Monday, December 31, 2007

Minneapolis - TCX

Cameron (our 12 year old son) took this picture of me at TCX - a student conference in Minneapolis. He was sitting front row with about 1400 college kids behind him. (If you think I look fat here, you should have seen me on the giant screen! I looked up and lost my train of thought while staring at the huge balding guy!)

The best part about being with these students is the white-hot worship. I feel this generation engages Jesus with a reckless abandonment that is refreshing and fun to be a part of. But it is also a generation of pain, suffering and disillusionment. In general, they are skeptical of religion, shun church as usual, and are moving rapidly away from the faith the way grandma did it. This is an incredible opportunity. From my vantage point, it seems like a major shift unlike anything we have seen in generations. There is a redefinition going on (for good and bad I might add) and it has the potential to reshape our nation and even the world.

I particularly talked to this gang about engaging the culture around them with the gospel. In a nutshell, taking faith on the offensive without being offensive. Taking Jesus to those who need him without carrying the baggage of religiosity and condemnation. I did this by looking at teachings of Christ and having the students interact with each other over situations and groups on their campuses (like - how do you be Jesus to the Gay/Lesbian/Bi-sexual club).

As spirituality and faith increases on campus, we (believers) have a tendency to form 'holy huddles' that cease to engage the culture around us and become a bit sanctimonious and isolated (and, as one non believer stated, 'just plain mean'). None of which reflects how Jesus operated (in fact, he was too busy ticking off the religious by serving and loving those who were deeply trapped by sin and poor choices).

The true beauty of university students is their naiveté and zeal. They really believe God will do what he has done before (and more), and it is not a stretch for them to act on those beliefs. So the day after I spoke, all 1400 hundred of these kids (yes, they are kids now!!) hit the streets of Minneapolis to give food and gifts to those in need and to share the good new with anyone who wanted to hear it. What a great group of young leaders to run with!!

One of the things I asked them was, in teams, to build a simple plan to 'be Jesus' to a group of other students on campus. In a week or so I will email the leaders on those campuses to see if there is any progress, or if students are attempting anything in their communities. I hope so. I pray that my speaking was not just another talking head with some decent jokes, but that some actions will take place that make big difference.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Rob Bell - Pay Attention

Time Magazine did a great little piece on Rob Bell - may his tribe increase. I am really quite unfamiliar with his stuff (to my shame), but I like everything I see.

Go Rob Go. Re-invent for us all.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Great Plains and "The Way Forward?"

I am in Estes Park at the Stanley Hotel with the killer GPI region of Campus Crusade for Christ - they are having a discussion on 'The Way Forward' - the new directional direction from the National Team of the campus ministry.

You can look at the PowerPoint here - but here are some questions being asked by these leaders?

  • What systems are in place for coaching these new teams - how does that look?
  • What thought is given to getting more people on the ground?
  • Tension between organizational control and expansion?
  • What is a missional team anyway?
  • Are we going to have the same success criteria?
  • Does this mean that the local level with have more authority?
  • How doest this look in partnerships on campus? Internationally?
  • The strategic priorities - what exactly are these?
  • Is this initiated at the local level / regional level?
  • Is this an expansion of scope / or just a serious allocation to scope?
  • Is there a bigger change coming? or is this it?
There seems to be a lot of confusion on missional teams. I love the GPI leadership is because they are honest about the confusion - and not trying to answer questions that they are not sure of the answers to. Good job.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Supernatural on Campus

The speakers at Supernatural at UCLA are Banning Libscher, Jaeson Ma and Neil Cole. I dont know Banning Liebscher, but I am sure he is the reasl deal since he is hanging with Jaeson and Neil - this conference should be a good time.

Here is what it is about: Campus Church Networks presents "Supernatural on Campus" a college revival conference to equip and empower student missionaries to awaken a generation to the love of God, make disciples and move in signs, wonders, and miracles to transform their campuses for God's glory. Cool.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Texas Retreat #2

On Sunday morning we tackled, in an interactive way, six principles of kingdom growth.

  • The Principle of Abide / Obedience (of being a disciple) (John 15)
  • The Principle of Sowing (the Farmer of Mark 4)
  • The Principle of Oikos (Households) (Matthew in Mark 2)
  • The Principle of “People of Peace” (the Samaritan woman of John 4)
  • The Principle of Apostolic Mission (The 70 in Luke 10)
  • The Principle of Mission Focused Prayer (Jesus from Matthew 9)
On hindsight, I think I tried to cram to much of this in and would be better served to space it out over the weekend. I had the whole group divided in teams of five representing their campuses. Each team had a big poster board and a scribe as they worked the process.
  • On Abide we covered divine truth, nurturing relationships and apostolic mission.
  • On Sowing, we worked through observations of the farmer, seed and soil.
  • On households they listed each 'tribe' they could identify on their campus
  • On POP we talked about the seed surfacing people who are ready to respond
  • On mission, each team spent 10 minutes building a quick plan to 'out themselves and the gospel' among a few of the tribes they had identified in less than a 48 hour period. This is where we spent most of our time.
By the end of the time, there were a number of good plans in place and a number of teams were really excited about what could happen. However, I must admit that it was a bit too rushed and I think many of the students where simply not thinking bold enough (or concrete enough). I could have done a better job pushing the boldness quotient.

