Saturday, June 30, 2012

Brussels - Saturday

Very rough notes from a vision team I am participating on to research possible partnerships in Europe for my church.

church service in the am - church svc with a flemish comm. profound to worship with a community in an unreached city. makes church in the us look dead

STC Brussels - kick off day
Marolles neighborhood - poorer and more marginalized
the Palace of Justice over looks this neighborhood
clean up day - meant to clean but also to have a presence
"We weren't just picking up trash, we were ______"

Carlton and Shannon Deal
[who I met in 2007]
1 - faith - believe
2 - community - belong
3 - mission - purpose
mission first - STC

all expressions of The Well - once a month
different expressions - other three times
trio of leaders - equipping normal people - church in the neighborhoods
worship expressions - 3 per week
practice expressions - 9
like to meet in public space - 15-40 people
learning reproducibility

we have no back row
what is god's mission of this city? we should align with that.

lots of friendship needs - 25% muslim, 10% growth in 8 years, 2030 - first EU city to be majority Muslim
higher percentage of Christians than other cities - 10% - due to migration, African, Brasilian, etc Christians
gather and scatter
40% of population leaves every year - see this as growing and sending them
STC has partnerships with Intl Bacc schools for service requirements
Very uncommon for Belgians to talk about faith in public.
Belgian kids have off of school every Wed aft.

Some pictures here.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Brussels - Friday

Very rough notes from a vision team I am participating on to research possible partnerships in Europe for my church.

1.1M people
.2 to .5% evangelical
center of Europe

Dan - EFCA, Global Reach, Serve the Church, pastors an Armenian church.
avg size of a church here 30-50 people.
The Church has let them down or they hate the church.
tons of ethnic churches in Brussels.
200 people in a French speaking Belgian church - that is a megachurch here.
lots of Buddhism, mysticism, fortune tellers.
Pockets of neighborhoods here:
Itailians are everywhere

downtown - mostly business, govt offices
new business - out by airport, near new NATO offices
no God consciousness
Belgians love flowers - flower carpet in the grand square every other year.

Scott - EFCA, Global Reach, pastors a Flemish church.
Flanders area of Brussels is #1 in suicide rate in Western Europe.
There are church bells going off all the time but they are just museum pieces.

Olivier - church planter, 60 people.
his church hosted Willow's leadership summit the last 3 years.
Some people have started using 'CC' - code for Christian community, instead of the word church
'Gospel' is a nonthreatening word here. They only know it as Gospel music.
Volunteerism is not a big value in Europe.
2 Christian bookstores here in Brussels - combined the size of a small restaurant. Avg cost of a book is 30E.

Better practice our team is thinking through - every city we send a team to has an Advance Vision team go - scout, meet with people, prayer walk.

Some pictures here.

Friday Burn

::: The Worlds Most Difficult Languages

::: The World in 2050
Link via Alex McManus

::: Impatience and Cross-Cultural don't work well together

::: Prometheus and high performance teams
I can tell you what you need, for what it's worth: You need one person who's good at solving problems, someone who has ideas, because problems always come up. You need one person who's good at human relations, who can keep the group functioning together. You need one person who's kind of a functionary, who'll implement and get things done. And you need a leader type will push for results.

Photo: Ember guides, metro, Washington DC, April 2012, via Amy

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ember Impact Coaching - Fall 2012

Ember has some availability for our Impact Coaching process for Fall 2012. We'll cover topics such as: Missions Philosophy, Context, Core Missions Concepts, Current Global Missions Issues, Mission Mantras, and Tactical Leadership. It's all with the backdrop of helping you be a better catalyst and helping you catalyze your students to be catalysts too.

More info here. Get in touch if you are interested.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

2012 Brussels team

Here's the 2012 Brussels team. From the left, Wayne, Lisa, Kristen, Ken, Alex, Carver, moi.

Thanks for praying for our team. Please pray for clarity, discernment and learning postures for all of us. Additionally, I'll be doing some thinking in these filters: symbols, heros, structure, concepts, context and execution.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Real Catalysts Release

Ember's primary paradigm is to function as 'catalysts' and if we've done it right, we've not only sparked something in others, our guides might also be drawn towards other global leadership projects. If this happens, you'll figure out quickly if you are a real catalyst or not. Real catalysts release their resources when the timing is right.

Trevin [he's got a good streak of posts on his blog too] was our first official guide and he's contributed to lots of significant student missions projects with us. Late last week, he landed in Ghana where he's serving with a small microfarming organization for 6 weeks as a trial run to see if this fits for a long term opportunity. We are certainly proud of him for landing this opportunity - all of his background and training and passion seems to have prepared him for this next season.

Of course, it's bittersweet too. Releasing your best is never easy or fun. You now have a leadership gap. You are not sure how to execute your next set of projects. A big set of organizational wisdom walks out the door. But on the flip side, you have made room for someone else. Your organization grows outside your walls. And, hopefully, most obvious after you get over it, Jesus did a fantastical job of releasing people so that they could mark human history.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Burn

::: 3 Ways to Kill a Youth Ministry
Great stuff, like always, from Dan.

::: The 2012 Failed States Index
Required reading for global leaders.

