Wednesday, May 31, 2006

College Students (from the Wall Street Journal)

From the March 25th Wall Street Journal article College Admissions: Is the Gate Open or Closed?

Here are some factoids for the US:

  • In 1940, more than three-fourths of those age 25 and older hadn't graduated from high school. Just 5% held a bachelor's degree or higher.
  • In 2004, about 15% of those 25 and older lacked a high-school degree, while 28% had a bachelor's degree.
  • In 2005, 68% Mexican American college-bound seniors where first generation college students (neither parent earned a college degree). The numbers where 50% for Puerto Rican, 53% for other Hispanic and 52% for African American.
  • Total college enrollment in all degree-granting institutions has increased by 26% to an estimated 17 million in 2005 from 1990. The Department of Education expects that number to increase to about 19 million by 2010.

Some observations for collegiate ministry:
  • When Bill Bright began this crazy endeavour of Campus Crusade, the university was truly an elite place. Just 11 years prior to beginning Crusade, only 5% of the entire population had been to college - now we are close to 30%
  • If ministry growth mirrors student growth, then we should naturally get to 2100 movements and 70,000 students involved by 2010 (without changing a thing - this is simply population growth). Or a better way to put it, if we achieve these numbers it only represents keeping up, not growth in light of the whole.
  • We had better do something in the Latino community if we desire to influence the collegiate world.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Asian American Christian Leaders

This recent article in Christianity Today highlights the growing influence of Asian American Christian leaders on the elite universities of the US. Check out the article.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Freedom - the best organizer

Few in the western world would argue with this principle on a political level.  In fact, many of us would die for it.  All over the world we have seen the demise of societies that are over organized, controlled and managed from a tight hierarchy.  Communism was a disaster and most socialist states are synonymous with lame productivity and limited freedoms.  True freedom allows those who desire to organize do so, and allows those who desire for something better to go ahead and build it.

So why do I mention this on a blog about spiritual movements?  Because I believe that the same principle applies to the church at large and it is high time we accessed this power.   In many ways the church at large operates like this (who is gonna stop you from starting something new? - no one!), but organizationally we are caught in an old modern form that, I believe, greatly limits our success.

There are many among us who would say that our problem is that we do not know what to do – and to a degree that may be true.  A better explanation is that we are not organized in a way that allows us to maximize what could be done.  We spend a ton of time managing structures, systems and people.  What if we didn't?  

A Struggle for 5000

One of our stated goals in the Campus Ministry is to get to 5000 movements (a mile marker on our way to everhwere). In 1992, we were at about 180 and then we began to move toward all the schools we traditionally had not targeted. In 10 years we jumped over 1000 under a new structure some new ministry philosophy (well, the philosophy was not that new, it was simply finding student leaders from a distance - rather than working on just one campus). We are at about 1500 now.

Now I am an optimist at heart. I believe we (and certianly God) can do anything. He is looking to us for faith to believe and act on that which may seem impossible. So, in light of that, 5000 in just playing around.

But on the other hand, I think we have some serious rethinking to do if we are to achieve this mile marker. Prayer is a part, Revival is essential and Boldness in faith must happen. But even with this, it seems difficult to scale what we are doing to this number - much less 'everywhere'

Here is what I mean. Recently we did a little impormpto survey with each regional team. One of the questions related to how many teams were needed to get to the all the students. The answers were interesting. No matter the size of the region (we vary from 750k - 2.1 million) the answer was between 20-30.

At the same time, there are only a few local teams in the country that coach more than 20 movements. Some do 10, many do 3-4, but most do 1-2.

Just for fun, lets say that we could move to a point where the average number of movements coached by each local team was 10 (I know this is a a stretch, but it is good for the numbers). So, if we have 10 regions, and each region has 30 teams and each team coaches 10 movements we get . . . . only 3000.

Even to get to 3000 we will have to have someone somewhere shift a paradigm or two. And even then, we are still just at 3k and trying to run what we have built (only harder and faster - doesn't that sounds fun). We will either need to add teams to regions, or ask teams to coach many more movements.

One of the reasons (and there are others) that this will prove difficult is because of our concept of coaching and heirarchy (or we could say 'span of care'). Individuals only have so much capacity for direct reporting relationships - it is hard to be directly responsible for the conduct of 50 people - a more realistic number may be 10-15.

