Sunday, September 30, 2007

2007 summer leader debriefing

This morning, I met with some other mission team leaders [in SPACE and out of SPACE] in a meeting facilitated by the GCC Missions Task Force for the purpose of debriefing the summer teams leaders. Here are some random and scattered notes that may help you if you are a mission team leader, serve on a mission board or have involvement in sending, supporting or being on teams.
PH - adult short term coordinator
PW - elder, overseeing missions
SW - chair of MTF
J and J - team leaders, adult - Uganda, AOET
S and B - team leaders, adult - Mexico, WorldServants
TS - moi, SPACE in general, SPACE 2007 Hungary
DS - my better half, SPACE 2007 Hungary
TM - SPACE 2007 England

Team prep time:
Mexico - 9 weeks from start to finish - not enough time
Uganda - 12 weeks

What kind of preparation:
language training
Might help to have single day workshop to cover fund raising, culture and logistics - like Mission Advance
Uganda did personality testing
can and should begin to resource a lot of other people within the Body - language training, cultural engagement, team building

Team application process:
how do we choose who goes - need some level of baseline for participants
this year for adult teams, short term coord did most of the interviewing and then placed people on specific teams
need spousal buy in and agreement

While the team is on the field:
support for spouses/families - who is left behind
including expectations for communication protocol

need to meet with teams once they come home again - specific to process not for social
have people who are fully devoted to the experience but gain a heart for missions after they return home
long term view - how is God calling you to this in the future?
bring in a guest facilitator for debriefing teams
You probably noticed that most of these issues are common to mission team leaders. You could also infer that there was a lot more to talk about and these were just the talking points that rose to the top in our limited time. Consistently, the missions piece has gotten tons of empowerment, gratefulness and delegation of authority and leadership from the higher-ups at GCC.

Within SPACE, we have also been thinking about process improvement and I'll be detailing some of our plans along those lines in a later post.

Related MTF debriefing sessions - 2005 and 2006

Friday, September 28, 2007

Proactive, Well Thought Out Internships

But this was not quite what I had in mind.... Creativity and artistry via TriciaB.

Heros From the Beginning

And this is exactly how Jesus does discipleship: he organizes it around mission. As soon as they are called he takes the disciples on an adventurous journey of mission, ministry and learning. Straightaway they are involved in proclaiming the kingdom of God, serving the poor, healing and casting out demons.... Even the newest convert is engaged in the mission from the start; even he or she can become a spiritual hero... if disciple making lies at the heart of our commission, then we must organize it around mission, because mission is the catalyzing principle of discipleship. - The Forgotten Ways
Even though I've done a fair share of what one would call missions trips, the quote reminds me that we must be about mission.

[Related: Alan Hirsch's blog]

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Start With Who You Can

I'm doing a team coaching session for one of the GCC young adult teams later next week. It's a team that is going to India with AMoser and they need a little bit of help. Not a lot, but a little. I was a little hesitant to get too involved, but I really want them to succeed. And if you can avoid a train wreck... not saying they would be a train wreck. Anyway, I digress.

I've got a series of posts dealing with team preparation [also in the sidebar on the right.] It's a good set of resources. But if you are getting started with a team, you

.... must ..... get...... started....

You must initiate, drive, compel, begin, move, gather, invite. You must take the first step. You must start.

We deal with this every single summer. School schedules, after school sports, kids with jobs, leaders away at college, final exams. It's difficult logistically. But departure dates are static entities - they don't move, whether you are ready or not.

The principle is 'start with who you can.' The rest will follow. Have your gathering when most are available. Make your gathering awesome. If it is truly valuable - mold them together as a team with good interaction, give them a vision for more than just the trip, grow a tangible skill they achieve at - the rest will be really sorry they missed it. And they won't miss the next one.

Wednesday RocketFuel

::: Church in Starbucks with's internet campus
Right when he says this, the little "hand raised counter" gets to 7. Everything in me wanted to click "Raise Hand", but I didn’t. Because I’m a good boy. Didn’t want to misbehave in church.
I wish I had my camera for what happened next. There is this older woman on her laptop across the Starbucks. I swear when internet pastor dude asked one last time to raise your hand…her hand went up. Then the little counter thing went from 7 to 8.
via Los
Story worth reading because it's funny and it highlights a new expression of church

::: The world in 7 cheeky photos
Link via

::: 16% of non-Christians in their late teens and twenties said they have a "good impression" of Christianity.
Link via YPulse

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Essential 3 ::: Hungary 2007

In the summer of 2007, I helped lead a team of students to serve with Christian Associates International, helping to put on a kids program during their annual staff conference called Connect. Connect is a meeting point for their worldwide staff and is a homecoming of sorts where staff reconnect, introspect and get invested in. Connect serves to vitally recharge and re-energize church planting families that have served in their respective environments and contexts. Let's visit the 3 essential questions in light of this experience.

