Friday, July 20, 2012

BRU and AZ favorites

Click to enlaaaaaaaarge.

Also, I'm starting my annual blog sabbatical a little early. It's been a bit crazy since I returned. I'm also writing a report about our time in Europe, contact me if you would like a copy. See you in September.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

AZ 2012 wrap up

Here's a few insights I'm reminded of as I think about our week with Amadeo:

- We need all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people. If you've followed along for a while, you know Amadeo is 6 years old, pretty organic and very community impact focused. Ben is an amazing leader - highly creative, willing to risk, sold out to serve his community, pioneering and has a great deal of missional imagination. Our experience focused on two goals - helping catalyze some spiritual movement in their community and giving some students an experience to learn from Ben. This experience fulfilled both fantastically.
- Ben has created a culture of prayer in his community. Just like in 2010, it's inspiring.
- Unlike many mission teams I have led, it didn't seem like we spent all of our time in 'ministry.' Instead, it was a very laid back schedule, which seems odd for a 'missions trip.' Ember is moving in this meaning that these summer experiences look less like normal mission trips and more like leadership labs. That is a good tension we are moving towards.
- Distributed mission teams can work but it takes more concentration on logistics. In this case, ORapp's flights lined up well with ours including being in the same terminal. For minors that are flying to meet us, we should be more careful rather than leave it to chance. [Ask our daughter K about the guy she sat next to on the flight home - he had just been released from jail.] In the even more collaborative future, this will become standard. And I loved being able to do this together with a great missionary family.
- Amadeo and Ember have benefited from the value of long term relationships - the time span on this one is 7 years and counting. Excited to see what's next.
- From a conversation with Zak and Kat about another ministry they dropped in on a few weeks ago as part of their nationwide tour: Your 'ministry activities' must be simple and reproducible enough so that a person who works a normal job can do it.

More pictures of our time here.

Monday, July 16, 2012

AZ - Redemptive Analogies Session

On Monday evening in AZ, I facilitated a short discussion on redemptive analogies with the Amadeo youth group. In case you were interested, here's some links:

Children of Men
I am Legend
Wide Awake, Katy Perry

Remember, a redemptive analogy is a story that is parallel to the Gospel and is well known in the culture. Today, our predominant media is film, and with students, a case could be made that it's youtube.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

AZ - Friday

Spent the day at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, which is always a great time.

Matt did a session at lunch, my notes are below. And again, content that not many high school kids are hearing.

Evening was the coffee house - some very talented and artistic students. Love that. More recap later.

disciples fishimg to kill time
zak and kat uniqieness
mt 4
mt 22 - the greatest commandmemt
is your passion about loving god
what direction are you going
actively participate in finding your passion
try diff things
diff service churches
what interests you
its not cheating if you are good at it
ask god for great opps
ask him that you wont miss great opportinitoes
dont be afraid to try strike out
just move fwd
talk to people you trust about your ideas
some might help you
make a plan
execute it with god
talk about it with god how is it going

combat the nonreasons
its not that bad
other people i work with are great
who is going to catch these fish if i dont

Friday, July 13, 2012

AZ - Thursday

Last day of kids mini camp was today. Dea and I got to have breakfast with Ben and Mandy. Zak and Kat taught a session today [notes] Ben and Mandy also spent a good amount of time with Zak and Kat today. Water slide was of course a big hit this time again.

Cookout this evening at the house we are staying in. Tomorrow we go to Tucson for the day for a desert museum. The week has gone by fast. Somehow Ember mission trips have great food.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

AZ - Transference and Replication

Zak and Kat taught on the concepts of transference and replication, all within the context of investing in others and creating disciples.

The discipleship square:
D1: I do, you watch
D2: I do, you help
D3: You do, I help
D4: You do, I watch
It is a simple paradigm for the transference of information. In other words, you best learn something when it is modeled and you do it for yourself.

Multiplication/replication - Jesus spoke to a lot of crowds but invested himself mostly in the disciples that could in turn teach others. 2nd, 3rd and 4th generations.

As you probably know, I love this kind of stuff and firmly believe that students can and should be engaged in these kinds of concepts. There are simply not enough youth workers coaching this kind of stuff with our students. They are not too young and are fully capable of engaging this kind of material. Lots of good discussion about this stuff today, including lots of expanding on the example of people learning to make coffee and then teaching others to do it. The coffee example is indigenous to Amadeo.

AZ 2012 - Missiological Concepts

Your middle and high school students are fully capable of understanding these concepts. You will set your students up for success in cross cultural leadership ff you teach them the theory and then take them out to see these ideas lived out.

