Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Burn

::: The World population gets to 7B any day now.
Check out a great interactive map. Link.
And check out which number human you are via Sam Radford.

::: New Technologies You Will See by 2021
Link via Charles Lee

::: Will Dropouts Save America?

See all the Burn posts here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Releasing It for Greatness

I'm officially releasing an Ember project to two very capable guides. I'm releasing it because the guides have the capacity and proximity to run this project better and I trust them and know they have the Ember ethos. And I'm releasing it for greatness.

It's a small afternoon service project for a youth ministry that is taking some first steps towards community service and evangelism and social good. I know TayEst and Emily are going to do a fantastic job introducing some students to the concepts of poverty and sacrifice. It will be hosted by Em's grandfather's on the boardwalk ministry, which has some deep roots in Ocean City, Maryland, a well known resort town to Merrylanders. Emily served here all last summer, and by the way, she was on the AZ 2010 team and her dad serves on Embers Board of Directors.

Some of the greatness I can predict - like maybe satisfaction of walking some younger people through serving those less fortunate or knowing the meal you packaged really made a difference. The rest of the greatness, lets remember in 2511.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Determining Success as an Innovator

One of the single greatest determinants of high-level success as an innovator or creator in any realm is the ability to manage and at times even seek out sustained high levels of uncertainty, bundled lovingly with risk of loss and exposure to criticism. Jonathan Fields, Uncertainty.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

One Thing's For Sure About 2018

If you didn't realize it, 2018 will look very different than today. Well of course you say.

In the next 7 years, leadership transition will be thrust upon us. The Boomers drop from 55% to 28% while the Millenials expand from 11% to 48% [from Rex Miller]. Not only is this a sheer numbers play, this is also a leadership mindset move. If you didn't know, Millenials think very differently than Boomers and that kind of change in thinking has lots of implications for all organizations.

The issue is not: can they lead us. The issue might be: will you start trusting them now.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Burn

::: Experimental Malaria Vaccine Slashes Infection Risk By Half
This is, if you didn't realize, huge news.

:::Immigrant Changes In Largest US 100 Metro Areas
21 metropolitan areas gained at least 100,000 immigrants between 2000 and 2010; among those, Baltimore (72%), Orlando (72%), Las Vegas (71%), Atlanta (69%), and Riverside (52%) saw the fastest rates of growth.

::: How to Find Great Talent
Everybody should be searching for resilience, and hardly anyone does

::: Are the Suburbs Really in Decline?

See all the Burn posts here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Student Missions Mantras

When it comes to lists of values or vision statements, I like what Guy Kawasaki has said - mantras trump mission statements. B and C and I have been spending the last few weeks on some student missions mantras. My hope isn't that these leaders adopt our mantras but they can if they really want. A better option for them would be to come up with their own list. And then, hopefully, those mantras drive strategy, execution and systems. Here's a quick list of mantras that Ember holds to - this is what we value and why we do what we do.

Catalyst is the primary paradigm.
In every apple, there is an orchard. [Alan Hirsch]
Context and culture matter.
Leadership identification and engagement is 25% of your job. [Bobby Clinton]
Start with the starters and sponges.
Get the right people on the bus. [Jim Collins]
The Gospel comes to you on its way to someone else [Alex McManus]
Students can be taught to live like missionaries in their own culture.

Note that some of them are indeed stolen. After you steal them, then systematize them.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Burn

::: Interactive Map for the Future Global Cities

::: Demographics in Europe
The gravity of Europe’s demographic situation became clear at a conference I attended in Singapore last year. Dieter Salomon, the green mayor of the environmentally correct Freiburg, Germany, was speaking about the future of cities. When asked what Germany’s future would be like in 30 years, he answered, with a little smile, ”There won’t be a future.”
History has much to tell us about the relationship between demographics and national destiny. The declines of states — from Ancient Rome to Renaissance Italy and early modern Holland — coincided with drops in birthrates and population.
Demographics is one of the first things to consider when looking at context.

::: Students Departing Church Once They Graduate
Interview with Josh Griffen from Saddleback

::: Soda Bottles Providing Low Cost Light
Link via Ben Boles

See all the Burn posts here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Idea Experiment #1

Earlier this summer, I was challenged to think about an idea model for Ember and not just think about the idea [or ideas.] So I jotted some details about other possible side projects that Ember has expertise in and could possibly contribute to. Dea and I bounced these back and forth, edited the copy and sent it to the Board for fun. These would be cool projects to work on, they fit Ember, maybe they would contribute to a portfolio of revenue. August comes along and out of the blue, one of these projects becomes a tangible opportunity, dropped out of the sky.

We are working with two pretty awesome youth pastor type people doing some coaching in the area of youth missions. The content weaves in and out of concepts like current global missions issues; philosophy of student missions; and tactical missions planning. It's pretty fun so far and the feedback is pretty positive so far. Most of it is a once a week email on one of these subjects and follow up conversations and a face to face or video chat once a month. One of these people is local and the other one is actually going to fly here to join us on an Ember experience in November.

