Monday, January 30, 2012

Global Missions Retooling - GRACE

This past Sunday morning at GRACE was spent diving in to the results of some retooling of the global missions strategy of our spiritual community. Here are some notes from the message. Maybe some of you are in the middle of some realignment of a global missions strategy as well. Take what you want.

Disclosure: I was on a team of people that helped refine this global missions strategy and now serve as one of three advisors to the Global Missions Director. At the same time I am president of The Ember Cast, a student missions mobilization organization. Ember is not associated with Grace Community Church although my family and I attend Grace. Grace is one of Ember's 2012 clients.

Whole Gospel - Whole World - Whole Church
+ Whole Gospel
proclamation and declaration
Mt 4:23 - Jesus preached as well as healed
through the whole portfolio of projects there will be both.
singular projects may look one sided perhaps. [this is a tension to be managed, not a problem to be solved]

+ Whole World
Col 1:6
came up with 5 focus areas based upon current existing relationships
East Africa - Kenya and Uganda
closed SE Asian country - family from Grace moved there 12 years ago
closed middle eastern country - two families moved there in the last year in close proximity focused on a specific people group
Latin America - lots of medical mission teams there in the past few years
Europe - focus area that is embryonic and hoping to grow into something - church + city, not a huge cultural distance, postChristian

+ Whole Church
Panel of people who went Beyond [the name of the missions ministry]
long term missionary mentoring [lots more to be said on this - the two couples running this are awesome - a one year process for guidance and training for those considering cross cultural service]
small group - adopt a missionary
social justice advocate
kids ministry
short term missions coordinator
17 missional experiences being offered for 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Burn

::: The Fastest Growing and Declining Cities in the World

::: Homeless Students in Maryland
ps - what about the transportation issue outlined in this article?

::: Bill Gates 2012 Annual Letter

::: Millennials and Davos
Link via Brad Lomenick

::: Work Life Balance is a Myth

See all the Burn posts here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Grace Leadership Collective 2012

If you are a GRACE person, you should seriously consider coming to the Leadership Collective this Friday evening and Saturday morning. It is one of the yearly events where GRACE gathers her leaders for some teaching, inspiration and community. Remember, the only one responsible for investing in you is you. I will be there Friday night [and sneaking in some Ember guides...] Sign up here.

Disclosure - I was on the creative team for the Collective last year.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Reversing Motown

Last Thursday I talked with Cameron Underdown, one of the instigators behind Detroit Reverse. The next day I chatted with Justin Warns. And last September, some of us were fortunate enough to have lunch with Dan Sadlier. Between these three and the resources of Kensington Community Church, students that live in suburban Detroit have something world class. An opportunity to learn from a team like this happens maybe once in a lifetime. Cam and I spent a little bit of time chatting about what a potential summer project might look like in Detroit for Ember.

Detroit Reverse has a context unique in and of itself: a 50/50 urban suburban partnership, solid Gospel centered leaders and taking place in one of America's former greatest cities who many say could be on the brink of renewal and revival. The present future is urban - make no mistake about that.

Some might ask why Detroit is one of Ember's 2012 dream projects. Because we believe global leaders need to understand urbanization, because great mobilization might include urban and suburban tribes exchanging wisdom and resources, and because we would love to see some amazing students learn from Dan and his team.

If you think this might interest you and your student missions leadership, get in touch.

[Related: The M conference notes ]

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Burn

::: Funding Urban Ministry
Think portfolio of revenue. And Rudy is the real deal.

::: 5 Mistakes in Sending

::: Cities That Have the Most Expensive Hotel Rooms

::: Death of the Fringe Suburb

::: Chinese, its the new Spanish
Link via Justin

::: 5 Management Metrics You Need to Know
Link via Rex Miller
flow state percentage
anxiety bordeom continuum
meeting promoter score
compound weekly learning rate
positive feedback ratio

See all the Burn posts here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Reaching the Lunatic Fringe

From the M conference last September, one of the recent best talks on leadership that I can remember.

If you are a leader within the Jesus following movement, note the content of what Vince says. Even better, start to contemplate how he thinks and how he comes to what he says in the talk.

If you aren't involved in any kind of spiritual community, hey, that's okay. Instead, watch this talk and take some notes on how to be a better speaker. Consider his vocabulary and filler words, his intonation and timing and his engagement with the audience.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Burn

::: India on track to be declared polio free

::: Are Youth Pastors Saving the Jobs of Senior Pastors?

::: Free - Barna Group presenting research on Millenials.
One of them here in DC.

::: Superficial Contextualization
When we become primarily concerned with church forms---building, music, service, website design---we dip below superficial contextualization into syncretism, blending Christianity with another religion, in this case consumerism.
Ouch. But make no mistake - consumerism is the air we breathe.