Time will tell.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Texas Retreat #1

I spent the weekend in the great state of Texas hanging with students from San Marcos, Houston, San Antonio, Laredo, Austin and Dallas-Ft. Worth at Camp Tejas near Giddings. The Cru staff from theses cities are doing a great job tackling the spiritual movements in all its complexities. Hats off to Erin, Ken, John, Lori, David, Sal, Lance, Mark, Cody, Becca, Doug and the rest. They are seeing some great things happen.

I continue to experiment (thanks guys) with the retreat format I used at UCLA last year - that is, to use the retreat for an interactive mission focused / training venue. Basically, assuming that the students that arrive at the retreat are the mission force for the schools they represent and that within them are the ideas to reach their fellow students.

On Friday I told my story and highlighted God's sovereignty and love. On Saturday night we got into 12 groups (by birthdays) and worked a simple process on the commands of Jesus (as compared to the commands of Jesus based religion). Jesus says obeying his commands will bring life and joy, so we wanted to see what those commands where, and then focus our conversation on what it would look like to live out this out on campus.

There is a sense of freedom that comes from obeying Jesus beyond (in spite of / without) adhering to the religious edicts of the day. All told, these students listed about 10 key commands of Christ. All very simple and doable and void of religious trappings and observable external rules. At the same time - simple to say but radical in practice. Things like 'love your enemies' are great on paper, but lived out can be a bit dicey.

I believe many of these students saw the implications of faith lived out this way. (and big time thanks to the Texas State Cru Band - they made a time of worship very strong and vibrant!).

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Church Planting Movements

I took the opportunity to re-read David Garrison's Church Planting Movements booklet. Not only is this little booklet very inspirational, it also provides a simple guideline to rapidly reproductive church planting. You can download a pdf of the booklet at the link above.

David identifies ten key elements in a CPM:

  • Prayer - the vitality of the missionaries personal life is key
  • Abundant Sowing - cpms do not emerge where evangelism is rare or absent
  • Intentionality - must be deliberately engaged in church planting
  • Scriptural Authority - Bible (not training or men) must be the guiding source doctrine, church polity and life itself.
  • Local Leadership - not the church planter, but the local leadership
  • Lay Leadership - key leaders emerge from the people being reached. They reflect the same demographic
  • Cell or House Churches - vast majority of the cpm churches are small. 10-30 meeting in homes or other locations not associated with traditional church.
  • Churches Planting Churches - "members have to believe that reproduction is natural and that no external aids are needed to start a new church." (or movement I might add).
  • Rapid reproduction - "When rapid reproduction is taking place, you can be assured that the churches are unencumbered by nonessential elements and the laity are fully empowered to participate."
  • Healthy Churches - worship, missions, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship are all taking place.
So how does this transfer to 'movements everywhere' on university campuses in the US and abroad. It seems that we have a few of these key elements, but we may unintentionally prevent a few others. Prayer, scripture, health and decent sowing exist. We have a degree of planting intentionality, but more of our efforts seemed geared toward growing what currently exists. We struggle to see movements start new movements (in Campus Crusade language, a movement correlates with what David calls a church) and we do not rely on student leadership over our direction and coaching. We have very little expectation that we could plant a new student group and then come back to find that it has planted six more. In my experience, this is basically unheard of . . . but it does not seem that far fetched if we expect it to be so.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Holmes on Talk

I saw this quote and liked it: A good word for us blogger types.

Speech is conveniently located midway between thought and action, where it often substitutes for both"

Author John Andrew Holmes (American physician and writer. Best known for Wisdom in Small Doses (1927))

Monday, September 17, 2007

Galbraith on Change in Thinking

Faced with the choice between changing our mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy with the proof. - John Kenneth Galbraith

I can raise my hand on this one - quite often over the last few years. Below is a brief list of radical thinking changes that I resisted, but later came to see as quite obvious.

