Friday, October 29, 2010

The proof might be in ...

the leaders that aren't leading yet.

Fun conversations this week with Tayest [SPACE alumni] and Trevin [our first Ember guide.] It's one thing to traipse the world engaging different cultures, serving and encouraging people and being involved on mission. It's a completely different level to empower and help others into doing the same kinds of things - start with lots of dreaming, listening, encouraging and connecting. It also requires movement thinking and catalytic leadership - like finding ways to jump start indigenous initiative. Complex, nonlinear and oh so exciting and generative. Something like this tweet:
@trevinhoekzema : spent an hour on the phone with AR, talking, catching up, dreaming... #Duke is doing an amazing this with its Engage program.

Ember hits Salisbury in November working on a community project based on demographic data - so privileged to work with these two catalytic leaders. Even more fun than working with them - we do this for leaders that aren't leading yet. They are out there, on the brink of being engaged and sometimes they need a bright spot like Tayest and Trevin to kick them into the future.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursday Burn

::: How to Take on A Passion Project When You Have a Job
Great article - it seems lots of people I know are doing this.

::: Charity:water's 2009 annual report
Great example of how you present lots and lots of data.

:::How to Buy a Round-the-World Plane Ticket

::: The DIY Foreign Aid Revolution
A must read.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know an extraordinary God.
- Jim Elliot

stolen from Ashley

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Antidote - Generate - Collective - Upstream

I just submitted a proposal for a leadership event at GRACE slated for early 2011. We'll see if it really flies or not but I'm excited about the potential. Even though the Christian conference space is way over-saturated, there is almost always value in gathering leaders when we facilitate them connecting and inspiring each other. Hopefully this event creates an environment to do that with a lot of context as a backdrop. Tell you more about it if it gets wings.

Some other ideas that have framed this:
+ always, always, always bring in an ideator [TMurray...]
+ distributed - one speaker to a passive audience doesn’t work anymore.
+ interactive - note that Capetown 2010 broke 5000 people into table groups of 6.
+ The TED commandments
+ how to organize the room
+ the producer versus the artist
+ no wired microphone, a handheld microphone or a podium microphone.

Monday, October 25, 2010

First Ember Board

The Ember Cast Board of Directors gathered for the first time last Friday night - a very informal ice cream party with families.

Intentions on my part: ice cream because we like to have fun; families because I want board members to know the context of other members; informal because this is quite a collection of world changers and I wanted them to get to know each other. I like driving this bus.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tracking #capetown2010 - 2

Another post highlighting some interesting and cool stuff coming out of Capetown 2010.

+ Capetown got hacked - Link

+ Who got invited to Capetown - representative of the global church - Link

+ Cities
[See my notes from one of the advance papers here.]
People are moving into the cities faster than the church is moving into the city.
Churches in the city need to:
Extremely patient with charges of cultural insensitivity – as they have more cultures involved and more potential criticism. Churches outside of a city don’t have to deal with that conflict.
Show people how their work links to their faith as they live and work in the same city. Too often we disciple by bringing people into the context of the church and outside of the work place.
Constantly open to disorder and change.
Intensely evangelistic and famous for its concern for justice.
Attentive to the arts.
Co-operative with other churches and denominations – you’ll never reach the city without partnership.
[Yes, this is quite different from the operating culture of my suburban church.]

We're witnessing big numbers of diaspora churches – reaching out to their peoples but also preaching the gospel to their host nation. [Diaspora churches - faith communities of migrant peoples outside of their natural country.]

Juan Pablo Bongartra (Argentina) shares on development in Buenos Aires through increasing unity between the churches. Now implementing a plan to:
- Shepherd the City – a brother or sister is now in charge of each of the 12,000 blocks in the city – to develop a personal relationship and prayer – at the moment in over 6,000 blocks! [and you think we dream big...]
The above notes from Chris Kidd

+ Leadership
[See my notes from one of the advance papers here.]

