Thursday, April 29, 2010

Latest Kindling

+ Ember is producing our first ever summer student missions experience. And producing all the other things associated. But it's goooood to be back in the saddle again. More about this soon.
+ I'm helping jump start a missions experience for middle schoolers at GRACE. On-the-ground youth workers have the inside information that most mission boards don't think to ask for.
+ Loving the "advocacy teams" idea from the Austin Stone. Example 1 that blows up the traditional concept of 'missionary support.'
+ Exhausting and equally inspiring last few weeks between Malaria Day and Steve Addison. Not just what you learn but the inspiration is the normal people doing amazing things.
+ Ember is submitting 501C3 paperwork in the next two weeks. I think.
+ Have to close on two older projects - gap year and RyanB. Speaking of gap year, have you read Seth's points about college?
+ In a virtual book club on NT Wright's After You Believe. 17 people from all over the world.
+ Almost official for one high school student for a informal internship for next school year. I have room for one more if you know of someone.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday Burn

:: The 100 people network
Austin Stone's initiative to send 100 people to unreached people groups this year. Very well laid out path from thought to field.
Link via @joey_shaw

::: Population in the UK
Make sure to click the map.
Link via @JD _Payne

::: Online spiritual gifts test
Link via Tony Morgan

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Movements Move

In March of 2006, I started blog stalking Steve Addison. Since then, his insights have continually had a tremendous impact on my perspective on leadership, missions and students. Yesterday, I got to meet Steve face to face as well as sit in on a session with him along with the Ember interns and about 30 other people. Hearing him speak live on "Movements that Change the World" was an absolute treat. If you've ever served on a team with me, Steve has made an impact on you too. My rough notes are below.

Movements start with the unraveling of leaders - issue of who is Lord.
There is no formula - focus on God, may the Lord unravel us for his service.
See the people of God as a missionary movement. Jesus is the founder of it.

What did Jesus do.
- He moves. 175 towns/villages in Galilee. 200K people. Either he or his team had direct contact with each village and each person. Jesus moves on after the seed has been planted. Very unlike our model of settled pastor/teacher.
- Speaks to thousands as well as one on one.
- Whole nation is touched by the end of his life.
- No finances, no org, no manual, no power - nothing except God's power.

Acts 1:1 - Jesus is the key character in the book of Acts.

Must see through movement eyes. How you disciple the first convert is paramount.

Woman at the well - only stayed with her for 2 days - no follow up. Movements move.

People of peace
- not trying to convert everyone, just find the people of peace
- a harvest model
- the end game is the Gospel planted - person of peace fits the culture better than you do. we are focusing too much on ourselves.
- Zaccheus
- Matthew - Jesus says I want to meet your friends.
- Demoniac - go back and tell your friends
- Rich young ruler - looking for the responsive and turn away the unresponsive
- Lydia
- Phillipian jailer - tell your families
- Cornelius - is the church planter that plants the church in his own house.
- Movements move=meeting lots of people - vs Western model=love them for a long time into the Kingdom

'What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place.' - Chesterton

Western suburb of Melbourne is the graveyard of church plants.
If you can control it, it's not a movement.
Overwhelmingly, heresy is the product of white learned men.
Insiders don't think about incarnation - they are living it.

We like to: churches -> gospel -> disciple.
book of Acts: gospel -> disciples -> churches

Studio of the Arts - Annapolis MD.
Met twitter friend @bcmddavid in real life - Team Strategist for Church Multiplication, Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware
about 50 people there, mostly church planters, pastor types. almost all white - no women there. JTimmons and AR were the youngest in the audience.

Steve: top notch speaker - great interaction with the audience. Loved that there was built in times for interaction and reflection on the material with your team. There were also a few times he made up some specific interactions on the fly - all in order that the material could be reflected on immediately.
Thank you Steve - you've impacted much more than we can see.

[Related: Book notes - Movements That Change The World]

Sunday, April 25, 2010

World Malaria Day

Roll Back MalariaWorld Malaria Day 2009
Since today is World Malaria Day, here are some notes from the first Action Summit to End Malaria that I was at last week. Kt, our 12 year old, is doing a big school project on malaria so it was a great opportunity for us to attend together. Special thanks for World Vision for hosting the event. Big points first, then some other notes.
1: 2,000 children die every day from malaria. 1 every 40 seconds.

2: There are proven, effective and inexpensive solutions that are working. Second to childhood immunizations, these malaria solutions are the best return on investment in the fight on global poverty. The four solutions that must be implemented together: long lasting insectiside bed nets [LLIN], indoor spraying, anti malaria medication, intermittent preventative treatment in pregnancy.

