Thursday, May 23, 2013

Future Casting

In the spring of 2005, I created a student missions training single day event and made it a non-negotiable for all student mission team members and leaders. During the event, we created environments for teams to work together and we brought in facilitators to cover specific missions concepts. The following year, we expanded on the idea and took 70 leaders and students away for the weekend to make the experience even more intense. We called it Mission Advance. Mission Advance, in that form, continued to run for the next two years after that. Even now in that same faith community, they still run an event very similar and our Ember team has been honored to be a part of it. A personal best decision with lots of help from lots of people.

In September of 2005, a high school student took the brave initiative and took me up on an experimental leadership opportunity: a student missions leadership internship. It was a pipeline before we realized it and it created momentum and a system for identifying and catalyzing future leaders. Even now, I'm amazed at how many high caliber leaders and influencers do not think about this important concept. It is a tragic omission.

In the spring of 2006, 7 years ago this month, I bought 30 copies of Now Discover Your Strengths and gave copies to specific people and implored them to take the StrengthsFinder assessment. I funded the purchase through some leftover student missions money in an account I had freedom to use. If you haven't noticed, StrengthsFinder has recently become a staple among many leadership development people. Getting this was not my idea, I stole it from Mosaic and one of their leadership development initiatives. One of the best "catalyzing talent" decisions I've made.

Back in those days, the gaps we needed to fill in our student missions environment were: a leadership pipeline, assessment based leadership development and missions team training. My mentor Alex McManus talks about the idea of desynchronization - there are some ideas that hit people at different times and people change at desynchronized times. I submit that some of these ideas might still be ahead of their time.

What is futuristic right now for student missions? Ember is working on it.

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