+ Why is there such a shortage of Christ-centred leaders?: so-called "leadership training programmes" don’t really prepare people to lead in the real world, people have credentials but they can’t lead.
+ Too many of our leaders today are not Christ-like
+ We are doing a poor job of leadership development through our existing programs today!
+ The quest for significance – a fractured spirituality is widespread.
+ We have a leadership problem:
Christ-like leadership is not a luxury, but a necessity.
Providing opportunities for leaders to grow is critical to a healthy, vibrant, transformational, multiplying Church.
We must be wise stewards of the resources available because the future of the Church is at stake.
Commit to becoming a more Christ-like leader
Release and enable others, and intentionally find, use and promote the very best in leadership development resources.
The above notes from Chris Kidd [again - tons of great notes]

[Post update:
I would have loved to have seen some follow up to this paper with some examples/case studies of orgs/people that are doing a good job with global leadership missions development.]

+ Deanna recommends watching this video from IJM India on the global slave issue
Be prepared - it's powerful. And sickening.

@krishk : Why do we have to chose between prioritising evangelism or justice: we don't chose between priorities of bible study or prayer #capetown2010

@ChrisHeuertz : Boom. Hilarious... just heard someone say the Lausanne meetings are basically Urbana for adults. Damn.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday Burn

::: DC's definitive guide to bedbugs
Link via Leslitab
The lesson for global leaders who are on the move - put all your clothing and luggage in your dryer right when you get home.

::: The middle class is disappearing because technology is rendering middle-class skills obsolete.
Very intriguing article.

::: The World's Fastest Growing Cities
and ones in decline.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tracking #capetown2010 - 1

I'm tracking the Lausanne Congress - you should be too. In case you aren't, here are some tidbits that I found interesting. [And actually, what would make for an even more interesting post would be some followup with the advance papers I posted about last week. I'm planning on another one of these 'tracking' posts later - hopefully that will include some follow up.]

There are many more stories to share...but not on a public website like this. But I have heard many remarkable things about the Gospel reaching dark lands and transforming people. Unfortunately we cannot openly discuss these things for security reasons and for the sake of brothers and sisters living in these countries. But what is happening around the world is truly amazing. I will simply say this--be encouraged, Christ is building his church and the gates of hell are not prevailing against it.

+ People wearing blue nametags cannot be photographed - these are people working in closed countries. For something as big as this, and the effort to broadcast this over the Web, I'm glad to see there are measures like this. [PS - Orgs that support people working in closed countries should take some good notes about how this is done.]

+ The congress is taking more bandwidth than The World Cup Link

+ Table groups - all delegates are conversing in table groups of 5 or 6 people. Like most Christian conferences, the move is to more interaction.

+ The new edition of Operation World was released on Monday evening.

+ Is the conference is a colossal waste of money, brains and time? Link

+ 2040 scenario – no single ethnic majority in the United States. Need to track this down.
+ Lon Anderson: not just about sending workers, but equally about receiving missionary workers. Who will come to America and help us, esp. with the growing immigrant community? A trend of reciprocal mission.
+ Leif Anderson on immigrants: Rome received Paul, who was an immigrant, as a leader. Most immigrants coming to the United States are coming from places where christianity is on fire. Think about what it means to receive these people as the Roman church received Paul—as a leader. Might we not find an Apostle Paul today among them? Or perhaps 100 Pauls? Perhaps 1,000 Pauls?
+ The number of people who have no access to Christ, Christianity or the Gospel is presently increasing by an estimated 19 million per year. The reason is simple: not enough people are working among these groups to make a sustainable difference in the long run.
The above from Justin

+ Forty percent of the participants are in their 20s-40s, one-third are women, 1200 are missionaries/church leaders, 1200 are pastors/denominational workers, 1200 are scholars/academics, and 600 are in the marketplace. From JD Payne