  • Disseminated Leadership - upon joining the National Team of Campus Crusade a few years ago, I believed the best way to move ahead was to align every little niche group and tackle the direction together. Upon watching KCCC, and now Impact, it is obvious (to me anyway) that our best approach is to free leadership up to make primary decisions for their particular target. Duh! Good leaders with freedom usually generate great results.
  • Apostolic Functioning - Dave Patchin once told me that I 'prayed to receive catalytic' back in 1997. True. Before that, I had been fairly resistant to the chaos. Now, after looking at afresh at how the kingdom expands, I tend to lean more toward efforts of church planting movements . . . . which are highly catalytic in nature.
  • Volume over Precision - this relates to both things above, but, in a nutshell the best way to reach the world and have great churches / movements . . . . is to concentrate on having MORE churches / movements. If everyone is free to start one, inevitably you will end up with really good ones. (yes, this is the essence of capitalism and why the you never see Russian cars on the road).

btw - Gailbraith, who passed away in 2006, was an influential Canadian - American economist. His books on economic topics were bestsellers in the 1950s and 1960s. Now you know. (this was the only picture I found of him smiling - I am not sure if that is because he is an economist or a Canadian).

Sunday, September 09, 2007

MLK on Friends

This struck me as painfully true:

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends."
- Martin Luther King

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Charisma - God on Campus

The latest issue of Charisma has a cover article about God on Campus. It features some tidbits from Crusade, as well as many other quotes and comments about what is going on on campus. There are a handful of things striking to me from the article (which you can read here.)

  • The number of churches becoming engaged on the campus (something I know Leadership Network is interested in). This was not the case 15 years ago.
  • The rise of the supernatural (this article is in Charisma after all).
  • The free for all that college ministry - Crusade / IV / Navs date way back, but not there are many new players approaching the campus in many new ways.
Conclusion: Despite a huge dropout rate among the churched kids, God is up to something on the college campuses of the world.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Saint-Exupery on Goals

"A goal without a plan is just a wish." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Worse are plans that are not based in reality and boldness, but try to cover it by invoking the supernatural aspect of 'God choosing to move.' What I mean is this: God seems more accustomed to rewarding the foolish plans of the bold rather than the hopeful wishes of the passive.

Charging Jericho with a trumpet and a bunch of priests does not seem like a great plan, but it surely requires God to step in and do something dramatic.

To expect dramatic results without stepping out is more foolish than foolishly stepping out.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pricey Moscow

Moscow retains its title as the world's most expensive city. The order?

  1. Moscow
  2. London
  3. Seoul
  4. Tokyo
  5. Hong Kong
New York? Entering at 15 and the most expensive city in the U.S.
source: (survey done by Mercer Human Resources Consulting).

Monday, August 27, 2007

Camu on courage

There is always a philosophy for a lack of courage
- Albert Camu

Often times I feel I can easily talk my self out of difficulty by embracing a theological / biblical stance that limits possibilities, and therefore requires me to take little risk. I limit God because my possibilities are smaller than his.

We like the stories of miracles, but rarely do we take difficult action to see them take place - we don't risk in ways that only God can rescue us from.

Of course this plays out institutionally as well. We philosophize our way out of radical change based upon preconceived notions of ministry, success, risk, change and pain. We hope that incremental change will give us radical new results . . . but more often than not, our results are in perfect proportion to our risk.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Phil Cooke on Superstars

"For years, ministry leaders have used a business model in managing their churches. It's a legitimate attempt to get religious organizations working at a more efficient level and trying to make them more productive. But ultimately that won't work. Writer and consultant Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, says a business ins driven by profit, but a nonprofit is driven by mission. The two cannot be confused."

- Phil Cooke, Ph.D., is a media consultant to ministries and churches worldwide. Find out more at
For years I had this ache in my gut (something stuck in my craw) regarding the Campus Crusade leadership model. Well intentioned as it is, I feel it falls short of expressing a viable leadership framework for this spiritual / mission focused endeavor.

Some people are bothered by the business language - that is not that big a deal to me. The two things that do disturb me are:

  • The inability of the model to account for a leaders' primal spiritual gifting. There is no reference point for how spiritual gifts influence how we think and operate. I don't care how much leadership model you digest, if you gift is primarily teaching, you will see the mission through that lens.
  • The institutional framework of the model (notice there is not category for entrepreneur) - the model is built from the perspective of running an organization (institution) not unleashing the chaos of a mission focused endeavour.
But maybe it is just me.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Walter Oetting on Church

"If you had asked, 'Where is the church?' in any important city of the ancient world where Christianity had penetrated in the first century, you would have been directed to a group of worshiping people gathered in a house. There was no special building or other tangible wealth with which to associate 'church', only people!"

Walter Oetting, The church of the catacombs: The introduction to the surging life of the early church from the apostles to A.D. 250, based on firsthand accounts

Monday, August 13, 2007

A visit with Dan Tocchini

Last Spring I attended at Breakthrough Training sponsored by Assocation of Christian Character Development. So this past week, Shannon Reeves and I traveled to the bay area to log some time with Dan Tocchini, the semi-controversial founder of ACCD. I say semi because Dan has taken some heat over the years . . . mainly because these trainings offered by ACCD are pretty intense, but also very life changing.

