Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Burn

::: Millennials Will Save the Cities and Destroy the Country

::: Three Symptoms of a Vulnerable Team

::: How to Run Your Meetings Like Apple and Google

Photo: ICF Leiden decorates even the bathrooms.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bi-Vocational Ember Guides

Congrats to one of our Ember guides, Trevin Hoekzema, who has landed a gig as a missions administrator at Bay Area Community Church outside of Annapolis. I've got the utmost respect for Bay Area's missions pastor, Casely Essamuah, who Trevin will directly report to.

Ember has had a very informal relationship with Bay Area and we love their global awareness and focus. They've got a great view on what the world looks like, lots of good efforts in getting a large church involved and have some significant investments in multiplication efforts outside their church.

Bi-vocational ministry is a significant strategy for Ember. Trevin, like all of our guides, fits into this and we are excited at what he brings to Bay Area as well as how his experiences there will help Ember catalyze the future.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Student to Leader to Influencer

This is a photo of Lynn from May 2005 when she was a 'normal' suburban high school kid. I love the symbolism behind this photo - it represents a team of students going outside themselves in serving some kids, creating something from almost nothing [a playground puppet show] and, like Mike Breen calls it, a kairos moment - for both these students and for me. At this moment in time, I realized, again, the passion of the next generation.

Since this shot, Lynn helped us lead some student missions efforts as well as traveling on her own adventures during college. She has since finished school and become an elementary school teacher in Northern Virginia. Lord willing, Ember will help her with a little cross cultural project next year that is in her imagination right now. Her context is her new church - urban; intern-generational; racially and economically diverse, and full of young adults who want mark history.

Ember continues to be honored at being stewards of the amazing people we get to work with. Not everyone transitions from a student to a leader to an influencer.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Forty Three

My wife got me a card with the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme that said, "It's not the years, it's the mileage." So true. Here's to another year friends.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Vision Team Prep - Team 1006

I spent about an hour late one evening last week with 3 people who comprise a missions vision team headed to East Asia [vague details on purpose] early next month. From my experience observing global strategies and reading vision reports, vision teams function best when they are prepared slightly differently than your normal missions trip [although we all know there is no normal missions experience.] Vision teams are responsible for communicating how a partnership will work, what teams going can expect, determining how the partnership will be successful, and being advocates and liaisons for their overseas hosts - no big deal right.

We centered around three paradigms for their team.
1 - be a mapmaker - the mapmaker role gives you clarity for understanding context.
2 - empower the indigenous - how can the whole partnership empower the people best to reach their culture.
3 - find the people of peace - the best influencers.

These fun topics, and more, also came up:
Perspectives was a major catalyst - growing a heart for the world.
Sending versus going.
Relational versus task oriented missions experience.
Toxic Charity.
Travel logistics - like always scan an image of your passport and then email it to yourself.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Burn

::: Which US Cities are Most and Least Racially Diverse

::: Why Mormons are Growing Faster than Evangelicals

::: African Migrants Calling Maine Home

Photo: Matt Maloy, one of Ember's board of directors, Arizona 2012.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Teaching Notes - LC - Sept 2

My teaching notes from speaking at Light Company [our middle school ministry] on Sept 2nd. Slides are here. Steal what you want. Note that I borrowed the theme from the book of the same name. I always always always consider it a great privilege to speak to students.
Love Does

A simple phrase. Also the title of a book that I read a few months ago. It accurately captures the essence of a few pieces of us.
Start of school - pattern of thoughts and behaviors that have the ability to change everything

Context of a loving God - He does something
You can't love bbq and not do something about it

When we think of the word love - we think of this.
** cat and cow
** dog

Think about it in terms of Scriptures - Luke 15
who am I in the story
who is God in the story

the lost sheep
** dorothy

the lost coin
** josh - restore

the lost son

worldview - the way you see the world

** isabella - bru
even a person far from God knows that you Love Does

** africa stop hunger now event - this is not normal

do you love ?
move towards someone
baby step

** rachel beckwith

Related: Speaking at LC, Feb 5.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Book Notes - The Advantage

The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni

For the past few months or so, I've been encouraging a lot of people that I meet with about the importance of organizational structure. Yes of course the character and capacity of the people on your team is important. But almost just as important is that you have an organizational structure that allows you to do what you want to do. I know this sounds obvious. Like one of my favorite mantras of Mosaic : Structure must submit to Spirit. This book took this idea to task.