+ Some of interesting tweets:
@LigonDuncan : What does the West need to say to the Global South about globalization? Humbly - "Don't do what we did." (Os Guinness)
@LigonDuncan : "Globalization is the greatest challenge to, and opportunity for, the Gospel since the age of the Apostles." (Os Guinness)
@krishk : more Iranians have come to christ in the last 30 years than in the last 1300 years before that.
@RedeemerCTC : Archbishop Robert Duncan: "The average Anglican is now a woman, an African, a mother, and under the age of 20"
@lifeofjenn : RT @lcwe: Rich Stearns "The American Dream is a nightmare for the rest of the world."
@RedeemerCTC : There are more Arabs on Facebook than read newspapers
@RedeemerCTC : "There are more mobile phones in India than toilets"
@robhoskins : Europe is the prodigal son having sold its soul to a materialistic secular world- Stefan Gustaavson

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


You've heard this a lot before - context and culture are important. All of us know this in our heads - it's hard to make an impact if you don't have a good understanding of what is going on in the environment, the person, the community. But some of us keep telling high school kids that they can change the world and yet we neglect teaching them how to understand context. We are inspiring them but not giving them the right tools. Farmers with the wrong kind of seed.

Been re-reading a research report from a missions agency's vision team. The report is a gold mine on how to discover things in a city and community and getting a pulse on the movement of Christianity there. Model gathering this kind of data with your students and you've given them an innumerable gift.

Here is a rough outline of the report I'm looking at:
1. Leading churches in YYY.
2. The history of YYY.
3. YYY’s demographics
4. YYY’s spiritual climate
5. Religious History.
6. Emerging culture in YYY.
7. Infrastructure of YYY.
8. Potential Church planting locations
Granted, this isn't the only way to do it, but it's a good one. Oh - in November, Ember tries getting info for #3, #4, and #7. Students are along for the ride, but if you understand this post, you know it's more than that.

Monday, October 18, 2010

When I Was Your Age

When I was your age, we weren't thinking about people with unclean water.
- Craig Groeschel, Catalyst 2010.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Lausanne Friday : Cities

From the paper Urban Realities: What is God's Global Urban Mission? :

: What is a city and cities in the Scriptures
Today, a city is defined almost exclusively in terms of population size. Larger population centers are called 'cities,' smaller ones 'towns,' and the smallest are 'villages.' We must not impose our current usage on the biblical term, however. The main Hebrew word for city means any human settlement surrounded by some fortification or wall. Most ancient cities numbered only about 1,000-3,000 in population. 'City' in the Bible meant not so much population size as density. The word translated 'compact' meant to be closely intertwined and joined. In a fortified city, the people lived close to one another in tightly compacted houses and streets. In fact, most ancient cities were estimated to be five to ten acres, with 240 residents per acre. By comparison, contemporary Manhattan in New York City houses only 105 residents per acre.

When we finally come to the early church, we see God's redemptive mission no longer centers on any particular city such as Jerusalem, or on Babylon. All the cities of the world become crucial. In Acts 17, Paul goes to Athens, the intellectual center of the Greco-Roman world. In Acts 18, he travels to Corinth, one of the commercial centers of the empire. In Acts 19, he arrives in Ephesus, perhaps the Roman world's religious center as the hub of many pagan cults and particularly of the imperial cult, with three temples for emperor worship. By the end of Acts, Paul makes it to Rome, the empire's power capital, the military and political center of that world. John Stott concludes: "It seems to have been Paul's deliberate policy to move purposefully from one strategic city-centre to the next."

