Thursday, January 31, 2008

Who SPACE looks for

- You have to be willing to try. Because most likely, at some point, you are going to feel like you have failed.

- You have to be weird. Weird is not normal. But weird can be healthy. Normal sometimes can't.

- You have to be interested. Leaders learn for a lifetime.

- You have to like to have fun.

- You care about the 1 more than the 99. You will go to great lengths because of this.

- Context and culture are important to you.

- You know that you are responsible for your own development and growth.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wednesday RocketFuel

::: If you are worried about oil now, you better start to worry about water.
How will that affect what you decide to do to serve humanity?

::: A profile of Melinda Gates

::: Call yourself a strategist? Are you an INTJ?
I'd be interested to see the correlation between INTJs and those that have the StrengthsFinder talent of Strategic.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Success vs. Fruit

"There is a great difference between successfulness and fruitfulness. Success comes from strength, control, and respectability. A successful person has the energy to create something, to keep control over its development, and to make it available in large quantities. Success brings many rewards and often fame. Fruits, however, come from weakness and vulnerability. And fruits are unique. A child is the fruit conceived in vulnerability, community is the fruit born through shared brokenness, and intimacy is the fruit that grows through touching one another's wounds. Let's remind one another that what brings us true joy is not successfulness but fruitfulness." - Henri Nouwen
via Joel Vestal

Monday, January 28, 2008

North Point Missions - What, You Couldn't Do Two More?

From Andy Stanley's message on January 6, 2008 - North Point is planning 98 mission trips this year. You read that right - 98. 23 countries. And 15 to Kenya.

That missions mobilization team [a team of 12] is either insane or anointed.

Andy said that every one of those teams have been invited by solid, local-culturally-engaged teams. In other words, the experiences were architected with partnership in mind, with both sides contributing to the overall environment and plan, playing to their respective strengths.

Executing plans for overseas missions trips are huge accomplishments in and of themselves. To execute that many of them - that is legendary.

To execute that many of them based on partnership with local, indigenous, culturally-relevant leadership, what the heck.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday RocketFuel

::: Don't Think Out of the Box
"We're always told to think outside the box. But it's about time someone spoke up for the box. Because, paradoxically, thinking inside a box can spark creativity, not squelch it. So maybe you don't need to think out of the box. Maybe you just need a new one to think in."
One of the best thoughts on creativity I've read recently. [Some real SPACE boxes – wordless book, Pirates and Treasures and community parks – all three of them were firecrackers for creativity with students.]

::: Are you a Connector?
Gladwell's test, originally published in The Tipping Point [which I'm re-skimming right now – fabulous book!] D scored in the 90s. She also has Connectedness as a StrengthsFinder theme.

::: The Value of The Britney Spears Economy
Yeah yeah. Say what you will, but if you don’t think Britney is significant in our culture, read the article again.

::: YWAM Urban Ministries - City Navigator
Make sure to play with the Fast City Navigator.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Historical Summer Milestones

We are about seven to ten days away from publishing our summer team experiences. If you are following along with our processes, systems and milestones, we recently got sign off from the director of youth ministries, flushed out partnerships and then made declarations of intent to our overseas hosts, and gave the heads up to the Missions Task Force. Between now and the big reveal, our leader teams will be mostly finalized. Elder team approval is next as students are put on teams. Then it's support raising, team preparation, logistic planning and that kind of fun. I make it sound so simple don't I?

Here is a rough time table for decision dates in the past few years for overseas teams I have led and when decisions were finalized as to our destinations. We are going to say for 2008 that it's January 31st, just for grins. For more laughs, look at 2005....

March 2nd

March 26th

May 11th

[ps - I think I've posted about this before...]

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Three Years and Counting

That is me on the right with the McMs. Long time readers will remember them as our amazing hosts for the 2005 - Brasil team, which was the second ever international SPACE trip, and my first international SPACE team. They are an amazing family and I was lucky enough to have lunch with them last week while they were visiting from Londrina, Brasil. I know that we are going to get to work together again sometime in the next few years.