The second large idea that hit me from this book deals with the value of trust. Specifically, I have been on teams in the past where the issue of trust was obvious - members of this team don't trust one another. That's certainly an issue that needs to be addressed. What hit me even more was reminders of specific times when I've been on a team and have withheld trusting another team member. That's a very personal flaw that I should have fixed.

Anyway, on to the notes. Most of you readers would really enjoy this book.
Build a Cohesive Team : Build Trust - Master Conflict - Achieve Commitment - Embrace Accountability
Create Clarity
Overcommunicate Clarity
Reinforce Clarity

Teams: A good way to understand a working group is to think of it like a golf team, where players go off and play on their own and then get together and add up their scores at the end of the day. A real team is more like a basketball team, one that plays together simultaneously, in an interactive, mutually dependent, and often interchangeable way.
I like to say that teamwork is not a virtue. It is a choice - and a strategic one. That means leaders who choose to operate as a real team willingly accept the work and the sacrifices that are necessary for any group that wants to reap the benefits of true teamwork.
A leadership team is a small group of people who are collectively responsible for achieve a common objective for their organization.
When it comes to discussions and decision making, there are two critical ways that members of effective teams must communicate: advocacy and inquiry.
When more than eight or nine people are on a team, members tend to advocate a heck of a lot more than they inquire.... When a team is small, members are more likely to use much of their time asking questions and seeking clarity, confident that they'll be able to regain the floor and share their ideas or opinions when necessary.
The kind of trust that is necessary to build a great team is what I call vulnerability-based trust.
- personal histories, profiling [mbti], fundamental attribution error.
When team members trust one another, when they know that everyone on the team is capable of admitting when they don't have the right answer, and when they're willing to acknowledge when someone else's idea is better than theirs, the fear of conflict and the discomfort it entails is greatly diminished. When there is trust, conflict becomes nothing but the pursuit of truth, an attempt to find the best posssible answer.
As critical as conflict is, it's important to understand that different people, different families, and different cultures participate in conflict in different ways.
When people fail to be honest with one another about an issue they disagree on, their disagreement around that issue festers and ferments over time until it transforms into frustration around that person.
When team members get used to choosing the latter option - withholding their opinions - frustration inevitably sets in. Essentially, they're deciding to tolerate their colleague rather than trust him.
... It's important to remember that the reluctance to engage in conflict is not always a problem of conflict per se. In many cases, and perhaps in most of them, the real problem goes back to a lack of trust.
... the more comfortable a leader is holding people on a team accountable, the less likely she is to be asked to do so. The less likely she is to confront people, the more she'll be called on to do it by subordinates who aren't willing to do her dirty work for her.
6 questions for organizational clarity
why do we exist
how do we behave
what do we do
how will we succeed
what is most important, right now
who must do what
The only way for people to embrace a message is to hear it over a period of time, in a variety of different situations, and preferably from different people. That's why great leaders see themselves as Chief Reminding Officers as much as anything else. Their top two priorities are to set the direction of the organization and then to ensure that people are reminded of it on a regular basis.
The point of leadership is not to keep the leader entertained, but to mobilize people around what is most important. When that calls for repetition and reinforcement, which it almost does, a good leader relishes that responsibility.
Providing employees with a means of communicating upward to their leaders is important in any organization. However, it's not the panacea it's often presented to be. That's because noncohesive leadership teams that have not aligned themselves around common answers to critical questions are not in a position to respond adequately to employee input and requests. In fact, getting more input from employees often only exacerbates frustration in an organization when that input cannot be digested and used.
Great organizations, unlike countries, are never run like a democracy.
Keeping a relatively strong performer who is not a cultural fit creates a variety of problems. Most important of all, it sends a loud and clear message to employees that the organization isn't all that serious about what it says it believes.... When leaders take the difficult step of letting a strong performer go because of a values mismatch, they not only send a powerful message about their commitment to their values, they also usually find that the performance of the remaining employees improves because they are no longer being stifled by the behavior of their former colleague.