: Why cities:
+ If the gospel is unfolded at the urban center, you reach the region and the society.
+ Cities are culturally crucial. In the village, someone might win its one or two lawyers to Christ, but winning the legal profession requires going to the city with the law schools, the law journal publishers, and so on.
+ Cities are globally crucial. In the village, someone can win only the single people group living there, but spreading the gospel to ten or twenty new national groups/languages at once requires going to the city, where they can all be reached through the one lingua franca of the place.
+ Cities are personally crucial. By this I mean that cities are disturbing places. The countryside and the village are marked by stability and residents are more set in their ways. Because of the diversity and intensity of the cities, urbanites are much more open to new ideas; such as the gospel! Because they are surrounded by so many people like and unlike themselves, and are so much more mobile, urbanites are far more open to change/conversion than any other kind of resident.
+ World cities are becoming more and more economically and culturally powerful; Cities are the seats of multinational corporations and international economic, social, and technological networks. The technology/communication revolution means that the culture and values of global cities are now being transmitted around the globe to every tongue, tribe, people, and nation. Kids in Iowa or even Mexico are becoming more like young adults in Los Angeles and New York City than they are like adults in their own locales. The coming world order will be a global, multicultural, urban order.
+ The millions of newcomers in burgeoning cities have characteristics that make them far more open to the Christian faith than they were before arriving.

: The urban church in practice
However, there is a great barrier to urban mission that is not in the cities themselves nor in urban residents, but in the church. The sensibilities of most evangelical churches and leaders are often non or even anti-urban. Many ministry methods have been forged outside of urban areas and then simply imported, with little thought to the unnecessary barriers this erects between urban dwellers and the gospel.
+ Effective urban church leaders must be far more educated and aware of the views and sensitivities of different ethnic groups, classes, races, and religions. Urbanites know how often members of two different racial groups can use the identical word to mean very different things. Consequently, they are very circumspect and careful when approaching issues that racial groups see very differently.
+ Traditional evangelical ministries tend to give believers relatively little help in understanding how they can maintain their Christian practice outside the walls of the church while still participating in the world of the arts and theatre, business and finance, scholarship and learning, and government and public policy. Away from big cities, it may be more possible to live one's life in compartments, with Christian discipleship largely consisting of activities done in the evenings or on the weekend. That doesn't work in cities, where people live most of their lives in the careers or the long work-hours of their jobs.
+ Most evangelical churches are middle-class in their corporate culture. People value privacy, safety, homogeneity, sentimentality, space, order, and control. In contrast, the city is filled with ironic, edgy, diversity-loving people who have a much higher tolerance for ambiguity and disorder.

: Two tipping points
+ The gospel movement tipping point. A church planting project becomes a movement when the ecosystem elements are all in place and most of the churches have the vitality, leaders, and mindset to plant another church within five to six years of their own beginnings. When the tipping point is reached, a self-sustaining movement begins. Enough new believers, leaders, congregations, and ministries are being naturally produced for the movement to grow without any single command-and control center. The body of Christ in the city funds itself, produces its own leaders, and conducts its own training. A sufficient number of dynamic leaders is always rising up. The number of Christians and churches doubles every seven to ten years. How many churches must be reached for this to occur? While it is impossible to give a number that would hold for every city and culture, all the elements in the ecosystem must be in place and very strong.
+ The city tipping point.
That is the moment when the number of gospel-shaped Christians in a city becomes so large that Christian influence on the civic and social life of the city;and on the very culture is recognizable and acknowledged. For example, neighborhoods stay largely the same if new types of residents (richer, poorer, or culturally different from the rest) comprise less than 5 percent of the population. Some prison ministers report that if more than 10% of the inmates become Christians, it changes the corporate culture of the prison. The relationships between prisoners, between prisoners and guards—;all change. Likewise, when the number of new residents reaches somewhere between 5 and 20 percent, depending on the culture, the whole neighborhood ethos shifts. In New York City, some groups have a palpable effect on the way life is lived, when their numbers reach at least 5 to 15 percent and when the members are active in public life.

: For students:
+ Spend some time in a city. Weekends, summers, etc. Get to know the smells and sounds of a city. Get really good at urban navigation.
+ Do some research with regard to on the ground ministries in a city. Meet some people doing innovative, creative urban ministry. Take detailed notes on the organizational culture of an urban ministry and compare it with the ministry culture you currently serve in. [See UYWI, Jeremy Del Rio]
+ Read The Tipping Point.