We always meant for that experience to have long term impact. Our initial goal was to catalyze more relationships with high school students for the McMs to continue on with, which took the form of a culture exchange between American and Brasilian students. We also spent a day together working on a shared project, cleaning and fixing up a community park. That included fixing a cable crossing climbing fixture, and some light landscaping which included planting some new plants.

After three years, the McMs are still having deep relationships with some of those students we all first meet in 2005, including the ones that went off to University and some of the students' parents. That same cable crossing is still there and kids still play on it. Some of those plants have died, some were run over by lawn mowers and some were stolen. But, there are three or four of them that are still alive.

Three years later, we still have some plants and we still have some good friends. We are still tracking the next 497.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

SPACE 08 Winter Expedition

We had a fantastic weekend in NYC and southern CT serving with the 08 Winter Expedition. This weekend was very much a vision casting time with some of our favorite students. The ultimate goal was to see different expressions of Church and to inspire them for the future via different serving opportunities. And all of this taking place in the context of one of the great cities in the world - New York City.

Here are some of the ministries that we served with or dropped in to hang with:
- Generation Xcel
- Apple's Core Coffee House
- High School and Young Adult Ministry at Times Square Church
- Walnut Hill Community Church

Here are a few random thoughts going through my head from the weekend:
- TriciaB and Trev were asked to help lead worship at Apple's Core. Good example of the Neil Cole's idea that we have made it too hard to do Church. At the Apple's Core, it's really easy to do Church.
- Walnut Hill was so much like GCC. They even had the same exact chairs we had at Rumsey Center.
- The types of prayers that were prayed this weekend made a big impact on our team.
- Public transit is a huge element of the culture of New Yorkers.
- The team counted easily over 100 people from a different ethnicity in 5 blocks on Lower East Side.
- Having readings from the Unstoppable Force in the van was classic.
- In some past years, we have written off Seniors by this time in the school year. These Seniors are just getting started.

Pasted below are my Twitter updates. That might give you insight into our travel patterns and timeframes through the weekend. Not only is Twitter a fun way to make updates, it gives some good boundaries to force creativity.
nice to be home. what a great weekend. the future is very very bright. 10:15 PM January 20, 2008
at walnut hill comm church. finally not lost 11:35 AM January 20, 2008
arrived at space remote office in fairfield ct 12:19 AM January 20, 2008
apple core done. diff than a soup kitchen because its a community 09:32 PM January 19, 2008
trev and triciab just helped with worship. easy to do Church 07:21 PM January 19, 2008
trev and i helped deliver all those clothes to bowery mission in aog 15 pass van. fun with a native nyorker behind the wheel 06:11 PM January 19, 2008
set up for apple core at abound grace just packed 40 bags of clothes to give away 05:30 PM January 19, 2008
every sbux in cooper squares bathrooms are packed. heading to abounding grace in 10 04:03 PM January 19, 2008
hmm ny pub lib bathrooms are only for children. 02:47 PM January 19, 2008
at ny public library off tompkns sq pk. because it has heat. and maybe bathrooms 01:56 PM January 19, 2008
lunch in east village at pizza place. did lots of clean and org at genxcel 12:54 PM January 19, 2008
arrived at genxcel lots of cleaning 11:07 AM January 19, 2008
our hosts here at dean miss house are big into strengthfinder 08:24 AM January 19, 2008
beautiful day in nyc sunny and cold 07:54 AM January 19, 2008
bed after discuss cultural elemnts at times sq ch. this team gets it 11:31 PM January 18, 2008
if space did anything this year its worshipping in spanish with times sq church 07:41 PM January 18, 2008
youth and young adlt svc at times square chruch. like whoa some worship 07:28 PM January 18, 2008
made it to mission house super awesome 05:03 PM January 18, 2008
on train into grand central something good about pb&j sandwich you make. and helps the budget 03:07 PM January 18, 2008
in ct. quick lunch then train 01:22 PM January 18, 2008
middle of nj. team watching the guardian, modern day motif for the gospel so others may live 10:26 AM January 18, 2008
plan c or d? 02:06 PM January 17, 2008
More photos here.
[Related: 2006 Winter Expedition]

Friday, January 18, 2008

In NYC and CT

I'm in New York City and southern Connecticut with a SPACE team this weekend. It's our 2nd Winter Expedition and boy is it winter. Probably no posting, but you can follow my Twitter feed, either at this link or in the left sidebar of this ye old blog.