Tell you more about these results in the next few months, but I knew this would be an experiment worth trying - youth pastors already have a tremendous amount of responsibility and workload, so if we can help them, we will. And I'm already thinking that we'll do it again if we have willing participants.

Monday, October 10, 2011


I've been thinking about a leadership principle Vince Antonucci shared at M a few weeks ago: "Your assumptions create your crowd." Vince spoke about it in the context of creating a faith community, but really, give it some thought and you'll see how it applies in so many domains.

I've spent the last 8 or so years surrounded by some amazing young people. Their dedication, tenacity, ability to learn, and resolve to change the world always continue to impress me - we are better for being around them. And of course, not everyone is interested in the kinds of things we do, which is totally fine. But... how did we get so lucky to be around these kinds of people?

I think Vince is on to something. We assumed certain things and that created our specific crowd of students. Here are some of the things we assumed:
+ that kids want to change the world
+ kids can and will have influence
+ give students some information and guidance about the way the world really looks and they will make significant decisions that they otherwise wouldn't
+ suburbs could be the epicenter of potential

I don't think they are ordinary assumptions people make for middle or high school kids. And that's why the Ember tribe is extraordinary.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Friday Burn

::: Better World - Nike
Absolutely fantastic.
via Ben Arment

::: A Poverty Stricken Muppet on Sesame Street

::: Six Ways to Never Get Lost in a City

See all the Burn posts here.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Donating to Ember

Thank you in advance for your prayers and support for funding, empowering, and embracing emerging global student leaders. We couldn't do it without you.

Ember is a 501c3 organization. You will receive a donation receipt in the mail within 30 days.

After entering the value of your donation and clicking the Donate button, you will be sent to an Amazon Payments webpage where you can login with or create an Amazon account and confirm the payment method. Note that Amazon charges 2.9% + .30 for each transaction, so donating, for example, $100 would cost a fee of $3.20, which Amazon collects. Thanks for considering a donation to include the transaction fee.

October Kindling

+ Ember is working with a college community impact team in November - we're hitting up Philly. Always excited to work with TayEst and her team.
+ Initial feedback on a youth leader missions mentorship something something something we are doing. Yeah, we have to find a better name. But that's some good feedback, I think.
+ You should have seen the interns jump in last week at the M conference. They loved meeting people and saying hi and telling people who they were and what they were doing there - it was beautiful. They were for sure the youngest people there. One of the speakers came up to me to tell me how impressed he was with them. [They were like this before I got to them...]
+ Even more beautiful - the way they befriended a stranger on the rental car shuttle bus. I can help them learn about global missions but they already know how to be kind.
+ Matt Klingler is launching a church in downtown Silver Spring in the next few months. If you are in that area, this is one to watch.
+ Summer 2012.
+ It's also not too early to think about end of the year tax donations. If you want to donate to fund some emerging global student leaders, help me help them learn some tangible skills.
+ I have an appointment for a colonoscopy with a guy named Dr. Butt. True story.

Monday, October 03, 2011

M-M-M #theimn2011

Amazing time at the M conference hosted by Kensington Community Church in Troy, MI, outside of Detroit. Like every event by Alex McManus I have attended, I was challenged by the content and inspired by the community. Long post here that includes some notes, mostly for me, and some observations.

: Alex McManus
The future will be unimaginable but God will still be with us.
Think big : Start small : Build on your successes : Pray : Never Give Up
For someone like me, church is hell because they want to hold on to the past. [Alex is way futuristic]
Structure versus essence of Christianity
The Scriptures serve as energy and propulsion to get us somewhere.
Massive movements exist across cultures.
What will win the world is a massive migration of many Christ followers reaching 5 or 10 people each.
The only trouble we have leading without an ego is that we don't want to.

Our Post Human Future
What it means to be human is the most important question of the 21st century. The depreciation
of humans and appreciation of technology.
Without Jesus we become subhuman.
2 years ago South Korea established a policy for the ethical treatment of robots.

Stories that we like - stories that close the gap of the world as it is and as it ought to be, and personal stories
What is the conflict - no conflict=no story
What am I fighting for
Every hero is called to a quest
The human story is a story of becoming. Not 'human beings' but 'human becomings.'
If the Bible isn't true, it ought to be.
Looking at the Bible versus looking through the Bible.

: Steve Andrews - one of the lead planters at Kensington
God has given you great people.
Every community wants to crown a king - don't be that king.
If you are over 40, everything you are doing should be empowering the next generation.
Ego is their first red flag for potential leaders.
No listing on their website of who is in charge.

: Dave Nelson - lead pastor of K2, Salt Lake City
The Christian church has given Utah to the Mormons. We will work on the other 49 states.

: Vince Antonucci - lead planter of the Verve Church, Las Vegas
[Vince's delivery of this talk was technically literally perfect. Eye contact, intonation, not one filler word, engagement with the audience. Truly an art form.]
How is it possible that I lived until 20 years old never hearing about Jesus?
How are there less people going to church now than 30 years ago?
We are reaching people but we are not reaching lost people.
They did 300 interviews of all kinds of people before they even started a church.
The church's first purchases were a moonbounce, cotton candy machine and a karoke machine because they heard people were desperate for community. [MPM looks at me and says 'ice cream truck.' Yeah, it's an Ember thing.]
Your assumptions create your crowd. Every word, image, song, etc is highly critiqued from a nonchurch point of view.
Tommy - church planter apprentice who works part time in a tattoo parlor and is going to launch a tattoo church.