This post is part of a series of posts about Cape Town 2010 highlighting what I think are some important concepts that students interested in missions should be aware of.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lausanne Thursday : Diaspora

The Gospel comes to us on the way to someone else. - Alex McManus
Movement is inherent in the Gospel. Right now, we find ourselves in the midst of an incredible mass of movement - the largest amount of people moving in human history ever. If you've been around here long enough, you’ve already heard about the concept of global urban migration.

On diaspora: "Over the centuries, the term 'diaspora' has been added to contemporary vocabulary in reference to the People on the Move who will cross national borders, i.e. the scattered peoples. Other terms such as 'migration,' 'emigration' and 'immigration' have been used in reference to People on the Move." The global leader of the future will understand this idea and it will be integral to the way they impact people.

Some concepts pulled out of the advance paper - "Ministering to the Scattered Peoples" as well as this chart for some good comparisons:

Challenges to change:
local vs. global
here vs. there
sending vs. receiving
reached vs. unreached
laity vs. clergy
coming vs. going
cultural linguistic barriers, cultural distance [Something to think about, but I'm not sure the concept of diaspora eliminates cultural distance. If anything, the migration of cultures almost makes preparing students for cultural distance even easier ie: not far to travel to deeply experience another culture.]

nonspatial, no boundary
unreached = accessible
borderless = ministry without borders
new reality of unprecedented movements of peoples

New Approaches:
unprecedented movement in the 21st century
mobile and fluid
sending and receiving from anywhere
moving targets and move with the targets [how should/will this affect organizations that want a long term impact in a locality?]
glocal and liquid

+ Many churches in the West have 'Church buses,' but diaspora people have 'Bus-Churches.'
+ Japan is known to be 'the graveyard of missionaries' yet many nationalities within Japan are receptive to the gospel.
+ Reaching Transients Illustrations: Filipino seafarers are reaching multinational crew members and travelers on ships; Australian Christian host families are reaching out to International Students from countries like China; Malaysian Christians are reaching out to Nepali contract workers in Malaysia; Zambian Christians are reaching out to Malawi Muslim diplomats stationed in Zambia.
+ "We believe God is scattering the nations of the world to bring in a mega-harvest globally. Accordingly, the Church must embrace this new global reality and strategize to reach the various Diaspora people groups." [I could not agree with this idea more.]

If you are a student:
+ Understand and embrace this sociological concept. God has a strategy behind migration.
+ Start to look at the culture you live in with the mix of global cultures. Yes, even though your friends and their families are American, if they don't look like you, where are they really from? What could you learn from them? Have the nerve to ask them about their backgrounds - it will be fun.

For more info, also see JD Payne's series on diaspora.

This post is part of a series of posts about Cape Town 2010 highlighting what I think are some important concepts that students interested in missions should be aware of.

Thursday Burn

::: The Kind of Pastors We Need
1. Be resourceful – often able to earn their own living
2. Communal shepherds – cultivators of community identity in mission
3. Interpretive leaders - funders of imagination thru scripture for what god is doing among us and around us
4. Directors of spiritual formation – shapers of places that shape our lives into christ and his mission
5. Leaders who give away power – dispersers of authority and leadership into the neighborhoods
The whole post is worth the read as Dave Fitch talks about the future of the North American church, suburban churches and cultural flexibility, and what to do about it.

::: I'm homeless and this is why I have an ipad
Link via Justin Long
The global nomad aren't like the gypsies of old.