1. Am I planning to have an impact that lasts for 500 years?
Aside from the given of impacting the missionary kids, our interaction with the missionary families had a huge impact as well. I know all of our team was affected by hanging around the crazies - the ones that are brave and daring enough to leave everything behind to live in a foreign culture so that Jesus would be proclaimed. Like most missionary families I meet, in some ways they are normal and just like us. In other ways, they aren't normal at all. Living a life of intentionality is not commonplace. The members of this team saw Europe's need, spent quality time with families interacting about God's mission in the world and continue to envision a different future for themselves - and for mankind.

2. Can both host and teams trust each other because we are partners?
Our initial contact with CAI was through a GCC family that eventually ended up on the mission field serving with CAI. So based on that context, we already had somewhat of a partnership from an organizational [church:mission agency] level but not personal. Of course, that partnership deepened to the personal level as we prepared. The culmination of that partnership was a week of kids program that ran extremely well in both the logistics and overall ethos of the week. One other thing worth noting - SPACE and CAI share a lot of the same values - experimentation, personal leadership development and risky innovation.

3. How will I engage the culture?
The difference between American and European culture is not great. In addition to the similarities, staying in a hotel that was very American with a lot of other Americans made engaging with the culture more difficult. Out team made the most of non conference times, such as time before and after the conference in Vienna and Munich and a morning touring the city of Sopron [where our hotel was located], which provided some observations in culture. This experience required a bit more ingenuity when it came to making sure our team engaged context and culture.

Photos: Team reflection, Vienna, by RobynB; the fire tower, Sopron, Hungary, by ErinOB.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Deep Survival

I picked up the book Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies and Why on a whim a few weeks ago at my local Borders. Intrigued by the wilderness survival topic, it sounded like an interesting read. To put it mildly, this book is intense. Below are a few excerpts.

:: Speaking about mental maps - like when a person gets lost and having to reassess where they are. [Stretch to expand this idea to cultural engagement. The ones that thrive in other cultures are the ones that adapt the best and quickest, in essence reshaping their mental models.]
Al Siebert, a psychologist, writes in The Survivor Personality that the survivor "does not impose pre-existing patterns on new information, but rather allows new information to reshape [his mental models]. The person who has the best chance of handling a situation well is usually the one with the best ... mental pictures or images of what is occurring outside of the body."

:: He writes a lot about keeping your cool and how there is a fine balance between emotion and cognition - the ones who survive are the ones who have kept their emotions in check while making the right decisions and acting on them. A bit about the physiology in the brain:
Since the organism's survival depends on a reasonable match between mental map and environment, as the two diverge, the hippocampus spins its wheels and the amygdala sends out alarm signals even as the motivations circuits urge you on and on. The result is vertigo, claustrophobia, panic and wasted motion. Since most people aren't conscious of the process, there's no way to reflect on what's happening.

:: The idea that serving others transforms you into a survivor:
Kerns learned many lessons that night. His mastery and confidence turned the pilots around even more than the fire. It showed them the way, and it made Kerns more able to save himself. That lesson was driven home and home again: Helping someone else is the best way to ensure your own survival. It takes you out of yourself. It helps you rise above your fears. Now you're a rescuer, not a victim. And seeing how your leadership and skill buoy others up gives you more focus and energy to persevere. The cycle reinforces itself: You buoy them up, and their response buoys you up. Many people who survive alone report that they were doing it for someone else back home.

Two other ideas surfaced for me while reading this book. First, although our SPACE teams aren't necessarily in wilderness survival environments, there could be incidents where our leaders are in crisis mode and trying to balance emotion versus cognition in order to make the right decision. Realistic scenarios include being in a foreign city and losing a student, a team member getting into a major car accident, or being the target of a violent crime. Perhaps this book has allowed my mind to wander, thinking that any of those are remotely possible [they are, aren't they?] The ability to hold emotion in check while cognitively making the right decisions is a leadership behavior that is important. Perhaps we need to visit this topic as a part of our team preparation. [Along the same lines but the topic of another post - staffing your leadership for worst case.]