::: Mastery and Originality

::: Facebook's Most Checked In Landmarks

Photo: Decompression, Philly, Nov 2011.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Final Brussels Prep Meeting

+ Logistics: airport, packing, who is going where when, credit cards, passports, schedules, cell phone expectations

+ Goals - what are you trying to learn when we have time with ministry leaders
- vision
- passion
- how can we help
- lessons learned - what did and did not work
- demographics - current and target
- how can we encourage them
- how they think
- consistent and repeatable behaviors and why

+ Values - GRACE's core values and how they fit

+ GRACE's strengths - what does GRACE do well and can those things transfer to partnerships

+ Schedule intentional processing time for our team, 2 or 3 times a day after a significant time
- include a set of consistent questions that we work through each time.

For those of you that might not know, this is a vision team that is going to Brussels next week to explore possibilities for partnerships for our church. Not your standard missions trip.

Photo: Kristen our leader on the left, Wayne one of the team, on the right.

[Related: 2012AZ mtg #1, 2008Hungary mtg #3, 2007Hungary mtg #3, 2006Cameroon mtg #3, 2005Brasil mtg #1.]

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Creative Revenue Plan Update

For those of you that have been tracking with the Creative Revenue Plan, here's one success story. DeannaK decided to take babysitting jobs for her Plan to help fund Ember AZ 2012 and here are the results:

$800 - total goal
$850 - total raised - 106% of goal
$180 - raised from Plan - 22%
$670 - raised from support letters - 78%

The initial idea also included bringing in some training in business skills to our teams. That didn't happen this summer but we'll try that again next time. My personal Plan didn't go quite as expected either, but that's okay. We knew these would be experiments that might flop.

Based on positive feedback from some career missions thought leaders, DeannaK's results and the nature of creative access being a requirement for future missionaries, we are going to keep continuing this in the future.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Burn

::: 10 traits of innovative leaders
Link via @robjacobs_

::: Growing obesity - a global tipping point
Growing obesity in poorer countries is a sign of a historic global tipping point: After millennia when the biggest food-related threat to humanity was the risk of having too little, the 21st century is one where the fear is having too much.
via @JWTIntelligence

::: The birth rate in the 25 countries of the European Union is now 1.56 live births per female
...while in the US the birth rate is 2.09, right around the replacement fertility rate of 2.1. Some countries are at critically low levels: Slovakia, Poland, and Romania have birth rates less than 1.3, with Germany at 1.32. In the absence of immigration, the population of these countries will drop in half approximately every generation.
via @drantbradley

::: When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute @simonsinek

::: "I will go anywhere, provided it be forward." -David Livingstone via @slgutierrez

Photo: LexiPapp guiding.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Jello Nite 2012

For close to a decade and a half, GRACE's student ministry has hosted Jello Nite for middle school, coinciding with the end of school. Big field, teams by grade, bags of jello. Tim Jones is to thank for this.

Our kids were both in it this year, Em going into 6th grade, Kt in her last one as an outgoing 8th grader. This also marks the first time both our kids are in 'youth group.'

Monday, June 11, 2012

Missionary Kids on Mission

Some of Ember's most innovative ideas come from ... my wife. Like this one - inviting missionary kids to join us on a state side leadership experience. Because we have some capacity on the AZ team this year, we've invited a select group of missionary kids to join us. And one has said yes, which is thrilling. [And when I say kids, I mean students.]

These students we invited had all grown up in other cultures - they are true third culture kids. Their families have worked in the church planting/leadership arena, so they've already been exposed to global leadership at a very tangible, primal level. They know what risk, liminality and being on the move is like.

I'm thrilled at being able to serve some of our friends' kids like this. Not only do I think it's a great experience for them, I'm certain they bring a ton of experience, perspective and grit to our team and to the AZ experience as a whole - they will make the whole thing better. We didn't get all of them this time... yet.

Part of why Ember exists was to be a medium for us to try untested ideas about preparing students for global leadership - ideas similar to this one. In some circles, those ideas get rejected. Around here, we love to try them.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Friday Burn

::: Why Youth Ministries Are Not Working in America

::: Are you a Plan B Leader
Link via @rob jacobs_

::: The idea that an infusion of hope can make a big difference to the lives of wretchedly poor people sounds like something dreamed up by a well-meaning activist or a tub-thumping politician.
Link via @peterkgreer

::: The DNA of Idea Execution

Photo: Past SPACE/Ember interns, January 2011.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Kt - 8th grade

K finishes 8th grade - two 'graduations' in two days. We are proud and blessed parents.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Em - 5th grade

Our Em finishes 5th grade this week. Bittersweet as we leave a great elementary school behind. Proud of you Em!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Ember AZ 12 - Mtg 2

Our 2nd meeting - the bulk of which was spent taking and talking through the Myers Briggs Type Indicator personality test. It's my fave. We almost always use this with teams including talking through the 4 pairs, how each can affect teams that work together and charting everyone's types with everyone else so that each person walks away with a chart.

We also talked about:
- cultural distance and how that is relevant to both every day mission and new faith communities
- one person leaving our team for an epic opportunity
- we swapped him for a middle school girl
[tell you more about both of these later]
- creative revenue plan updates
- some logistics and ministry tasks we are all preparing for

[Related: AZ 12 Meeting #1]

Friday, June 01, 2012

RIP Phoebe

Yesterday, we said goodbye to our sweet little dog Phoebe. She was such a great personality, really. The dog I always wanted.

[Related: Welcome home Phoebe]