I would recommend them to anyone.

The time with Dan and Aileene was great - and the highlight was buzzing the California cost in with Dan and Shannon in Roger Vanderwindt's vintage 1950s Cessna.

This is Shannon and I beefing up the back seat. Shannon looks cooler than me because he is wearing sunglasses . . . but I can still take him.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Keoke is the Man

Any time I can get anywhere near the west coast, I like to log time with Keoke King. Keoke is director of Metamore - Campus Crusade in the bay area . . . and a great thinker and dear friend.

On Wed I had a great time hanging out with Keoke in the city - we hit the de Young Fine Art Museum in Golden Gate Park and enjoyed the best cup of coffee I have supped. Meanwhile, Keoke challenge my ministry assumptions with well seasoned doses of reality.

One thing intriguing to watch with Keoke and his crew at Metamore is the G3 concept. G3s are a variation of Neil Cole's Life Transformation Groups wired for the student world. Great stuff. You can download more here:

Keokeo and his team also use myspace and other web stuff to plant new works. They are always moving and learning in the bay area.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

TV vs Web

Interesting info from my good friend Marilyn Adamson, Director of
A comprehensive survey in 12 countries of more than 7,600 young people ages 16-29 shows that 77% of today's online youth would sooner live without television than live without the Internet.

China has the most devoted young Internet users, with 87% choosing the Internet compared to 13% favoring television. In the United States the figures were 77% for the Internet and 23% for TV.

The survey was conducted by New Paradigm, a Toronto-based think-tank headed by Don Tapscott. The survey is part of a $4 million study of today's digital-savvy youth - whom Tapscott calls the "Net Generation (N-Geners)" - who have grown up "bathed in bits."

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

70% Dropout by age 23

70% of surveyed Protestants stopped attending church by age 23, according to a survey conducted by Ed Stetzer and LifeWay Research. Seven in 10 Protestants ages 18-30 (both evangelical and mainline) who went to church regularly in high school said they quit attending by age 23. 34% said they had not returned, even sporadically, by age 30. This means about one in four Protestant young people have left the church. A phrase with 'No' and 'Sherlock' comes to mind at this point.

I read this report in USA Today and there is some good news listed in the report. No doubt this generation of dropouts will be the foundation for something new around the corner - probably something formatted quite differently from what we are seeing now. I doubt this generation will wait on religious leaders to figure this out for them. They are much more inclined to do something new and radical for themselves. Bring It!

You can read Ed Stezters blog here or check out LifeWay research here

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Courage Leads

“Men do not follow titles, they follow courage.”
- William Wallace in Braveheart.

Braveheart has some excellent scenes and some even better lessons. One of the best, is the difference between positional authority and recognized authority. In the story, Robert the Bruce has all the positional (organizational) authority, but simply lacks the courage and will to lead. He does not possess the courage to embrace radical change for a radical new (and better) future. Instead of leading, he recognizes trends (or hopes to) and intuits a particular response. In a sense, he tries to put a stamp on what is already going on . . . and hopes to get it right.

Wallace on the other hand sees the clear picture of desirable future and calls for courage for people to follow. The crux of this come when Wallace tells Robert the Bruce that he would follow him if he would step out and lead. If Robert would have simply stepped up he could have commanded great men. But he chose to play it safe.

Men followed Wallace - not because he had the position, but because he had the courage to lead.

This is a great picture of the future direction of the church in the west. It is an ancient way that lends itself toward the apostolic, bold, crazy leadership that attempts to change the future in God's name. This type of leadership is already evident in the church of the east, and now we are coming into it as well. Cool.

"Badges, we don't need no stinking badges."

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


"The Bible is the common heritage of all men. It is the foundation upon which the great democratic traditions and institutions of our country stand. Recognizing what it has meant to the development of our American way of life, we can hope that other nations and societies will also find light and guidance in this book."

-- John F. Kennedy, in a letter to the Pocket Testament League, November 20, 1961

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Korean Hostages - Korean Influence

From Compass Direct News:
In Seoul, Cho Hee-yong, a spokesman for the South Korean Foreign Ministry, said the Taliban’s captives were possibly members of the Saemmul Presbyterian Church in Bundang, a city just south of the capital.

Oh Soo-in, a church official, confirmed that several members of the congregation — all in their 20s and 30s — had gone to Afghanistan hoping to do volunteer work in the southern city of Kandahar.

“The government contacted us about 20 of our church members who are traveling in Afghanistan,” Mr. Oh said. “All our church leaders are holding an emergency meeting, waiting for the final word from the government on what really happened to our youth members.”

