Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday Burn

::: Postcards From Hell
The world's most failed states

::: Global Migration
Perhaps no force in modern life is as omnipresent yet overlooked as global migration
Link via lots of people that you probably read too

::: The Teen Brain
Must read for youth workers. This explains a lot doesn't it?
Link via Dan Pink

Monday, June 28, 2010


Recently been in big discussions about missions focus. "One church can't do everything... the shotgun approach to missions isn't effective... we can't support and/or care for all the missionaries going to all these places..."

Yes - I understand. Yes - I've heard this before. Yes - I know there are lots of churches that are amazingly effective because they've said no to some and yes to others. I get all of that.

My very big caution:
Don't squelch the team of young people that are fully qualified but still want to do something outside of your focus area. The easy mistake is equate not-in-focus-area with being not-qualified. And listen, I believe in high standards for cross cultural workers. They have to be well prepared. I'm not saying approve every crazy person with a crazy idea. Apostolic starters don't just show up [they are developed...], but when they do, you ought to engage them.

Lots more about this topic, obviously... But hey, let's hear some push back.

Friday, June 25, 2010

2010 AZ meeting #3

- support status
- welcoming our friends to the fundraiser
- hot salsa and team shirts
- google video chat with Ben Cloud
- hearing from JoyM about her plans for a year in Argentina

AZ 2010 #2
Hungary 2008 #3
Hungary 2007 #3
Cameroon 2006 #3
Brasil 2005 #3

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thursday Burn

::: 12 cities|12 conversations notes
Brad posts notes from one of the sessions for 12 cities|12 conversations. If you like my blog, you would like following these sessions. Lots of what-you-need-to-know-about-the-world. Hosted by the Lausanne Movement which also hosted the global Younger Leaders Gathering in 2006.

::: Justin's Vulnerabilities Journal
Link - 15 major global issues, tracked with links

::: Leader - Empowering or Not?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Values Clarification

Been in a few meetings in the past few months doing some values clarification - trying to answer the essential question, "why do we do what we do?" These meetings have been really insightful and in some cases very spirited - and I mean that in a good way. Values are symbolic of the culture of your organization. Maybe tell you more about these meetings later.

Here are some snippets of Ember's values. Not only that, but we've also jotted down some mantras [here's why.]

We will pay close attention to contextual clues, will seek to be relevant to the culture and practice a presence that is incarnational.

We will focus on helping form strong teams, resource emerging leaders and will favor community as a significant environment.

We will be open to new ways of expressing Church, applaud new initiatives from emerging leaders, push people towards trying it differently, and encourage liminality spaces.

We choose to emulate Jesus in perspective, action and character.

We throw fire
A global student leadership tribe
Students for any culture and any locality
Mobilizing students for mission
The future is an open set
Catalyzing students to leaders to the world
A suburban missional epicenter
A student missions leadership tribe
Friends that refine each other
It only takes a ember

Friday, June 18, 2010

AZ team update

Lots going on with our team, all very fun.

+ Our support is at about 90% which is amazing. We bought plane tickets yesterday. With only 3 weeks to go, booking a team of 11 on the same set of flights is pretty miraculous.
+ We will be a tad over budget at the end - there was an increase in flight costs. Pretty confident that additional support will come in to cover it. If not hmm....
+ The guides JTimmons and AR are busy putting together a devotional guide. This will be the guide that all teams visiting Amadeo all through July will use. They are also tasked with running our daily team time.
+ We are hosting a fundraising evening at a local Qdoba next week. If you are local and in the mood for some Mexican food, would love for you to stop by. The team gets 20% of the evening - you have to bring this flyer with you. Thursday 4-8pm.
+ Ben is hosting teams all through July - you already know he's got partnerships all over the world. Some peeps from Canada and Northern Ireland will be there the same week we are there.
+ Most nights this week, the guides were at my house scheming. Lots of brownies...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday Burn

::: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Ending Poverty

::: Short Term Missions Trips Shift?
Link via Seth Barnes

::: Millennials not Romantic about their Cars
Link via DC Curry

::: A new model for missions conferences?
Content + Action + Unreached [the action part reminds me of Mission Advance]
Link via Andrew Jones

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

RIP Calvin

I had a lot of fun times with Calvin such as:

- A few times we took him to CT and my grandmothers house. We took him to a park called Owen Fish.

