Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Burn

::: Christianity in Europe Will Lose Ground in 2013

::: Deliver a Talk without Notes

::: New England Revival?

::: Jeff Bezos attended 60 investor meetings to start Amazon
Missionaries and church planters could take some notes from this.

::: Jack Uldrichs 2013 Predictions
If you are a futuristic, you will love this guy. If not, you'll probably hate it.

Photo: Ember Pen Lucy, TH leading a decompression about context.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Question

Here's the question: If you left your leaders by themselves, would they know what to do?
- Mike Breen, Multiplying Missional Leaders

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ember Core Curriculum - Nov 2012

Here's a draft list of our latest Core Curriculum that we attempt at walking students through - picture this list as topics that could and/or should get visited during a missions experience that Ember facilitates. This is of course within the context of mission, leadership and world cultures. There is larger set of topics within our internship, since there is more time and interaction.

1 - contextualization

2 - indigenous

3 - cultural distance

4 - person of peace

5 - redemptive analogy

6 - universal anthropological constant

7 - ethnography

8 - toxic charity

9 - creative revenue

1 - I just put these onto a document. We already used most of them in different experiences here and there but now they are on one central place.
2 - I stole #6 from this post that I read today.

Like always, steal what you want.

[Related: Missions Concepts Baseline ]

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Relief - Coney Island

Coney Island Gospel Assembly Church in Brooklyn, NY, is one of the epicenters for the distribution of supplies and food for Hurricane Sandy Relief. When you approach the church, you'll find it's parking lot filled with pallets of supplies - bottled water, boxed clothing, boxes of pantry supplies. On the street in front of the parking lot, you'll see a makeshift medical clinic fashioned out of a shipping container and you'll see hundreds of volunteers involved in all kinds of activities in and out of the church. Since my family and I were in southern CT for Thanksgiving, my daughters and I decided to volunteer for a few short hours at Coney Island.

My long ministry internet and real life friend Jeremy Del Rio connected me with CIGA. Jeremy and his family have been involved in ministry and community development in the Lower East side for decades [they just had a 25 year ministry gala celebration earlier this year] and have a deep hand in coordinating the relief efforts after Sandy.

We served for just a few hours, not very long in the overall scheme of things. There ended up being two church groups there, just off the church property, serving hot meals to residents and relief workers [including an Americorps team], so we jumped in and did that for a while. The team we were with was a church team from Louisiana and they planned to be at Coney Island for a year and they cooked a mean ham. The other team showed up a little while later with about 40 volunteers, all kinds of supplies and 3 gas grills to cook hot dogs. There seemed to be plenty of people to help. The girls and I then decided to head out but to say hi to Pastor Connie, pastor of CIGA, before we left. She actually put us back to work in the parking lot, restacking a few pallets of pantry supplies. The supplies had been stacked too high so boxes on the bottom were busted - we instead put the broken boxes on the top. This took us about an hour or so.

If you know me pretty well or read this blog for a while, you know that I'm pretty skeptical about the impact a normal person can make in the context of disaster relief situations. Skilled professionals are utilized best while unskilled people, with the best of intentions, can just get in the way both physically and systematically. Dependency and sustainability issues can arise when the disaster evolves into community development. Teams that help in disasters need solid exit strategies so local leadership can lead. My kids asked the same kinds of questions about our time there.

We have been blessed to bless others. So if you've got some time, go serve for a short season, with someone who is local and understands the context, and take your kids with you. We also had late lunch in one of my favorite global cities.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Not Everyone Does This

"There are no strangers, just friends you haven't met yet." If you are familiar with the StrengthsFinder assessment, you know that this is one of the identifying statements for WOO - Winning Others Over. WOO is one of my top 5 talents according to the assessment and I think it's pretty spot on.

I think my older daughter is a WOO too, because the other night she was talking about this phrase and how 'everyone likes to make new friends, right?' Uh no, haha, not really.

And there's the point. You are unique. Not everyone thinks like you or behaves like you. What you are great at is what someone else is probably just mediocre at. What is generative for you is not for someone else. We need you at your best, which starts with you knowing yourself.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ember Exists For

You know those kids you meet sometimes who have such amazing passion for the world and the initiative to do something about it? They start things, they connect others, they re-imagine the future. They are rare.

Sometimes we get lucky and find them, these emerging global student leaders. We found another recently and I'm telling you more about them soon. Ember exists for them.

Take my word for it, be hopeful for the next generation.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Burn

::: Global Gateways that Connect America to the World

::: A Soccer Ball that Lasts Forever

::: How Pixar gets its culture
Because of #3, I wrote a short doc called Ember Culture Orientation that I will go over with new staff

::: If you have not executed well, your leader is not "micro-managing" you. He is "leading" you. @RealEricGeiger

::: Leadership has nothing to do with title or rank. As soon as people volunteer to follow you, you are a leader. @simonsinek

Photo: Vienna, Austria. July 2008.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Character and Competency

So think about the average leader in your community.

+ Character: Are their lives characterized by grace? Peace? Love? Transformation? Patience? Humility? A deep relationship with the Father? A love of the scriptures? Can they submit? Do they see the world through the eyes of the Kingdom and not the prevailing culture? (Obviously there's a lot more to character, but you get the idea.)

+ Competency: Can they disciple people well who can then disciple others? Can they do mission well and see their everyday lives, not just events, as a mission field? Can they hear the voice of their Father and respond with action imbued with his authority and power? When they pray, do things happen as they did for Jesus? Can they read and teach scripture well? (Again, Jesus was able to do many things, this is but a short summary.)

