Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday Burn

::: Dan's got a great series on leadership in Detroit.
Here is part 3.
[Love a lot of the stuff that he is writing about and many ideas resonate with me]
Yet as a generation of gentle leaders come into the city to love and do good (including myself), we often forget that we are not just going up against poverty we are going up against

- Generational Sin
- Systemic Sin
- Bureaucracy
- Racial barriers
- Pride
- Already Established assumptions about the “Savior Leadership” mentality

::: The New Cities of 2025

::: Why Eat at McDonalds When You are Traveling Overseas

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Book Notes - The Art of Non-Conformity

[Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life you Want and Change the World] by Chris Guillebeau
Really fun read. Here are some quotes I loved.

When faced with a choice between abundance and scarcity, choose abundance.

"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one." - Elbert Hubbard

The pain of making a change must become less than the pain of staying in the current situation.

Most remarkable people are not remarkable by nature. Instead, they made a few key choices along the way that helped them overcome their fears.

"Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: you have no one else to blame." - Erica Jong

No one else will be responsible for you or care about your well-being as much as you.

The One-Year, Self-Directed, Alternative Graduate School Experience including:
[some of my favorites and things I should do]
Subscribe to the Economist and read every issue religiously.
Memorize the names of every country, world capital and current president or prime minister in the world.
Acquire at least three new skills during your year.
Become comfortable with basic presentation and public speaking skills.

"The absence of fear is not courage; the absence of fear is mental illness." - Po Bronson

"Progress is a nice word, but change is its motivator. And change has its enemies." - Robert F. Kennedy

Your Own Small Army: Prospects, Followers, True Fans, Allies and Friends of friends.

Work toward financial independence, but never retire.

A good savings program also includes investment in others. It's not about guilt; it's about gratitude.

"One can resist the invasion of an army, but one cannot resist the invasion of ideas." - Victor Hugo

Monday, March 28, 2011

Context Switching

I'm starting on a new project this morning after just over 4 years on my previous one. Same company just moving to a new team and my job responsibilities as a database engineer are going to be relatively the same, from the purely technical details. What is going to be vastly different is cultural.

I'm joining a new team. I'll be working for a new leader. I'll be interfacing with other new teams of people. They will all have their own ways of getting work done, new things that are important, new habits and stories, new leaders.

Here's some questions I'm going to be asking this week:
+ Who is the leader by title and formality? Who is the leader by influence, informally?
+ What things are important to ____ and why?
+ What are things this team does when no one tells them to?
+ Who are the heroes and why?

Cross cultural experience, starting a new job, moving across campus - decoding your culture is all a part of engagement.

[Related: Culture and Career Notes 2007

Friday, March 25, 2011

One Sentence

I'm a big fan of Andy Stanley's Leadership Podcast. You should at least listen to a few of these - there is always one or two ideas that grab me. One of the concepts I love is the 'one sentence job description.' I haven't executed on it a lot, but I know it has a lot of value.

Those of you that have been here a while know that there was a very large transition with Grace's global missions in terms of the teams, vision and strategy. I'm serving in an advisory role - there are three of us in this role, giving guidance and support to Patti Hewat, the missions director [although she probably needs a new title.]

Here's the one sentence description she has given me:
Provide accountability and support to Patti, bringing your unique gifts of embracing current culture and the cutting edge, discipleship and passion for generational involvement.

If you influence people, you might consider writing one sentence descriptions for those you serve with.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday Burn

::: Google Building Better Leaders
via JVD

::: Toddler Internet Usage
23 percent of parents with children under five say that their children use the Internet. Of those plugged-in toddlers, 82 percent reportedly go online once a week.
You know, you might be one of their youth pastors one day...
Link via JWT intelligence

[JWT is fast becoming one of my favorite blogs. You'll have incredible perspective on both the present world and the future that is already here if you only read JWT's weekly round up and Foreign Policy's Morning Brief.]

::: Third Culture Kids
Link - fascinating 8 minute video. via KGN.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gen Y Bribery

might look like a facebook post for a free lunch at Wendys [I had to throw in a frosty too...]

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Favorite Ember Stories... so far

Had the chance to share with a small house church/home group last week about the vision of Ember and some of the students we've had the privilege of serving with. Here's some pictures from the stories that we told - some of you are in here. [Click on the image for full size.]

Funny demographic - all of the people in this small group were just about grandparent age. All growing in their global missions understanding, mostly due to the leader of the group, who has been inviting different missions people to come in and share. The best part, by far, was having some of them tell us how encouraged they were about the next generation. Every generation wants to have a reason to hope in the future.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Intern Possibilities

Met with two potential interns for Fall 2011 yesterday. Both amazing amazing kids - honored to have a chance to work with them. Both are already multi-talented and involved in lots of leadership opportunities. Like all of the students we've worked with, they've come to us with so many gifts, experience and passion.