The second thought that came to mind was the difference between surviving as a victim versus surviving as a rescuer. The bigger paradigm relates to all of us that follow Christ - instead of merely just surviving, are we rescuing? Because it sounds like that makes a big difference.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fire King 1.0

My personal notes from this morning's message.

I Kings 16-18
prophets are not comfortable people to be around.
Ahab - 7th king - married to Jezebel
Jezebel from Sidon - incredibly pagan
drought, no dew or rain
Baal - male god - god of agriculture and natural elements and fertility
Asher - female counterpart
Elijah - God tells him to give the message and then turn and go hide.
Go to Sidon - where J is from - huh?
Find specific village where a widow lives.
A widow - a person in the bottom of the social strata who is going to 'provide' for him during a drought and famine in the land.
[not only faith of Elijah but faith of the widow]
widows son grew ill - Elijah healed him
drought lasted 3 years
cultivation of Elijah's faith happened in private
gathered 850 of Baals and Asher's prophets on Mt. Carmel
"prophetic trash talk" - Ortberg
pour water on the alter - 4 jars, 3 times - all in the middle of getting over a drought
contrast the way the pagan prophets dance, cut, sacrifice as prayers to Elijah's calm, confident prayer
Elijah is one of the original fire kings

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What's Not To Love?

One of my feedback evaluation forms from the GCC LDP session I led last week.

Exhibit A in the red. No, I didn't plant an admirer in the crowd.

Exhibit B in the blue. Yup, someone understood the ramifications of their mission against the backdrop of humanity. That is exactly why.

Friday, September 21, 2007

How SPACE has used Facebook

Tony Sheng's Facebook profileEveryone and their mother seems to be writing about churches and Facebook. So here is a perspective from a globally-connected, out-to-change-the-world component of a youth ministry.

SPACE has seen the following uses of Facebook:
- Connecting
Of course, the first and foremost use of FB is connecting with friends. Writing on walls, messaging [although I would rather use normal email] , checking on their status, reading their profiles and seeing who has new friends all are various ways to connect. Most recently, we've seen a lot of our students connect and stay in touch with the new friends they have made while serving around the world.

- Community
FB is also an environment for community. The amount of FB groups are evidence of that. The groups represent affinity and can be closed or allow anyone to join. We've started a general SPACE group as well as specific groups for SPACE summer teams, book clubs and groups just for fun [like the "SHENGS have more fun" group.] My latest favorite is the "IDK my BFF Jill" group [from LB's FB profile.]

- Photos, Video and Tagging
Part of the fun of FB is being able to upload media [photos/video] and then tag your friends in them as well as leave comments. Through this, you can see all the pictures/videos/etc FB-wide of your friends. All of our summer teams uploaded huge quantities of pictures from their experiences this summer, then tagged their teammates and commented on those pictures as well. On the left, one of my favorites, detailing an experiment I was conducting with cellophane - note the funny comments.

Other Resources:
- Churches on Facebook, from
- The swerve blog's informal social network survey results

One thing to note about security and privacy - only add the people you know and you should be fine. Feel free to add me as a friend by clicking my profile badge at the upper right of this post.

Friday RocketFuel

::: Is "See You At The Pole" Unbiblical?
Link via Mark Riddle

::: What Myers-Briggs type is Jason Bourne?

::: The most amazing temples in the world

::: I Don't Look Like This Demographic
For Americans ages 35 to 54 - 18,249 deaths from overdoses of illicit drugs in 2004, up 550 percent per capita since 1975... 30 years ago, the riskiest age group for violent death was 15 to 24... Today, the age group most at risk for violent death is 40 to 49, including illegal-drug death rates five times higher than for teenagers.
Link from Marc Andreessen

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Leading In the Global Matrix - notes

As part of GCC's leadership development program, notes from a session I did yesterday.