These are Kingdom questions. And if you think through this filter, you'll see why I make the point that if you make disciples, you will always get the church, but if you're really about building a church, you won't always get disciples.
- Mike Breen, Multiplying Missional Leaders

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

GRACE student missions refinements

GRACE church is continuing to refine their student missions ethos and Ember is thrilled to continue to learn with them. They have the fortunate circumstance of having very mature and capable leadership and since they have been doing this thing for a while, experience that helps mold mature processes. [Disclosure: my family and I attend GRACE and I was the student missions coordinator a number of years ago. I also serve as an adviser to the Global Missions Director at GRACE.]

For this coming summer, they've outlined five different expressions related to student missions: local, domestic, international, leadership development, and exploratory. I love the way these are outlined because it reflects a lot of wisdom and experience about cultural distance, how to grow leaders, and the vital position of innovating past what you already do.

Not everyone can or should organize their student missions initiatives like this. But learn from these guys - at least be intentional about developing student leaders and pushing yourself and your team out of the current box.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Connecting in Cameroon

This is Todd and Gilles, somewhere in Cameroon, as a result of one short email and many years of friendship. Todd and I originally met when I took some interns to meet and hear a talk given by Steve Addison, a blogger I have followed for many years.

Gilles and I met when he proposed a missions idea to the now-disbanded Missions Task Force at GRACE church, way back in 2004. Gilles and his family have since hosted two teams
I've been involved with.

I love sending email introductions so when Todd told me he would be in Yaounde, I immediately thought about Gilles. 2 weeks later, they send me this picture. I absolutely love connecting global people like this. It's not always intuitive and straightforward, so it's a habit of thinking about who can be connected. So... who can you connect? And who can I connect you to?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Original Glory

I daresay we've heard a bit about original sin, but not nearly enough about original glory, which comes before sin and is deeper to our nature. We were crowned with glory and honor. Why does a woman long to be beautiful? Why does a man hope to be found brave? Because we remember, if only faintly, that we were once more than we are now. The reason you doubt there could be a glory to your life is because that glory has been the object of a long and brutal war.
- John Eldredge, Waking the Dead

Friday, November 09, 2012

Friday Burn

::: The diffusion of innovation curve is moving
We now live in a society with more people more willing to change more often. And that means your customers are restless, and more likely to walk away if you don't treat them the way nerds want to be treated.
If Seth is right, this is HUGE.

::: Biolite stoves - NYC after Sandy

::: Four African girls have created a pee powered generator

::: Sometimes u gotta make the decision to put ur passion ahead of ur comfort. - @b_rewster

Photo: Ember guides and spawn. Darley Park, Baltimore, MD. March 2012.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Ember Vocabulary

Loved catching up with Dan Sadlier. Dan and I originally met at M in 2011 where he spent some time talking to our team about urban ministry and true urban and suburban partnerships all within the context of student ministry. Dan truly gets it when it comes to catalytic leadership.

Our conversation included topics and terms like: indigenous, context, multi-cultural, gentrification, reproduction, funding, bi-vocational ministry leaders, insurance for church planters, and the city parish model. Lots of ideas Ember loves because Dan and his family are on a journey to plant a church in New York City.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Self - Serve - Systems - Capacity

In November of 2009, Rob Wegner was gracious enough to connect with me over the phone and share some of what Granger was doing with their global strategy. I've tracked with them ever since and always been impressed with their culture, strategy and way they measure success. Not to mention their new normal.

Back then, Rob sent me a prototype diagram of their idea for mission/missions and how it relates to the ideas of dependency, paternalism and toxic charity. This image to the right is what they just published in the book Missional Moves.

The points under Mission Building:
What is God doing?
Who is involved?
What are the assets?
What are the gaps?

The points under Demonstration Farming:

Think through the diagram deep enough and you'll find that it gives some great filters and perspective on doing mission and trying not to create bad dependencies with the people you are trying to serve. Even as an computer engineer living in the suburbs, I love the farm example. Farmers can't grow the seed but they can do their best to create an environment for growth.

At Ember, we've thought a lot about the spectrum of "self -> service -> systems." We've also thought about how do to best teach this to students, how to get them involved in thinking about systems and what filters we can use to determine projects that fit this paradigm. Maybe the last piece of that spectrum is 'capacity.'

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Monday, November 05, 2012

NovEmber Kindling

+ I dreamed about an Ember team of people helping out in NYC. The timing wasn't quite right though. And you know how I love NYC. The opportunity I had in mind had the right elements of something students can do with little preparation and starting something from nothing. It was not necessarily disaster-recovery related - most of the time, that kind of work is for experts.
+ As an experiment for myself, I blogged every week day in October. Remember, in 2005, when we used to do that?
+ Volleyball season is over for our 9th grader. She had a great season and is relishing getting back 2 hours a day.
+ I'm trying to organize some gatherings for missions people in the DMV on a more consistent basis. If you are local and interested in this and I haven't talked to you about this, would you let me know please? I've got lots of people on my list that need to connect.
+ Ember is getting ready to choose a marketing company to do some work. I might be placing too much weight on the name of firms.
+ Are you listening to these talks by Seth Godin?
+ Did you see how Shaun King used Amazon Prime to get diapers delivered to a homeless youth shelter hit by Sandy?
+ Dea and I went to the installation service for our friend Perrin Rogers becoming lead pastor of the Triumphant Church. What a significant, amazing event.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Friday Burn

::: Navigating the Details of Mentorship
Link, from one of the founders of Praxis Labs. A great short read.
[related - Praxis Labs culmination night]

::: Communities are Social Networks

::: Innovation and Missions
Always great from Seth

::: 7 Apps to Play with The World Banks Open Data

::: Say what you want about religion, but NYC churches are leading the way in #sandy relief efforts. @lanewood

::: Sometimes we get so focused on people's commitment to "our church" that we forget to encourage them in their commitment to Christ @maclake

Photo: Ember Board of Director, Matt Maloy, working the mower. Baltimore, Oct 2012.