The intern process is really at the core of what Ember does. Identifying and resourcing emerging global leaders at the high school level and helping those that serve them is really why we exist. It's by far the best investment of our energies, talents and experience and definitely the most generative. And because it's working with the next generation, we always learn a ton about the future.

I'm pretty sure they are both in [as well as the boyfriend of one of them, which we will just drag along to everything.] Excited to tell you more about them in a few months.

Friday, March 18, 2011

One of those emails

I got one of those emails yesterday that said, "there has been a horrible tragedy..." Not good. An old friend and coworker passed away suddenly. He was 43 and leaves behind a wife, two daughters ages 12 and 9 and a son who is 6. I'm still in shock.

Curtis was a Marine who had served in Desert Storm, an athlete who had finished an Ironman Triathlon, a solid database engineer who had worked with me for over 9 years in a very grueling telecom industry, a mortgage banker, and had recently returned to school to study physical therapy. All of that, but even more important, a devoted husband and father, and a guy who would bend over backwards to make your life better.

We should all live a life that full.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Skype with Teal

This is Teal, director of recruiting for Christian Associates. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that we admire CAI and have worked with them in 2007 and 2008. Love their DNA of church planting, urban centers, high impact leaders and creative, innovative expressions of Church. Teal and I caught up for an hour this morning.

Teal's recruiting role is new as of January 2011, although he was a corporate recruiter in a previous life. They are also about to transition from Aix-en-Provence, France back to the US. We actually met them first via their blog when the Internet told both of us that we would be seeing each other at Connect, their worldwide staff conference, in 2007.

Teal is one of those types of people that Ember loves to connect students to - experienced cross cultural leader, loves students, dreamer and executor, and leads himself and his family well.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

All Of Us

All men can be criminals, if tempted; all men can be heroes, if inspired. - G. K. Chesterton
quoted by Mike Foster [but I don't remember where.]

Outside of compliments about my family, this is about the coolest thing anyone has ever written about me. So flattering, hopeful and future-centric - helping erupt a global catalyst out of a high school student is one of the joys of my time with students.

The best question from that summer, "If the future of humanity were dependent on one person from your team, who would it be and why?" I don't think Trevin knows that his name came up as one of the answers. Uh until now.

I'll go one more step than Chesterton did - all of us [you and me included] can inspire.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Those Team Shirts

You know those team shirts.... the ones that student mission teams wear in the airports - when they are being too loud or cramming up the line at Subway or singing along to their iPods... yeah those. Don't wear them too soon.

All of us are trying to build a team identity. And a team shirt is one of the most effective symbols of who is in and who is out. But you should be building the team way before you wear the shirt.

Spend as much time together as a team. Go through some kind of team assessment where everyone gets to share what kind of personality or strength they have. Do a shared project together - whether it's a crazy team building activity or a community service project. Celebrate, laugh and have fun together. Imagine together the impact you could have.

After all of this, the shirt is just icing on the cake.

Friday, March 11, 2011

What Can Only You See?

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." - Arthur Schopenhauer
quoted by Brad.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday Burn

::: Balt/DC Church Planting Study Results
Part 4 from Ed. Really valuable info - I'm sure the next few parts are going to be even better.

::: The Next 25 Years in Emerging Tech
By the time most of you readers are my age, be ready for webwear, programmable matter, retinal displays, and interplanetary internet. Love it.

::: The Face of the World's Most Typical Person
You've probably already seen this. The question is, did it remind you of me?Link

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

A New Breed of Lead Pastor

There's a new breed of senior/lead/in-charge-of-everything pastor: they are taking a huge responsibility for the students in their communities of faith. They are in small to mid size churches, new church plants, hybrid congregations. They aren't youth pastors now but they spent a great deal of their experience as one. Although they are in charge of literally everything, they aren't willing to sacrifice the future of humanity by paying hirelings to do less-than-phenomenal work with kids that call their church home.

I commend them. Their passion is going to win.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

2011 Bright Spots

Catching you up with some of the bright spots in emerging global leaders that I've had the honor to serve with.
MichelleK traveled with us in a previous student missions life through Europe in 2007 and 2008 and went on to study International Development and Economics in college. She's currently on a study abroad program in South Africa [looks like fun huh?]. She's writing a blog about her experience. But of course, she can't help but try to inform the rest of us about her perspective about global food prices, questions Americans get, and international macroeconomic indicators.