With an estimated 12,000 Christian volunteers abroad, South Korea is one of the world’s largest sources of missionary activities. But their presence is not always welcome, especially in Muslim countries.

Last August, more than 1,000 South Koreans came to Kabul to attend a “peace march.” But most were quickly ordered to leave when Afghans accused them of trying to convert Muslims to Christianity, and the government concluded that their presence was a security threat.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Roland Allen - right on it

Ok, this is old news (from 1927 to be exact), but worth touching on again. From Chapter One of Allen's Spontaneous Expansion of the Church.

Many years ago my experience in China taught me that if our object was to establish in that country a Church which might spread over the six provinces which then formed the diocese of North China, that object could only be attained if the first Christians who were converted by our labours, understood clearly that they could by themselves, without any further assistance from us, not only convert their neighbours, but establish Churches. That meant that the very first groups of converts must be so fully equipped with all spiritual authority that they could multiply themselves without any necessary reference to us: that, though, while we were there, they might regard us as helpful advisers, yet our removal should not at all mutilate the completeness of the Church, or deprive it of anything necessary for its unlimited expansion. Only in such a way did it seem to me to be possible for Churches to grow rapidly and securely over wide areas;

What would happen if we removed ourselves from the work right now? Would Cru continue to exist on a college campus if we removed the staff? Just curious. Wouldn't be cool to plant a new work on a campus and then come back a year later to see that it had gone to 5 more campuses without your permission? How do we do that?!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Machiavelli on Lasting Change

"Nothing is more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than achieving a new order of things."

Machiavelli (from The Prince).

This is the daunting aspect of change. Making it stick.

I feel that human nature tries to minimize the risk of making it stick by lessening the degree of change that is actually needed. In other words, in order to make a change, we try to change less than we ought, and therefore do not achieve the full change we desire. We feel it is easier to make small change work, but in the end, small change does not get us the necessary change needed to accomplish our goals. (Kotter has made a living explaining this).

In the end, we often dream to small and therefore limit our ability to reach desired goals.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Change in the USCM

I get back into it right as Campus Crusade is beginning their semi-annual gathering in Ft. Collins, Colorado. My good friend Sam Osterloh is one of the keynote speakers for the Campus gathering. He always has something good to say.

Rumor has it (from some decent sources) that there will be some dramatic changes over the next few years in the US Campus Ministry. I would love to see that take place.

As an aging organization, we tend to approach change in a temperamental incremental fashion. Meaning we want radical new results, but we don't want to risk much to get them. We (the US Campus Ministry) especially do not want to risk our current results - we would prefer to add to what we have without having to change much of what already exists. (there is a new wineskin speech in here somewhere).

About 18 months ago I made a pitch for a radical new approach - some thought I was smoking crack, others simply understood it as a pitiful cry for help. I still think it would work to get us to 5,000-10,000 movements. Spoiler Alert: It is built around self organizing teams with a wide range of flexibility, no geographic constraints and no hierarchy.

It is a bit lengthy and a bit too much 'proposal speak' but you can check it out here. (there is plenty of room for improvement - this is part creative thinking, part prayer and part caffeine induced hallucinations)

I would love your feedback if you take time to read it.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Call

Students (and others) are gathering to pray and fast and seek the Lord. Some of this is down right amazing. This from the CBN website.


According to reports, more than 100,000 (mostly young) people packed the stadium where the Tennessee Titans play, to pray for repentance and the sins of the nation, organizers say.

The event was held on 7-7-07, as a symbol of seven being a covenant number in the Bible. Participants were challenged to repent and renew their covenant with God, while fasting and praying on the field.

The Call Nashville spokeswoman Julia Richardson said there was also music and prayer. The free event was designed to be more participatory worship than entertainment, she said.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

NonWhite Americans

The number of nonwhite Americans has surpassed the 100 million mark for the first time. One in three Americans are now black, Latino or Asian. (according to U.S. Census Bureau . . . . and they should know).

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Out for the Month

Linda and I (with kids in tow) will be traversing the good ol US of A so the blog will be spotty for a time. I should return to the blogosphere sometime in late June. I hope to post some of our adventures along the way - but I ain't promising nothin'.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Four Reasons We Struggle with Movements Everywhere

I believe there are a handful of areas where Cru will need a significant paradigm shift in order to move forward in our stated vision of movements everywhere so that everyone knows someone who knows Jesus.

1. Apostolic Mission with a Catholic Organization Structure.
Movements Everywhere is a distinctively apostolic type vision. Take turf! However, our leadership structure is decidedly Catholic (not in theology mind you, but in hierarchy). I think this will prove a detriment to growth. From my warped point of view, the ME vision requires opportunities for leaders to move forward into uncharted waters, without having to seek permission from others in the system. See this for more.
(and please here me on this - we have no bad people in this structure - it is actually the structure itself that prevents the kind of growth we desire. I have served at every level of the organization and I can honestly say that I have worked with some of the most wonderful, godly and genuine people in the world - but the system, I think, works against us).

