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 del.icio.us button if you want to save the link to your bookmarks. Click on the del.icio.us 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 19.20.21.org, 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

- "...you 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.

- "...it 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.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

First CpR Friday and Building Bridges

I had the privilege of taking part of two really fun events this weekend. Friday night was the first CpR Friday of the school year. CpR [our high school ministry] has hosted Friday night outreaches since it started - the idea being to shape safe environments for kids and their friends to have fun, hang out and be exposed to the Gospel. Despite the whole incarnational vs. attractional deal, [which is not that black and white when it comes to students] it is overall a really fun time for our students. This past Friday was set up as an encouragement evening, where only current students within CpR were invited, in order to build some momentum for the rest of the school year. The real treat for me was seeing so many of our seniors that were involved on our summer teams lead, serve and bless in order to make the night what it was. It matters what you do at home and these guys and gals are making it count.

Building Bridges is the name of a massive community impact project that GCC does once a year in the Fall. This year was by far the largest, with many projects planned throughout the county, including nursing home visits, food collections, landscaping at local schools, etc. Indeed, the church is not here for us. We went as a family to LW elementary [the one that our old principal was at] and did some painting. We also dragged along TriciaB, one of our interns.

And here is that finished sign the boys were working on a few weeks ago. They did a nice job huh?

Thursday, October 11, 2007


LeslieB, one of our long time SPACE students-morphed-into-leaders, has just been accepted for a Spring DTS at YWAM-SF. In case you aren't up on the latest missions abbreviation lingo, that is Discipleship Training School at Youth With a Mission, San Francisco. A DTS is typically three months of classroom intensive training followed by a two month cross cultural experience.

Leslie has been with SPACE since the beginning, first as a student and then as a leader, she has been on the front lines of helping us move the slow boat as we engage students for the world. A first hand witness to the fun and insanity, she has been a part of raking 300 bags of leaves on a Saturday and teaching English classes to immigrants as well as getting kicked out of nursing homes and locking keys in running church vans. She has also adapted with us, realizing that mission trips aren't solely for the experience, but are only good if they turn students into people that must, regardless of locality, personal cost or structure, while keeping in mind context, long term impact and partnership. She has seen it first hand in New York City; Grove City, PA; New Orleans; Brasil; Cameroon and Europe. And just as important, she has been a part of it at home.

Congratulations Leslie!!! SPACE is proud of you!

Photo: Leslie, summer 2006, Kirbi, Cameroon.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Leader Bandwidth

Even though a lot of people say it, we have learned first hand that everything rises and falls on your leaders. In terms of mission teams, people typically staff for when things go well. Instead, you need to staff for what might go wrong. If you've got great leaders that can handle possible trauma, can empathize with someone who is hurt or can react quickly and decisively in the light of danger, injury or ambiguity, they will thrive if things go according to plan [which they won't.]

Some real world scenarios:
- You are in country at your hosts home and a normally friendly dog goes berserk and bites one of your team members. Call a doctor, take her to the hospital [but go to the one on the other side of town because it's run by Chinese...] or stitch the wound yourself?

- One of your team has a bit of a stomach bug. He decides to self-medicate with immodium, pepto-bismol and cipro. Meantime, the whole camp you are serving is planning an all day excursion today. Bring him along, with his bucket and lots of hand sanitizer?

- You and your team have just landed in Paris and have twelve hours to take in the sights in the city of lights. But you are sick as a dog and have to run to the bathroom like clockwork every 15 minutes. Make the best of the sights and subject your team to the possible "tour of public bathrooms?"

Luckily for us, all of these scenarios stayed minor. But all of these represent the possibility of a minor accident evolving into something more serious quickly. One other slight detail - what happens when any of those scenarios happen to your point leader?