- contextualization
- cultural distance
- redemptive analogy
- indigenous
- person of peace

We used these for AZ 2012 and in the midst of that, had a great sidebar conversation about diversity in churches, the church homogenous unit principle and how those things relate to new churches. Like I said, your students are fully capable.

Note that I'm not that artistic. You don't need to be either.

AZ - Wednesday

Mens breakfast with breakfast burritos. Morning devotionals with 2 chapters from Love Does and other Scriptures and questions. Morning session on missiological tools. Lunch, games, water slides and movie with the kids for the mini kids camp. We did worked on some yard projects at Bill's house and then had dinner there. Ended the night with a pool party at one of Amadeo's elders house.

Bill has served on Ben's teams for since somewhere around 2004, originally hosting students at a drop in center and then transitioning with Ben to help in whatever capacity as they started Amadeo. He is in a wheelchair but continues to cook dinner for students and apartment complexes as well as make a mean espresso.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

AZ - Tuesday

This morning was some prayer walking in around the old downtown section of Queen Creek, looking at past, existing and future businesses and talking through some of those business relationships Amadeo has. The prayer walk was a combination of a city tour, cultural observation and listening to Ben's missional imagination.

The afternoon was our first kids mini club day, including lunch, crafts, games and a movie. Lots of fun. The evening was spent visiting a small group that was just starting and prayer walking that neighborhood. This included stopping in front of every house in the area to pray for the people that lived there. Ben prays. A lot.

Decompression with our team tonight was great. They are all learning a ton and watching a very creative, pioneering leader. Great fun for me to see that they are learning what I hoped and imagined they would.

UPDATE - I forgot to write that we also worked with Restore, which is the food pantry that spun off from Amadeo. We sorted food to be placed in the pantry and then created food boxes to be given to people. Every Tuesday, Restore uses one room of the community center for people to show up to get a food box. This week, they also gave out info and scholarships for people to bring their kids back to mini camp this week.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Reflections - 2012 Belgium

I consider my time in Europe last week to be extremely valuable on a lot of levels - for our vision team from Grace, for my role with Ember and how we could possibly continue to help student mission ventures and personally, as a futuristic developer. Here's a few quick reflections:

+ Our time worshipping with the Flemish speaking church was just fun. It gave me a new appreciation for what spiritual communities look like in a city that is unreached. Certainly it was one morning with one faith community, but if that was any representation of other Christ followers, there is a vibrancy and hunger that's captivating.

+ I'm still inspired from our time with the team in Bielefeld, Germany. I don't want to sound old, but those leaders look so so young. And that's the gist - four 27 year olds who started a new church to reach their friends and change their whole city. They are serving and being released with an organization with some solid leadership development process and a history of provable results. They are indigenous and have an inherent understanding of their context. They are wholly committed - all in - and believe that they can transform their city on the way to changing the world. It might be tempting for us to help encourage or fund or support them. Those all might be possible or we may just need to cheer them on as we get out of their way.

+ 40% of the population of Brussels leaves the city every year. As Carlton Deal said we should see this as growing and sending them instead of a loss due to transition. Highly applicable to our suburbs outside of DC.

+ STC Brussels is on to something - it is a clear example of the flip between believe->belong versus belong->believe. I had a very spiritual conversation with a very kind Italian middle aged woman who was in Brussels because of her work with the EU. She wasn't interested in church at all, but came to STC because she cared about her community and wanted to serve her city.

+ Leadership in trios - groups of 3 leaders that work together.

+ What is God's mission for this city and how can we align ourselves with that?

AZ - Monday

Some intros to Amadeo context this morning. We also passed out some flyers inviting people in the neighborhood to the kids drop in that the church is hosting starting tomorrow, Wed and Thursday.

Ben taught this afternoon on intercessory healing prayer. This evening was a youth specific gathering, where there was some worship, prayer and I did a little talk on stories and redemptive analogies.

A very low key missions trip, which is counter intuitive to a lot of what we do missions-wise.

Monday, July 09, 2012

AZ - Sunday

Two services at Amadeo Church this morning. A very refreshing honest community. And every time we are here, we hear Ben say that this church exists to bless the community. Z and K were brought on stage to hear about their stories which was fun and they totally felt welcomed. We handed out some free pool stuff at a local pool and then had some sessions on the Kingdom, the story of Amadeo and Ember.

