Friday, June 27, 2008

NOLA 2008 Departs

NOLA 2008 departed this morning. This is a shot of the team praying - students and leaders in the middle and adults surrounding them.

This team is a lot of fun to be involved in - they have some of the most energetic and passionate students and a strong leader team. One of the most impressive things about them is their DNA of reproduction - which must ultimately be attributed to MPM.

Matt is serving his third Dteam [our high school small groups] - that means that this is his 11th year of serving students at Grace [his kids are going into their junior year.] Dteams meet every week - if you do the math, that is around 1,600 Wednesday nights spent with teenagers [excluding summer time breaks.] Impressive enough alright.

But take a look at the pattern of reproduction. His first Dteam that graduated in 2002 brought back 4 current leaders, not to mention other students-turned-leaders in the area of worship, speaking, etc. His second Dteam that graduated in 2006 brought back 3, at least right now. The important score is not about how many followers there are.

Meet Hungary Leader - Deanna

And of course, last in the team of adult leaders but certainly not least, is my wife Deanna. A consummate behind-the-scenes servant, D is hugely strong in responsibility and belief. Her belief is that this team is going to make a profound difference in the level of encouragement, blessing and fun that the staff of CA is going to have because of our involvement.

She also believes that joyful, well-adjusted and well-bonded teams are much more effective on the field. And of course, she believes that Jesus came to make us different people. The long term translation is an indirect impact to the spiritual climate of Europe. For CA teams, that means that if they trust the kids program, they can concentrate on the work of leadership development, cultural engagement and growing high impact teams. For SPACE, it means D does all she can to prepare teams, ranging from food prep to artistic posters to manic coverage schedules in Excel. When a task needs to get done, she feels an emotional attachment to completing them. And they get completed.

Leading a team that your family is on isn't trivial – it requires sensitivity, balance and boundaries. Deanna is the perfect compliment as we engage our kids for the future, knowing that this experience marks them for a lifetime.

Meet other 2008 Hungary leaders:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

June 26 Video

Block Party Connections

Some seemingly random connections from the block party that we helped out with as a part of Mission Advance.

That is a block party trailer, sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention. It stores all kinds of stuff on the inside for throwing a community block party, like grills, a snow cone maker, a popcorn machine, etc. This particular trailer is stored in Sterling, VA, specifically for the Maryland, DC and Virginia region. If you think you are interested in renting this, let me or Colleen know and we can put you in touch with Matt. Maybe we should put together a SPACE trailer - you know, firecrackers, bottle rockets, and copies of Operation World. Alright, maybe not...

I met Tally for the first time on Saturday - I had skimmed his blog here and there before but never followed too closely. Tally is a church planter currently in Norfolk, but actually grew up in Baltimore and went to high school in Howard County. Fun to connect.

Tucker brought a cool group of kids from Bethlehem to serve at the Block Party. They did such a great job - snow cones, popcorn, lemonade, and ice water for everyone the whole day. And you could tell they loved it and had a blast while doing it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hungary Program

Our program for Hungary is getting some substance - it's a ton of fun to see it get some substance from the idea stage. Even more fun is seeing all of it come from our students and hardly any of it come from me. Not that I know what I'm doing with kids in the first place, because I don't.

I know I've told you a lot about this team - they are really great. This won't be the last time many of these guys and gals create something out of nothing.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday RocketFuel

::: I pledged her a strength I didn't yet have...

::: "It is my certificate," she said, like some perverse badge of distinction. Now she would go and use it to vote again for change.
[Too bad it looks like she won't get the opportunity in the short term.]

::: Seth Godin on conferences
This is exactly what Alex McManus did with Humana2.08.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mission Advance 2008

Mission Advance was again this year an awesome experience. Long time readers will know that it is an experience architected on movement [because the Gospel moves], teams [we do it together] and risk [because we don't always know for sure]. It's a weekend that includes elements such as team building activities, a community impact project, and workshops from experienced practitioners in global missions. We were wildly successful again this year - kids were saying that this year was better than ever. From a leadership perspective, we brought in the right people to run elements aligned with their talents, experience and gifting.