The main idea this weekend is exposition of different expressions of Church [big C]. This includes hanging with the student ministry at Times Square Church, working with GenXcel [associated with my friend Jeremy Del Rio,] and serving at the Apple Core coffee house - a Jesus community of a different sort.

And spending some time with some of these amazing getting-ready-to-graduate Seniors. Be excited about the future because of what they are going to do.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Expansion of SPACE (4 of 4)

#4 - Outside of the GCC network
When SPACE started, one of the defining ideas was synergy with "big church" by overseas teams serving with GCC and the families that were already intentionally serving in other cultures. It continues to make the most sense in a lot of areas including trust, expertise and momentum.

In the last four years, we've met many people that would love to host a SPACE team. Open invitations have come places like Australia, Paraguay, Thailand, Indonesia, and France. Some of these invitations have come from personal friends who love the idea of hosting a team and I of course would love to introduce SPACE kids to old friends. And it would be amazing to capitalize on some of those invitations. Like I've said before, there are tons of missionaries that would love to partner with that understand partnership, preparation and culture.

Of course, this expansion has to be done the right way, first and foremost with well seasoned, trusted leaders that understand the core DNA of GCC and what SPACE endeavors to accomplish. Apart from the usual characteristics of our high impact leaders, these leaders also need to be decisive, risk takers and very discerning. They also need to be humble connectors.

What we potentially gain is more influence and impact while mobilizing students to serve in other various cultures and localities. What I personally gain is less control by enabling some other leaders to move as the Spirit calls them. I'm thinking that's okay. At least right now.

This expansion creates a broader scope of SPACE, which could be good or bad. It might look like experiences are less strategic or that experiences are chosen more randomly than they should be. But once again, this is heavily reliant on our team of people that understand why SPACE exists.

In either case, it's an acceptable experiment. Because the Church of the future will contain those that don't presently know. Because you and I know some of these leaders of this Church, right now. And because the Spirit will guide them to move the Kingdom beyond our imagination or abilities. That is the essence of mobilization.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Expansion of SPACE (3 of 4)

#3 - Mobilizing: More middle schoolers
The second demographic that SPACE needs to expand is our current middle school students. Middle schoolers have been under SPACE's charge since the beginning. Although we have done a fair amount with these hyper, hormonal, imbalanced yet precious kids, we would love to do more.

How about something like:
- Short seminar series about world religions.
- Local Islamic mosque tours and Buddhist temple visits.
- More depth into serving with ministries that are focused on international and ethnic groups in the States.
- Resourcing more of our high school students to help assist with some of this middle school focus. Yes, another leadership pipeline.

Selfishly, the better we do at equipping these two age groups [including 3rd - 5th graders, from yesterdays post], we will have more culturally-intelligent and culturally-adept students when they get to high school. And that is only good for the future.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Expansion of SPACE (2 of 4)

#2 - Mobilizing: 3rd to 5th graders

There are two demographics of GCC's next generation that we need to engage with more focus. The first demographic is 3rd - 5th graders. [We will talk about the second demographic tomorrow.] We have to help these kids be kids in light of the global cultures that surround them. I've got a bit of an inside track on this one, with a 10 and 7 year old in the house. So when I look at their childhood in their/our context, here are some things that come to mind:
- Since the future is urban, are we crippling their future by growing them up in the suburbs?
- Will their experience in a suburban mega-church prepare them to engage different expressions of the Church?
- How many of their peers in Sunday school have spent significant time in a different culture?
- Why does Sunday morning look so, uh, "white"?
- Kt routinely asks me about other cultures. Do our kids' friends see culture like our kids' do?
- How can we impress to these kids that they are living one of those most amazing times in human history?
- Our family is in the midst of a marathon of The Amazing Race on DVD. Do their friends think of us as a weird family? [I hope so. Weird is good - normal is bad.]