3: The fight on malaria is working. There have been 1M lives saved in the last 10 years. We must finish to eradication - otherwise malaria will come back in the next generation even more powerfully [due to acquired immunity].

Other notes:
+ Hidden victims:
contributes to child trafficking : parents sent their kids out of the specific geography because otherwise they would contract malaria but they have to find 'work
contributes to child soldiers : they are safer with the army than contracting malaria
kids that were born with low birth weight due to malaria infected mother eventually had low growth rate and were ostracized by community
local community used mixture of cow dung and chalk as an insecticide but kids were getting sick and losing sight and hearing from the mixture
+ there is a vaccine in the final stages of development
+ the bednets and indoor spraying work because 90% of the mosquitoes that spread the parasite live indoors and bite indoors.
+ the crowd and speakers were major movers and shakers about malaria. lots of the crowd spent time in Africa doing NPO/NGO work.
+ "Poverty doesn't cause terrorism. It causes despair which terrorists exploit." - Mark Green, managing director of Malaria No More
+ Zanzibar, Tanzania successes against malaria
+ 300K bednets delivered to Zambia - from start to finish took 3 months.
+ The first day of the Summit was dedicated to information. The second day [which we skipped] was dedicated to lobbying - meaning actually going into to congressional offices and talking with elected officials. That would have been an interesting experience.
+ Kt and I had dinner at the same table as one of World Vision's doctors and a PhD candidate in entomology specifically studying mosquitoes. As you can imagine, the conversation was on another plane. Takeaway - there are not enough entomologists for the field of infectious disease research.
+ My daughter was the youngest person there. Lots of people wanted to know why she was there. Her project got lots of questions.
+ All day session on Wednesday was held at Top of the Town reception center. I don't know who World Vision knows but....
+ Evening session was at Arlington Temple United Methodist Church - a church that sits on top of a gas station.
+ Read up on Pastor Keith Stewart's journey including a World Vision trip. Remarkable story of a church being transformed. [I also heard him speak almost exactly a year ago at Catalyst West 09. @mattmaloy and @jmldad might remember our global poverty lunch...]
+ We are called to create the right kind of environments for our kids. This day was a big win in that area.

For more info - see

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Book Notes - Rework

Great read of little snippets about organizational leadership. Targeted for business people and entrepreneurs, but like most of these kinds of books, highly applicable for teams that you work on. My comments are in [brackets].

Enough with "entrepreneurs"
Let's retire the term entrepreneur. It's outdated and loaded with baggage. It smells like a members-only club.
Instead of entrepreneurs, let's just call them starters. Anyone who creates a new business is a starter. You don't need an MBA, a certificate, a fancy suit, a briefcase, or an above-average- tolerance for risk. You just need an idea, a touch of confidence, and a push to get started.
[great one - see Students Who Start]

: Start making something
Ideas are cheap and plentiful. The original pitch idea is such a small part of a business that it's almost negligible. The real question is how well you execute.

: Start a business not a startup
Anyone who takes a "we'll figure out how to profit in the future" attitude to business is being ridiculous. That's like building a rocket ship but starting off by saying, "Let's pretend gravity doesn't exist." A business without a path to profit isn't a business, it's a hobby.

: Less mass
Mass is increased by: long term contracts, excess staff, permanent decisions, meetings, thick process, inventory (physical or mental), hardware software and technology lock ins, long term road maps, office politics.
Avoid these things whenever you can. That way, you'll be able to change direction easily. The more expensive it is to make a change, the less likely you are to make it.
Huge organizations can take years to pivot. They talk instead of act. They meet instead of do.
[very relevant for me right now - I see lots of mass which is getting in the way of people, teams and orgs being as nimble as they could or should be.]

: Start at the epicenter
The stuff you have to do is where you should begin. Start at the epicenter.
The way to find the epicenter is to ask yourself this question: "If I took this away, would what I'm selling still exist?"
[makes me think of vision and mantras]

: Making the call is making progress
You want to get into the rhythm of making choices. When you getting that flow of making decision after decision, you build momentum and boost morale. Decisions are progress. Each one you make is a brick in your foundation. You can't build on top of "We'll decide later," but you can build on top of "Done."

: Be a curator
You don't make a great museum by putting all the art in the world into a single room. That's a warehouse. What makes a museum great is the stuff that's not on the walls. Someone says no. A curator is involved, making conscious decisions about what should stay and what should go. There's an editing process. There's a lot more stuff off the walls than on the walls. The best is a sub-sub-subset of all the possibilities.

: Reasons to quit
why are you doing this?
what problem are you solving?
is this actually useful?
are you adding value?
will this change behavior?
is there an easier way?
what could you be doing instead?
is it really worth it?