This list of people includes:
- VK : a SPACE mom, who brought in a whole group of adults to take care of all of our food needs. This entailed snacks, drinks, lunches that could be eaten on the go, and an awesome taco dinner.
- MPM and AWolf : who ran our Friday night element, including a lot of time praying both individually and praying for teams and some really fantastic worship. One of my favorite memories from this weekend will be holding Em in my arms, worshiping together with this song - one of those dad moments.
- AmyM : one of the masters at building activities that help teams grow and learn about real life. This year, she took the idea of "moving forward in ambiguous and dynamic situations" and ran with it. WOW moment for me - I thought [to myself luckily] one of the activities was totally unprepared and too on-the-fly. Little did I know, that was the exact point.
- ColleenS : Our host at Charm City Church, we served by hanging out at their annual Block Party, mostly helping with crafts and kids activities.
- Karen Michener, P&SWatson, LeslieB : all who ran interactive workshops based on their missions experience and background. These are people that are doing it, not just talking about it. I just wish that I could have heard them all.

A few things that really struck me from this weekend:
- We all should be experience artisans. Not my idea, but his. And I think he would agree that it was really His. We can all create experiences from the perspective of designers and artists, not administrators and managers.
- We've got latent talents in our community that are untapped.
- Favorite new moment - anointing. [And no, not my original idea either.]
- SPACE is serving some phenomenal students. But you and I already knew that.

Photos: Pre-team building, K and a friend at the block party, VK anointing and praying over TriciaB.

More pictures here.

[Related: Mission Advance 2006 and 2007.]

Friday, June 20, 2008

Meet Hungary Leader - ErinOB

Erin serves vocationally in the GCC student ministry office where she is the high school administrator. If you've been around students for long, you can picture the chaos - sunday morning services with music, teaching, welcoming new people; any kind of nonsunday outreach evenings [every other Friday during the year, much more informal Thursdays during the summer]; facilities management [hey who used my amp last?]; two retreats a year [where are we going, how come the buses smell so bad?]; and the drama that sometimes is part of hanging with students. Not to mention, she is SPACE's inside connection to the church office. This kind of chaos might drive others crazy, but Erin is a adaptable arranger, and therefore loves it and excels in this kind of environment - fast moving and lots of disparate parts as we move towards the goal of preparing students for any culture and any locality.

Erin has had tons of different student ministry experience - before GCC, she was on staff with Young Life. She also came through CpR as a high schooler. She's definitely got a heart for Europe and those that don't know yet. Erin is also our one leader that is doing two trips back to back - Hungary, a tiny break in France and on to Cameroon. What a crazy idea...

Meet other 2008 Hungary leaders:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

2008 England Team - R3 Festival

Here is the promo video for the music festival that our 2008 England team is going to be involved in this summer. Looks way cool doesn't it - makes me want to go along. Assisting with this music festival in the city of Manchester is the short view. The long view includes the team:
- catalyzing movement and energy for a church plant.
- understanding ministry in an urban, multi-pluralistic context.
- serving with a local, indigenous team run by nephew of our team leader JBourque.
- the leadership farm also includes JKemper [2006Baltimore], RHossick [2006LA], JMoy [2007NYC], LynnB [2007NYC]. MMcKee, who rounds out this leader team, is a new leader to SPACE this summer

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


KevinGN and LeslieB hosted a short prayer and worship time yesterday evening. Loved it - outside with gorgeous weather, some music and kids speaking honestly to God about how excited they are for this summer and how much we want our faith to grow.

Part of it was just to create an environment where we could pray together as teams. Another important part was to give those two an opportunity to lead within their areas of passion and talents.

Tell you more later about the prayer experiment D and I have found ourselves in.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesday RocketFuel

::: ESunde in Ghana
For those of you keeping score at home, ESunde has arrived in Nalerigu, Ghana.

::: Ideas Into Reality
Brad Lomenick - head of Catalyst - outlines how they turn ideas into reality.
1. Create
2. Criticize
3. Optimize
4. Validate
5. Execute
Two things stuck out to me:
1 - Create - the language of "yes and" not "but or" in the brainstorm phase. Saying "yes and" is much more empowering - not to mention scary and exhilarating.
2 - Execution - "if it has gone through the entire process and made it to this point, the idea deserves the attention and focus to make sure it happens." To me, the execution phase is the most difficult and I think SPACE can get a lot better at it.

::: Church Planting in Sopron
[Hungary team - check it out yo.]

