Comment so I can follow you too.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Summer 2008 Process Improvements

We've been thinking and bouncing around some ideas for next summer already as we think about how to continue to improve in our processes for getting our teams to the field. Once again, our overall goal is to make the structure minimal and transparent. We want movement but we also want to be smart.

Here are some of the ideas we will be looking at for next summer, ideas that will continue to improve our preparation, training and on-the-field experiences. You'll notice that a few of them might seem to be unimplementable - those would be grand wishes.
:: Face to face interviews for team leaders, including interviewing with someone besides just me. Solicit the help of an older, wiser person with lots of life experience to complement my perception.
:: Working sessions with team leaders to interpretation Myers Briggs and StrengthsFinder together in working teams.
:: Leader blast gathering - take all the leaders away in the Spring for some investment, fun and training.
:: Team leader packets - specific ideas on how to prepare their teams.
:: Finance Tracking Process - still tweaking this process. It sounds easy [just track the donations] but in actuality is a pretty overwhelming task.
:: Background sheet on teams to give to hosts - We will provide each ministry host with a background sheet on the team they are hosting to give them some advance info about our team. This will also include "How You Can Help Our Team," like give them time to have team time everyday, etc.
:: Post trip debriefing packet - every student gets something to ponder at 2, 4, 6 week intervals after they come home.
:: Mission Advance. yes.

Even now, there is some momentum and activity regarding what we are going to do next summer. Can't tell you much about those quite yet, but if plans A, B and C come together, I'll be having a lot of those "I'm going to throw up moments."

Friday, October 19, 2007

What Does Success Look Like To You?

- Paul and Barnabas evangelized Antioch's 130,000, and reached 500 cities in Asia.
- Judas and Simon the Zealot converted 100,000 in Iran.
- William Carey labored for 7 years before his first convert in India.
- Patrick evangelized the whole of Ireland, baptizes over 100,000. Perhaps more important he launched the Irish Peregrini who evangelized Europe over 4 centuries during the Dark Ages.
- Robert Morrison worked for 25 years in China with less than a dozen converts.
- Columba evangelized the whole of Scotland.
- George Whitefield preached to over 18 million in the United States.
- Adoniram Judson served 37 years in Myanmar with 8,000 converts.
- John Wesley baptized over 140,000 people.
- Before television, D.L. Moody preached to over 100 million and personally baptized 750,000.
- Anskar spent his life among the Vikings with little fruit.
- Frumentius was a captured Syrian Christian who only managed to convert Ethiopia's king.

From the [incredible] powerpoint entitled, "Introduction on Swarming" - a primer on swarm theory and mission mobiliziation movements from Justin Long.

Endorsements for SPACE

- "a joy to work with," "so well prepared," and "to be commended for their maturity, their servants hearts and teachable spirits." - European team host, July 2007.

- "After 18 years of youth ministry and 5 years of heading up various domestic missions projects, SPACE was by far the best, well-prepared group we have hosted in a city.... What ever Tony and his leadership team is doing to develop their students works. It should serve as a model to all the missional youth ministries." - Matt Stevens, Community Solutions partner, Veteran Youth Worker and Chain Reaction host, July 2007. Link

- "If you aren't reading Tony Sheng's blog, shame on you." - Jeremy Del Rio, Community Solutions partner, founder of GenXcel, October, 2007. Link

- " blessed many families in unmeasurable ways. Let them know that your team invested not only their time and resources, but their whole hearts to serve the families of Christian Associates." - church planter, France, August, 2007. Link

- "We truly appreciated the messages you gave and life you and your family shared with our students.... Your Stories all weekend were great... we all loved how every message was filled with stories of experiences that you have had and that were actually driving you deeper into taking risks of faith of your own. This really made for unique messages, beyond Biblical content, we were able to get a glimpse into your life as well as what you believed.... we really appreciate you communicating to our students that God did not just save them for themselves alone, but that he has a amazing plan for this world that He is inviting them into." - para church youth worker, Columbia, MD, December 2006.

