Thursday, August 08, 2013

See You in 6 Weeks

I'm taking a little break from running Ember for the next month and a half or so. This is a self-imposed sabbatical, something that I planned earlier this summer before any of our summer projects were in the execution phase. It's been a fantastical summer - everything I dreamed of for this summer came to pass and even more. But I knew that a break would be good for me. Rest is good and sometimes, even when you have some momentum like I think we do right now, it's healthy to let it rest.

Usually the idea of a sabbatical allows people to concentrate on something else instead of what they normally do. Instead of doing something else, I'm actually just going to be not thinking or doing anything about this hobby called Ember and everything it represents. Instead, I'll be taking care of the normal things - the day job, family, getting my kids off to a good start of the school year and that kind of stuff.

I'm super excited for the break and trying not to think about past that - that's a futuristic for you. We've got some great projects planned for the Fall with some great people. But in the meantime, 6 weeks of having just one vocation. See you in September.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

The Gift of Learning English

The world has a love-hate relationship with the United States. It hates our politics and our swagger, but how it loves our media, consumer culture, conveniences, celebrities... and the language we share with a few other countries. In a world where speaking English is often a ticket to opportunity, the global church will see great opportunities in coming years.

In China, the government has gone on record as promising that, in the future, every child will be fluent in English before finishing high school. This plan will require an estimated one million English teachers, so English-speaking Christians can expect unprecedented entrées to formerly closed areas.

In every country where we conducted the Listening Tour, respondents were quick to note the demand for English language skills. One respondent noted, "English is the dominant language of everything from the Internet to many wealthy Western churches, so it is important in many parts of life, including ministry."

By 2010, two billion people will speak English. Chinese, Hindi, and Arabic are among the four most-used languages in the world, their popularity due to large numbers of people for whom it is a first language. English, however, is most popular because of the huge numbers of people who learn it as a second language. More people are learning English in China today than all of the North Americans who speak English.
- Fritz Kling, The Meeting of the Waters: 7 Global Currents That Will Propel the Future Church, writing about the global current he calls "Monoculture."

If you are interested in a future in another culture and are reading this blog post in English, maybe it's time for you to recognize what a gift you have in learning your native tongue in this time in history. And then go do something that capitalizes on this gift.

And... Fritz's book is a great read.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

2013 Summer Missions Financial Model

Here is a rough picture of our financial model for this summer's experiences. Before I get to that though, here are two quotes that inspired and informed us and not just about this summer:
Don't let your budget determine your vision. Faith is having vision beyond your resources - Mark Batterson
Nonprofit is a tax strategy not a business strategy. Your idea needs to be profitable to be sustainable. - Ben Arment

2013 summer financials - all approximates:
Ember X income: 26582
Ember X expense: - 24150
Ember X overall : + 2432
* included in Ember X was $500 of 'salary' for two interns each

AZ income: 345
AZ expense: - 1752
AZ overall: - 1407
* included in AZ expenses was $500 of 'salary' for AZ Ember guide

Summer overall: + 1025

I've had some summers where the financial piece feels like it's pulling teeth. This summer was just the opposite and I've got to believe that it was a combination of our efforts in redefining missions support [via the Creative Revenue Plan] and having a team that was totally in for the vision of what they were doing. Each one of them would have easily done whatever they needed to in order to raise the funds.

We've got some good stuff planned for the Fall with our two interns and hopefully some other emerging global leaders and the excess from this summer gives us some good margin for executing these plans.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Northern Ireland Update

Ember hosted a little brunch gathering with our guest from Northern Ireland, Cathy Campbell. We are connected with Cathy via Amadeo Church and Ben Cloud - Cathy has been out to the states the last 3 years and last week, we did a 3 day crazed tour of DC with her.

Loved having some students get to know her and hear her talk about:
+ Irish culture - such as what the schooling is like, what classes they take, how long a school day is.
+ Church and youth ministry culture - what Upper Bann Vineyard is like and the kinds of community impact projects they have and what they do with their students
+ The religious and spiritual landscape of her city, Lurgan, Portadown, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
+ What it's like to go to school full time, studying to be a mid wife and work with students as a volunteer.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Friday Burn

::: Toyota Donates Efficiency to a New York Charity
When we think of support, we think of money. This is a great example of expanding that definition of support.

::: A Youth Run Supper Club

::: How to Read 20 Books a Year

::: @tlubinus More Muslims in Iran have come to Christ since 1980 than in the previous 1000 years combined.

Photo: Sunrise in Marseille, July 2013.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Apostolic People Need Apostolic Structures

I continue to be amazed at the number of people whose paths I come across who have mistakenly been led to believe that if God is calling them toward some form of ministry, doing it in or connected to a local church is their only legitimate option.

It is sad to see such a truncated, warped ecclesiology hold back what could be a wave of highly committed, gifted, apostolic leaders. I am grieved at the wounds that are inflicted by such a view of the Church that is so biblically, theologically, historically and missiologically deficient....

As in every age of the Christian movement, apostolic people need apostolic structures if their contribution to God’s kingdom purposes are to be fulfilled.
- Sam Metcalf. Old post from an old blog but the whole apostolic ecclesiology category is worth the read. It's more relevant to me now than ever before.