::: Intro
tony sheng
Leading in the Global Matrix
culture and context - the faster and deeper a leader engages, the greater the impact
look at paul - 3 on the ground, tangible behaviors he uses to engage context
expand your perspective about our current context - where Grace is on the way to marking human history

tony’s context - about me - SPACE - catalyzing students

Ex: TS in Brasil - moose on his shirt signified homosexuality - they laughed and he had no idea what about

your context – you are to lead - lets get it clear - you are here for a reason and if you have doubts about your leadership - put them on the shelf - the most exciting strategic time to be a jesus follower in human history - you have a vital role to play - the world is depending on you

::: Acts 17 in another language

::: Pauls behaviors
- 1.sees his context clearly
how the world really looks
most amazing time in history ever

: world and history - Six of the ten billion who have ever lived are alive today, and half of them are under the age of 25 – if you need compelling proof for youth ministry…
More has happened in fulfillment of the Great Commission in the last 100 years than in the previous 1,000 years.
China—fastest Christian expansion ever with 10,000 new converts every day
15 million converted Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims have opted to remain within those religions in order to witness for Christ as active believers in Jesus as Lord.
In 1900 81% of all Christians were White - By 2005 this will drop to 43%
Unreached peoples: 13,000 cultures

: cities - global urban migration

: howard county - GCC - strategic right in the middle of DC and Baltimore
1/6 in Howard County are foreign born
:poll - how many life next to someone of a different ethnicity

community:church:leaders – sets and subsets
not a lesson on corporate diversity
but a lesson on clarity – we must care about what our community looks like
why this is called Leading In the Global Matrix - wake up and see

2006 best places to live - Money Magazine
1000 families $3M budget - $300K to local and global projects
over 200 middle and high school students in the past four years, $150K
Building Bridges – a week long community impact project
This church is not like any other church you will find

clearly GCC is situated for something grand
unique pivotal spot in human history
Paul saw this clearly

Learner vs. teacher
Trader vs. seller

:: Discuss – "In the different contexts or environments I am in [work, school, hobbies, church, etc.] do I see this global melting pot? Is there a place I should and do not see it? Why so"

- 2. focused on long term impact
**'the latest ideas'**
Paul was in this specific mix for a reason and this group of people were probably not like his own
he was there for a specific reason - he was trying to reach the group that were focused on the 'latest ideas'
diffusion of innovation scale - draw this on the board [not my idea] - flip chart - The Tipping Point
how fast people gravitate towards change

front edge of the curve - the innovaters, risk takers, entreprenrial, catalytic
they are the leaders
people of influence
these people would go on to affect change in others
wave of difference and action

Paul knew that he had to draw from leaders - whether they were Christ followers or not
not a flash in the pan
mentor - if you are focusing on less than 500 years, it's too short [not my idea]
who are the leaders - not followers - you are trying to reach?

Bobby Clinton, Fuller, studied 1200 leaders from history and the Scriptures - 'leadership selection and identification is a major function of leadership."

Neil Cole author of Organic Church says, “The best leaders are the ones who are creating leaders, not just followers”
Everyone has the potential to influence at least one other person. The best leaders aren’t necessarily the ones up front of a lot of people – they are the ones catalyzing those others to affect the multitudes

How do you identify those in your ministry who are leaders? There are surely signs…
TJ - in student ministry, see which adults kids gravitate towards
two SPACE interns – these kids read everything that I give them

- person of peace idea from Lk 10 - someone who has good reputation in the community, well connected, lots of influence, people follow them

F in Brasil – great relationship with the other parents of school kids, great reputation in the neighborhood, serves in community board. Not a believer, yet. When she comes to Jesus, there will be an very fast expansion – in the form of multiplication not addition.

- think about multiplication versus addition

UMCP is one of the best places to reach Chinese – reach more there than going to China – because they will return to China

More than just a great kids ministry or a dynamic moving small group
A movement of Christ followers
SPACE started as mission trips and community service - now it has become so much more than that - creating a movement among students to catalyze and empower them to change the world

not creating a ministry for the ministry sake
it's about affecting humanity
making a difference for all of mankind

::: Discuss "what is the impact of my ministry in 5, 50 and 500 years."

- 3. language
looks into the culture to frame a passion for God
Don Richardson, Peace Child
redemptive analogy - finding a story or legend in the culture that is analogous to the Gospel
music, movie, legends, etc.
ET - alien comes to life, dies and born again to give life to Elliot
Children of Men - no one has any more babies except one
the Bridge movie in cheq
can come from literature, music, etc.
keep in mind that pop "culture" now has very deep, philosophical meanings
The Matrix, etc

Discuss: examples of redemptive analogy

::: Close
responsibility, impact and influence

Link to the handout, which includes an outline, other resources and questions for coach-leader interaction.
Updated handout which includes better interactions for coach and their leaders.
Photo: SSunde reading for our session.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday RocketFuel

::: Sending Your Kids Out
It's so tough sending our children out, and you'd think that Karen and I would be better at it. But it still strikes us to the core. We do it out of obedience. We do it because God did it for us and the world needs to know.
Link from Seth Barnes

::: 20 countries, 12 weeks, overland - London to Sydney
The OzBusvia MetaFilter

::: Voice is still the killer app in many developing countries.
As part of a UN programme to tackle poverty in rural Africa, 79 villages across 10 African countries will be hooked up to cellular networks.
Link. Note that Jeffrey Sachs is the director of the Earth Institute.