- We took him at least once to my other grandmothers house and we played in the backyard together.

- Kt and i would fed him tunafish and peanut butter. We would let him lick peanut butter off the spoon. One year we celebrated his birthday by giving him peanut butter covered dog treats in Kt's bed.

- I also remember the last time i saw Calvin. I remember seeing his tail wag.
[The above was written by Em, aged 9.]

Calvin was our 15 year old maltese. I've always been a dog lover, I still remember begging my parents for a dog many, many times. Calvin was the first dog I ever had, Dea and I got him shortly after we were married. Unlike my parents, she relented.

I've got some thoughts about death, maybe I'll write about them later. In the meantime, this and this, among other things, have helped in the past few months.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Reread - The Minimum

The minimum structure needed for a new movement is the person who MUST. - Alex McManus
January 2005. 5 years later, I believe this more than ever.

Monday, June 14, 2010

2010 AZ team meeting #2

Team meeting #2 last night with the AZ team - the first one now that our team is finally set. Lots of fun working with this team - I'm very expectant based on the potential of each one of these guys and girls.

Here's the agenda in case you are prepping your team and need some help. Like everything on the blog - feel free to take what works for you.

+ Support update - 42%. Hopefully buying plane tickets this week.
+ Myers Briggs test - this is the really fun part. We talked a little bit about what the types mean, what it means on a team like this and gave a few examples from the past - especially about E vs. I and J vs. P. Best part is when you chart out the team.
+ Mixer - JTimmons and AR ran a mixer that included a skit, middle names and school mascots.
+ Quick glance at the 8 big questions and the treasure hunt concept from the Short Term Missions Workbook - we will spend more time on these in future meetings. [Long time readers know I love this resource - if you do a lot of this mission stuff, you should have a copy.]
1. Walk with humility.
2. Embrace with affirmation.
3. Live with vulnerability.
4. Practice flexibility.
5. Live as a student.
6. Work as a servant.
7. Speak as a storyteller.
Let the Spirit tell God’s story through you.
+ Overview of tentative in the field schedule
+ Dessert

Hungary 2008 #3
Hungary 2007 #3
Cameroon 2006 #3
Brasil 2005 #3

Friday, June 11, 2010

A New Pipeline

As a transition for the 09-10 interns, we have now bestowed on them the title of Guide. After hanging with me all year, they've earned it. Part of that role includes some responsibilities for the AZ team - opportunities that they are free to initiate.

It's a leadership pipeline albeit a small one. We used to think about growing leaders for mostly a specific ministry. It seems like now we are trying to grow leaders for things that haven't even been imagined yet.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Latest Kindling

+ Been reconnecting with some ex-SPACE peeps this week - feels like life is almost normal after the past few months.
+ MichelleK is working at Virginia Tech all summer : economic analysis, farming technologies, underdeveloped countries. Told you she was one to watch.
+ We are at about 25% for support for the AZ team. If you are interested in helping fund future apostolic starters, I can almost guarantee you a return on your investment. You might think I'm being overly presumptuous - let me show you the portfolio.
+ Been reading this fun blog. Love hearing about local spots in DC as well as activities from a CSM host.
+ Thanks again for your prayers for my mom - she's managing and we think through the initial stages of grief.
+ Every team goes through excitement and then anxiety as their dream takes shape via support raising. I have faith in my wife having faith.
+ LB is settling in to furban [fake urban] Montgomery County. Hey, I can say that because I grew up there. She's gotten involved at a local domestic violence nonprofit. She couldn't tell me anything else about it - it's basically like a security clearance.
+ From 2010 on the move - Robyn landed in Israel yesterday. Trevin leaves tomorrow. Tayest leaves in late July. Erin attends a global missions conference with her agency in early August. Saw Tayest and TriciaB twice in the past week.
+ We've recently made the decision that Dea and Em will also come to AZ with us. Love love love having my family around mission experiences. Going to require some interesting family budgeting but worth every penny.
+ Been intrigued with the following questions with the elder team: 1 - how do we identify and engage existing influencers?; 2 - can/should our elders get feedback from a team of futurists?; 3 - what kinds of things should be on a list that an elder team looks at as a dashboard of effectiveness?
+ Our 2009-2010 interns are making some serious financial commitments with regard to Arizona - not will we make it but how we will make it.
+ Ember friend MPM retires from youth ministry at the end of next month.this weekend. Sad to not be able to be at the youth service he is speaking at. misread that email.... 12 years - as a volunteer. With a normal job. And a wife. And kids. That equates to about 18 years in my mind. Well done Matt.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Wednesday Burn