Looking at the size of regions and numbers of teams each region wanted - it is interesting that there was not much correlation between student populations and number of teams. My hunch is that, because of how we view direct reporting, that each region is only able to supervise a maximum of 30 and this artificially caps the numbers of teams a region sees as needed. If you go much beyond this, it really taxes our reporting system.

Of course this is part of the issue we run into on for each local team. With our current coaching philosophy, anything beyond 10-15 seems daunting (ok, Ben Rivera does like 50, but is approaching jedi status). For the rest of us, this can seem like the old 'more bricks' scenario.

So lets say we are winning, building and sending as well as planting and growing new movements - and doing all of this well. We still run into a roadblock of scalability. We are simply adding new stuff, not really multiplying from our starting point. If we have to have new movements / teams report directly, then we will be hard pressed to move beyond 3000 . . . . much less 5000 . . . not to mention everywhere.

However, I do have hope - and lots of it. I think that we simply need to rethink the way we go about getting to students and releasing students (and teams) to run after the mission. This is the point where things could get messy. But messy, with volume, is what gets the job done. Not to mention, this is what 'movement' is really like.

The question is, will we have the courage to move this way?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Crocker blogging King of the Hill

Very funny - and oh so true. Thanks Scott

Crocker Chronicle

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Some Have Asked

Often people have asked me what is meant by 'emergent' and 'missional' - Andrew Jones (tallskinnykiwi) does a good job outlining some definitions and history.
- a nod to the newness of the movement and its fluidity
- it is coming up out the previous wave of ministry, but not necessarily in protest to it.
- it displays characteristics of emergent behavior that are evident in any system when chaos finds order through self-organisation and other emergent criteria.
- the ministry is a biblically informed contextual response to the local emerging cultural context - something similar to what the wider church used to call youth culture, Gen X culture, postmodern culture, etc.
- it addresses issues of culture as well as mindset (postmodern) and life-stage (youth, genX).

Emerging Church can be used as generally as all ministries involved in contextual ministry to the younger generation or the current culture (Gen X, Gen Y, GenNext, GenText, youth culture, postmodern, alternative culture, alt. worship, fresh expressions, etc). With such a broad definition, it is therefore possible to have emergent type churches that are not emerging and emerging churches that are not emergent. If the definition includes new aggregations of believers that form around online communities and conversations, then even some anti-emerging church sites might actually be an example of cyber-community and emerging church rather than objective critics of the movement.

Some definitions of 'emerging church' are stricter and use "emerging" or "emergent" to describe those new churches that display emergent behavior (decentralized leadership, simple structures, etc) Some use it to refer to churches and networks that align with a a particular emerging church network or festival or conference.

The term Emerging Church has been around for decades. One of the books on my shelf is "The Emerging Church" (1970) by Bruce Larson and Ralph Osbourne. Another is "The Emerging Church in Ephesians" (1980) by A. John Carr. Dan Kimball's book "The Emerging Church" (2003) helped to jump-start the word in USA.

But I feel it was around 2001 when the word exploded onto the radar screens of the church. Young Leaders in USA had changed their name to Emergent, A number of European networks from UK, Spain and Germany gathered in Frankfurt for an event called "Emerge", Karen Ward started a web site called (2002?) and in Austin the Boaz Project hosted the Epicenter roundtable for leaders of emerging church networks.

But the new forms of churches now generally recognized as "emerging" or "emergent" trace their history back to the 80's and are precedented by models first seen in the late 60's as a response to the countercultural movement. The similarity between early churches in the first century and their counterparts in the emerging church have led some to refer to emerging churches as "post-Christendom", referring to the Christendom period in Western culture from Constantine to the recent past.
More: What is Emergent?, Emergant, Emergent Vocabulary

you will often hear the word "missional' added to "emerging" to form the description "emerging-missional church"

The word "Missional" has been adopted by many North American missiologists and theologians. According to Milfred Minnitrea (Shaped by God's Heart), the first person to use the word "missional" was Charles Van Engen (missiology professor at Fuller School of World Mission) who referred to "missional relationships" in 1991. He was followed during the nineties by the contributors from the Gospel in Our Culture Network on the Missional Church, often with a passing reference to Missio Dei and British Lesslie Newbigin. Young Leaders (Pre-EmergentVillage) also used the word missional with an acknowlegement of its roots in Missio Dei.