: Rex Miller
Language is a technology.
The word - spirit, spoken, print, broadcast, bits and bytes
The medium shapes our worldview. The dominant form of the word shapes our world.
Left brain vs. right brain
Eras - oral, print, broadcast, digital - music, art, architecture
We are currently in a space between spaces, a dangerous time. This is the time to discern about digital culture.
The kinds of people most open to change: eager, adventurous, afraid, fed up
New technologies don't eliminate - they marginalize - the old ones.
Next era is cloud/mobility.
'Literate' is now an obsolete word. [I'm not sure I agree with that.]
Churches need to get away from tax exemption because of it ties us to the government. Instead, get involved with commerce, culture, charity and community.
6 megashifts - turbulence/uncertainty, smaller footprint, generation tsunami, digital natives, mobility, death of industrial mindset
The S curve [very much related to the diffusion of innovation]
2018 - massive shift in population of Millenials vs Boomers. mindset will change as well.
Any change that is fundamental raises conflict. Implementing change is a function of a non-anxious leader.

: Erwin
Transactional versus transformational - speak to them versus speak for them
We must first read the story before we begin to write it.
Economics is an agreement of values.
You don't have to see the future to create it.

The best storytelling is where the person has an aha moment - it's self discovery.
retell -> remember -> relive - it must cost you something emotionally
communication patterns - linear, sequential, systemic

Christians are still arguing about things that the world thinks is reality.

Divergent vs convergent thinking
The Scriptures are full of divergent patterns
Our education system focuses on convergent thinking. Exposure to cultures and traveling helps us learn divergent thinking.

Everyone has someone in their brain they talk to outloud. It is the composite of all the people in your relationships. The more different people you know, the more this composite is different than you.

You can either create safe spaces for people to share or you can create courageous people.

We don't realize what frameworks dominate our thinking. Examples of influencing culture from a minority perspective.
Whoever tells the best story wins. The truth is drowning in a bad story.
'Christian' now means plastic. Like 'Made in Japan' in the 80s.
You pick your clothes because of the tribe you belong to.
Containers of culture are all around us. Everything you touch creates and shapes culture.
Imagination is still seen as evil.
You want to create culture - you better start dreaming.
The Stories You Tell - The Things You Make - The Dreams You Make Real

Beauty isn't supplemental to God, it is essential. God created an array of aesthetics.
The new commodity is creativity.

: Dave Gibbons
Scarcity births clarity and creativity.
large transition right now - the amount of money transferred from west to the east
1500 pastors leave the ministry every month.
Your first day in ministry should be like walking into Narnia.
Medici effect - where multiple domains intersect.
1 - stepped into discomfort
2 - local indigenous leadership
3 - the role of the holy spirit

No longer about crapping on institutions - its now helping them to be adaptable and hybrid.

: Lorenzo Della Foresta - church planter, Mosaic Montreal
Montreal - churches everywhere but they are empty
.3% of people there go to any church
The most unreached in the Western Hemisphere
Average charitable giving in Quebec is $130/person/year
If you need money to do it - you are probably not the one who should.
Dan Sadlier
My team also had lunch with Dan Sadlier and Josh Korn. Dan, up until recently, served as the director of high school ministry for Kensington's 5 campuses and Josh is one of the high school campus directors. I wanted to sit down with them to hear the story of Detroit Reverse, a suburban and urban youth ministry partnership. This idea is something everyone wants to do but few people pull it off. Except Dan. Our lunch was one of the best parts of our time in Detroit and Dan is a global catalytic leader that many can learn from. Dan now splits his time between Vision360, Kensington's church planting team, and running the internship program there.

: I traveled with Trevin, two interns, two members of the Ember board - Dale Swinburne and Matt Maloy - and a local church youth missions catalyst, CPugh, who is an old friend. It was a phenomenal team to learn and interact with.
: My interns ATE. IT. UP. Sponges. Not only did they love the teaching but they were already processing it together on the way to the airport. And they are just really really nice people. Kind, gentle, welcoming. You should have seen them making friends everywhere we go.
: Kensington has seen 4th generation church plants.
: CPugh is involved in a new Ember experiment which deals with some youth missions mentoring and it was great to toss ideas back and forth for a few days. Tell you more about this later.
: About 140 people in attendance, almost all of them were church planters except our team.
: You probably inferred this from the notes, but no one in the church leadership world talks about this kind of stuff except the McManus brothers. This kind of perspective is critical for leaders that will engage the future. Of course, I loved it, but the real investment of my time at M was for the Ember interns and the people they will reach.
: My big takeaway was about the divergent thinking and if my own kids are going to be prepared to lead in the future. We have begun thinking about that as a family, possibly the 'travel more' idea.
: Yes we drove on 8 Mile.