::: How Big is Africa?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lausanne Wednesday : Global Leadership

Some snippets from the advance paper on global leadership, "We Have A Problem! - But There Is Hope! - Results of a Survey of 1,000 Christian Leaders from Across the Globe"

+ 1031 senior global christian leaders across 7 continents surveyed.
+ Big boss leadership is a prevalent issue.
+ Christ-centered leadership is challenging because it's counter cultural at its essence.
+ Christ-centered leadership: Integrity, authenticity, excellent character, servant's heart, humble, spiritually mature, hears God's voice, holy and prayerful, excellent people management skills and ability to discern and develop the gifts of others, Biblical knowledge, theologically sound, compassionate, good listener, more oriented to people than accomplishing the task.
+ When 1,000 leaders were asked the question, "If you had the opportunity to take classes in leadership development right now, what subjects would be of most interest to you?" their top prioritized choices included: Mentoring/Coaching, Prayer and the Personal Life of a Leader, People Management, Conflict Resolution, Strategic Planning.
+ What would you say is the most frequent cause of failure in Christian leaders to 'finish well' as a Christ-centered leader in the nation where you are currently living? Respondents could pick three answers. The top five included: Burn-out, Abuse of power, Inappropriate use of finances, Inordinate Pride, Lack of growth in their Spiritual Life
+ "Which of five answers comes the closest to explaining why there is such a shortage of Christ-centered leaders?" Their overwhelming response was: So-called 'leadership training programs' do not really prepare people to lead in the real world. People have credentials but they can't lead. A somewhat close second was the answer: The current leader won't allow the new ones to develop.

A few points of commentary:
+ Notice that even across cultures, the identified leadership issues are common. Leadership should certainly keep in mind context and culture but the common challenges span contexts.
+ There is a systemic gap in the way people view leaders. Reason 1 for the shortage in Christian leaders [last bullet] : "Leadership training programs don’t really prepare people to lead in the real world." Leaders learn in crisis, failing fast, in experiment mode. Not many of our ministries are prepared to handle that kind of chaos for the cause of 'leadership development.'
+ Reason 2 for the shortage : "The current leader won’t allow the new ones to develop." We have to stop using the word leader for anyone and everyone that we think might have influence. A person that isn’t allowing others to grow is a chaperone at best, but not a 'leader.' If the person in charge is not identifying and investing in emerging people of influence, let's stop using the description 'leader' for them.
+ If you are a student, one of the best things you can do to learn about some of the topics above is to start or run a volunteer organization.

This post is part of a series of posts about Cape Town 2010 highlighting what I think are some important concepts that students interested in missions should be aware of.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lausanne Tuesday : State of the World

This the big advance paper from Lausanne - World Evangelization in the 21st Century: Prioritizing the Essential Elements of the Great Commission. For big picture-quick-look-at-the-world, this has tons of info in it that we should all be aware of. Heress a few things you should know:

: Translations of the Bible
Out of 6909 spoken languages in the world:
451 have a complete written Bible.
1185 have a written New Testament.
843 languages have a written portion of the Bible.
Nearly 2000 languages have some work begun.
2252 languages have no one working on Bible translation.
Oral story Bible teams - need about 50-60 Bible stories translated orally.
70% of the world are oral learners - they don't read.

: Unreached People Groups
[Personal note - I've done lots of thinking about the emphasis on unreached people groups and how that fits in with catalyzing people, engaging a local church and living on mission. I believe the concept is important but not all encompassing.]
As of 2005, 639 people groups with populations of over 100K still unengaged/unreached.
419 of these groups have been engaged since then. [That's some amazing news!]
2365 people groups with populations of over 5,000 that are still unengaged/unreached.
Need to have one worker for 50,000 people in each of these groups.

[Side note on the last statement. For comparison sake, check out JD Payne's post about evangelical statistics in the US.
Compare this ratio of 1 missionary to 50,000 people to what JD says about a good strategic ratio for churches being 1 church to 1000 people in an urban context and 1 church to 500 people for rural contexts. This comparison highlights : 1 - that missionary has their work cut out for them and, 2 - that is a tremendous need.]

: Evangelization
increase the numbers of workers in the least reached.
use best platforms for message delivery - cell phone technology and the internet.

