Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Burn

::: The World Has Gotten a Lot Less Hungry
The total number of undernourished people has fallen by more than 200 million since 1990.
As a percentage of its total population, the developing world has cut undernourishment from 23.3% in 1990 to 12.9% today.
Since 1990 31 more countries have met the UN goal of cutting hunger in half or bringing it under 5% of their populations.

::: Creative Street Posters Show Another Side to Youth Homelessness

::: Lessons Learned From Food Pantry to Food Co-Op
Fantastic read.

::: Made in Ethiopia Now Means Luxury
One of the founders mentioned, Sam Imende, is a friend of a friend.

::: Photo - training with some student mission team leaders - Union Station, Washington DC, April 2012.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Favorite Quotes About Unfiltered Debate

These form the backdrop for a large student missions training engagement this coming weekend. To build the best teams, you must use unfiltered debate as one of your greatest tools.
The key ingredient to building trust is not time. It is courage. - Patrick Lencioni
It's really demeaning to think that, in this deep desire to be liked, you’ve compromised giving clear, unambiguous feedback. - Steve Jobs
In any human interaction, the required amount of communication is inversely proportional to the level of trust...As a company grows, communication becomes its biggest challenge. If the employees fundamentally trust the CEO, the communication will be vastly more efficient than if they don't. Telling things as they are is a critical part of building this trust. - Ben Horowitz

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Burn

::: Twitter Opens $3M Tech Skills Center

::: We Have No Idea How to Help Countries Like Nepal Recover from Natural Disasters

::: The Human Trafficking Situation in Europe is Out of Control

::: What City Has More Bookstores Per Capita Than Any Other

::: "Tradition is not to preserve the ashes, but to pass on the flame." - Gustav Mahler via @jr_briggs

Photo: Ember mini ProtoGuide reunion. May 2015.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

2015 Mission Support Metrics

For those of you that might be interested in this kind of thing.... A glance at support funding metrics - this year compared to the past two years.

We are at roughly 70% with 8 weeks left to go and been raising funding for 12 weeks so far, meaning that we are a little ahead in terms of support versus time. Creative revenue is at 7% right now, but I'm expecting that percentage to go up as we get closer. We don't usually get CRP funding in hand until closer to departure.

The team has done a great job this year in raising support. I'm not too worried about raising enough support and I don't feel queasy about buying plane tickets anymore. We do still have a lot of work in terms of planning the actual experience.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Prague Mtg #5

Highlights from our team meeting #5:

+ More and more program development, including spiritual content and fun and games brainstorming. We still have a good amount of ways to go on this.
+ Review of one of the conference themes and how it will integrate with what we are doing.
+ We've started an Instagram account to help with future promotion for us - Got_Juice_2015.
+ The Best Idioms from Around the World
+ Pitch Perfect 2 as a team bonding field trip [not my idea but a pretty funny movie...]

Photo: Yes, Jacob is in there twice.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday Burn

::: 10 Lessons from a Leader's Legacy
Insightful, especially #4 and #10.

::: The Art of Giving Away Members
And this quote:
When we asked Greear about his path to church leadership, he said, some key older men “held a crown up over my head and grew me into it,” he said.

::: Is Multi-Site the Last Great Idea?
Fantastic read.
Link via Dawn Nicole Baldwin

::: I Traveled Across China Photographing People With Everything They Own

Photo: Youth group staples - note the quantity of matzah. Philly, April 2015.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

ProtoGuide to AZ

In 2013, Ember helped facilitate a student team from Grace, our home church, to serve and work with Amadeo Church, in Queen Creek, AZ. Amadeo's lead pastor Ben Cloud was one of my first missions friends that I met on the Internet in 2005 and this team happened to be an amazing collection of all girls.

Two years later, I'm delighted to tell you that one of those team members, Shannon Linden, is going to spend a few months serving with Amadeo in a gap semester, starting this coming September. Shannon graduates from high school in a few weeks and has a heart for service, community impact and church planting. She's also been one of our ProtoGuides this year and we have absolutely loved working with her.