Four types of meetings:
admin - daily check in - 5-10 mins
tactical - weekly staff - 45-90 mins
strategic - ad hoc topical - 2-4 hours
developmental - quarterly off site review - 1-2 days

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fall 12 Ember intern

In 2006, Emilie was part of the first iteration of an internship structure - she was our first ever intern for SPACE. It was her original idea - that she receive public high school credit for learning and doing stuff about global cultures and missional leadership. That idea has continued on with Ember as well and what was a great idea surrounding one specific student became a better idea - the internship is a significant leadership pipeline. We think so highly of it, it's become a core offering. The best leaders for your initiative in the future are the ones in it right now.

As opposed to some 'internships', we try to shy away from busy work. We don't have a lot of busy work in the first place anyway - we don't do mailings or put on fundraiser dinners or that kind of stuff - maybe we should. Instead, we want our interns doing what we do. They, like the rest of us, are tasked with being catalysts. By design, it is both content and experience driven - interns do a good amount of reading and reflecting on that reading as well as helping lead Ember experiences.

DK is our Fall 12 intern. She traveled with us to AZ this past summer and was involved in a missions prep event last Spring. We're thrilled to work with her this semester.

Photo: Deanna Knox, 2nd from the right on the bottom row. Grace student missions prep, April 2012.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Friday Burn

::: 7 roles of a board of directors

::: Upstream publishes Tradecraft
The most underdeveloped basic Christian skills are those related to missionary thinking and practice.
This is going to be good.

::: Third Places Important in the Developing World too
Link via Mel McGowan

Photo: Brussels, Belgium tram map.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Ember's End of Summer Gathering

Ember's end of summer gathering was a few weeks ago and we try to do this every summer if we can. It's a time when we try to gather whoever is around to talk about what kinds of missions adventures they were a part of over the summer. It's always filled with amazing young people and it's always an evening that is way too short. This summer's crowd included people that went to Argentina, Ghana, Belgium + The Netherlands + Germany [that was me], China, Baltimore and New Orleans. Fantastic group of people.

Below are some of the missions concepts that were brought up. Like we always say, show a high school student the way the world really looks and maybe they can make some significant decisions for a career to make a difference.

Unreached people groups - europe
Urban migration – china
Underground churches and leadership development – china
Cultures that are task vs relationship driven – argentina
Economic ladder via farming – ghana
Yield in crops, subsistence vs mechanized farming – ghana
The explosion of the early church and the church in china – china
Serve with people who are already doing something – Baltimore
Every person was asked What is next?
The Jesus film - china

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Hello SeptEmber

+ I took 3 weeks off this summer from the day job, meaning my vacation balance went into the negative. The 3 weeks were a week in Orlando with the fam, a week in Brussels with a team from Grace and a week in Queen Creek AZ with Ember. Sometimes, it all works out.
+ This summer was 13,000 air miles [which is a lot for me], 6 flights, 7 trains, lots of cars.
+ Funest summer of my life - I loved every moment.
+ DK is our Ember intern for the fall - her missions reading started yesterday.
+ We hosted an end of summer Ember gathering and just like always, it was too short and filled with amazing people. Will post some notes from that later.
+ Our kids spent a week without us this summer, which is not that unusual. Kt was in Baltimore for a week. Em was at Camp Sandy Cove. Both had great experiences.
+ Kt had a great time in Baltimore with STC Baltimore. One of her items of feedback was that she wanted to not only serve with her leaders but to really know their story and be taught by them. I think this is a universal desire and our mission trips should seek to meet this need.
+ Ember has some small projects lined up for the Fall. Every year is unpredictable but true to form, some cool opportunities are possible.
+ New website - Would love to hear your feedback. My favorite - the pictures.