: Church Planting
- To encourage each country to conduct a survey to determine every village and city segment where there is no known church. [big need for demographic research teams.]
- To plant 5 million new churches by 2020.
- To establish church planting movements in all unengaged people groups by 2020.

Well, those are 4 of the big ones in the paper - if this gets you excited, you should definitely go read the whole thing. If you are a high school student and this gets you excited, let me give you some more suggestions:
- Merely knowing about these global issues is a big deal. Awareness is the first step that leads to action.
- These 4 areas [and probably all of the areas listed in the paper] can use a whole realm of expertise and experience. Interested in political science, engineering, medicine, economics, leadership, education? Get a viable degree in one of those areas [or a bunch of others] and I'm sure you could find a place to assist.
- Some of this is going to require people that are highly creative, innovative and entrepreneurial. Get some experience now in creating something from nothing, gathering teams around you and knowing your gifts and talents.
- Oh and if you fit in with the "I'm excited about this and I'm a high school student" and I don't know you already, contact me please.

This post is part of a series of posts about Cape Town 2010 highlighting what I think are some important concepts that students interested in missions should be aware of. See the previous introduction post. Tomorrow’s post will be about global leadership development.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cam 2006 revisit

We had a get together with Gilles Naine last weekend - he and his family live in Yaounde, Cameroon working with high school kids. They hosted a team that I led in 2006 and then hosted another SPACE team in 2008. We had a great time catching up with some people from both of those teams.

What's most impressed me about G is his sense of catalytic leadership. They've always known their time in Cameroon, as white people, is limited and that Cameroonians will impact their country more than they can. He is always on the look out for emerging indigenous leaders and the investment into these leaders is central to their ministry. He's been meeting for a few years with a small group of students that he calls their 'Timothys' and now those students are starting to take over things. Exciting to hear that some of the students we met in 2006 have now owned their faith and are influencing others in the same way.

Cross cultural workers with exit strategies are bright spots.

Friday, October 08, 2010


The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, occurring in Cape Town, South Africa next week, will be the most historic missions gathering in human history. Seriously, it's going to be huge. If you are a regular around here, you need to track some of this stuff closely.

The first world congress was held in 1974 with the likes of Billy Graham, John Stott and Francis Schaeffer - some of the most significant leaders in their time. Ralph Winter introduced the concept of unreached people groups there, the Lausanne Covenant was developed there [Ember affirms this by the way] and the working mantra became "The Whole Church taking the Whole Gospel to the Whole World." Since then, they hosted a few other gatherings, most notably the Younger Leaders Gathering . [You might remember my nominations.]

This year, there will be over 400 leaders from some 200 countries discussing the major mission issues of our time. In advance of the actual congress, Lausanne has put together a huge web platform for lots of conversations, networking and great content. They've got a series of advance papers that have been published prior to Cape Town, and they've actually set up some technology that does auto translate. There is also a set of global sites where you can participate from around the world. Cool huh?

I'll be doing a series of posts next week [I think starting on Tuesday] highlighting what I think are some important concepts that students interested in missions should be aware of. In the meantime, poke around the website, there is a ton of content out there.

Some great on the ground resources:
Justin Long
Andrew Jones
The Lausanne blog
Capetown on twitter

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Thursday Burn

::: This is youth demographics
Nashville - where teenagers go, what they do, gangs, drugs, malls, technology. Want to understand a community - do research like this as a starting point.

::: Mawwaige in the US
For the first time in U.S. history, the number of young adults (those between 25 and 34) who have never been married exceeds those who are married.

::: Traveling with Little Kids [or big kids I suppose]

::: Tweets
@sanderssays : If you haven't had a 'scary moment' at work recently, you are probably not innovating much.
@craiggroeschel : My opinion: The emerging generation is the most cause driven, mission minded generation in modern history.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The MatchBox

A portable way to start some fire.