Monday, June 16, 2008

SPACE currents

Lots of fun happenings at the international office of late:

- LesileB moved in a few weeks ago and we've had a lot of fun hearing about her DTS as well as doing some planning for Hungary. We have a story from Leslie every night for dinner and each night our girls look more forward to it. She's also helping run the first SPACE prayer gathering with KevinGN this Tuesday. I'm really looking forward to that.
- We are getting ready for Mission Advance this week. One of our awesome parents has taken the point on the food - now I feel like I don't have much to do. Actually, I have some scheduling, leader investment and big picture stuff to do, but it all seems quite manageable at this point. I'm sure that will change on Thursday. HA.
- We welcomed Dave and Britt last night, originally from Louisiana, en route from Aix-en-Provence, France, where they served with our mutual friend Megan. While Britt is doing some training for her Teach for America stint [we haven't met her yet], Dave is hanging at our house while looking to get settled in Baltimore. Not only are they good friends with our CA friends, Dave spent 9 months living in Cameroon, 6 weeks of that in Yaounde. Interesting similarity huh?
- Lots of energy in our house - fun for the extrovert [me], a tad exhausting for the introvert [D].
- Swim team - tool of the devil or just plain fun? It's been really good for our two kids, daughters of probably the most non-competitive people alive. Although it's ridiculously early for Shengs [yeah yeah, probably normal time for you], it's been fun to see our kids have that sense of accomplishment after you are crazy nervous about doing something uncomfortable while trying your best.
- Had a fun Father's Day which included EllyK's graduation party, watching the first Raiders of the Lost Ark and the fam got me a Germany soccer jersey.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Meet Hungary Leader - KeelyN

Keely is Kevin's better half [I think I'm okay saying that...] and will be really fun to have on our leader team. She's a strong Learner as well as Communication, meaning she is going to sponge up different contexts that we travel in this summer and that she is going to be able to hone our grand lessons to the kids during the conference. She's a high school English teacher by day so she is used to communicating for a living.

Kevin and Keely will be celebrating their first anniversary together while traveling with our team which is symptomatic of their desire to live lives that are extraordinary, investing in the future, and serving the world.

Keely has spent two summers serving in France in 2005 and 2006.

Meet other 2008 Hungary leaders:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

My Top 10 Favorite Films

I was tagged by Dennis for this. And this is one of those memes that I like, because I love watching movies.

[In no particular order]
1 - Braveheart

2 - The Shawshank Redemption
Favorite scene - The very end, when Red finds Andy along the beach.

3 - What About Bob? [I got three copies of this movie one year for my birthday...]
Quotes you have to love:
"Is this some radical new therapy?"
"There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't."
"Mrs. M., this corn is simply scrumptious. Is it hand-shucked?"

4 - Crash
The language is a bit rough but the film has multiple powerful scenes.

5 - I Am Legend
I've said this before, one of the best redemptive analogies in recent films.

6 - Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade
Just fun.

7 - Star Wars III - Revenge of the Sith
If only for the opening sequence
part 1
part 2

8 - Ice Age 2
see my post on Mission Trip Quotes from Ice Age 2

9 - Monsters Inc
When our Em was 4, she looked just like Boo.

10 - Hero
Watch it for some amazing landscapes, a great story and cool martial arts. Oh and if you want to learn Mandarin Chinese.

Meme originally from Dan

And I'm tagging:

Thursday RocketFuel

::: Some amazing space pictures.
[The real space, not our SPACE.]

::: Origin of the word "icon"

::: The Girl Effect

Remember, 15-year-old girls are the primary evangelists in China’s rural house church movement. via Momentum

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Alan Hirsch on the American Church

"If the American church get's it, the rest of the world will get it." Hungary peeps - take a good listen. That is why SPACE exists.

Wednesday RocketFuel

[Yup, lots of saved up RocketFuel posting this week...]