: Meetings are toxic
When you think about it, the true cost of meetings is staggering. Let's say you're going to schedule a meeting that lasts one hour, and you invite ten people to attend. That's actually a ten-hour meeting, not a one-hour meeting. You're trading ten hours of productivity for one hour of meeting time. And it's probably more like fifteen hours, because there are mental switching costs...
[if we were brave enough to quantify this, meetings as we know it would come to an end.]

: Quick wins
Momentum fuels motivation.
If you absolutely have to work on long-term projects, try to dedicate one day a week (or every two weeks) to small victories that generate enthusiasm. Small victories let you celebrate and release good news.
So ask yourself, "What can we do in two weeks?" And then do it.

: Don't confuse enthusiasm with priority
The enthusiasm you have for a new idea is not an accurate indicator of its true worth.
So let your latest grand ideas cool off for a while first. By all means, have as many great ideas as you can. Get excited about them. Just don't act in the heat of the moment. Write them down and park them for a few days. Then, evaluate their actual priority with a calm mind.

: Don't write it down
How should you keep track of what customers want? Don't. Listen, but then forget what people said.
If there's a request that you keep forgetting, that's a sign that it isn't very important. The really important stuff doesn't go away.

: Build an audience
All companies have customers. Lucky companies have fans. But the most fortunate companies have audiences.
When you build an audience, you don't have to buy people's attention - they give it to you.

: Hire when it hurts
The right time to hire is when there's more work than you can handle for a sustained period of time.

: Pass on great people
Some companies are addicted to hiring. Some even hire when they aren't hiring. They'll hear about someone great and invent a position or title just to lure them in. And there they'll sit - parked in a position that doesn't matter, doing work that isn't important.
Great has nothing to do with it. If you don't need someone, you don't need someone.
[I'm not sure I agree with this one. A big question is also what is your process if you find someone great and bring them on.]

: Strangers at a cocktail party
Hire a ton of people rapidly and a 'strangers at a cocktail party' problem is exactly what you end up with. People appease instead of challenge.
And that appeasement is what gets companies into trouble. You need to be able to tell people when they're full of crap.
You need an environment where everyone feels safe enough to be honest when things get tough. You need to know how far you can push someone. You need to know what people really mean when they say something.
[very insightful - reminds me of the forming/storming/norming/performing concept of teams]

: Hire managers of one
Managers of one are people who come up with their own goals and execute them. They don't need heavy direction. They don't need daily check-ins. They do what a manager would do - set the tone, assign items, determine what needs to get done, etc. - but they do it by themselves and for themselves.
How can you spot these people? Look at their backgrounds. They have set the tone for how they've worked at other jobs. They've run something on their own or launched some kind of project.
You want someone who's capable of building something from scratch and seeing it through.
[see Students Who Start]

: Send people home at 5
You don't need more hours; you need better hours.
When people have something to do at home, they get down to business.
You want busy people. People who have a life outside of work. People who care about more than one thing.

: Don't scar on the first cut
The second something goes wrong, the natural tendency is to create a policy. "Someone is wearing shorts? We need a dress code." No, you don't. You just need to tell John not to wear shorts again.
Policies are organizational scar tissue. They are like codified overreactions to situations that are unlikely to happen again. They are collective punishment for the misdeeds of an individual.
This is how bureaucracies are born. No one sets out to create a bureaucracy. They sneak up on companies slowly. They are created one policy - one scar - at a time.
Policies are only meant for situations that come up over and over again.

: Inspiration is perishable
Inspiration is like fresh fruit or milk: It has an expiration date.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Who is the sponge?

AR - one of the Ember interns - running a leadership development seminar for students in his JROTC company. [By the way, he is 18 years old. If he can do it, you can too.] The sponge is the girl in the yellow, directly on his left.

There is a sponge in every gathering. One that locks eyes on you as you teach. One that reads your blog over and over again. One that hangs on your every word. Gather the masses, invite the crowd to the experience, enjoy the large fan base. But by all means, mobilize the one, single sponge.

Monday, April 19, 2010

2010 on the move

A small representation [for now] of some people on the move. If any of their travels and service interests you, let me know and I will put you directly in touch with them. I know they would love to have even more people to share in their journey.

:: Trevin - South Africa
Ember guide, working with Keep Them Safe for the summer. This is the fifth summer in a row he has traveled for a missions project.

:: Robyn - Israel
SPACE alumn - serving in Israel with Adventures in Missions for 4 weeks. Robyn's experience includes Hungary [2007], Cameroon [2008], and Belgium [2009].