When staffing mission teams, start with leaders by asking:

:: Can they think quickly and rationally?
:: Who would you trust your children with?
:: Does this person have a lot of life experience that has molded maturity and wisdom in them?
:: Who has lots of experience around accident-prone little children?
:: How does this leader team complement each other in terms of maturity, decision making ability and life experience?

Photo: Me, contemplating the "tour of public bathrooms", in a bathroom on AirFrance. Summer 2006, from Cameroon to France.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Everyone Ages

If you read D's post about today, you know about the interesting day I had at the hospital today. What you should correctly gather is that my family isn't exactly a real time feed of relevant information.

Everyone including you and I, every second, is getting older. As we take care of our families, do what we can for the strangers and contribute our part towards saving the world, we must remember that we don't live forever. We don't have all the time in the world.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Making Fire

The Orbiters and I hung out in Silver Spring this evening with a small gathering of people that collected with M and the International Mentoring Network. Included were Alex McManus, Dale Swinburne [Catonsville], Jumaine Jones [The Bridge, Silver Spring] and Rich Merritt [VA Beach and Pennsylvania].

Here are some snippets of the conversation:
- movement before structure
- everyone could be a leader, but leadership is based on circumstance and opportunity
- instead of leadership development, we should think about character development
- when someone is a leader, they need to continue to be human and they need to respond to the way the world really looks
- the future movers of the kingdom will not be impacting a world similar to today
- the future looks latin, asian, turkish [declining birth rates, etc.]
- instead of using elements of youth culture to connect youth to churches, we should continue to catalyze them for the world's sake
- tricia is awesome [wait, how did that get on my paper?]

Two questions Alex had for the interns:
- describe how often you are connected with your close friends and the medium?
- how has traveling around the world informed your decision making for the future?

Photo: TriciaB, Alex and EllyK.

Friday, October 05, 2007

2007 India Team Session - notes

My notes and background for the GCC 2007 India team training session. If any of it will help you, feel free to use it.

India 2007
travel dates - late December, before Christmas, for two weeks
orphanage and possibly leper colony
8 team members [one didn't come]
all college/young adult age

::: Focus
Team unity.
Why - 50% of long term teams come home after the first year, most of them due to team and personality conflict. Get you to think about operating, thinking and functioning as a single team.

::: Myers Briggs [of course]
6 extroverts - 1 introvert
your single I is going to need a break from all the others Es. don't think he hates you.
7 feelers - 0 thinkers
your team might not be able to make any rational decisions because everyone will want everyone else to feel good about everything.
6 perceiving - 1 judging
your J is going to need to know where we are eating lunch on thursday and how are we going to get there. challenge for the J is to go with the flow, challenge for others is to give the J enough details.

type preferences are like writing with your natural or opposite hand
knowing their personality allows you to be more gracious

::: Team Disintegration
Saving Private Ryan
Modern day paradigm for the Gospel
"In the Last Great Invasion of the Last Great War, The Greatest Danger for Eight Men was Saving... One."
clip from 1:23:13 to 1:43:00
what did you notice about how this team disintegrated?

::: Feedback
Q: What is one thing that concerns you about our team?
My answer: Besides teamwork, which is why we spent so much time on it, culture. India is culturally very distant from Western culture. Go with a learner posture.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Burmese in Disturbia.... I mean Suburbia

Staff of the Baltimore branch of the International Rescue Committee, an agency that helps resettle roughly 350 refugees each year, said they expect an increased number of Burmese immigrants as the unrest continues in Burma, which borders India on the west and China and Thailand on the east.

Recent immigrants, such as Mang, represent the second large wave of Burmese immigrants to the area, following an initial movement in 2000, said Kakoli Ray, the regional director of the rescue committee.

Dozens of Burmese families have settled in Howard County since January, according to the committee, which helps refugees find housing, employment, education and health care.

