Monday, January 31, 2011

2011 Leadership Collective - Wrap Up

Warning - long post about the Leadership Collective. Skip, read on, and/or take what you want. I was involved on a planning team for GRACE's annual leadership gathering. Here's a summary.

::: Context
- Grace gathers leaders every January for a leadership gathering. Past years have set the precedent for viewing some of the Willow Creek Leader Summit videos. This year, we wanted to move away from that and instead, try to make the gathering a little more interactive.
- We also wanted to get some Grace 'ordinary' people to share their story.
- One of Seth Godin's TED talks came up in the brainstorming phase and the ideas of tribes, breaking the status quo and connecting all resonated with the planning team.
- We visited this breaking the status quo idea by changing the event. Obvious to some?
- Did not want to have it in our large worship center.
- Wanted to unconsciously communicate that anyone, in theory, could put something like this together - it was okay for it to be raw or informal or organic.
- Felt need was that some leaders at Grace don't think they are' leaders' even though they are leading and have influence.
- Other driving concepts included unconferences [The Idea Camp, Humana] and TED talks [for the 18 minutes talks.]
- There was a DJ there - wanted music to set the mood instead of empty air.
- Engaged a photographer to shoot the event. Can't wait to see the images...
- About 195 people on Fri night and about 150 on Saturday. Lots and lots of young leaders - probably 50% under 30. Lots of older leaders as well - seemed like the 30-50 age range was missing.
- Cultural context of a suburban megachurch. Highly affluent, high achievers, lots of engineers, fed govt and etc.

::: Schedule
Friday night
- Open
- Worship
- Seth Godin
- Moses and the Status Quo - Ryan Richardson
- Mixer - commonalities
- Break
- The unpanel - 6 different speakers from within Grace, who spoke for 5 minutes at a time about a status quo they wanted to break and how they did it. Ministries included Adventure Service Club, girls Grace Adventure, Grace Adventures Day Camp, Medical missions teams, Metrokidz, and Young Adult ministries.

- Open
- Worship
- Mixer - leading by age
- Team Building - Dale Swinburne*
- Ministry team time
- Mark Norman - Discontent, Tribes, Deeper, Younger

::: Bits and Pieces
+ Ryan Richardson - Moses
- we can only change the status quo when we release our fears
+ Matt Maloy* - wanted to include weirdos [an includer at heart]
+ Dan Hedgecock - [speaking about engaging younger generations] our success is probably in our obsolescence
+ Dale Swinburne - high performance teams
- mediocre teams happen by accident
- leading a team to accomplish something is only half of the picture - the other half is leading your team - you are changing them too
+ Mark Norman
- Discontent, Tribes, Deeper, Younger
- the trinity is an example of a tribe - an intense community
- Psalm 145:4 is a hinge between generations

::: Finally
As you can imagine, a ton of people were involved in this. Everything from coordinating child care, office and admin type of stuff, venue setup, the worship band, snacks, and clean up and tear down, everyone's efforts mattered. Debriefing the event, which includes feedback forms, later next week.

I'm not an event planner, per se, and would have never imagined to be involved in this kind of thing. But effective leaders are able to gather people around them and make a platform for the like-minded to connect.

* Matt and Dale serve on the Board of Directors for The Ember Cast.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Leadership Collective - T minus 0

Around 10 hours before it starts.

+ Heard 5 of the 6 short speakers on Tuesday night. Hugely diverse group of people from within GRACE - young, old, male, female, varied ministries. The win is for people to hear their story and realize they could do something like that too. I'm thinking it's going to be powerful.
+ That is a mini stage in the picture. Wanted to have the venue seating be all around.
+ I'm pretty well prepared for some people to tell me that they hated this. It might be that people just hate the change. We are, however, pretty much throwing away feedback forms with no contact info.
+ Registration is at about 175 people, give or take.
+ My favorite decisions so far are engaging a DJ and a photographer for this.
+ I'm still amazed at finding myself as a part of this. Maybe unpack that later.
+ See the rough schedule here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thursday Burn

::: Wow Granger Wow.
By 2016, the number of people being the Church in their neighborhoods, schools, cafes and community seven days a week will outnumber the number of casual Christians just going to church. 1
For years our church property has been an amazing front porch for those coming to a weekend service. The landscaping is inviting, the buildings were designed so they wouldn't intimidate the unchurched. But now, with the glaring change in the culture, we are transitioning the property to have scores of front porch opportunities. 2
Suburban mega church ministry leaders, take notes. PS - Rob Wegner, Granger's point for global mission, is scary audacious like this too.