2. Apostolic Mission with a Pastor / Teacher Culture
Don't get me wrong. I live on good teaching and accurate theology. I want to think rightly about the scriptures in all things. However, in a Ephesians 4:11 mindset (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher - APEPT) we cannot afford to gravitate toward being heavily pastoral. From my limited view, a leadership culture than leans toward shepherding and accuracy will be unable to move us to the risky behavior needed for movements everywhere. It seems we will be too concerned with things that have nothing to do with movements everywhere. For more on this read this.

3. Apostolic Mission with a Leadership Development Focus
I am probably way off my rocker, but it seems to me that you don't get leaders by focusing on leaders, you get leaders by focusing on the mission. Leaders are what bubble to the surface when the vision and mission are compelling enough to engage in risky behavior - thus needing leadership. As soon as we try to organize, program and teach our way toward leadership we are in trouble. Leaders are developed in the crucible of the mission focused adventure.

4. Bill Bright would struggle to join us now.
This may be goofy and anecdotal (who needs facts when you have a story!). In Bill's second year as a staff guy (the staff guy) he left Vonette in charge at UCLA and moved on to another campus to begin a new work. He did this because he could - and because he owned the next step of expansion. Staff cannot do this now. Well, technically they can go to another campus, but there needs to be 'coordination' and 'conversations' first. The idea of simply expanding turf on your own merrit is not something that we currently do outside of the organizational systems. In this day and age, if young Bill was wanting to go from UCLA to USC, he would need to talk to his current director, a regional guy, a metro guy, and various components of the HR world, and probably the director of the place he wanted to go. And still it would not be his choice. Rapid it is not. (some have said, "well, big deal - who is asking to do this anyway!" . . . . my point exactly).

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Churchill on Change

"Change is the price of survival." - Winston Churchill

Succinct and true. I often say change is synonymous with leadership - truly leading means that things must be changing. If not, we are simply managing what is. If that is our goal - fine, if not, it is time to step up and lead (lead change that is).

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

More By the Numbers

I drudged this up from an old report I had on ethnic student populations.

  • There are approximately 613,000 ethnic minority students in the Northeast Region (Cru defined as all of NY, ME, MA, VM,NH,CT,RI).
  • There are approximately 484,000 total students on the 20 largest universities in the Great Lakes Region (OH,MI,IL,IN)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

By the Numbers

The March/April issue of Worldwide Challenge reports that the US Campus Ministry (of Campus Crusade) had 48,376 students involved for the 05-06 school year. It also says there are 4,133 staff.

A couple of things jumped out to me from these numbers. Fist - that is a lot of students and very encouraging. Praise God! In recent years Cru has been able to expand to locations that always seemed a bit out of our abilities. That is cool.

The second thing is that I think that staff number is a bit high. Bob Francis (national operations director) and I used to discuss how this number was determined. I think the more accurate tally is somewhere around 2,500 - but I must admit that Judy Nelson, editor or WWC, makes very few mistakes - so . . . .

The third thing that hits me is, that if these numbers are right, then Cru has a 1:12 student to staff ratio. If the number is 2,500 then the ratio is more like 1:20. Obviously this is not true on the ground and most of the movement sizes are considerably larger than this.

However, this may be a reflection of how bureaucratic we have become. Before we get to enamoured with the numbers, we must remember what Churchill said ("the only statistics you can trust are those you falsified yourself").

Sunday, May 13, 2007

University Profs biased (really?)

This is from National Review Online (but you gotta be a member to look at it - im not, but I received summary).

"Evangelical Christians have long complained that colleges are hostile to their faith. The San Francisco-based Institute for Jesish and Community Research recently surveyed 1,200 professors at a cross-section of schools, seeking their attitudes toward various religions. The study actually was designed to gauge anti-Semitism, but it found something else: 53 percent said they had "unfavorable" evangelical Christians."

Rick Hove and the boys at Christian Leadership Ministries have their work cut out for them.

Friday, May 11, 2007

College Costs

There are more students in college than ever before, and the cost of tuition is higher than ever before. According to a recent briefing in The Week a four year degree is almost as expensive as buying a home.

At four year private schools the total for tuition, room and board, and books (plus) is $30,367. For state schools the average is $12,796. Over the past 10 years, the cost of public institutions has increased 50%.

Does it matter? According to the US Census Bureau an American with a high school diploma will earn, on average, just over 28k a year. With a bachelors degree the amount increases to over 51k and a masters degree can expect to make 78k.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Burt Bacharach on Words

"A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the world you first thought of,"
- Burt Bacharach

How true it is.