'Mission Shaped Church' became popular in UK. The book of the same title ties the history of the name to missio dei. Newbigin, btw, did not use the Mission Dei terminology very much but certainly helped in the formation of its thinking and impact on mission in a post-modern, post-Christendom society.

Missio Dei, meaning the Mission of God, was coined by Karl Hartenstein in the 1950's, immediately after and in response to the IMC missions conference at Willingen, Germany. It tapped into the trinitarian emphasis of Barth and Hartenstein in the 1930's and moved the thinking beyond the ecclesiocentrism and individualism of the time. The emphasis was put on God's mission rather than ours - we participate with the Triune God in what he is doing. Jacques Matthey is the unofficial guardian of the Missio Dei concept.

The term, "emerging-missional church", favored by Aussies and Kiwis, seems to tie together the two strands of missio dei and missio ecclesiae in one phrase. Without the missional, emergent is just style. Without the emergent, missional pours the new wine backwards into old containers, and often without regard to context.

Thats why I like to keep the combination of words intact.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Bob Roberts

I like this quote from Bob Roberts - from the National Church Planters conference in Orlando (I was only able to make it for one day).

You have a Church Planting Movement when it’s growing so fast you can’t count it. It’s growing so fast that your systems can’t cope.

You would be wrong to think that church planting movements are a white man’s idea. They are not. We are trying to implement in the West what we are seeing God do all over the developing world. We have been the last to get it.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Decisiveness (from Fast Company)

Leading Ideas: Decisiveness Generates Momentum

"The percentage of mistakes in quick decisions is no greater than in long-drawn-out vacillation, and the effect of decisiveness itself 'makes things go' and creates confidence."
-- Anne O'Hare McCormick (1882-1954), First woman to win a Pulitzer prize for journalism
Contrary to popular belief, your decisions don't drive your long term success - your decisiveness does. Said another way, when you reach a crossroads on any issue, the act of choosing creates power, not the choice itself. The issue is momentum. No matter what you choose, when you commit boldly with conviction, you create momentum. When you hesitate you don't. And success is built on momentum.

One of the most common breeding grounds for indecision is to-do lists. One of my clients had over 100 items on his when we first met. He wanted me to help him create systems to get them all done. I told him the most powerful system I know is the 3 D's - Do it, Delegate it, or Delete it. We carved up his list and actually deleted 75% of it in about 30 minutes (including some items that had been on there for 2 years!) The process was painful for him, but ultimately very freeing. "It was cathartic," he later admitted. "Actually making the choice NOT to do all those things took a huge weight off my shoulders and allowed me to focus on things that were truly important."

Try This:

1. Get a copy of your to-do list
2. Be decisive about each item - are you going to Do it, Delegate it, or Delete it
3. Write out steps and a timeline for things you need to do.
4. Do it
5. Recognize that the more decisive you are, the easier the process gets.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Six Observation from One of the Biggest Movements in History

This is total plagarism from Steve Addison, but this summary jumped off the page for me.

Last month marked 100 years since the Asuza Street revival that launched Pentecostalism as a movement (and loads of controversy since). Towards a Pentecostal Missiology for the Majority World by Allan Anderson does a great job of unpacking what happened in the Pentocoastal movement of Christianity that makes it so diversified, rapid and prolific. Addison points out that this is perhaps the 20th Century’s most successful movement of any kind.

Addison's summary is worth the read. Here are the main observations from this movement.

  1. Pneumatocentric Mission (Spirit Directed)
  2. Dynamic Mission Praxis (Spirit can and will operate in power - signs and wonders)
  3. Evangelism: Central Missiological Thrust (sow broadly and rapidly)
  4. Contextualization of Leadership (expecting quick transition)
  5. Mobilization in Mission (democratization of Christianity - everyone plays)
  6. Contextual Missiology (uh . . . the style of “freedom in the Spirit” that characterizes Pentecostal liturgy has contributed to the appeal of the movement in many different contexts)
I really like this, but I have always been somewhat resistant to #2. A few strange experiences and it became easy for me to write off the whole category. What is striking to me is the emphasis on the spirit and how that sounds very much like the history of campus crusade. However, I think many of us would agree that this does not necessarily characterize us today. I think there are at least three reasons why - Moving away from teaching on the Spirit, an intellectual / thinking based theology and an uncomfortableness with the chaotic operation that the Spirit often brings to things He leads.