::: Statetris
Instead of positioning the typical Tetris blocks, you position states/countries at their proper location. This will kill your productivity - you have been warned. Link via Kotkke.

Paving for Mission

The theme for the past two Sundays at Grace have been called "Taste of Grace," the annual series designed to engage people to be involved in serving in different capacities. Part of this Sunday's message was about what kind of community we are - how many of our community are already serving. PastorMark outlined two elements of serving - the summer mission adult and student teams. Here are the metrics from both:

Students -- 81 people || $61,000 || $753
Adults -- 38 people || $76,000 || $2000

[I wrote about specific student historical financial metrics previously in this post.] From a purely monetary perspective, we are getting a better deal on the student side. Of course, the finances are not the only thing we measure.

It's important to keep in mind finances from the perspective of students. Students don't have the financial viability that adults have - most of their friends don't have full time salaried careers, the majority of support come from their parents' friends and "taxable donation" is a nonsensical term to a sixteen year old. So when we look at trip destinations and partnerships, we have to keep overall costing in mind. If it is very ambitious financially, that is somewhat of a flag. Adult teams may not have the same kind of considerations for if a trip goes or not.

Of course, I'm super proud to see that our students are, in some ways, leading the greater body in this way. When SPACE first started, adult mission trips were here or there and this summer, there have been seven. It's what teenagers are good at - innovate, risk and pave the way a little bit.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Best Lunch Deal In Howard County

Public School Lunch
3 hard beef tacos
2 mini bowls of salad
1 big spoon of corn
water or juice too

oh and ice cream for $.60

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Orbiters at Work

Goodwin's expectation principle: "A potential leader tends to rise to the level of genuine expectancy of a leader he or she respects." via Bobby Clinton.

Whether interns respect me or not, I have the highest expectations for them. Knowing what they know and having experienced what they have experienced, their responsibility, impact and influence on the nations is limitless.

EllyK was the perfect person to spend one-on-one time with Nast, a three year old adopted girl who only spoke Russian. Any time there was the threat of having to be around only English speakers, she freaked and went into meltdown mode. EllyK - empathy - spent hours rebuilding and reshaping, creating safety and connection - ideation - distractions via swings, bubbles and walks in the woods.

In it's most desperate hour, the world needs you.

Photos: 2007-2008 Orbiters TriciaB and EllyK.

Fall Book Club

In the tradition of trying something new and different, SPACE is launching a book club. First gathering - Sept 27th at 8pm at the Food Court in Columbia Mall with gatherings about once a month. The book we are going to read is Soul Cravings. Feel free to bring friends - even ones that aren't interested in church. RSVP via email or comment.

We Need Some More Developers

I wrote a little bit about the Leadership Vision dudes at the CAI conference. More on them later. What was very intriguing to me was that CAI had these guys engage all their field teams as "Missional Consultants", both at the conference and throughout the year. Most of their time spent with teams was spent interpreting StrengthsFinder and Myers Briggs in the context of the working teams.

I think we did a great job putting our leader teams together this past summer due to focusing on first finding strong point leaders and then surrounding them with other very capable people - ultimately resulting in the strongest most capable leader teams we have ever had.

An area of improvement for next summer will continue to center around leaders, including something like:
- a team leader guide.
- all team leaders take StrengthsFinder.
- someone interprets the results as a team, not just as individuals.

Photo: SF results of some of our team. Note the circles.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wednesday RocketFuel

::: Short Term Missions and the Future
Seth writes:
Over and over again I watch the very missionaries I've mobilized through a short-term experience tell me, "It's too much work. I don't want to host any more teams." Hosting a short-term-mission (STM) team is a lot of work for missionaries.

It's true that many of our short-termers don't belong on the field. Far too many churches don't adequately screen or prepare their teams. And their presence on the mission field is a net negative. They spend $1000 a participant to do VBS and a bit of construction with a bunch of spoiled Americans with attitudes.