I was really just looking for a way to work Burt Bacharach into my blog.

It is truly what the world needs now.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Five Reasons We CAN DO Movements Everywhere

I believe there are a handful of areas where Cru is positioned well in order to move forward in our stated vision of movements everywhere (so that everyone knows someone who knows Jesus!).

1. Goal Orientation
For much of its history, Campus Crusade has focused on accomplishing specific goals. Having been founded by a businessman (Bill Bright ran a candy company - if you are taking notes from home) - Crusade has a foundation of setting goals and moving accordingly. Sometimes we miss the mark, but we seldom miss setting a direction.

2. Strategic Resources
Along with goal orientation, God has granted CCC favor in order to generate resources. At the moment we may struggle with some institutional 'stuckness', but overall there has been the ability to throw good resources at good ideas (Jesus Film &

3. Global Presence
Campus Crusade has a global footprint - so much so that we often use the term 'partner' in regard to stuff we are doing inside the organization. There is a large vast network that helps in coordinating efforts and accomplishing pieces of the vision.

4. Will to Succeed
As a whole, Crusade tends to be a driven organization (goals and all that). If we dream it, we usually move forward to help make it happen. Our tendency is to over dream and under pray (ok, speaking for me on that one).

5. Leadership Engine
Because of a university focus (which is increasing globally) we are able to generate people resources in the form of leaders. Students leave campus young, full of energy and ideas and able to make life altering decisions without being too encumbered (who in your church can take off for 8 weeks of missions activity this summer?). Students can do this.

In each of these categories I have listed, we have access to huge potential, as well as some major stumbling blocks to overcome. For instance in leaders - we must be able to create room for young leader to run wild with ideas, like those that came before them. The older we get as an organization, the harder it is for this to happen.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Bar becomes Church

Ok, it did not become a church, but more of doubling as a place for people to be the church. Evidently more than 100 people turned up recently for the first night of Solace, a 'church in a bar', in Cardiff, Wales. There were no pews in sight, no talking heads, or three-hundred year old songs in archaic English - guests sat at round tables with drinks (fermented beverages?) in hand, chatting away as they listened to music.

Wendy Sanderson, one of the evangelists involved says, "Who in their right mind wants to give up their Sunday mornings to listen to some bloke ramble on for half an hour, telling everyone what to think, without providing any opportunity for argument or questions? We wanted to create a safe environment where people could meet, somewhere they are familiar with already, where they can have fun and learn about God. It's a way to make church relevant for people in the club scene. I think when church gets too religious, people on the outside are bound to remain on the outside because they can't find a way they understand in," she says.

And evidently this is not the only church in a bar in Cardiff.

It is always good to snag some news from JoelNews

Friday, May 04, 2007

Church becomes Mosque

NY Times - Britain may continue to regard itself as a Christian nation. But practicing Muslims are likely to outnumber church-attending Christians in several decades, according to a recent survey by Christian Research, a group that specializes in documenting the status of Christianity in Britain.

Most of the time I am blogging about rapid expansion of Christianity - but every once in awhile you come across some chilling information - like this Methodist church in England becoming a mosque.

Not only is the decline of the church in the west quite eerie, but what is replacing it can be quite spooky as well. Situations like this are not as a result of large conversions of traditional Brits, but the massive growth of immigrant groups (in this case Pakistanis).

Fortunately this is a kind of 'adaptive challenge' that should re-ignite the church. And indeed this is happening in England in some reassuring ways. Only Jesus knows what forms this will take, but I hear of some exciting things happening on campuses - not a bad place to start.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


What am I nuts? I just saw this picture of my son and I at this 5k in Orlando. Linda was going to run it, but had to bail out - so at the last minute (literally) I took her tag and ran the race. And of course I was in khaki shorts and a pair of sandals (but they were Keens, so not so bad). I finished the whole thing (but my boy beat me!). The big man can sweat!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


StoryRunners is a group using some innovative (ancient actually) means to move the gospel ahead in distant places. The plan is to use the power of spoken Bible stories to convey the gospel to people for whom stories are a foundational part of their lives. This storying approach uses heart language and common learning style to provide them with an oral set of the Scriptures. Jesus never wrote anything - he simply conveyed it through stories and practice.

Why this method? - according to their stats the current situation looks like this:

  • 6,000 people groups totaling
  • 3 billion people who have not heard His message.
  • 4.5 billion of the world’s population can’t or won’t read.
  • 1 billion people have no Scripture and
  • millions of people do not have a written language of their own

In partnership with churches and mission agencies, StoryRunners trains teams of near-culture believers to live and work among unreached people groups so that they can:

  • lay a foundation for the beginnings of an oral Bible,
  • accelerate the spread of the gospel and
  • sow the seeds of church planting movements (I really like this point).
This is an incredibly intriguing project that seems much more incarnational than many of our older (or less old) approaches. This seems to capitalize on how the gospel naturally spreads from people to people.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Internet Evangelism

"Sixty-four percent of Americans seek spirituality on the Internet, and as Christians, we need to be there for them," said Craig von Buseck, director of ministries for

The whole story here.