This expansion includes partnership and assistance with GCC's children ministries and extension ministries [like Girls Grace Adventure, for example], which may look like:
- Being an advocate and resource for summer family mission trips. [Our adult short term coordinator helps plan family trips.]
- Creating and capitalizing opportunities for SPACE teams to share with kidZone. These are stories we should tell and they will inspire and motivate. And we all know lots of people that first caught a passion for missions from Sunday school.
- Sharing about global cultures with this age group whenever we can, including in local schools, at church and informally.
- Being available to help out with kidZone summer teachings, where the program is much more flexible and off the cuff. [In the midst of writing this post, I found out that GCC is running a 4 week summer camp this summer. That could be another part of this expansion.]

English scones for breakfast, riding bikes with your neighbors from Sri Lanka, conversations with your Buddhist friends in the afternoon, Chinese food for dinner, falling asleep to a CD teaching you how to speak German - this is a 4th grader's life in suburban Howard County. We know 9 year olds can make a difference in the world and it's part of our job to inspire them.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Expansion of SPACE (1 of 4)

Although SPACE started within the fixed context of a local church and her student ministry, the concept of SPACE should naturally expand. In this series of posts, I will share some ideas about how I think SPACE could expand. These ideas are speculative at best. Execution might happen. Or not.

#1 - Mobilizing: More Students
SPACE can and should help other like-minded student ministries with a strategy for the future of the Church. This involves helping youth workers and their students catch a big-picture global perspective. The idea is to put many of the topics covered on this blog into practical application for the purpose of giving students a vision for the world.

This expansion also includes assistance with the on-the-ground tactical details such as: mission team leader best practices; introducing new friends to old and well trusted friends and resources; and the rate of Purrell use per person per day.

On the surface, this looks like helping get other student ministries into missions. By itself, that is an absolutely great goal. But you know SPACE thinks that goal would be too short sighted. The actual goal is to make a bigger impact for future Christ following communities through catalyzing more and more students.

Three other important pieces:
- We expect to learn as much or more from them as they from us. We certainly haven't arrived.
- We are going to utilize our students in this as much as we can. The very people we have mobilized turn into mobilizers themselves. This takes our students full circle and forms one of many tangible leadership pipelines.
- Perhaps this expansion takes place via another medium besides SPACE. Not a student missions organization [because we already have TeenMania, TeenMissions, Adventures In Missions, etc.] and not a student ministry consultation [we have plenty of those too]. That not-so-important detail is still in process.

[This expansion actually has some tangible potential. Contact me via email or comment if you or someone you know wants to be in the loop on this expansion.]

Monday RocketFuel

::: JJ Abrams [Lost, Alias and Mission Impossible III] at TED talking about story, mystery and magic.

::: Alex McManus is writing a book called, "MAKING THE WORLD HUMAN AGAIN: Jesus' Quest to Save the Future from Religion."
Oh, and read more about his point that, "The scriptures are NOT authoritative in and of themselves."

::: At the age of fifteen John Goddard listed 127 goals he wished to experience or achieve in his lifetime. The list is impressive and audacious, but the results have been truly incredible.
I've done 61, 63, 84, 126 and 127. I obviously need to work off my own list.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Perspectives Class Schedule, Ellicott City, MD, Spring 08

For those of you that might be thinking of taking a Perspectives class and are on the fence about it - do it. Your whole life will change.

Here is the outline for the Maryland semester.

Jan 14 - Lesson 1: The Living God is a Missionary God
Shane Bennet

Jan 21 - Lessons 1 & 2: The Story of His Glory
Scott Simmons

Jan 28 - Lessons 2 & 3: Your Kingdom Come
Mark Fesmire

Feb 4 - Lessons 3 & 4: Mandate for the Nations
Dave Shive

Feb 11 - Lessons 4 & 5: Unleashing the Gospel
Charlie Klepadlo

Feb 18 - Lessons 5 & 6: Expansion of the Movement
Robert Reese

Feb 25 - Lessons 6 & 7/8: Eras of Mission History / Pioneers of the Movement
Karen Michener

Mar 3 - Lessons 7/8 & 10: How Shall they Hear?