::: Church Jobs of the Future
Link. Will has a ton of this kind of stuff on his blog - his thinking is a gift to the future.

::: 10 laws of productivity

::: Google street view comes to South Africa
Right in time for that soccer game.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

AZ equation of the week

4 weeks to departure + watching support + having to purchase flights = i'm gonna be sick...

Monday, June 07, 2010

Proud of our Kids

Our kids have had an amazing school year. Dea and I are so proud of them. It's not been an easy year and they've really persevered and they've learned a lot about themselves.

Em took a hip hop dance class all year. If you know her, you know she's got a rhythm that doesn't come from me. She dreaded class most weeks but made it through - last night was the dance recital and her team did great. She's 2nd from the right in the picture.

I've written about Kt's malaria project before - her presentation was at an evening school enrichment fair a few weeks ago.

We are proud parents.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Leader Import and Exports

"Our number one import is human talent and our number one export is human creativity. Our commodity is imagination. How many cities can say that?" - Erwin McManus, Bunker Hill magazine
Cities is one thing. How many leaders can say that?

Friday, June 04, 2010

Supp Supp Support

Our team is in the midst of raising some support right now - most of you know it can seem like a tedious, intimidating, feel-like-a-gamble experience, almost like a necessary evil. We are currently at about 15% - part of me is elated about that and the other part of me is worried that we won't make it. No megachurch account to back us this summer. Talk to people that are sustained by this kind of thing full time and they will tell you the support raising experience is really a faith raising experience.

But I love the other valuable side of this experience. Take a 16 year old kid, invite them to join in something larger than themselves, then they've got to share with family and friends about it, inviting them to be a significant partner in the whole project. The team collectively and expectantly [and nervously] watches their family and friends join in. So much fun to watch a young person dedicate themselves - they get committed to the core. And even better, sometimes, the question transforms from "will we make it?" into "what else can we do to ensure that we will make it?" It doesn't happen everyday and it's part of why we do this.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Thursday Burn

::: The UN's 2008-2009 State of the World's Cities
Probably everything you ever wanted to know [280 pages] about the current state of the world's cities.
Link via JD Payne

::: 11 Designs for Disastrous Times

::: 10 days the internet is changing missions
Link via Cynthia Ware

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

09-10 Ember Interns - Leaders for the Future

On the surface, one would probably think the intern process is, well, for the interns. True to a certain extent. But dig deeper - not to say that the interns themselves are means to an end - the long term view informs us that we do this to make a difference for the future. The transformation of them as people is good - the impact they make is better.

These guys embody many of the characteristics of what future leaders look like. After working with them for a year, here a few that rise to the top:

+ Adaptable
Not to say the leader of the future isn't a planner, they are. But they are know that most plans, and life, is fluid and dynamic, and doesn't always run according to the first plan. Some of this is also their sense of the Spirit's guidance.

+ Passionate Starters
Ideas only go so far. The ideas that really count are the ones that get executed.

+ Fun
They like to have fun, they have a great sense of humor, they don't mind laughing at themselves.

+ Explorers
Inquisitive, always interested in learning, asking lots of questions and taking lots of notes, applying the principles, loving the journey.

If leaders of the future look like these guys, we are in good shape.

[This is the final post in a series evaluating the Ember intern process for 2009-2010: Overview, Positives, Improvements]