Andrew, one of two 2010 Ember interns, is capitalizing on a summer cross cultural extension that his school offers called Duke Engage. The fun thing about this program is that although it's associated with school, the student gets to take the initiative to set it all up. In other words, you own it. Andrew is serving in Nairobi, Kenya with a ministry that our good friend KellanD worked with in 2009, which includes an orphanage environment, some educational opportunities and some sports ministry.

John, the second 2010 Ember interns, is putting some plans together to serve in Mozambique this coming summer. Tentative plans include three weeks in an orphanage in Pemba, along with outreaches to village communities outside of the city area. Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranked 187 out of 207 in 2006.

You've probably got some high school kids in your midst that might be interested in these kinds of global leadership concepts. Like these three, kids that care about global issues also probably care a great deal about their own culture. Give a high school student enough experience and exposure to global leadership and you might get something like this.

Monday, March 07, 2011

When You Were Called

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. - I Cor 1:26
A few people have asked me what kind of family did I come from. They assume that passion comes from environment. Let me be the first to assure you, my family history - as I'm finding out more and more everyday - was kind of a wreck. I've been kidding over the past year or so that I'm a 'miracle child.' It's partially a joke and partially true - among other issues, I came from a family that had 0 interest in Christianity. To see who I was when I was called and my experience up until now - no other explanation except to boast in the Lord [v.31].

Some of you are on this path written by the apostle Paul - you are incredibly wise for your age, you are influencing influencers, you are noble by your character. Don't forget to remember.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Leader Treks - The Student Mission Trip Greenhouse

Friends at Leader Treks sent me a copy of their Student Mission Trip Greenhouse prep guide, which is a fabulous resource for student mission team leaders. Absolutely love the greenhouse paradigm.

Lots of the material resonates with the stuff we've learned in the past, such as:
+ ... a mission trip is really a short-term Kingdom experience introducing and preparing students for long-term Kingdom living.
+ ... training sessions should be a requirement for all your students before they are even allowed on the team. Their level of commitment to the trip is clearly displayed if they cannot commit to the scheduled trainings.
+ ... the number one problem I see is adult volunteers who have no idea what they are doing on the trip.
+ If you raise the level of expectation, your students will rise to meet it.

If you've been around here for a while, you know I'm not a huge fan of pre printed curriculum. My opinion is that you could spend a little bit of time and create some great material for your students that is context and culture sensitive. But, this guidebook is a great primer to help jump start your team preps. Oh and it's free.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Thursday Burn

::: What The Census Tells Us About America's Future
More suburban, more diverse. the title given to Joel Kotkin, "New Geographer"

::: Learning customer service from the founder of Craigslist

::: For the love of airports
Fun post with travel hacks, like always, by Chris - good luck on the airport code test.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

3 to watch

I'm constantly inspired and amazed at some of the people I've had exposure to who are the initiators and starters and the ones able to translate their passion into action. Not only that, these people seem to be on the leading edge of global issues - they and their orgs are reaching into the future and pulling the rest of us into the present.

Here's three I've been watching - you should too.

::: The Adventure Project
The Adventure Project is a non-profit organization established to increase investments in positive social enterprises around the world. Every quarter they focus on one humanitarian issue affecting global poverty and then present innovative, low-cost solutions to help.
Some of these innovations are going to have much to teach us.

::: Help End Local Poverty
To be a global tribe dedicated to ending extreme poverty by helping to rescue orphans, restore their hope and renew their communities.
Chris and I met about a little over a year ago when he spoke at an Ember immersion.

Blue Door is the only organization in the world that exists to resource pastors in non-English speaking countries to launch online ministries.
Amazing journey that Dana and her family have been on. And a few years ago, this kind of ministry would have been unimaginable.

Ordinary people doing things that make them extraordinary.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

March Kindling

+ Summer mission team preps are upon us. My opinion - the best prep unifies your team through shared experiences. Let us know if you think Ember can help.
+ We are casting the net far and wide for interns for 2011-2012. The ideals: you are doing it for school credit, you are a high school junior/senior, you come highly recommended by someone I know and trust, and you live in another city. Not sure how it will work virtually, but I'm willing to expend a lot of effort to try. More info here.
+ A weekly small group of older adults has invited me and the fam to come over one evening and talk about Ember. How fun is that?
+ GRACE has 2 student teams this summer - DC and Tecate, Mexico. Lots of parents had questions about implied safety for the latter. Loved the response of one of the leaders: "You know, you don't HAVE to send your kid on this trip."
+ 2010 interns are making plans - one in Kenya and the other possibly another African country. The actual intended idea was that they would come back and work with me forever. Well, ok, maybe not.
+ I'm so enamored with youth pastors - I still think it's such a unique and holy calling with so much impact. I forget that sometimes, there are youth pastors who are getting paid to not do much.