The answer to that problem is better screening and preparation, not a moratorium on STMs. I want to ask all missionaries reading this, what are you doing to replace yourself? How are you raising up future missionaries?

Link from Seth Barnes

We are aiming to unpack the technical jargon and gobblygook so that non-techies and church leaders can better understand how various digital technologies can be used in the church to connect its members and attenders as well as reach its surrounding communities and even the world.
Friends DJ Chuang and Stephen Shields are part of the team.

::: How Cultures Think
via RG Lewis

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Laugh It Up

Just a reminder, fun is a core SPACE value. In four years, 200 students and leaders and over fifteen teams, fun and laughter have been key components of our experiences.
In a neurological sense, laughing represents the shortest distance between two people because it instantly interlocks limbic systems. This immediate, involuntary reaction, as one researcher puts it, involves "the most direct communication possible between people - brain to brain - with our intellect just going along for the ride, in what might be called a "limbic lock." No surprise, then, that people who relish each other's company laugh easily and often; those who distrust or dislike each other, or who are otherwise at odds, laugh little together, if at all.
In any work setting, therefore, the sound of laughter signals the group's emotional temperature, offering one sure sign that people's hearts as well as their minds are engaged. In a study of 1,200 episodes of laughter during social interactions, the laugh almost always came as a friendly response to some ordinary remark like "nice meeting you," not to a punchline. A good laugh sends a reassuring message: We're on the same wavelength, we get along. It signals trust, comfort and a shared sense of the world; as a rhythm in a conversation, laughing signals that all is well for the moment.
- Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee
Photo: D and I. Otherwise, I have no idea.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Finding the Hero

One of the forums recently started on M opened with the question, "Think 18th century through today...who are your heroes?" One of mine was Amelia Earhart, who had some amazing accomplishments in the field of aviation, especially being a woman in that age. Talk about daring, risk and adventure. Kind of along the same lines as Steve Fossett, who has been missing for a few days now.

I spent just a few minutes contributing to the Amazon Mechanical Turk "HIT" for finding Steve Fossett. The basic idea is that images from the overall search area are loaded in to the Turk and the power of the Web is harnessed for people who have the time to scan those images using Google Earth, identify whether they see something suspect or not, and the results cataloged. Hopefully the more people involved, the more images can get scanned and maybe some hits on possibilities for where Steve is. D just told me that they have found 5 or 6 plane crashes that no one could find before.

Here is a fascinating article about Jim Gray, a Silicon Valley technologist who disappeared sailing earlier this year, and the high tech search used to try and find him as well. To date, no one has found him or evidence of his boat.

There is risk for it's own sake and there is risk for a greater cause.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Senior High Pastor Opening

Here is the official link for the job opening at GCC:
If you are a vision caster, who loves leading leaders and teaching high school students we would like to hear from you.

Grace Community Church is a dynamic, growing, seeker sensitive church with an average weekly attendance of over 1900 adults that is strategically located in Howard County MD in the Baltimore Washington corridor. Our church mission is to build followers of Jesus Christ among those distanced from him.

Our current high school pastor of 10 years is stepping down and we are looking for his replacement to lead a high school ministry of over 200 students and 70 volunteers. Our high school ministry exists to:
• To provide a safe place for High School students to think about life, love, and faith,
• To explore their relationship with God, and
• To express their hearts to each other and God.
You must also really appreciate a Chinese-middle-aged-young-at-heart student mission coordinator and let him continue to run his crazy experiments that intersect students, culture and humanity.[No no, it's not in the official write up... but it should be don't you think? Kidding...]
Link to the official job posting.

Friday RocketFuel

::: 168 hours
Nigel spent a year as George Verwer's [President of Operation Mobilization] gopher, meaning:
6 continents; 18 countries; 100 flights; 100 blog entries; met 5,000+ people; 250 meetings with George
Here is a snippet of what he learned:
Six of the ten billion who have ever lived are alive today, and half of them are under the age of 25. The spiritual war rages stronger than ever – with more response and more opposition to the Gospel than ever before. More has happened in fulfillment of the Great Commission in the last 100 years than in the previous 1,000 years. This is where you and I find ourselves. God is at work, and His plan will happen. The question is, "Am I part of it?"