::: The can-opener was invented 48 years after the can. via Joshua Symonette

See all the Burn posts here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Discussion Notes - Toxic Charity

A few months ago, Tayest, one of our Ember guides, recommended the book Toxic Charity to me. Since then lots of other people in my circles have also been talking about it. And Taylor asked if Ember would host an evening discussion on the book, specifically to talk about the ideas and her context of a team of college revolutionaries. Here are some rough notes to the conversation:

+ Participants
Tony, Trevin, Clancy - Ember guides, Lauren - Ember intern
Taylor, Dylan, Rachel, Brooke, Jenny, Wendy, Jack, Nathan - Salisbury students
Glenn - Nathan's dad, professional in intl comm dev

+ Context
Salisbury Uni - core team of about 10 college students who are serving the fringe via off campus ministries
three venues:
God's kitchen - a soup kitchen model
HALO - a womens and childrens shelter and homeless day center
Salisbury Urban Ministries - a soup kitchen model

+ Intro
"Giving to those in need what they could be gaining from their own initiative may well be the kindest way to destroy people."
examples from the book:
free church food pantry transformed into a food co-op
giving Christmas gifts to needy families versus a discount toy store
affluence - this topic may be more intense because we have so much
those who have been given much, much will be required
unique to us gathered here in this room
see more notes on the book here

+ Initial Thoughts
most everyone agrees with the basic premise of the book
difficult to generalize - but most seems very valid
attentive to the spirit - tension of helping and giving in the right way but also being attentive to how God is leading
requires change - not everyone will want to change what they are doing because it makes them feel good
sometimes we are not in charge at the places we serve. not easy to make this kind of organizational change

+ Glenn B, special guest [seriously, read his resume]
agriculture and intl development
peace corps - Guatemala
a do no harm approach
'we facilitate opportunities for people'
accompanying them, training microgrants, design and implement together
base principle - we don't know what is best for them
physical and spiritual components have to be done together
relief and development

measurement and indicators are important but you can't be driven by them - 'best effort' stewardship

counterpart contribution - onwership, dignity, value,
donor results can erroneously drive a free gift, quota approach

+ Idea Models
[this was totally stolen from Ben Arment, see this and this]
The question is really how to bring some of these ideas back to your context at Salisbury so lets play around with some idea models based on the idea of sustainable charity.
resume writing
cooking in a soup kitchen
toy store versus food co-op [from the book]
church partnership - big clothes swap
CVS or Wal Mart store
addiction counseling/Christian counseling
PAC access center - paradigm for church community development - better practices
survey the population - methodical strengths/skills assessment - value clusters, evaluate the demand in the community for the skills - don't want to train them in skills that are not in demand by the market
skills job training mentoring
homeless paper in DC - Streetsense
lots of resources in the university
someone at God's kitchen thinks the college kids are all actors. can't believe people actually serve like them.

My biggest impression after this group left was that I'm excited to see what they come up with. I think it's going to be an idea model that is completely out of the box.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Dear Em --

This is one of my favorite memories of you from this past year, when you were 10. This was the weekend we were in Philadelphia helping some college kids with some service projects. Even though you were *only* 10 ;-) , you jumped right in and served as best you could, with people that were twice your age. Compassion and empathy are strong in you - don't let the world make you squander those gifts. You love to help others but don't like to clean your room so much. I think we can live with that.

I think we are in for a big adventure this year. So keep reading your Bible and using it to get to know God better. It's a big world out there - life is full of the unknown and mystery. But even though we don't know everything that will happen, we can trust in Him who loves us and creates all things for good and who wants to use us to help bring that good everywhere.

You still love animals. Your puppy Phoebe knows it. As well as the guy that sold us double the number of hermit crabs for the same price.

Love, DAD

Monday, January 09, 2012

Mission Leader Values

This is the lead team that is taking care of student missions at Grace Community Church in Fulton [my home church] this coming summer. A group of very thoughtful, outwardly focused, believe in the next generation people, they've got some great foundations for their summer teams for this coming summer. Three experiences outlined, a process for recruiting and choosing leadership and a emphasis on making sure parents are in the loop. If you are working a summer missions plan, don't feel intimidated by their progress.

Ember is working with them on helping do some training for their students and leaders and the term 'working' is used lightly, because they already have a ton of expertise and experience. One of the things we started with during this meeting was the question of values - ie: what values do you want in your leaders? They had some great answers including heart for the lost, adaptability, and empowered. What you value should drive what you implement and in this case, Ember will build some leader training around these identified values.

As we build a missions leadership experience for them, we'll probably throw in some other values we think are important for global leaders. I hope they won't mind... More info on that later.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Friday Burn

::: RIP - David Mays
One of our generations best missions mobilizers and missiologists.
Link and see Seth Barnes post.

::: How America Changed in 2011
Most interesting - #2 - Americans are increasingly stuck at home.
Most not surprising - #3 - Minorities are driving growth, replensihing America's youth
Most tragic - #5 - Americans lost ground in income and poverty
Link via Mel McGowan

::: Rob Bell Writes his Church a Letter

See all the Burn posts here.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Decoding Culture - Tybee Island, GA, USA

Tybee Island is a beach resort town outside of Savannah, GA and I was there for 5 days last week. Ah yes rough life.
3392 people, 1568 households, 901 families.
Population density is 1326 people/sq mile. [DC is 10065, Baltimore is 7671]
95.93% white, 1.89% African American, 0.56% Native American, 0.85% Asian, 1.27% Hispanic.
Family median income is 58462. [DC is 85198, Baltimore is 48216]

Lots of cultural elements about the Civil War and Tybee's involvement - you drive past Fort Pulaski on the way there. My favorite local story was about TS Chu, a Chinese immigrant who sort of inherited a little drug store there on the island. He built it into a thriving business that stimulated the local economy for many years and eventually owned most of the convenience stores on the island. There is even a street named after him for some of the philanthropic giving he did for residents.

Anecdotally, I noticed lots of ethnicities that seemed to live and work there, many more than I have noticed in previous visits. This included Vietnamese working at Sunrise, a little breakfast shop, an Indian man who has owned the Shell station for over 20 years and a Brazilian lady working in "Waves."

[Related: Decoding Culture: Oranjestad, Aruba; Winchester, VA, USA]

[PS - Thanks to all who asked how D is doing the past few days. Much better and we've got a good plan for managing her blood sugar.]