Thursday, March 30, 2006

Leading Changes that Heal

Times of stagnation surrounded by great opportunity require courageous leadership.  Leadership because it is the responsibility of leaders to move toward a better future.  Courage because leadership like this is very very difficult.  The courage it takes to build something feels quite different than the courage it takes to change something in a radical fashion.  When Bill Bright showed up at UCLA circa 1951 it took courage and boldness, but he really had very little to lose (ministry wise).  He could have fallen flat on his face, learned something from God and then attempt something else.  No one would be the wiser.  He courageously moved forward and God used him to build a large apostolic / evangelistic organization.

We (as leaders in the organization he built) face a different reality.  We have to lead a change process, in a large organization, in order to fulfill the mission we embarked upon so long ago.  In many ways we are wiser, stronger and more prepared.  But we are also large, somewhat institutional and most of the easy work has been done.  

In many ways it is easy to see why a group like KCCC (Korea Campus Crusade for Christ) is much more successful at Asian student ministry than traditional CCC is.  Not only are they starting Asian (big bonus) but they have no need to lead change.  They build from scratch.  They build what the need, when they need it, how they need it.  They have no need to leverage parts of the organization because they don’t have those parts of the organization.

We on the other hand have systems o plenty.  Most of them built in the same way that our buddies in KCCC built theirs – on the fly, as needed and in order to accomplish the objective more effectively.  And most of the time this has worked wonderfully.  However, when drastic change is needed involving what has been built, the change can prove painful and overwhelming.  Sometimes, it is just easier to build something new.   

Now there’s an idea.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Epic East

Over the weekend I attended the Epic East conference.  In reality this is the AACF group (Epic) at Penn State hosting students from the NE for a spring retreat.  We were somewhere in the middle of PA – north and west of State College.  Kudos to Tony Wee and Sandy & John Mackin for putting together a wonderful time.  John and Sandy run the Epic group at Penn State and Tony is at George Mason.   As with many events like this, it is fantastic to see these students gathered together to worship and dream of how God can use them.  I believe there were about 100 students and everyone seemed to be having an awesome time.   John, Sandy and Tony (and others I am sure) did an incredible job.  I think this is just the tip of what God desires to do through Asian students in the NE.  Lead on!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Courage to Change

For as long as I can remember I have been enamored with change. Not change for the sake of change (although I can buy that) or change simply to make things better (contentment is a fine art) but I have been captured change that reflects what God would want us to do for His sake, His name, His glory.

I look at it this way. Paul (and sidekick Silas) left Antioch not to create change, nor to really shake up a system. They left for the glory and fame of God among the nations - changes in sytems, structures and functions resulted resulted because men of purpose and action desired to see His name glorified by more worshipers. Our task is the same as theirs.

Below are 5 quotes I came across on change.

Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.
- King Whitney, Jr.

Men make history, and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.
- Harry S. Truman

The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created--created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them, changes both the maker and the destination.
- John Schaar, futurist

In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.
- Eric Hoffer

If we are to fullfil the vision God has called us to . . . we must embrace any and every change to make that happen.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Leading Big (is not like leading small)

My good buddy Dave Dishman (Regional Leadership in CO) sent me me this article from Mark McKloskey dealing with leading big. I read this a number of years ago (I think) but at the time I was thinking in terms of leading a large number of people. It is interesting to me how I can read it now and think it terms of leading large numbers of divergent movements that we do not get to control.
Eight Ways Leading Big is Not Leading Small Or Beware the Prayer of Jabez
Mark McCloskey (12-13-2001)

There is a point where a difference in degree gives way to a difference in kind

1. The Scope – Focus Continuum. It is less about being a specialist and more about being an executive, cultural architect. It is less about a part of the movement and more about the whole. It is about living and leading with the burden of the whole.

2. The Impact – Time Frame Continuum. It is less about accomplishing yearly goals and more about leaving a legacy by building a movement. It is about living and leading with the burden of the future whole.