::: Redeeming church buildings

::: Largest Cities Throughout History
Link via EthanZ

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

GLG - Unpredictable Change

Paul summarized it like this: "The righteous will live by faith" Rom 1:17B. We could easily re-translate this to "the righteous thrive in the midst of unpredictable change." - Erwin McManus, An Unstoppable Force
[This quote is from the chapter called Change Theology, which I believe every ministry leader should read.]
If you aspire to be a global leader, be prepared to carve a future in the midst of a great amount of change. But you've probably already got a sense that the world around you is moving at a dizzying pace. If you don't know this already - it's going to move faster. And global leaders - as challenging as it is - embrace this chaos; get used to making plan B, C and D; and empower those they serve with to roll with it. In many senses, that's when we need leaders the most - when we're still committed to the core but we need help with interpreting everything else around us.

I'm posting some writing from a global student leadership guidebook that I'm working on. Let me know if you are interested in the progress of this project.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Favorites for Change

I've had a front row seat with some big organizational changes in the past few months. Here's some of my favorite quotes that have a good ring of truth to them. If you are in the middle of something like this too, maybe these will help.

"Change is made by individuals who stop seeking deniability." - Seth Godin - Catalyst 2010

"Stop hitting your head against the wall and look for the loose brick. - Mark Goulston. Advice for changing systems." - @alanhirsch

"You don't win by being quiet, you win by being heard." - @SallyHogshead

"The cynic and the activist look the same to the status quo." - @markriddle

"Organizations lose their relevance when the rate of internal change lags the pace of external change." - Gary Hamel

Monday, January 24, 2011

Six Years and Counting

GMcM and I have been friends since 2005, when I helped lead a student team to Londrina, Brasil to participate in a week of culture exchange for their Brasilian high school students. Of course, the trip had a longer term focus of helping catalyze some relationships in their high school and college network. We had a little gathering over the weekend together and its a joy to hear that some of our efforts six years ago are still bearing fruit. Amazing how some of key missiological principles are taking place there and we didn't realize it until later. Stuff like:
+ A person of peace [who has pretty much come to faith now.]
+ A multiplication of the movement via house churches/gatherings, not via an attractional, invitational type of gathering.
+ Context matters and that Brasilians best influence Brasilians.

GMcM also talked about:
+ The future missionary probably has a legitimate profession and mission is done via that rather than as a professional missionary. I'm finding this advice more and more common among seasoned cross cultural workers as they advise the emerging generation.
+ The challenges of family dynamics as they seek the best solution for one of their sons who is getting ready for college.
+ Relationships that were started six years ago are still intact and in some cases blossoming. High school kids from then are now university or graduate students that the McMs still have intentional contact with. A few of them have really grown in their journey.
+ So the plants that we planted were stolen. But I'm thinking that they are still growing - just in someone's house. That counts as fruitful.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Leadership Collective - T minus 7

- Venue gets set up next Monday evening.
- We engaged an interior designer to think through and add some color and vibe to the space. Claudia also painted my dining room for me.
- One of the sessions on Friday night is hearing from 6 different leaders at GRACE for 5 minutes at a time [sort of like TED.] The hope is that we get inspired by 'normal' people.
- Sound check, band rehearsal and speaker run through next Tuesday evening.
- As a futuristic, I've just about moved on. I've got another theme I would love to see for next time. And I'm on the lookout for someone that can do this better than me.
- Two 'mixers' planned are based on the themes of collaboration and mentoring. This comes from the ideator on our team.
- If you are a Howard County person and would like to come, let me know and I will sneak you in as my personal guest.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thursday Burn

::: If It Were My Home
Comparing major metrics between countries. Some of you might spend hours on this...

::: Worldwide Mobile OS Usage

::: Which countries match the GDP and population of America's states?

::: More on Riley Goodfellow
What started with the calling of a child is sending our family to a country thousands of miles away, and hopefully isn't the end of our story.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

GLG - The Economic Ladder

Poverty and The Economic Ladder
You probably already know about the issue of global poverty. You know about Product RED, The One Campaign and you've probably given some money to something related.

What you might not know is that in 2005, Jeffrey Sachs, a economist out of Harvard, wrote a book called The End of Poverty. The book outlined some of the basic ideas of economies, poverty and what the world looked like today. Sachs also went on to outline a plan for ending poverty in the next 50 years - in your lifetime. Bold, audacious and challenging - if you are reading this, you would probably like him. Others found merit in his plan. In fact, Bono wrote the forward to the book and The One Campaign is largely based on the concepts Sachs outlined.

What you need to know about is Sachs' concept of the economic ladder.