But now I feel convicted.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Speaking of Simple

I just stumbled across this note I had copied from MegaShift - on simple.

The Catholic, Orthodox, and old-line Protestant churches tend to parcel out empowerment rather sparingly. They are all run from the top down, with leadership mainly by position rather than by example or gifting. Typically, to even get started as a pastor or priest, you have to earn a three-year seminary degree. Authority and power don't just flow from God's thrown straight to you. This limitation puts members of the more traditional churches at a great disadvantage in adjusting to the string of a million and one emergencies we call life.

In the new, more open churches, you don't have to wait for someone to give you permission for every little thing. You just do it

MEGASHIFT by Steve Rutz pg. 89

Poeple Get Ready

This is a great snapshot of the future of ministry. NGL - The New Generation Latino. Are we ready for thes young leaders!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Five Global Trends

Five encouraging developments worldwide

Often the best news doesn't make it into the newspapers. At the start of 2006, Joel News International lists a simple top-5 most encouraging developments.

1. An unprecedented growth of the prayer movement worldwide;
2. God's Spirit being poured out in many places, marked by conversion and miracles;
3. Many new partnerships and networks are being formed on a city-, nation- and even continental level, linking prayer, saturation church planting and frontline missions;
4. More and more Christians, churches and ministries are engaging in a transformational process to bring godly change to their societies;
5. Radically simple and innovative forms of church are springing up in many places, reaching the unreached.


I think the toughest for us to deal with will be #2 & #5. There is something about the miraculous that is really troubling to the evangelical world. I mean, we would all say that God can (and does) still do miracles, but the frequency and verasity that is being shown worldwide is a bit alarming to our tride and true ways of doing missional business. I think we are going to have to embrace the reality of the gospel going forth in power if are to fully understand how God is choosing to move in this day.

Combine that with the simple expansion of the kingdom through simple people and you have a very ACTS like set up. Many villages and communities were won in Asia minor by the display of healings and miracles . . . and many of the new leaders of these churches could not even read. They could not even have a quiet time the way that we typically teach students to have a quiet time. I am sure they pondered the new truths they heard and simply listened to God to hear more. This is very simple - and in may ways scares us to death!

I am not sure why. Part of it is our desire to have good sound doctrine - and even to protect doctrine (as if God is having trouble doing this for himself). Another part is our need for control. Our western idea of having things structured and organized. This is neither. A third aspect is credit. It is hard to point to one person, organization or event that can take credit for what happens with this kind of simple expansion - and I think that somehow troubles us (ok, it troubles me - you can be troubled by your own troubles).

But at the end of the day the lost are being saved (and the blind are given sight). It is hard to argue with the numbers and the passion of the church growing in these areas. Not seminary trained, no buildings and no professional help - and yet the church expands at an explosive rate.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Dinner with Neil

I had the great honor and privilege to have dinner with Neil Cole the other night. I heard, on a whim, that he was headed to Otown for a church planting conference. Of course, as providence would have it, that day was a Campus Crusade for Meetings day. I asked my compadre John Waidley (Intercultural Ministries guru in California) for Neil’s contact info – on the outside chance I could grab some time with him.

So on Monday evening I found myself sitting with Neil and Mark and Kristi Gauthier, Carrie Walker and the fantabulous Linda. And I have to say – I love the way Neil thinks and the information he has put to paper. And it is not just information – he is not just spouting theory, but really trusting the Lord to build organic rapidly multiplying church movements. We bought Neil a big steak and then proceeded to ask him so many questions he could barely eat the thing.

There were many nuggets of wisdom put forth, but here is one I found intriguing: Neil asked . . . . What is your goal? If it is to plant 50 churches [movements] then add couple of more zeros. If your strategy cannot get you to 500,000 then you are doing addition and not multiplication. If you start with the essence of multiplication, then top end is attainable.

Neil – thanks for the time. I look forward to more conversations.

World Evangelism Today

Check out this link – interesting:

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Every once in awhile this is worth repeating. Just to keep us in the game.

· Statistically 90% of all Christians come to Christ before the age of 25.

· Students are the most open to the Gospel and if trained to serve Christ with a missions mind set today will serve Him with a missions mindset tomorrow
· Students are the future government leaders, business leaders, educational leaders, local church leaders who will lead our cities and nations.
· Nearly every great revival and missionary movement started on the campus with students