3. The Simplicity – Complexity Continuum. It is less about “keeping things simple,” and more about the pursuit of a powerful simplicity that provides clarity and traction on the other side of complexity. It is about managing chaos and moving ahead in the midst of perplexity, confusion, multiple options and parallel processes. It is about living and leading with the complexity of the whole.

4. Making Unity in Diversity Happen. It is less about dealing with those just like me, and more about forging partnerships with those not like me and most importantly, leaders not like me. It is about living and leading with conflicting demands and sharp differences, even among those who share your vision and core values.

5. Setting the Standards. It is less about telling others what to do and more about educating the movement as to what is fixed and what is flexible, what is negotiable and what is not. It is about living and leading while being in charge without being in control.

6. Ultimate Accountability. It is less about public and private accountability for my own actions (though this is still vitally important) and more about public accountability not only for my own actions, but also for organizational outcomes beyond my ability to control and the actions of people over whom I have little or no control. It is about living and leading with the “injustice” of answering for the actions of others.

7. Majoring in Critical Mass. It is less about making sure the strategies are well run (critical path) and more about focusing on the systems and processes, which accelerate the development of critical mass and provide for the welfare of the future of the movement. It is about living and leading with a view toward answering the question, “What can I, and only I, do as a leader that serves the future whole of the movement?”

• Money is the mother of all tools. With money the doors to other tools open.
• Secondary tools involve the tools money can buy.

8. The Distance – Impact Continuum. (Projection of Leadership) It is less about being everywhere and knowing everyone and more about leading and connecting with others not in your direct sphere of influence through strategic modeling, personal and public integrity, and generally a life lived authentically in public witness to the vision and core values. While those who lead big do not necessarily have higher levels of integrity, they do depend on it more. It is about living and leading with a view toward managing one’s limited time and energy such that more may be influenced from a distance rather than a few from close in.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Simple Church Momentum

This article in time is well worth the quick read.  The thing that I really like about the simple / organic / house church concept is the rapid scalability.  It requires very little expertise or overhead, and can happen anywhere.  Here is a excerpt from the article.

House churching in itself can be an economically beneficial proposition. Golden Gate Seminary's Karr reckons that building and staff consume 75% of a standard church's budget, with little left for good works. House churches can often dedicate up to 90% of their offerings. Karr notes that traditional church is fine "if you like buildings. But I think the reason house churches are becoming more popular is that their resources are going into something more meaningful."

Read the whole article here:,10987,1167737,00.html

Sam Osterloh

Mr. Osterloh has finally gotten a blog. I cannot promise it will be often, but I can promise it will often be good. Wisdom shall flow from his keyboard and the masses shall become learned (you must pronounce this learn ed for the full effect).

Check out Sammy here.

I copy his second post here - just cause I like it:

Gaewyn and Osterloh

One of my favorite people in all of history is a guy named Gaewyn. He was born on the Roman frontier on the British coast in around 385 AD. His father's name was Calpornius, a deacon son of a Celtic priest. When he was 16, marauders came from Ireland and attacked Gaewyn's village. Many people were killed and Gaewyn was taken away to Ireland. There he was sold into slavery where he was tasked with herding pigs. There in the pig-pen, the Lord met him, and he came to faith. When he was 22, the Lord revealed to him in a vision that he would be able to escape his slavery and that some 200 miles away he would find a boat and be able to return to Britain. Everything unfolded just as he had seen it in the vision.! His parents were overjoyed at his return. But not long after, an angel, named Victoricus. appeared to Gaewyn bearing letters. The letters were from Ireland and the angel began to read, "Oh dear boy, won't you come and minister among us!" Gaewyn's response was to the Lord was to return to the people who had stolen him away into slavery and bring them the Gospel. He sought formal training and took a new name, Pat, as he began his missionary venture.