I'm posting some writing from a global student leadership guidebook that I'm working on. Let me know if you are interested in the progress of this project.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book Notes - Soul Print

Been a huge fan of Mark Batterson and National Community Church for a good many years now - I remember reading his annual State of the Church document back in the early 90s. Watching this church from a distance became even more fun as some of the guys from my high school small group became adults and started serving there. I've had a few opportunities to visit and see them from up close too - always inspired after those field trips.

His new book Soul Print releases today - here are a few notes from it.
+ Around the turn of the twentieth century, a pioneering psychologist named Alfred Adler proposed the counter intuitive theory of compensation. Adler believed that perceived disadvantages often prove to be disguised advantages because they force us to develop attitudes and abilities that would have otherwise gone undiscovered.

+ And the key to emotional endurance is experiencing high levels of disappointment that break us down so God can build us back up with a holy confidence. Anytime I feel stretched emotionally, I remind myself that God is expanding my emotional capacity to be used by Him in greater ways.

+ Oswald Chambers - one of Mark's favorite mantras, "Let God engineer."

+ We tend to think of stewardship in terms of time, talent and treasure; but we've also got to be good stewards of the minds God has given us. And that includes our imaginations and postimaginations.

+ The New Testament makes a distinction between two types of power. Dunamis is the ability to do things beyond your natural ability. Exousia is the ability to not do things you have the ability to do. And the Cross is the ultimate example of this second kind of power.

+ The words humor, humiliation, and humility are all etymologically related. In fact, humor is the derivative of humiliation.

+ The church ought to be a place where we can confess our deepest doubts, worst sins, and wildest dreams.

+ The more you have going for you, the more potential you have for identity issues.

+ Comfort impedes spiritual growth. Our attempts to create comfortable environments often produce immature disciples.

+ Self-discovery always leads in one of two directions: self-worship or worship of God.

+ The driving engine is to be giving two million dollars to missions annual by the year 2020 [speaking of NCC]

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book for review purposes.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Leadership Collective - T minus 14

Every year, GRACE gathers her leaders in January for some leadership development. In the past, it was called the Leadership Summit and content consisted of video material from the Willow Creek Leadership Summit, supplemented by some content from our lead pastor and other staff. This year, I'm on a team that has reinvented the event, now called the Leadership Collective.

It looks a lot different this year: there is a video from Seth Godin about tribes and the status quo [with our new middle school pastor complementing this talk], we have 6 speakers from within GRACE who will share their story about the status quo they saw and what they did about, a session on teams from my friend Dale Swinburne, time for teams to reflect together and a session from our lead pastor Mark Norman. It's coming together nicely.

As something I've never done before, I'm not sure if I'm really liking this kind of stuff or not. I'm sure we'll see in the next few weeks. One thing for sure - it's a stretching experiencing for me. And that's valuable in and of itself.

Here's a quick snapshot of where we are at right now:
+ decided on specific elements in the venue - projectors, stage, etc.
+ worship band, speakers, tech team all committed
+ program booklet - in process
+ mixers - decided upon
+ volunteer spots - decided - need to recruit people for these
+ dj is confirmed [my favorite one]

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursday Burn

::: Death of a church plant
Be sure to read the 5 postmortem links.

::: 11 Tricks to Cutting Travel Costs

::: 20 personal money practices

::: 31 signs you are a thought leader

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

GLG - Context and Culture

Context and Culture
In 1993, I spent some time in the Dominican Republic. I learned a little bit about the culture while I was there, facts like chicken feet is a delicacy, softball is kind of a big deal and the nightlife is something else. Unfortunately, I only went to a food market once, never saw a softball game and didn't step foot into a nightclub. Our lodging was in a missionary building, designated for visiting missionary teams, where we lived among ourselves with no exposure to Dominican culture. Sad. Even now, I regret not experiencing at least one of those things in person, knowing that any one of them would have given me valuable lessons about the people of that beautiful country.

I'm posting some writing from a global student leadership guidebook that I'm working on. Let me know if you are interested in the progress of this project.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

100 to Watch in 2011

Absolutely love this presentation about 100 trends to watch in 2011. If you have any tinge of futuristic in you, you'll love it too. Be sure to click to open the whole listing and it looks like these guys might be pretty accurate from past predictions. [via Mel McGowan]

Here are some of my favorites:
1 - 3d printing
2 - africas middle class [as more africans get on the ladder of development]
5 - auto apps
13 - brazil as e-leader
22 - decline of the cash register
24 - detroit [sounds like lots of interesting stuff going on there now]
30 - ebook sharing
38 - global disease refocused
50 - michael jackson
65 - oprah winfrey network [seems like really compelling shows]
78 - smart infrastructure investment
87 - tablets for tots
94 - tube free toilet paper [what does this mean for how you pack tp for mission trips?]
96 - urban industrial parks

More proof that some of the future hasn't been created yet. Finding those that are going to create this - some of us take that responsibility pretty seriously.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Dear Em --

For your 10th birthday, Mommy and I decided to buy you this suitcase. We know your love of traveling, how you love hotels, of the curiosity you have for seeing new places. And of course, like most of us, you love your stuff. A life of adventure begins with luggage.