:: ErinOB - Belgium
SPACE alumn - long term move to Brussels to work with the church planting org Christian Associates. If you've got an interest in post-Christian demographics or church planting among the emerging generation, Erin would be a great person to connect with.

:: Taylor - Zimbabwe
SPACE alumn - serving with the Global Aid Network this summer in Zimbabwe. Tayest and I were planning an Ember experience but it never came to fruition...yet. A suburban kid who loves orphans - yes it can happen.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

3 in 7

In 2003, a small group of students that I served with graduated from high school. 7 years later, many of them are blooming in careers, ministry and service. Like I've said a lot of times before, they were like that before I met them.

Last week, I sat with one of them at a middle school leaders meeting. She sat with two of her former students - both now serving students after graduating out of the ministry. That's a clear picture of reproduction - I'm lucky to witness it for 3 iterations.

You can observe and measure this kind of thing. Not only that, it might be a significant barometer of health.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday Burn

::: Catalyst West Collecting
Love that Catalyst West is collecting donations how cool.
Also, my notes from Catalyst West 2009 here

::: Leslie's notes from IJM Global Prayer Gathering

::: Tweet quotes
"If homeless ppl are discouraged from coming to ur church you don't have a church you have a country club." @matthewbarnett

"The classical way you bog down a movement is to lock-down things that only clergy can do (i.e. communion)." @alanhirsch @timastevens

Monday, April 12, 2010

Students Who Start

These quotes from Rework remind me of students I've been fortunate enough to hang with:
Let's retire the term entrepreneur. It's outdated and loaded with baggage. It smells like a members-only club.

Instead of entrepreneurs, let's just call them starters. Anyone who creates a new business is a starter. You don't need an MBA, a certificate, a fancy suit, a briefcase, or an above-average- tolerance for risk. You just need an idea, a touch of confidence, and a push to get started.
Managers of one are people who come up with their own goals and execute them. They don't need heavy direction. They don't need daily check-ins. They do what a manager would do - set the tone, assign items, determine what needs to get done, etc. - but they do it by themselves and for themselves.
How can you spot these people? Look at their backgrounds. They have set the tone for how they've worked at other jobs. They've run something on their own or launched some kind of project.

You want someone who's capable of building something from scratch and seeing it through.
The next generation of catalytic Kingdom leaders are going to be starters. I've had a front row seat to this - first with SPACE and now with Ember - when these students are inspired and empowered, they launch. Given the motivation and the opportunity, they start. Perhaps the next generation has a much more apostolic bent.

And based on estimates about reaching the unreached, it looks like we need them to be starters. We won't finish this task if we keep doing the same things we have been doing.

The next questions, then, are:
1 - How do we cultivate and encourage students like this?
[This is a key value for Ember.]
2 - How do our structures allow them to start?
[A huge challenge.]

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Thursday Burn

::: what does a 15 year old disciple look like
- inconsistent (& not disingenuous)
- apparent hypocrisy
- desire
- moving away from compartmentalization
- moving outside of their comfort zone (moving them to productive risk)
- every journey of discipleship is unique
- teachability
Other great stuff about youth ministry in light of adolescent brain development from Marko here.

::: Jesus Film - Rate of Conversions
Every four seconds, somewhere in the world another person indicates a decision to follow Christ after watching the "JESUS" film.
Link via Justin Long
Reminded me that a few months ago, a friend told me about he was challenged with the question of, "How many people are coming to Christ in your church per second?"

::: The Number of Christians in China

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Mission Discovery

GRACE is an effort to retool their missions strategy and the first step in that was to engage 1615 for an initial 'discovery' session. There was a lot to that first meeting that was valuable including:
+ most of the decision makers came to the meeting.
+ unfiltered discussion on the positives and the negatives of our current state of missions.
+ 1615 requires the elder team and lead pastor to be engaged and they gave valuable insight.
+ review of SNAPshots - Struggle, Notable, Alarm, Possibilities.
+ "The job of a coach is to ask the right questions." - love that.

Retooling could be chaotic, painful and bumpy. Part of that is the nature of organizational lifecycles - lasting organizations require constant innovation and reinvention around a core DNA. In the end, it will be worth it.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Thursday Burn

::: Globish - a "decaffeinated English" that is increasingly becoming a widely used international language.
Link via kottke

::: Steve Addison coming to Merryland
Long time readers here know Steve Addison has had a huge impact on my thinking about student mobilization. He's coming to Annapolis at the end of April. I've already registered.

::: Projecting Methodists
"There are 40,000 United Methodist clergy in the US right now. Only 830 are 35 years old or younger. #troublebrewing" via Shane Bennett
Also related - Mark Beeson is starting a series of blog posts around helping the UMC.