Saturday, June 30, 2007

England Saturday Update

They landed at Manchester safely with all of their bags. In other 'whoa the world is connected' news, JBourq's nephew, who is leading a startup church, lives around the corner from the Manchester airport and is going to try to meet them to make sure they get on the train okay.

Friday, June 29, 2007

2007 England departs

Most of you have probably heard about the London bomb that was found and diffused early Friday morning. Interestingly enough, this afternoon is when we send off our England team. I was there to pray with them before they left as a team for the airport. They are not traveling through London but are flying in to Manchester and then taking the train to Liverpool, where they will be assisting and serving YWAM Marine Reach during Liverpool's 800th year celebration.

During the summer of 2004, SPACE's first summer, there was a terrorist scare in NYC the night before one of our teams was leaving to go serve there. I remember thinking back then, like today, "Hmm.... how interesting..."

We live in a dangerous world - serving people in it requires discernment, resolve, bravery and faith.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Cell Phone with a Flashlight

On the eve of the iPhone release, read about the Nokia 1100, which has a built-in flashlight. The phone, designed for developing countries, is one of the best selling consumer electronics devices in the world, beating the iPod, Motorola RAZR, LG Chocolate, and Sony Playstation 2. via My heart's in Accra

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Post Mission Advance Audio

This is ELB [Lynn], one of our NYC team leaders, on the left. She and her friend SS are telling a bit of their story at the block party that all of Mission Advance went to this past weekend. I interviewed Lynn last night during an NYC team fundraiser at a local restaurant. Take a listen as she talks more about Mission Advance 2007. [Caution - the audio is really loud for some reason...]

[feed readers - there is embedded audio in this post]

Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday Potpourri

::: African Windmill
William had to drop out of secondary school in 2002 because his family lacked funds to pay his school fees. Determined to continue his education, he started reading books from the primary school library, which had been contributed by USAID in a teacher training scheme. He discovered a pair of books on energy, one of which included the design for a windmill, and he began work on a five meter tall windmill near his family's home, built from scrap timber, an old bicycle frame, and blades made from PVC pipe heated and pounded into flat blades. The windmill powers a bicycle dynamo, designed to power a bicycle's headlamp. William ran the bicycle dynammo through a transformer, which provided enough power to charge a 12 volt battery. That battery in turn powers four lights, two radios and a mobile phone charger in William's home.
via My heart's in Accra. Also see William's blog

::: Ghost Cities of 2010
Detroit, Michigan, USA; Alexandria, Egypt; Tianjin, China; Jakarta, Indonesia; and Bangkok, Thailand; Banjul, Gambia among others. Link.

::: Viewing youth class divisions in MySpace and Facebook
MySpace and Facebook are new representations of the class divide in American youth.

Link via

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Mission Advance 2007

Quite a weekend with our summer teams. Once again, our goals were to train, inspire, and tightly gel teams. Thanks to those of you that were praying for our weekend and thanks to all of those that made it happen, from help with the food prep, all the acts for The Axis, and the workshop leaders. A lot of people were instrumental to pulling it all off - and that is the way it should be.

Here are the tactical elements in case some of you were interested:

- The Axis - SPACE's first talent and variety stage - designed to encourage, inspire and build support. We made a little bit of support from that, but it was more about that.

- Camping in tents on the church property. My favorite part about camping was being able to stuff my air mattress into my seventeen year old still-in-great-shape North Face VE-23 tent. My second favorite part were the sprinklers going off at 8am on the girls that kept me up all night. But hey, no hard feelings now... As you can imagine, this was the element that contributed most to the out-of-routine, get just a tad uncomfortable. I think it worked for most, me included.

- Team building initiatives with Amy M. One principle I asked her to stress was the idea of sacrificing for the team. During that initiative, I was the most guilty of trying to win instead of sacrificing for the team. Hmm...

- Serving and hanging out at an Adopt A Block party in downtown Baltimore. Our teams were also rotated through doing some minor clean up in the host church there and some of them got to share their story as well as do a short drama for the party. And yes, there was a dance party. Taking all of our teams there contributed a huge element to the weekend - we act on what we believe. Thanks to Colleen for hosting us to serve. [Her story is going matter more and more to Baltimore.]

- Mission workshops including principles about team unity; cultural aspects versus Biblical principles; sharing the Gospel without speaking and relational initiative. All of them from people that, once again, act, were great.

- Two separate blocks of team time.

- Heartbleeding worship with friends that are working to make a difference.

The album [from my M page] is below. [Feed readers will have to open the source post.]

Related: Mission Advance 2006

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer 2007 Prayer calendar

Thanks for taking a look at our prayer calendar and know that we appreciate you thinking about our summer teams. Each date that has a significant SPACE event is filled in with something that could be prayed about [pay no attention to the times.] Click on "Agenda" tab for details, events, names, etc.

Thanks again for praying for our teams and feel free to type in your prayer as a comment.

[Feed readers, go to the source post to see the calendar.]