Our team is having lots of fun - as always Ben is a great host and our team is learning from his entrepreneurial, globally connected, high risk style.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Still a Good Idea

I'm leaving with an Ember team for Queen Creek, AZ later today. It's been kind of a whirlwind between returning from Europe earlier this week and AZ today. Jet lag, re-entry eating, a swim meet for my kids, and getting a few hours in at the day job to burn as little vacation time as possible - I thought it was a good idea at the time.

Actually, I still think it's a good idea. There is a small group of students that are going to have the trajectory of their lives clarified through this experience and it's Ember's responsibility to catalyze that as best we can. If it means slugging through jet lag to get on another plane a few days later to eventually watch these kids impact human history, well you agree - that's a small price to pay.

Thanks for thinking of us this week as we serve with some leaders that are sold out to bring the love of God to their community.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

BRU - The Grand Place

The Grand Place. Voted the most beautiful European city square. Every other year, they line up the center with a huge flower carpet. Belgians love their flowers. It is a stunning sight, obviously the photo doesn't do it justice.

BRU - church buildings

We went in a good number of old church buildings. Almost all of them did not have a faith community to speak of. One of our hosts said that even though you hear church bells ringing all the time, they are museum pieces.

This was a church in Leiden, The Netherlands, that was only used for weddings.

BRU - coverings

There is more observable religious diversity in Brussels than probably most places in the US. We noticed a lot of head coverings in Brussels, like this one in an old church, but not so much in Leiden or Bielefeld. Mohammad has been the most popular boys name in Belgium for the past few years. Brussels will be the first EU city to be majority Muslim if current trends continue. And not such a great idea to ask two Muslim ladies, "Where is the City2 Mall?" No, nothing bad happened, but you would think I would know better.

BRU - Daily Debrief

We had multiple times where we as a team decompressed what we observed. Some days, we did this more than once, some days we didn't at all. We used these four questions to frame our discussion:
- What did you observe? [fact]
- What does that tell you about the culture? [meaning]
- What could that mean for partnership? [joining]
- What does that project for the future in the United States? [futuristic]

Photo: Overlooking the Marollen neighborhood, from the Palace of Justice, which was the largest building constructed in the 19th century.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Brussels - Tuesday

Last full day back in Brussels where we spent time taking a rest day, seeing the sights and both formally and informally decompressing ideas about what we have seen. Lots more to say at a later time. Carver and I fly home tomorrow, the rest of the team the day after.

Here's some stuff off the top of my head:
- the tasks of a vision trip are much more complex than a missions trip - lots of layers, complexities.
- there is lots of cool stuff going on in this part of the world. we all leave definitely inspired about what could be possible.
- this was a very fun team to work and observe with. they all have lots of gifts, talents and experiences that add value to each of us and our task before us. that's not ordinary.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Monday - Bielefeld

Manuel Pohl, lead pastor for ICF Bielefeld, 27 years old, married, no kids. Been in existence for one year, 40-50 people in the community.
Bielefeld - small to medium sized city, 200,000 people, 20,000 university students, city is growing, no tourists come here. Many German Russians eventually settle here, biggest church is Russian - 4000 people. Insulated culture - not interested in even making eye contact with other people.
People get married and have children later. German birthrate [1.7] is true, Turkish are having lots more babies than Germans. 120 churches in the city, 15 or 20 are growing, 20,000 are churched.

We do church for our friends, not to please other churches.
a lifestyle of Vision + Fellowship + Action = anything is possible.
6 values
- at the heart beat of time
- excited about life
- experience fellowship
- developing potential
- giving the very best
- nothing is impossible

Haven't seen many teams this young that have such a passion for reaching their city.

ICF - Leiden - Arie Spannderman

vision of young generation, 1000 people, church that plants churches, first plant in 5 years - healthy things reproduce
principles the same but church in European style - celebration, style, quality, creative
VIP lifestyle - if a person is a VIP for God, they should be a VIP for us as well
looks for in leaders: chemistry, charisma, potential, obedience to God
you need an open feedback culture
Attending church every week is a big commitment for Europeans
classify themselves as an early adopter church
At the heart beat of time - you are at the heart of people like Jesus wanted.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Lieden -Sunday

we took a train today to lieden netherlands to meet up with a church plant there from the icf movement. they were incredibly hospitable which included lunch a walking tour of the city center, dinner and a qa session with their lead planter arie.

lieden is a small university town of about 200000 people, 10 minutes away from the north sea.

icf started in zurich and has been exploding new churches all across europe. the most intriguing core value of theirs: 'at the heartbeat of time.'

church was two celebrations this evening at 5and 7pm staged in a community theater. they also set up a lounge with drinks to try and build community. very young gathering with high energy worship.

more on arie later.