Pat's struggle with the pagan order of the time began during the Celtic springtime fire festival known as Beltane. The ritual commenced with the ceremonial lighting of the High King's fire, from which all the other fires in the land would be lit. The lighting of the pagan fire coincided with the lighting of the Easter fire, a holy fire, on Easter eve. According to history, Pat lit an Easter fire on a nearby hill. The High King sent nine chariots to vanquish Pat and put out his fire. Circling counter to the sun's path, the chariots attacked, but were unable to prevail against the holy fire. The king then gave Pat passage to share the Gospel throughout Ireland.

In his lifetime hundred's of thousands were converted and churches were planted all over Ireland. He is one of the great missionary figures of all time! In a political move, the Roman Catholic church sough to bring the Celtic church under it's rule, and in exchange, granted Pat Roman Catholic sainthood.

Of course you know him...St. of the most disfugured characters in all of history...He wasn't Irish and he wasn't Roman Catholic, and certainly, he didn't drink green beer! But, he did use the three leaves of the cloverleaf to explain to the Irish about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit...the Trinity!

And oh, by the way, my's German and it has a distinct meaning associated with the story of Gaewyn. Osterloh is an old low German name and referred to the person who was the Easter (Oster) Fire Lighter (loh). Like Gaewyn (Patrick) I seek to use my life to be a Fire Starter, lighting the holy fire as I go!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

New Staff Job

Rich Swanson is a genius. Ok, maybe not a real genius, but I love the way he leads and thinks.

Over the past few months I have been working closely with the leaders focused on how we develop (train) the fresh recruits choosing to run with Campus Crusade. Rich and I have had a few conversations and his thoughts are excellent.

This is one of those situations where you see God's hand at work. While I am scheming and dreaming in Florida, Rich has been dilegently doing his own brain work in Boston. I only wish he would have sent it to me first - it would have made it easier to plagarize.

If you are in the campus ministry - a must read - Rich's Blog

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Back on Prayer

I have been anxious about a bunch of “stuff” lately.  A dear friend passed this on.  I needed to hear it.

“Before this day is done, you will have another occasion to choose between worry and prayer. Determine now what you will do. Decide now that when the crisis arises you will transform the worry into prayer. If at the end of praying, your emotions are still in turmoil, pray more. By cultivating the discipline of prayer, you will discover the ability to remain clam and quiet. As you wait before the Lord, you’ll find relief from fear’s grip on your spirit.”
 -Charles Swindoll

The part of remaining quiet may be in the miracle category for me.

Thousands of students are pouring into New Orleans to bring real live help to hurting city. Here is just one of the cool stories.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Destino Conference - Represent

OK – this is from Mark Vera in San Antonio. Mark did a fantastic job leading this conference (along with many others) - here are the results!

“Thank you all for your prayers and hard work in making this conference so successful! I believe this is only the beginning! I look forward to what God is going to do through the DESTINO movement in the future! Here are the final results of the DESTINO Conference 06 – “REPRESENT”.

154 in Total Conference Attendance
– 112 students, 28 staff, 14+ volunteers & guests

14+ Nationalities represented –
U.S., Mexico, Puerto Rico, Columbia, Costa Rica, Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Chili, Honduras, Portugal, Philippines, China

13 States Represented

  • Arizona (2) – 2 students
  • California (32) – 26 students, 6 staff
  • Colorado (4) – 3 students, 1 staff
  • Florida (10) – 5 students, 5 staff
  • Illinois (2) – 2 students
  • Indiana (1) – 1 staff
  • Massachusetts (2) – 2 students
  • Michigan (1) – 1 student
  • North Carolina (2) – 2 students
  • New Mexico (2) – 2 staff
  • New York (6) – 6 students
  • Ohio (2) – 2 students
  • Texas (88) – 61 students, 12 staff, 14+ volunteers & guests

200+ Exposures to the gospel

20 Decisions for Christ – 8 conference students, 12 on day of outreach

17 NEW key student contacts this semester

14 NEW campuses launched were DESTINO did not exist last semester.

To Him be the Glory!