Mar 10 - Lesson 9: The Task Remaining
Joe Steinitz

Mar 17 - Lessons 9 & 10: How Shall They Hear?
David Shenk

Mar 24 - Strategy Workshop
Sue Patt

Mar 31 - Lessons 10, 11: Building Bridges of Love & 13: Spontaneous Multiplication of Churches
Pat Kearney

Apr 7 - Lessons 11 & 12: Christian Community Development
Paul Gupta

Apr 14 - Lessons 11, 12 & 13: The Spontaneous Multiplication of Churches
Ed McManess

Apr 21 - Lessons 13 & 14: Pioneer Church Planting
Dave Fritz

Apr 28 - Lessons 14 & 15: World Christian Partnership
Scott Buresh

May 5 - Lesson 15 & Final Class
Sundee Simmons

Friday, January 11, 2008

China and Cities

China has 166 cities with populations of over 1M people, compared with 2 in Japan, 9 in the US and 1 in Britain.- Mind Set!
From 2003, the 9 cities in the US are: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, San Antonio, Dallas.
Baltimore is #18, Washington DC is #25.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


007 for our #2. This year she has managed to have even more love for animals, somehow translating that to people and becoming incredibly nurturing and sympathetic towards the human condition.

She's funny, will tell you like it is and is sure that the unique beat in her head beckons everyone, whether they know it or not. She is a gift of fun, energy and wit.

Em, when we are old, and you get tired of seeing and saving the unknown recesses of mankind, we know you will come home, with your dog, to take care of your parents and keep us company.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

SPACE 08 Dates

I know many many people are interested in SPACE and what the opportunities are for this coming summer. In light of planning, here are the initial dates that we know of right now:

- Mission Advance - all teams - weekend of June 20
- incoming 10th grade - July 6 - 12
- incoming 11th grade - TBD
- LC missions experience - TBD but sometime in July
- incoming 12th grade and others - somewhere in the window of July 22 - Aug 15 - probably multiple opportunities happening in this time window

We hope to publish more formal details for all the summer teams in the next few weeks. Feel free to reply to me if you want to be in the real time loop when that information is available. We will also publish it via under the CpR ->SPACE webpages.

Please pass this info on to as many people that you think might be interested. And apologies if you are getting this multiple times.


- tony

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

SPACE network update

If you are following along with our SPACE global network, here are some quick updates:

::: Departing + The Nens [our hosts for 2006 - Cameroon] have been on furlough here in the States for almost a year. They depart from Richmond via DC to head back to Yaounde tomorrow afternoon.

::: Departing + I got a text from LB the other day that read, "I'm in SF! I'm going on an hour of sleep and I am hyper." In other words, she is doing great. [She arrived in San Francisco on Monday to begin a DTS with YWAM.]

::: Arriving + Our GCC team that went to India has returned safe and sound. Word on the street says they accomplished one of their goals - throwing a Christmas party for an orphanage in Delhi. [Related: my notes for a team prep session I did with them to help them get ready.]

The Admin Side of Mission

I was part of a marathon lunch meeting last week with the usual suspects involved in mission efforts at GCC. It's the same group of people that I meet with periodically: the person in charge of the Missions Task Force [the MTF]; her husband who is the elder overseeing missions; and the point person for adult teams, who does the same thing I do for students. [I also dragged ESunde along with me.] The MTF is in the middle of managing some serious growth with regard to short term teams, moving from 0 adult teams in 2004 to ten for this coming summer, not to mention the growth in student teams.

Some issues that we discussed included:
- How do we handle immunizations? Included in fundraising or no?
- How do we deal with people who are kicked off of teams, in the off chance that happens?
- How do we deal with people who are totally opposed to raising support and want to pay for short term trips out of their pocket?
- Start the discussion about mid-term people, those that are going for 1-3 years somewhere, which leads to
- Discussion about GCC becoming more like a mission/sending agency which requires us to get better at training, follow up, and care. [Related: See #2 in this post.] Perhaps some of these points may help some of you readers if you are involved in the growth of mission projects for a local church.