- " focused me on the global ramifications of my mission," and "Tony Sheng and the points he made. I love him." - participants of the "Leading In The Global Matrix" workshop, Grace Community Church, Fulton, MD, Leadership Development Program, September 2007. Link

- "Tony has a real passion to see students involved in missions. He is always blogging about great things that include culture, missions, and student ministry." - Dennis Poulette, youth ministry training, Mexico City, Mexico, October 2007. Link

- "hey ur speech was rad dude, are you a leader?" - high school student, Spring 2008 Decompressing Culture session

Friday RocketFuel

::: Quest Aircraft Company, is building the Kodiak, what many deem to be the next generation of bush plane for flying missions in remote areas of the world.
MAF has been working closely with Quest in developing the Kodiak and placed the first order for 10 of the new aircraft," said Swanson. The Kodiak is a 10-seat plane designed to carry heavy loads and land on short, rough landing strips. The biggest feature, however, is that it has a turbo-prop engine, so it can burn jet fuel (similar to kerosene) which is readily available most everywhere in the world and is reasonably priced. The high-octane aviation fuel, which all small airplanes use, is often very expensive or unavailable in remote areas of the world where mission planes fly. The Kodiak has recently been certified by the FAA and delivery of the first planes will begin this fall. Every plane that Quest sells for commercial use will subsidize the cost of another plane for the mission field, so that MAF, New Tribes and other mission agencies can buy the planes at a reduced price.
From the May issue of Mission Frontiers.

::: Time Magazine's slide show of Steve Fossett

::: Howard County Film Fest via RobynB

::: True Excel Geeks for good reason
The real Cannonball Run, planned via spreadsheets, averaging 90.1 mph.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Congregations and Student Retreats

Congregations - isn't that kind of a stuffy word? Anyway, this coming weekend is our high school retreat. One small way that the youth staff try to engage the adult body is with prayer cards. For as long as I can remember, every kid that is registered has a card sitting in the lobby for adults to pick up so they can pray specifically for this kid while he or she is on the retreat. It's a neat and simple way for adults to engage.

Oh... and somehow, of course by totally random choice, here are the three cards we picked up...

[For those that might not know, all three were on our Hungary team this summer.] They wouldn't mind you praying that they have an awesome time too!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Act into Thinking

In speaking of transformation, character development, shaping and molding people, Alan Hirsch compares:

+ think our way into a new way of acting
+ act our way into a new way of thinking

His point is that the latter approach, not the former, is a means of becoming different. He also writes:
So whether we find ourselves with old thinking and old behavior, or new thinking and old behavior, the way forward is to put actions into the equation. This is not as strange as it sounds at first. Human beings are sentient, thinking creatures with a deep desire to understand our lives and our world. This being so, we tend to process things as we go. Ideas and information are important, but they are generally needed to guide action and are best assimilated and understood in the context of life application. The assumption is that we bring all these dynamic thinking processes with us into our actions. It is all about context (not just content.) - The Forgotten Ways (123)
One of the ideas SPACE was built around was, "If we give students new information about the world, they will act on it." Instead, our continuing challenge and focus should be based on action, movement, motion.

Photo: Some of the Hungary team, moving. Vienna, Austria, August 2007. Photo via RobynB.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

GCC LDP Fall 2007 - Teamwork in the Scriptures

My notes from GCC's leadership development workshops

KBronte - GCC student ministry
female small group coodinator

- List some Biblical examples of teams - both good and bad
Adam and Eve
Mary and Joseph
Eli and Samuel
Solomon's wives
David and mighty men
Caleb and Joshua
Noah and family
any NT church
Josephs brothers
the Trinity
Daniel and the 3
Ruth and Naomi
3 wise men
Jonah and the whale [no not really]

- 5 dysfunctions of a team [Lencioni]
1. building trust
mistrust is so much easier to identify [wrongly]
we remember wrong easier than right
sometimes leaders are very comfortable in the environment while members are not - perspective, communication, exposure

2. mastering conflict
the best teams experience conflict but work through a healthy resolution
good conflict requires trust
deep trust has a conflict resolution history

3. achieving commitment
common goal
common team logistics - communicate via, meetings how often and how long, etc
GCC staff does not resolve conflict via email

4. embracing accountability
for a culture of accountability to thrive, a leader must demonstrate a willingness to confront difficult issues.
we might be the only one that is willing to address it

5. focusing on results
as difficult as team work is to measure and achieve, it's power can not be denied.

A Camel Named Moses

Long time readers will remember FZ [who doesn't really blog anymore, but maybe she will pick it up again.] She was one of the leaders on Brasil-2005 and her compassion, initiative and authenticity helped set the standard for SPACE teams.

She spent six weeks this past summer in and out of Cairo, Egypt, serving with InterVarsity and their Global Urban Trek program. Like just about all of us, she was scared out of her skin at that crux point after you make the commitment, but before you have to go through with it. Compliments to her for forging on.

These kinds of lives are our goal. Unsure, scared, nervous, excited, energized by chaos. And compelled by a God who cares and a world that needs to be touched.

Photo: Her camel was named Moses.