::: Ethnographic research, cultural context and emerging technology
- Texting in Pinyan [Chinese] isn't an easy thing to do - it requires two to seven button presses for each character.
- Why do Koreans pay to go to cybercafes when they've got great connectivity at home? Because it's customary in Korea not to host guests in ones house, so playing games in a PC-Bang is the only way to socialize with friends.
- The ilkone phone signals a call to prayer, then silences itself for 20 minutes to allow you not to disturb anyone in mosque.
Link with much, much more about Genevieve Bell, a legendary anthropologist who works with Intel, from My Heart's in Accra

::: Apple addresses early adopters
Link via Seth Godin

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Summer Budgets

We are almost done closing out the financial part of the summer. When we close out summers, I invariably cannot believe the amount of people that support our students and teams. It really is amazing, all the ones that give and pray and give, because they know these students and love to see them risking, moving and serving. Here are some rough summer budget metrics.

Year$$#cost per person
If anyone else has any costing per student for their summer mission budgets, I would love to see them. The other interesting dialog might be about whether we are getting our money's worth. Of course, I've got an opinion...

Photo: Belvedere Palace in Vienna [via ErinOB]

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Cam Team one year later

The Nens were in town a few weekends ago. It was so good to see them and after spending 10 days in Hungary with the same kind of families, it was familar, refreshing and really fun.

Hard to believe it has been one year.

[Related - Cameroon 2006]

Wednesday RocketFuel

::: Europe's Coolest Cities
Including Copenhagen, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Dublin and Vienna
Link via The Creative Class

::: Dean Kamen and a new prosthetic arm
Watch a video from with Dean Kamen and the extraordinary prosthetic arm he's developing at the request of the US Department of Defense. Link

::: The Essence of Movements
1. Structure
2. Recruitment
3. Commitment
4. Ideology
5. Opposition
Link via Sam Metcalf

Administrative announcement:
The "Potpourri" series [random tidbits from the web that I think you would enjoy] is now being renamed to "RocketFuel." Mostly, because RocketFuel is a lot easier for me to spell.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

2007-2008 goals

Goals, goals, goals. Remember, it's good to have goals that are measurable, realistic and timely. Here is a recap of SPACE goals from last year [and scores] and the goals I submitted for this coming school year.

2006-2007 goals
2006-2007: goal: help to shape a student ethos of impact and mission - use momentum from SPACE summer teams and TNT to collide into CpR Fridays
5 [out of 10]

2006-2007 goal: intentionally use SPACE as a medium to develop leaders that are creating leaders not just followers
KC, JB, summer team leaders

2006-2007 goal: give LC a presence from a SPACE resource
KC connecting with Spotlight teams

2006-2007 goal: continue to invest in SPACE kids - kids that have shown interest in global cultures, the future and cross cultural ministry

2006-2007 goal: continue to build missional/mission team leaders

2006-2007 goal: continue to send summer teams to GCC missionaries when we can and cultivate those relationships for long term perspective

2006-2007 goal: rearchitect the LC summer missions experience

2006-2007 goal: replace the MERGE missions experience with something more aligned with service and evangelism - targetting incoming 10th graders

2006-2007 goal: help facilitate an environment for KC to engage urban realities

2007-2008 goals

:: Intentionally use SPACE as a medium to develop leaders that are creating leaders not just followers
- JB, TB, EK

:: Continue to invest in SPACE kids - kids that have shown interest in global cultures and cross cultural ministry
- once a month ESL class
- Fall SPACE event
- SPACE Winter expedition
- Spring SPACE event

:: Continue to send overseas summer teams to GCC missionaries when we can and cultivate those relationships for long term perspective

:: Add more energy and momentum to LC summer missions experience

:: Use the progression of summer experiences similar to summer 2007 - Baltimore, NYC, overseas

:: Continue to build missional/mission team leaders
- Continue to shape round1 of SPACE leaders via innovative behind the scenes projects [LB, ES, EG, NL]
- Catalyze round2 of SPACE leaders via students turning into leaders via summer team leadership [TH, SS, MK, RB]
- Presummer Leader Gathering and Training - including providing Mission Team Leader Packet
- Engage each summer leader in StrengthsFinder
- Mission Advance

:: Explore the expansion of SPACE
- [2 cannot-disclose-right-now goals]
- Continue to use the blog [] as a means of leadership strategy and publicity for SPACE

:: Compel GCC ministry leaders into understanding culture and context
- Lead workshop entitled "Leading Thru the Global Matrix" for GCC Leadership Development Program

:: Assist in hiring a senior high pastor that is unconventional
[not really a goal since I'm not involved in the process... but I threw that in there for grins...]