1 - kids - everything you need to run a kids camp in a park for 1 hour - crafts, games, balloons, bubbles, short talk, plan A and plan B
2 - handyman - hammer, nails, screwdrivers, rake, garbage bags, gloves, etc. - materials for simple fix it stuff
3 - fringe - items that will bless people on the fringe - new socks, grocery gift cards, contact info for homeless services

What am I missing?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Latest Kindling

+ Interns are reading. But not too much writing yet. I'm hoping to motivate them some more to that end.
+ After our guests last week, dinner last night with only 4 people felt really strange.
+ Hosting another missionary get together this Friday evening. GNen, who hosted SPACE teams from 2006 and 2008, visiting from Cameroon.
+ Mostly done with my notes for the ACMC DMV conference. Would love to meet you if you are there.
+ Solid commitment for an Ember weekend at Salisbury Uni in NovEmber to help out with Crusade down there.
+ Board of Directors meets for Ember in a few weeks. First meeting is with spouses and families for ice cream and I'm really going to enjoy the board members meeting each other's families. We will work hard, be nimble and enjoy dessert. We meet in October for ice cream and then officially for the first time in November.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Tallskinnykiwi visit

Andrew and Debbie Jones and their family stayed with us for a few days last week. You probably already know how much I've loved his blog over the years - it's the least we could do to host them as payback for all the inspiration and information.

They are entering into a new season of ministry soon, specifically with global nomads who they see hold so much potential for mission. So they've spent a few months recently driving around Europe and North Africa in an overland truck and are now in the States for a few months. They will return to Europe early next year, pick up their truck and continue on to what's next.

Since they are at our house, we've been kind of holding them captive to meeting some of our friends and students in the Ember tribe. That's been so great and there have been so many fabulous conversations with so many great people. One of my favorite parts has been both Andrew and Debbie always asking, "What about your story?" They have a serious learning posture.

Here are a few snippets of some conversations we've had over the past few days. It's been simply awesome.

+ on the future of missions:
the global recession - money has dried up, it might come back again but don't count on it.
more missionaries coming from third world countries, the US is not the biggest sending country anymore.
sustainability is a huge issue for missionaries - full time supported missionaries might be a dying breed - instead go get a degree with some skills and maybe get a job that allows you to go someplace.
lots of value in social enterprises.
we should think about 'character based missions' - the idea of supporting someone because they have great character first versus a strategy or location first.

+ on preparing for the mission field:
ministry skills really aren't that hard to learn. it's harder to learn how to be a good person, to be a person of character, how to be a nice person.

+ on missionary strategies:
unreached people group and 10/40 window focus were/are very helpful paradigms. maybe moving forward, its more helpful to add a few other perspectives to it, rather than throw it all away and start with a new one.

+ on Luke 10, the person of peace and possessions:
the disciples were told to leave their bags at home. instead, when they find the person of peace, that person probably has everything needed. sometimes when we bring our own stuff, it negates really needing that person.

+ on identifying, nurturing emerging talent and leaders:
it might already be in people around you. you can nurture it by encouraging them, helping them see other options for their ideas, coach and mentor them. lots of these people struggle with the institutional church because it wants stability. when these people don’t fly, they die.
find the real needs of a community, the really bad stuff and see who comes out to help. those are the emerging leaders that you want - no budget, no heros, no ego. they are already influencers so it's only a matter of time before they bring other good leaders.

+ one of andrew's favorite sayings:
go start your own damn church.

Not only a ton of stuff in each one of those points, but their whole family made an impact on our whole family. Especially in the areas of living frugally, being flexible to the Spirit moving, and broadening our thinking regarding mission in the world. The fun we had buying a 1987 station wagon at a car auction might be the epitome of some of those ideas. Yeah, long fun story....

Thanks again Andrew and Debbie. Besides grilling a london broil, helping find a leak in my furnace and babystting our kids - and those world famous crepes are really good! - we are most incredibly grateful for the gift of your time sharing your wisdom with us.

Related: Andrew's guest post on mission trip advice from 2006.