::: Top Tourist Spots Americans Can't Visit
Because a good day in Somalia is the worst day of your life almost anywhere else.
Link via kottke and Passport

::: What's Next
Australian futurist Richard Watson via Jeff Shinabarger

::: Organizational Lifespans
Yes, I'm thinking about this and where SPACE is on the spectrum. You probably should be thinking about this too in relation to your Dteam, small group, church or people you are vacationing with.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday RocketFuel

::: One of the world's last uncontacted tribes

::: First person account from Zimbabwe
Link via Sam Metcalf

::: What is imagination?
Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared.
J.K. Rowling, speaking at Harvard's graduation via Kottke and Metafilter

Monday, June 09, 2008

2008 Auction Decompression

The Stats:
items for bid - 34
total amount if everything was auctioned at starting bids - approx. $4500
avg price per item - $132
items sold - 16
non-SPACE people that showed up - around 22
raffle items - 5 local restaurant gift certificates, 2 Christmas variety baskets and 1 wedding variety basket - all sold
net amount raised - approx. $1800 - this was after we paid for the rental of the location, all ice cream supplies, and getting pizza for the students that came early to help.
advertising budget - $0.00 - craisglist, facebook, sort-of-postcards, word of mouth, three signs the day of the event
item with the most bids - manicure and pedicure gift certificate.
other items with lots of bids - car detailing service, variety gift basket donated by Panera Bread and mobil car oil change.

[We are probably leaving the items up for bid for another week. More info on that later.]

What We Learned:
- People in your community can donate lots of time within their gifts or skills. Lots of students and leaders in SPACE donated lessons for kids - like soccer, swimming, golf, piano, guitar and circus skills [stilt walking and balloon animals - isn't that cool?] The challenge is getting the word out to enough people and helping them think creatively within their talents, skills and passions.
- A project like this will work a lot better if elements of it can be broken down for specific teams to own. This is, of course, way obvious, but sometimes, when you do things for the first time, the biggest learning will come if you have to execute with a small, tightly integrated team, instead of farming it out to a lot of people.
- A fundraising project of this scope may be too much to ask our team leaders to jump in with. Besides running with their teams, they have a lot going on.
- This event has been one of the catalysts for the GCC leadership to think about policies about fundraising for our whole community - a healthy byproduct.
- Like many things with SPACE, we had to operate with limited information, since this was something new. Those are very valuable experiences that catalyze learning, growth and passion.

On to our next project - Mission Advance, one of my favorite things SPACE has birthed.

Monday RocketFuel

::: The Definitive Email Checklist
Since it's from Seth Godin, you know it is good.

::: The Elders
Despite all the ghastliness that is around, human beings are made for goodness. The ones who ought to be held in high regard are not the ones who are militarily powerful, nor even economically prosperous. They are the ones who have a commitment to try and make the world a better place. We – The Elders – will endeavour to support those people and do our best for humanity. - Desmond Tutu
Link via Brad Lomenick

::: Twitter Sunday in church
Link via Digital @ Leadership Network

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Meet Hungary Leader - KevinGN

Kevin was a participant in my high school boys small group [Dteam] from 1999-2003 - he likes to say he was one of the first people in SPACE before it even existed. That's pretty true, since we dragged some of those boys on missional activities as part of their high school experiences, including a week long evangelism project in Baltimore; few days giving money away in Ocean City, Maryland; and serving in New York City.

Kevin is a strong achiever meaning that he will do whatever it takes to get the job done. He is also a strong futurist, meaning that he can envision with me where we are going. And he is a mean guitar player. It will be fun to have some live music with this team - live worship has been an element that I always wanted with past teams, but could never make happen. We've already been scheming together about what the final day of our trip looks like in the city of lights.

Kevin got married to Keely last summer - more on her later - and it will be fun leading with them this summer. Kevin has served in cross cultural contexts such as Kazakhstan and Turkey.

Meet other 2008 Hungary leaders:

Friday, June 06, 2008


Yesterday was a day of contrasts.

In the morning, I got a wonderful email amidst all the other stuff flying back and forth about the silent auction. This email was amazing - so humbling, so encouraging, so passionate. I probably read it 6 or 7 times and it made me sweat, it was that powerful.

In the afternoon, I learned of the passing of a middle school student in our community. Although I didn't know her or much about her situation, I knew lots had been praying for her and donating blood on her behalf. And in the midst of that kind of news, all of this - raising support, training and sending teams, empowering leaders - seems extremely trivial to losing a 12 year old daughter, sister, friend.

This is the current state of humanity. Joy and sorrow. Beauty and tragedy. Life and death. I think, and sometimes I'm not sure, it's worth fighting for.