Roughly 50 immigrants, including Mang, attended an orientation and winter clothing giveaway Sept. 28 at Patuxent Valley Middle School and Bollman Bridge Elementary School, in Jessup. The event was organized by the rescue committee, Howard public school officials and Grace Community Church, in Fulton.
Don't let anyone tell you different - you can impact the world from your home in suburbia. [I had no idea anyone from GCC was involved in this. Cool.]

Thursday RocketFuel

::: Counterfeit drugs in Africa, impact on malaria and fighting fake drugs with mobile phones.
Fascinating stuff.
Link via My Heart's in Accra

::: China's 39M Christians
Most believe there were approximately 700,000 Christians in 1949, when China closed to traditional missionary activities. So 53-54 million Protestants and Catholics today still demonstrates remarkable growth.
Link via Nigel

::: Is Your Mom on Facebook?
"older people being on Facebook is kind of weird."
Unless it's your church's student missions coordinator. Then it's not weird, it's way cool...
USA Today article via YPulse

Mobilizer - Standard Defintion?

In over 17 years of student ministry, I have never personally led someone to follow Jesus who has turned into someone doing the same.

In 4 years of SPACE, we have never seen someone come from an irreligious background to devote their lives to Jesus, specifically due to SPACE, to continue on to reach others.

We track the numbers of kids who come out of our experiences to live lives of service. But this metric - those who we have reached and in turn reach others - is a big 0.

Is the standard definition of 'mobilizer' just for people that already know?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Wednesday RocketFuel

Not just plain RocketFuel today, but some links you should definitely click.

::: If you are interested in space exploration, the human condition, cultural implications of extraterrestrial life or risking it all to live differently, -- video.
From TED, Carolyn Porco talks about two of Saturn's 46 moons, lands unreached by humans and the possibility of life somewhere else besides Earth.

::: If you are around young people at all -- Marc Andressen on career planning - what to study in college.
In my opinion, it's now critically important to get into the real world and really challenge yourself -- expose yourself to risk -- put yourself in situations where you will succeed or fail by your own decisions and actions, and where that success or failure will be highly visible.

::: If you speak to people and implore them to a life bigger than themselves, -- Barbara Nicolosi on heroes and story.
a) What does a kid (and by extension, a society) look like who has heroes? Idealistic, hopeful, imitative, open, eager to please, reverent, grateful

"A boy doesn't have to go to war to be a hero; he can say he doesn't like pie when he sees there isn't enough to go around."
Edgar Watson Howe

b) What does a kid look like who has no heroes? Cynical, haughty, suspicious, jaded, irreverent, entitled, self-absorbed.

"Nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes." Benjamin Disraeli (1804 - 1881)

c) As a child, a hero provides a teaching example of a life worth living. In fact, the "no greater life" of one who gives his life for his friends.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

CpR 2010 - Service With A Smile

Em and I dropped in on some of our high school boys doing some light landscaping and painting at one of our local elementary schools this past Saturday. The connection to this school actually arose via our children - long story but the principal at this school used to be at our kids' elementary school. They needed some help so we threw it out to one of the grade level classes at CpR. Think connectedness and D. Funny thing, two years ago, ESunde and EmGberg did some community scouting at this very school.

When SPACE started, part of the vision was to broker [I like that word] community service opportunities for our students. It was to provide for opportunities that were there but not capitalized upon, because we knew our students could make a tremendous impact.

Random acts of kindness is a trendy youth group thingy now, and SPACE did a bit of that when we first started. Those kinds of service events push kids to the edge of what they think they can and cannot do, helps them with the tension of risk, and increases their relational dependence on each other and God. But as much as those are good - local, indigenous partnerships are that much better, like in the case of this school. This particular class did some other landscaping over the summer and this weekend they were back, having kind of adopted this school as theirs. The principal knows and appreciates them.

By the way, these are sophomores in high school, and they invited freshmen to join them. The sophs were at Chain Reaction this summer. Next weekend, they are reconnecting with a church in Baltimore that they served with this past summer. Yes, that young. And yes, they have started their high school careers with service as part of their dna.