I also shared a little bit about plans for 2008 for SPACE. We will reveal those soon enough, but it's again a bit more ambitious than previous years. When I share these plans with normal people, they tell me that I'm either crazy or stupid. This group that I had lunch with though, each one of them said, "I would go on that!"

Monday, January 07, 2008

H2.08 reading #2

For the H2.08 team. We will be there in about a month.

Reading list - #2
A List of Questions

The Apostle Paul's Journeys to Significance

Futurecasting with LinkedIn

"The future is embedded in the present." - mindset #9 from Mind Set!, John Nasbitt
Here are some fun job titles - and the appropriate search term - I pulled out of some searches within my LinkedIn network. LinkedIn is like Facebook for your professional and career life. It's good, if you have a real job or are searching for one, you should sign up.

And if I picked your job title, feel free to add me to your network.

"organic church"
Independent Missional Church Leader
Missionary in Residence
Lead Pastorpreneur

"international development"
International & Linguistic Product Management

"global leadership"
Director, Leadership Development
Leadership & Talent Consultant
Thought Leader, Community Leader, Software Architect

"global missionary"
Church Mobilization Director

"global youth"
Creative Cultural Youth Communicator
youth counselor; budding data analyst
Creator of Powerful Ideas
Director of All Things Fun, Meaningful and Rewarding

"cultural anthropology"
Education Abroad Professional and Applied Anthropologist
Cultural Exchange & Conflict Transformation Professional
culture/technology catalyst

In other words, who says you can't?

[Related: My LinkedIn profile]

Friday, January 04, 2008

Friday RocketFuel

::: When I was a kid, we had to walk five miles in the snow to school... uphill... with an IBM Thinkpad...
Going to school in Uruguay, with an XO

::: Linguistic SuperPower - Papua New Guinea
See the map here.
Countries with the most languages in use:
Papua New Guinea 823
Indonesia 726
Nigeria 505
India 387
Mexico 288
Cameroon 279

::: How to Travel the World with Kids
Sabbaticals and kids go together like peanut butter and jelly. The natural curiosity of kids, their desire to engage with life can take you to places and things you might never have dreamed of on your own.
A must-read about traveling to second or third world countries with children, including healthy perspectives on safety, schooling and the adventure of family travel. Link

::: "Do we really think God sent His Son so our greatest life’s goal would be a new boat?" - Craig Groeschel

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

SPACE in Cuba

Ok.. well, SPACE is not really going to Cuba. At least not right now...

Dennis serves in Mexico City with Youth Ministry International, an organization devoted to training and resourcing youth workers overseas. [Ninety-seven percent of the world's trained youth workers live and work in the United States, ministering to less than 3% of the world's youth population.] In January, he is traveling to Cuba to do some training and teaching and he got in touch with me a few weeks ago and asked me to put together a short video talking about some of the philosophy of mission behind SPACE.

It is a lot of fun for me to be able to share something like this with others who are like-minded about students, culture, and mission in the future. Thanks Dennis! Here is the link to the video on, although Dennis will probably edit it for his specific context. Remember, context matters.
[Related: More about SPACE]

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Tuesday RocketFuel

To celebrate the New Year, today's RocketFuel post has a futuristic theme.

::: New Yorkers in 2108
- This city is all about intensity of purpose and connections, and technology will only make it more efficient and more fluid. And in a city that is so multicultural, communication will be easier. A hundred years from now, you and I could be having a conversation in two languages and translation would be automatic.
- Because I think we will lose the battle with global warming, and because I think a nuclear device will be exploded somewhere on the planet, New York will be quite a different place.
- I have a genuine optimism about New York in 2108. The city will be the international city to live in. It’s just that we won’t be able to afford it. The financial capital of the world will be probably Dubai or Beijing, and New York will be owned by Chinese and Arab investors, among others.
And, did you know that the New York City Department of Sanitation has an anthropologist on staff?

::: The Futurist on The Top 10 Forecasts for 2008 and Beyond
- Water will be in the twenty-first century what oil was in the twentieth century.
- The number of Africans imperiled by floods will grow 70-fold by 2080.
- More decisions will be made by nonhuman entities.

::: Top Ten Transhumanist Technologies
Either very scary or very exciting.