Tuesday, January 31, 2017

3 Days with Amadeo Church

Ben and Mandy Cloud are dear friends who started Amadeo Church in 2006. It's a phenomenal church that has made an impact on our family and The Ember Cast for their values, how they impact the community and their very ethos. Em and I were privileged to spend this past weekend with them for a leadership gathering and their Sunday services.

I love the StrengthsFinder psychometric and have led leadership sessions around the results here and there. I don't do this very much because frankly, you can find people that know the results a lot better than me [my friends at LeadershipVision] It is also a very big time investment if you want to do it right. You need a minimum of 2 sessions of 3 hours each.

Amadeo had 40 of their key leaders gathered for 4 hours on both Friday evening and Saturday to walk through their top talents and how and why it can be worked out in their ministry teams, with their church and for their community at large. An incredible time. They did it right too - every one of these leaders was well engaged with the discussion on talents and how it translated into their influence. They were vulnerable with each other, open to learning the content and ready to receive a leadership weekend. I can't tell you how gratifying that is when you are the guest speaker.

These days, the most effective church leaders are the ones that consistently push their personal and organizational limits on becoming better at developing leaders.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Big Epiphanies

One of the things I've been working on for a few weeks, besides starting a new job this week [tell you more about that later], is planning for a leadership weekend with one of our church partners. One of the core tools will be this - the StrengthsFinder psychometric.

Self-awareness is so rare among leaders - 'leaders' not meaning those in charge but rather those with influence. If you can persuade someone to do something with you, you might be more of a leader than you give yourself credit for. And if you exercise any kind of influence, you [should] know that the most difficult person to lead is yourself.

If you like to pray for this kind of thing that Ember does, we'd appreciate that. Pray for big epiphanies.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Plan to Prepare

Short term teams are a unique dynamic - you mostly travel to a new place with new people to do new things. What could go wrong?

Ember has had the privilege of working with lots of short term teams and we love the opportunity at helping these kinds of teams prepare. We had the honor of facilitating one of these preparation sessions last weekend for a team traveling to the Caribbean for some medical and child welfare work.

Teams have a better chance becoming stronger after spending time working through the concepts of personalities, trust and teamwork. That's why we almost always have everyone take a psychometric assessment, talk through our frames for teams and do some kind of hands on group activity. Remember, this isn't a group project that you probably loathed in school - there is a lot more at stake. The other good news is that if you are leading a team this coming summer, you have plenty of time now to plan preparation.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Burn

::: 2016 has Been One of the Safest Years in Aviation History

::: The 10 Most Difficult Languages in the World

::: Ingredients for an Innovative Culture

"The ends of the earth are now in our Jerusalem. The question for churches: Do we like our new neighbors?" @LarryMcCrary

Photo: Beignet cart, Bandol France, July 2014.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Frames for Teams

Our latest "frames" that we use for working with teams...

+ A team is not a group of people who just work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other. Simon Sinek via Craig Groeschel

+ 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

+ "For the Christian, there are strictly speaking, no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, 'You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,' can truly say to every group of Christian friends, 'You have not chosen one another, but I have chosen you for one another.' The friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument which God reveals to us to each the beauties of all the others." - C. S. Lewis

+ I'm choosing to take something important to me and make it vulnerable to your actions. - definition of trust - Feltman via Brene Brown

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Burn

::: Google Translate invented its own language to help it translate more effectively.
Link via Ember Board of Director, MPM

::: Why Cities are Where They Are
Super interesting video on geography, urban growth and development and urbanization. Make sure to pay attention during the few minutes on wide versus tall continents.
Link - 15 minute video via kottke.org

::: 13 Things You Need to Give Up If You Want to be Successful
"Somebody once told me the definition of hell: 'On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.' - Anonymous"

::: The Global Youth Collective - Roosevelt Island Center of Community Development
Run by Dan Sadlier, Hope Roosevelt Island. Love this.

::: "He who deliberates fully before taking a step will spend his entire life on one leg." - Chinese Proverb ‏@willmancini

Photo: Perspectives class, New Freedom, PA.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Happy 16th Em

Dear Em --

As you know, in our family, ideas from you girls are best presented to us as proposals. So we should have braced for something big, somewhere in the Fall of 2015, when you showed up with your clipboard. Clipboards = big time. You had mapped out a grand and epic journey to Australia. Lots of details and credit card points later, your plan came to fruition during June and July of 2016. What an adventure.

We love that you dream big. Colors are rich and vivid and only big, audacious ideas really matter. Circles can and should get bigger to include more.

Keep dreaming big and using that clipboard. We only help solve the world's biggest problems with the most daring ideas and proposals - ones that are the most audacious. And of course, God loves when we dream big because He is in the business of doing immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine.

Love DAD

Monday, January 09, 2017

Perspectives Peeps

I had the privilege to teach at a Perspectives Intensive late last week, where the 16 week long class is run in concentrated style for a week. There were about 15 people in the class which ran from Monday to Saturday. Additionally, most of them stayed at the location of where the class was being hosted, which was a little retreat and summer camp facility near the Maryland Pennsylvania state line.

People attracted to Perspectives are a unique breed and taking the class not only exposes you to great content about global issues but connects you implicitly with these kinds of people. It continues to be one of the best ways to dive into global leadership.

The list of interesting people from last week included:
A couple who served for many years among remote jungle tribes - they were the first white people that some of these tribes had ever seen and the tribes people thought this couple were spirits.
Cross cultural trainer based in Dehli
Missionary to Mali for 4 years. Taking a vacation to Ireland after her first 3 years was a huge vacation.
Couple that ran a guest house in NYC as second careers.
Husband and wife who helped coordinate the class after a 30 year career as a pastor. Best personal missions library I've ever seen, above.
Ten year veteran of student ministry who is taking a lead pastor in a church in a global city in Latin America.

Two Perspectives classes that just started in our area for the Spring semester...

Friday, January 06, 2017

Friday Burn

::: The Most Instagrammed Cities of 2016

::: Poverty Is Going Extinct
This marks a historic rupture. For the first time in human history, poverty is not growing just because population is growing.

::: A Question I Ask New Entrepreneurs
There's no better lesson in business than the experience of dealing with the public in person.
[I've been consistently impressed with Basecamp and how they have run their business for about 10 years now. See Rework]

::: No matter what the calendar says, you're still stuck with your same character. -Steven Furtick via David Huey

Photo: Scheming for 2017.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

ProtoGuide 2017 - Applications Open

Applications are now open for The Ember Cast Fall 2017 ProtoGuide Experience. This experience is the capstone Ember offering, designed to catalyze a student into a trajectory of cross cultural and missions leadership. It's meant for the emerging global student leader - someone already interested in world cultures and global potential. I don't know of any other missions agency or church or nonprofit that built an experience like this, specific for high school students, from the ground up.

More info here. 2017 application here. Thanks for passing it on to someone you think might fit.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Out and About - January 2017

Happy 2017!!

Ember has the following engagements coming up this month and I'd love to see you face to face. If you are interested in the why, what and how Ember does what it does, some of these might be a good inside look - I could maybe sneak you in.

+ Perspectives Intensive, Lesson 11 and 12, Summit Grove, PA.
+ Short term missions team session - Erupting Super Teams, Columbia, MD.
+ Strength:ening Vision - local church leadership overnight, Queen Creek, AZ.

We've also put the paces on an Ember Pitch, which is a 45 minute overview for The Ember Cast. Contact for scheduling.