[Related: 2006-2007 goals and 2005-2006 goals ]

More Treasure

This is K playing with two random brothers she met on the beach the other day in CT. After a few minutes of playing, I heard her say, "Let's play a game - it's called Digging for Your Treasure!"

I know our family is going to remember our Pirate Sven experience for a long time.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Not Exactly Crystal Clear

Last weekend was our annual youth leader retreat. It's a time when all the youth leaders go away for some refreshment and planning. Even though it's intended for small group and program leaders, I go too and bring some of my people. This year, I brought JoyceB, TriciaB and EllyK. Along with planning some stuff about the fall for SPACE, we also watched a talk by Erwin McManus from Origins 2006 [how churches attract or repel catalytic, entrepreneurial leaders based on the diffusion of innovation scale], and spent some time praying for leaders of leaders.

This year, at the last formal session, our high school pastor SM announced that he was stepping down at the end of this school year. What I've appreciated most about SM is that he isn't status quo at all. He isn't the least bit interested in being a holding tank with pizza.

That would be a huge change in any youth ministry. It also means that the future of SPACE is a little uncertain. SPACE could continue to exist in it's current form and function. Or potentially, there could be a high school pastor brought on who has definite views and plans for the integration of missions in his philosophy of ministry. In either case, it will be fun to see how it all plays out.

I don't think SPACE was meant to last forever. However, there is still a fine line between the balance of letting everyone do what they want with student missions, while having enough oversight to make sure they are doing the right things, with the most prepared teams.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Build and Predict

via Dean

You Are A Missiologist

That was the theme of my talk in LC last weekend [amidst our youth ministry leader retreat and Mission Sunday in big church...] - as in repeat after me, "I am a missiologist."

The overall idea was that it's important for all of us to understand God's sense of mission throughout all the Bible [Gen 12, Mt 28, Rev 7] and to be in touch with how God is moving through all the world. The morning included 3 minute interviews from a lot of our summer teams including Baltimore, New York, England, Hungary and two other young adult teams, Uganda and Jamaica. All the Light Company kids that did something mission-trip-wise were also on the stage to share real quick. [Related topic - how young is too young for kids to go on overseas mission trips?]

I touched on some concepts such as global urban migration and a redemptive analogy. Granted, some big ideas and big words. But I don't think they were too out of the realm of what middle school kids can understand.

And once they understand, we have to move them to act.

Photo: K and OR, after swimming in the Danube, outside of Vienna, Austria, summer 2007. via Megan

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Mormon Missionary Training

From a recent article in Good Magazine, profiling the Mormon Missionary Training Camp (MTC):

It's like a proselytizing version of the Peace Corps—except the Mormons have seven times as many volunteers in the field as the Peace Corps, and they're in 145 countries—as opposed to the Peace Corps' 75. In many parts of the world, a Mormon missionary is the only American the locals will ever meet; the clean-cut, idealistic young face of our nation.

Lane Steinagel, a middle-aged linguistics scholar, is in charge of language instruction. In the late 1970s, Steinagel served as a missionary in the Cook Islands and discovered his gift for languages. He remains an expert on Cook Island Maori, a language most people haven't even heard of, let alone studied. Steinagel has also taken classes in Spanish, French, German, Russian, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Korean, Mandarin, Japanese, and Tongan. Under his guidance, the MTC teaches tongues you can study virtually nowhere else. "For some languages we have produced our own printed materials,” Steinagel explained. "It's hard to find a good text for learning Icelandic or Albanian."
Through their willingness to learn languages no one else studies, the Mormons make themselves available to as many of the world’s peoples as they can. And their willingness to study obscure tongues helps them corner the market on conversions in certain parts of the world.
Photo: Our 2007 NYC team teaching a free ESL class in Brooklyn.

Ah, September

Welcome back readers and thanks for being patient while I took a little break. It actually wasn't too much of a rest, but that's probably a good thing. Much more to tell you in a bit.

In the meantime, September is my favorite month. Autumn around DC is awesome and with school starting, I always get a renewed sense of energy because things are new.

Before I tell you more, I would love to have both old and new readers jot a quick comment. Who are you, where are you from, how can I and this blog serve you in your context. Love to hear from you guys and gals.