GCC Missions Video from June 1

[No Meet Hungary Leader post today - maybe tomorrow.] During big church last Sunday, they showed a video highlighting some of the mission projects GCC was involved in from the past few years. I was really happy to see SPACE well represented like : EmGberg, GregM, JWhitt, LindseyK, MichelleK, Nicole, ErinOB, Emilie, Leslie, TriciaB, EllyK, AlecL, JakeC and LynnB among others. Projects included 2005 Brasil, 2006 Cameroon, 2007 Hungary, New Orleans, Uganda, Haiti and Jamaica.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

SPACE's Silent Auction/Ice Cream Social/Bake Sale

Just a reminder for those of you readers that are local.

SPACE Silent Auction and Ice Cream Social
Friday June 6th.
6pm - 8pm

Maryland Piano Recital Room
9139 Red Branch Road
Columbia, MD 21045


See the list of auction items and guidelines, click

Related: Supporting SPACE

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

SPACE Archives - 1993 Budget

Budget - summer of 1993 in the Dominican Republic.

Some interesting highlights:
+ Overall budget of $18,645.00 for a team of 6 for 21 days.
+ $5 per day per person for food - breakfast, lunch and dinner.
+ Medicine for leaders are charged as team expenses.
+ No expenses for real immersion into the culture - because we didn't attempt that.

Note that this was before Microsoft Excel...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Why The Local Church

We have wondered, as have other people, what is the next iteration for SPACE [because there will be another iteration]. Some people have suggested starting a youth missions organization. Besides the obvious list of why we don’t need another youth missions organization [saturated market, everybody does the same thing, etc ], a core distinctive of SPACE is that we are a component of a local youth ministry, tied to a local church. This distinctive is driven by the belief that the local church is one of God’s primary agents of change in the world.

I was reminded of this idea once again when I recently read Rob Wegner's notes from a stealth gathering of innovative and impactful church leaders hosted by Rick Warren and Saddleback Church. Rob is Pastor of Life Mission [isn’t that a cool title?] at Granger Community Church and here are some snippets from his notes:
When Jesus gave the Great Commission, it was physically impossible at the time, there were not trains, planes, and automobiles. Two means of transportation: walk and ride an animal.

In almost every country of the world, the first hospital and first school in the world was started by missionaries.

For 1900 years there were not parachurch organizations or agencies. For 1900 years the local church was the center and sender of mission. Over the last 100 years, we got this idea that in order to do mission you have to go outside the local church to do it. Every time a local church ignored an area of need, God raised up an organization to do it. [Campus Crusade for students, Promise Keepers for men, etc.]

THE CHURCH IS THE GREATEST DISTRIBUTION NETWORK IN THE WORLD, I CAN TAKE YOU TO 10,000 VILLAGES THAT DON’T HAVE ANYTHING, BUT THEY HAVE A CHURCH. You can go to a million or so villages and they don’t have anything but a church. The church was global 200 years before anyone was talking about globalization. There are 2.3 billion people who claim to be Christian. That means the church is bigger than China, bigger than India, bigger than china and india together. Nothing on this planet is bigger than the Church.

Millions Christians volunteer every week. It is the largest mobilization force in the world. No government has a volunteer force that ever comes close to the church. The government wasn’t big enough to handle Katrina, but the church was. The local churches were the first in and the last.

We've been around 2000 years. We are not a fly by night organization. 2000 years from now there won’t be a Microsoft or an HP. No cooperation has lasted 2000 years. No empire or government has lasted 2000 years.

If you are going to end a pandemic, you need something that is growing faster than that pandemic. The only thing growing faster is the church of Jesus Christ. 72,000 come to Christ every day. The number one place? China!

Monday, June 02, 2008

More Expert Mission Trip Advice

Recently posted mission trip advice from some experts:

From Dennis:
DO use your students’ talents and gifts (and tailor the trip to their giftedness).
DO bring adults who have a heart for missions AND students.
DO pick who you work with carefully. The missionary or national organization you work with can make or break your trip.
DO realize you aren’t going to save the world in a week. Sometimes you help the long-term effort without seeing immediate results.
DO be sensitive to the host culture and train your students to do the same. There will be differences, but that doesn’t mean they are wrong (although many times we think they are).
And from The M Blog:
1) We desire an on-going relationship.
2) We want you to become advocates for us there in the States.
3) Come prepared.
4) Be ready for the schedule to be changed.
5) Eat what is set before you.
6) Don't make promises you can't keep.
7) Consult with the missionary team about any money matters.
Related: Even more expert mission trip advice.