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Preparing to advance

This is a busy week around the international SPACE office. We are preparing for the second annual Mission Advance weekend - the weekend where all teams come together for some missions prep. We still believe it's a great idea and this weekend is a great venue for making sure that we send teams that are well prepared, from tactical ministry skills, to knowing their teams well and being ready to engage new and different cultures.

Even though we did it last year, this year will still be a much different challenge. There is the standard challenges of masses of people - food and lodging. In this case, we've got some people helping behind the scenes for food and lodging will be a mini tent city on the church property [taken down before the wedding starts...]

Two other interesting challenges - The Axis, our talent and variety stage on Friday evening. And all of Mission Advance will be traveling to downtown Baltimore to help serve an 'Adopt a Block' event that one of our good SPACE friends from GCC is trying to catalyze. There are going to be quite a few of our kids sharing their story this weekend - either in a suburban youth church or on the street.

We have also invited some special guests to be with us this weekend just like last year:
N and B Rmsing - who used to live in Tanzania;
AMoser who calls India a second home and her session entitled, "Alyssa's Tour of the World" [I wrote about her here] ;
D and J Helger who run Nav Youth here in Howard County;
MPM, our logistics coordinator - these four will be running some special mission/culture workshops,
and Amy M, wife of MPM who will be running some team building activities.

I'm excited about this weekend. I have a feeling there are going to be some significant moments this weekend - groups of people that transform from individuals into teams, kids blessing strangers from vastly different cultures and some students deciding to go whenever and wherever God calls.

Photo: Mission Advance 2006

Monday, June 18, 2007

Numero Cinco

We just put the final touches on trip number 5 - a mini missions experience for middle school students. Long time readers will remember that for the past three summers, we have taken teams of students to serve at CMTS, which gives participants a very unique view of the world, an out-of-the-box perspective on missions and a weekend full of manual labor. All of the elements are strategic, especially the manual labor - we want those kids to be pretty tired at the end of the day so they don't give us any trouble. [I'm kidding, sort of...]

This year, in an attempt to rearchitect the experience, we came up with plans very late for a middle school experience. Instead of traveling anywhere, we are using GCC as a hub and will be serving two locally connected ministries. Also, because of the lateness, we aren't requiring this team to be at Mission Advance, happening this weekend.

Part of me is a little disappointed we aren't taking them further away and doing something more daring and dramatic. But overall, I'm glad we are at least doing something. You know middle school - hormones, awkwardness, energy, fluctuations between being a kid and being an adult - when better to plant and grow a mission to rescue humanity?

[Info sheet is available in the upper right hand sidebar, "Light Company Mini Missions".]

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Fathers Day 2007

These are my parents Frank and Pauline with our two little characters... My dad finished seven rounds of chemo a few weeks ago and he looks good, relatively speaking. Thanks to you all for praying for him since he had surgery for colon cancer in November.

Happy Fathers Day to you all.

Father's Day Blogjacking!

OK - I've done this before, but I'll just do it again... hehe.

Happy Father's Day, ts!

(and if you want to wish him the same, just do it here!)


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Reimagining the Wordless Book

We had another Hungary team meeting late last week and as the plans for the staff conference and our team continues to gel, there is a real sense of destiny and purpose for what we are going to do there. This is one of the phases of trips I love - an undercurrent of nervousness, excitement and energy, intersected by the unknown and mystery all the while knowing that we are doing something important.

One of the tasks our team has been charted to do is this element of evening fun with the kids, centered around the Wordless book. It's a great concept since some of these kids don't speak English and some of the kids will be able to go back home to non English speakers and communicate what they believe without having to use language words.

Our team is comprised of Christian kids - the wordless book can easily become an all to familiar cliche to all of us. So I challenged the team to really expand their imagination about how to communicate this. We need to make an experience that is powerfully centered around these ideas - and I know this team can pull it off.

Here is what we brainstormed - remember the brainstorm phase means not saying no to any idea, no matter how unrealistic.
- paint 5 different hotel rooms the colors and walk the kids through
each one
- skits based on each color where all the participants are dressed/face
painted in the color
- pick out film clips from popular kid movies that illustrate or
symbolize each colors principle

Creativity, innovation, experimentation. How would you break the cliche of the wordless book?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Well, it is one of my favorites...

I didn't think Mommy was *that* surprised.... Click for larger. From Em's Paw Print Press [self publishing for elementary school kids] book.

Thursday Potpourri

::: "cults are the unpaid bills of the church..."
and Burning Man - link

::: Portable Youth Ministry
- go to where students are, a school campus, rather than asking them to come to us
- people serving in different capacities
- forces you to be efficient
By the way, D has been trying to sell a mini version of this idea for a number of years. Ask her about it.

::: Tailing sixty affluent teenage girls [and one boy] through the mall

::: Andy Stanley on leadership
"'Follow me.' Follow we never works. Ever. It's 'follow me.' God gives a man or a woman the gift of leadership. And any organization that has a point leader with accountability and freedom to use their gift will do well..."

link via The Leading Blog

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Suburban Missionaries

Q: Do we need new churches planted in the suburbs?

