Monday, November 12, 2018

The Ember Cast Celebrates 8 Years!

EDIT: Duh. I had 2010 on the brain - it is 8 years, not 10.

It was exactly 10 8 years ago today that we held the first board of directors meeting for The Ember Cast, so today is a pretty huge milestone for Ember and it totally took me by surprise. I'm thrilled at everything we have done over this season and wouldn't trade it for the world. Super grateful for the Board [only 3 of us right now] and how the current and past Directors have paved the way and forged the future through the medium of Ember.

Some quick numbers over the past 10 8 years:
Almost 20 team training events and 16 Perspectives classes, all involving over 1000 people. Some 18 community impact projects, involving around 300 people, virtually all high school students. 9 summer teams, 115 people, 9 countries. Over 1500 people have been involved in some kind of Ember engagement. Around $202,000 raised and spent for student missions leadership. Some 18,500 service hours. Over 700 donors have sacrificially given for these efforts. Around 120 travel days. 14 ProtoGuides, which is who you should bet the future on.

Thank you to all of you that have given your support both with your attention, finances and encouragement. Special thanks to the Board for hanging with me to follow through on the idea that we can catalyze high school students to live very large lives impacting the future. And of course, all glory to the Lord for letting us be a small part of this.

PS - I am never bored.

Feb 2008, flying to Orlando for Humana 2008. Matt, Joyce, me. Note that I worked with my board before they actually became my board.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Friday Burn

::: A Dog Could Stop Malaria

::: The Irresistible Urge to Build Cities from Scratch

::: A Device that Can Pull Drinking Water from the Air

::: If #Yemen was 100 people:

-80 need aid to survive.
-60 have barely anything to eat.
-58 have no access to clean water.
-52 have no access to health care.
-11 are severely malnourished.

But Yemen is not 100 people. It’s 27 million people.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Conviction > Consensus

Decisions based on consensus typically end up with an ordinary outcome because by seeking to please everyone, you boil your options down to their lowest common denominator: whatever option is the most familiar to the most people and therefore gets the least protest and the fastest support. As British author Aldous Huxley once observed, "The vast majority of human beings dislike and even actually dread all notions with which they are not familiar. Hence it comes about that at their first appearance innovators have generally been persecuted, and always derided as fools and madmen."
Only conviction will take you somewhere the group never anticipated. Sometimes you need to forget everything you've learned - all the classes, the 'rules of the road,' conventions, what investors are telling you - and just go with your gut. It is your intuition, formed from your entire life's experiences, revealing something that nobody else can see. Take it seriously!
Herein lies that most important nuance of leading with conviction: You must surround yourself with others who also have conviction. Strong gut instincts surrounded by weak people or people afraid to speak up are bound to lead you astray.
For extraordinary outcomes, seek conviction in your work and build teams that value conviction over consensus.
- Scott Belsky, The Messy Middle

Monday, November 05, 2018

Better Practices - Missionary Roundtable

This is a series of posts that outline our better practices - tactical things that you could do right now that The Ember Cast has found highly profitable for growing global leaders. Feel free to use these ideas with attribution, meaning just say, "I got this from The Ember Cast."

Most student teams never deeply interact with their in-country hosts. Our teams aim to do different by scheduling and hosting a 'missionary roundtable'. The idea is simply a conversation between students and vocational missionaries about what they do and how they do it. It sounds easy because it is.

It does, however, require time and advance preparation. It must be scheduled. Guests must be given some kind of preparation on what to expect. Someone should host this conversation, which looks best like a talk show. Think about your favorite podcast - this is a curated conversation and someone is proactively leading it. Most fun over a meal. We always prepare questions that ask about struggles, strategy and advice for young people.

Cross cultural workers that have been in the field for any amount of time have a wealth of experience. We are crazy to serve with them for at least a week at a time and never exploit that wisdom to our students.

Roundtable, Aix, France, 2014.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Friday Burn

::: The 100 Charities that are America's Favorites

::: The 63,000 People that Run the Atlanta Airport

::: Places in the UK where no one lives

::: Successful leaders do consistently what other people do occasionally. - Craig Groschel

Photo: McDonalds, Londrina, Brazil. July 2005.