The Ember Cast exist to help these kinds of relationships and experiences flourish. Combine passionate emerging global student leaders with the most adventurous, innovative and creative leaders that we know and you will get why we do what we do - we throw fire.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Ember Cast Board of Directors, May 2015

We've never had a picture before, so here it is, at our last board meeting, last Friday night.

Board meetings typically look like:
- reviewing the past [this part is mostly done with pictures and me telling some stories]
- looking at the future [usually lists]
- specific issues [this time was mostly about the board - job descriptions, open spots and opportunities for more involvement]
- interesting items to note [our big one this last time was talking about global risk]

Left to right: Leslie, Joyce, Matt - some of the biggest advocates for student missions leadership and living generous, adventure filled lives that reflect someone greater. The future will thank them.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Friday Burn

::: An Atlas of Upward Mobility

::: The Wire Got It Backwards

::: People Stop Listening to New Music at the Age of 33

Photo: baked goods and support letters.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Missional Elders

While the nature and values of the gospel remain the same, their expression should always be changing. Stubbornness to change can lead to methodolatry and make the gospel inaccessible and undesirable to others. God and his mission are often full of surprises, so mission-focused leaders hold plans loosely and continue to ask what he desires.
We cannot respond with the seven deadly words of the church: "We've never done it that way before." We must instead embrace a posture of "Whatever you want of us - and from us - God, we will do." One of the most significant and startling lessons we can learn from church history is that movements of renewal first happen on the fringe, not in the center of expected norms. Can we join him in those surprising places that force us to trust him with ever-deepening levels of faith?
Our role as elders is to seek God and ask him to stoke the coals of kingdom imagination in our own hearts and in the hearts of those in our congregation. Imagine if elders were the ones awakening hearts and minds of people with kingdom vision by saying things like "Imagine if we joined by..." or "What if God called us as a church to.." or "I wonder if God is calling us to step out in the area of..." When guided by the Spirit and rooted in wisdom, this type of kingdom-initiated vision is contagious.
But imagination involves risk and courage, which requires permission to fail - and grace when it happens. If we are afraid of failure, our churches will never pursue new outposts for reaching new people within various cultures and contexts. To be elders committed to expressing God's mission is to lead with courage as we pursue a mission larger than ourselves.
- Eldership and the Mission of God: Equipping Teams for Faithful Church Leadership, JR Briggs and Bob Hyatt.
Fantastic read and really gives a vision of local church elders as agents of mission for their communities. Highly recommended if you are involved in any kind of local church leadership.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Hosting the Ns

In 2006, the Ns hosted a student team that I led to Yaounde Cameroon. They were the most gracious hosts and our role was to help jump start some relationships and student gatherings during our time in their city. In 2008, they hosted another team from our church, this team helping them with a leadership conference they were putting together. Again, the most gracious, humble, and culturally sensitive hosts.

Bad picture, but G is second from the left and W is all the way on the right. [Greg who helped lead in 2006 and 2008 in the middle and Terah who lead in 2008 is second from the right.] It was a pleasure to host them and two of their three kids this past weekend. And, of course, when people like us get together, the 4 day long conversation includes topics like:
+ sending churches and global missions strategies
+ their transition of ministry moving from being hands on youth workers to focusing on organizational dynamics and administration
+ psychometrics and high performance teams
+ the demand of a typical season on furlough
+ life overseas while preparing your teenagers for college in another country

I also had some great conversations with their two boys about growing up overseas, being third culture kids and the kinds of things they would love and hate if they got together with similar kids. This is info we will indirectly use for Prague. Loved our time together.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Friday Burn

::: Where Should You Give to Help Nepal?

::: Production Adoption - Seth on the Diffusion of Innovation Scale
[PS I love this scale]

::: The World's Languages, in 7 maps and charts

::: Movement killer: telling someone with the apostolic gift that he/she cannot use it. @briansanders_

Photo: The Rocky Steps, Philly. April 2015.