A: Absolutely. These are places that need to hear the Gospel. There is a lot of room for planters who can think creatively, who see the world of suburbia as a missionary would. Very few people try that in the suburbs because they just default to what they know. Worship band, PowerPoint preaching, a four-step system for discipleship. I think that missionary training needs to be as rigorous for the suburbs as it is for the foreign mission field.
Excerpt from an interview with David Goetz, author of Death by Suburb, from the Summer 2007 issue of Cutting Edge. The subtitle of the book is "How to Keep the Suburbs From Killing Your Soul."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Difficulties of Late

The blog has been fairly quiet for a few days now and I've probably tried to write this post 20 some times. We've had to deal with a few very difficult situations last week - some of them would have been quite frustrating on their own. Instead, they have been coupled with one of the most difficult decisions that I have been involved with since SPACE started. It has not been easy and I know the leaders that were involved have begged for discretion and wisdom, as have I.

It is vitally important that we protect the reputation and ministries of our host missionaries. This means that we send the best teams, teams that are well prepared, teams that go above and beyond when it comes to serving and relating and individuals on teams that do their very best to do right. Just as important, we protect our leaders, not putting them in situations where their leadership can be easily compromised. We absolutely trust them and we will set them up for success in every way that we can.

Because both of these values came into jeopardy, we as a leadership team were forced to make some changes to one of our summer teams, which departs in less than a month.

Our leaders are to be commended - they were prayerful, discerning, inviting feedback. When the time came to act upon a decision, no matter how painful, they did the right thing. Sometimes, doing right will haunt you for years.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Winter on Dependency

A simple case of dependency is where missionaries start a church, a school or a hospital without figuring out how those things can be run by the local people. These projects may run just fine as long as a missionary (they don’t have to pay) is there to help, or as long as monthly infusions of subsidy keep coming from abroad.
By contrast, all over the world are broken-down school buildings and even smoldering church buildings that have been left behind by fast-growing church movements that have learned how to grow without depending on outside help.
Self-reliance is the opposite of dependency. Self-reliance emerges when people discover ways to do things with self-respect and in ways that employ what is within the range of their control. Growth becomes spontaneous. They do not "depend" on help that is beyond their control...
- Ralph Winter, Mission Frontiers, May-June 2007
[Related: The Greatest Missiologist]

Monday, June 04, 2007

Africa: Aid vs. Investment

The session culminated with a healthy dose of controversy. Ugandan journalist Andrew Mwenda gave a fiery talk, articulating his well-honed arguments against foreign aid, which he views in no uncertain terms as Africa's problem, not its solution. Eloquent, funny and forceful, Mwemba sent a jolt through the divided audience. Many stood and cheered; others muttering audibly in disagreement. "Do any of you know someone who grew wealthy from receiving aid?" he asked, midway through his talk. The silence was broken by ... Bono. Who argued that yes, actually, government aid helped Ireland through the potato famine, for starters. (Bono would take the stage himself in Session 2).
From the TEDGlobal 2007 - "Africa: The Next Chapter" conference. Um... yes, that Bono...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

2007 Summer Team Summary

Middle School
Two days of local service opportunities near Howard County, MD
[more details soon - post will be updated then]

::: Baltimore
Incoming 10th graders
Team of 7 leader and 12 students
Serving in Baltimore with Chain Reaction
July 1 - 7, 2007

::: New York City
Incoming 11th graders
Team of 6 leaders and 13 students
Serving in New York City with Urban Impact New York
August 5 - 11, 2007

::: Liverpool, England
Incoming 12th graders
Team of 4 leaders and 12 students
Serving with Marine Reach
June 29 - July 9, 2007

::: Hungary
Mixed age group
Team of 6 leaders, 7 students and 2 kids
Serving with Christian Associates International
August 8 - 18, 2007

::: Middle School Mini Missions Experience
Team of 15 students and 6 leaders
Serving two local ministries connected with GCC - FISH of Laurel and Charm City Church
July 20 - 21, 2007

Multiple Moments of Swing

"On the one hand, it means small groups can make very bad decisions, because influence is more direct and immediate and small-group judgments tend to be more volatile and extreme. On the other hand, it also means that small groups have the opportunity to be more than just the sum of their parts. A successful face to face group is more than just collectively intelligent. It makes everyone work harder, think smarter and reach better conclusions than they would have on their own. In his 1985 book about Olympic rowing, _The Amateurs_, David Halberstam writes: 'When mot oarsmen talked about their perfect moments in a boat, they referred not so much to winning a race but to the feel of the boat, all eight oars in the water together, the synchronization almost perfect. In moments like that, the boat seemed to life right out of the water. Oarsmen called that the moment of swing.' When a boat has swing, its motion seems almost effortless. Although there are eight oarsmen in the boat, it's as if there's only one person - with perfect timing and perfect strength - rowing. So you might say that a small group which works well has intellectual swing." - James Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds
Recruiting the right team leaders, cultural preparation, the task of raising support together, bonding the team - all of it is so that our teams land and serve with this idea of swing. I would take it a step further though - not just intellectual and not just limited to a single moment. Rather an experience of swing with multiple layers.

When was the last time you were part of a team with swing? And why was the team so effective?