The suitcase is kind of a symbol for your life - your care and compassion for the hurting and lost might require you to pack up your stuff and go to them. Your life might be meant to be on the move. God's plans for you might require you to leave home every once in a while. Your heart already goes - this just lets you bring some stuff with it.

We'll be okay with that. Just remember to visit us when you can and bring your dogs to see us but not to stay with us.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Ember Spark

Ember hosted an amazing gathering of college-aged global leaders last night - some of my favorite people in the world. All of them local and globally mission minded and people who start - one of our goals was for everyone to meet to be encouraged and challenged by others in the room. A fabulous homecoming. The guest list included:

+ 4 of the 5 past SPACE and Ember interns
+ KP - who was in Haiti last summer
+ RB - who was in Israel last summer
- MichelleK - leaves for South Africa for a semester abroad next week
- AWarfel - skipped going to college to work with City Year instead - now working in school in Anacostia DC
- Erin - raising funding to move to Brussels
- CC, just got back from a YWAM DTS in Australia and PNG
- a team of people who went to work on New Orleans recovery between Christmas and New Years
- the girls who started an after school kids club at Booth Street in Salisbury, MD

If these people have anything to do with it, the future is abnormally bright.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Thursday Burn

::: A Rush of Weddings in Haiti?
See the systems?

::: Church Trends on TonyMorganLive
Sam Chand - leadership guru - [I'm reading his book Cracking Your Church's Culture right now - it's good]
Mel McGowan - architect [subscribe to his blog too - fascinating stuff]
Brad Lomenick - Catalyst director
Great series - looks like there is more in the next few weeks.

::: Ashley writes about the Lost Boys
Ashley is a friend of Ember friend, KellanD.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

GLG - Indigenous

Missiological Filters - Indigenous
You know what a filter is. Think about a coffee filter or an oil filter in your car or a colander - something that keeps certain things from getting through. These filters we are going to discuss deal with the way you look at something - consider it a filter for your perception or thinking. They are important because changing your perspective gives you a different view on the same subject. Most of the time, new insight leads to new action. And heaven knows, the world needs you to act.

Indigenous - "originating in and characteristic of a particular region or country; native."
The concept of indigenous is huge when you talk about cross cultural service. Yes, the Gospel sometimes requires people outside a culture to move into one - that would be the incarnation - like Jesus coming to Earth. But there is gold when someone intimate with a culture rises up to lead within it. God came not in a UFO, but as a baby.

My friend Jeremy Del Rio is one of the leading gurus in the area of urban youth ministry. What he knows he learned by doing - he has first hand experience. When he was a high school student, he was part of a team that created a ministry for students - by students. Generation Xcel started when he and a group of his friends decided that they needed to do something to spur on some positive growth in their community while helping kids their age invest their lives in something significant. Years later, after college and law school, Jeremy ran GenXcel for a time as the executive director. You can imagine how effective he was after being one of the founders. That's an indigenous leader - one that has erupted out of the context.

I'm posting some writing from a global student leadership guidebook that I'm working on. Let me know if you are interested in the progress of this project.

Monday, January 03, 2011

January Kindling

+ Glad to put 2010 behind us. Even with all the great stuff that happened last year, the biggest event was my dad dying. As a wise friend said to me, now we don't have to go through that again.
+ My mom is taking small steps towards moving to a retirement community. Would love you to pray that she actually goes through with it.
+ Hosting some amazing high school and college students later this week while most of them are home from college. We are terming it 'spark.'
+ Leadership Collective - looks like it's coming together nicely - 3 weeks away. You know that changes as it gets closer. As something I've never done before, I'm over my head.
+ Summer 2011.
+ Ember received some significant donations in December. Helps us pay for some insurance and other operations stuff.
+ Ember also got registered with TechSoup - my bet is something there helps us.
+ Over the holidays, I got more acquainted with a friend of a family member who is the associate director of development for a large, very prestigious university. Can you say "lots of forthcoming Q&A about fundraising" ?
+ I've been doing a good amount of writing [ and some copy/paste =) ] for a 'global leader guide' for lack of a better title. If you want to see the outline, let me know. Not sure what will come of it.
+ First meeting of 2011 this am - with trevinhoekzema at 8am. Yes... 8am...