This is pretty profound, but I often wonder how the difference is showing up in real time. I continue to think that the Internet will prove to be an incredible church [movement] planting tool - and not just cyber churches, but real live churches based upon conversions made online. Tools like will continue to morph into tools that help new believers plant new simple churches / spiritual movements (without ever connecting to original forms). On a biblical front, very akin to the demon possessed man of Mark 5 heading back to the ten towns, or the Samaritan woman of John 4 in her own village.

If we apply Mark 4 (the sower) to the decisions that are being made on line, there should be hundreds of people instantly ready to multiply 30, 60, 100 fold. Very nice.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Neil Cole - Detox

Linda, Stacie Fletcher and spent a wonderful evening with Neil Cole last night. I appreciate Neil's hard work and diligence in decoding simple, replicable and multiplying. When talking to Neil it becomes obvious that much of what we hope is multiplication is simply fancy addition.

One of the interesting points that Neil often brings up in our conversations is what he refers to as Detox. Part of moving ahead in simple replicable forms means individuals detoxing from what has become standard operating procedure in western Christianity (that can hamper our growth and obedience).

  • It involves listening primarily to God via the scriptures, prayer and silence (as compared to speakers and books).
  • It involves looking at the gospels (Jesus) as the key source of learning and mission.
  • It involves a paradigm shift in understanding the priesthood of the believer (as opposed to defaulting to a professional clergy class for guidance - we can do it, yes we can).
I am sure it involves other issues as well, but these stand out to me. And this is not to say that books and speakers and such is bad, but that we must move to our primary source being our own engagement with Jesus and scripture. This may sound obvious, but we are a Christian culture littered with many good and meaningful things - that may prevent us from hearing from God and then acting on it.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tall Skinny Kiwi has left the building

Andrew Jones (aka TallSkinnyKiwi) just walked out the door headed to the airport and then off to Denver - he was able to stay with us for 2 days during the church planting conference.

Andrew's perspective on church and mission is very refreshing and if you are not currently reading his blog, I suggest you add it to your list (he has been accused of being the Keizer Soze of the emergent church). Andrew has been blogging since the mid '90s and has tracked the advancement of the kingdom like few people I know.

Connections like this are life giving. Thanks Andrew!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hirsch, TSK, IHOP and the USCM

I mentioned earlier that Alan Hirsch was in the house last week. Alan was a featured speaker at 2007 National New Church Conference but he carved out time to hang out and connect as well.

On Wednesday morning I arranged a time for Alan (and TallSkinnyKiwi - Andrew Jones) to meet with part of the National Leadership Team of the US Campus Ministry (of Campus Crusade). Marc Ruter, Carrie Walker and Mark Gauthier joined us for some good conversation at our resident IHOP (observation - have you ever seen an International House of Pancakes in a country besides America?).

Alan was his usually drawing and sketching self and it was great to get these leaders connected. Andrew added tidbits of deep knowledge and overall it was a rousing good time (for a breakfast). I look forward to debriefing with Marc, Carrie and Mark.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


This has some serious potential and I am excited about the possibilities.

The goal of Shapevine is to give missional leaders the opportunity to engage in live learning environments with a wide variety of authors and thought leaders. This will all happen via video cafes, podcasts and live Webinars - and they have already signed on the likes of Reggie McNeil, Carol Davis, Michael Frost, Neil Cole, Brian McLaren, Andrew Jones, Leonard Sweet, Tony & Felicity Dale and others. Very Nice - they are just getting rolling, but you can check it out here.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Test Time

Linda and I had a grand time entertaining Alan Hirsch for dinner on Saturday night. Alan is in town for the 2007 National New Church Conference (1800 people out at First Baptist Orlando discussing and scheming on planting new churches). Scott & Lori Crocker joined us for dinner and processed life, church and the state of the western world (Alan - you know you love the car sizes in America!!).

Update: At The Forgotten Ways website there are some newly released tools that are worthy of mentioning.

As you know, I have been quite enamored with concept of APEPT leadership from Ephesians 4:7, 11-12 (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher) (here or here for more). In my mind this gives us a much better context for leadership assessment than the current US Campus Ministry leadership model - mainly because this takes into account spiritual gifting, kingdom advancement and the inter action of leaders with primary motivational gifting.

This tool, developed by Alan in connection with some folks from Strength Finders, is a simple means to help leaders determine their leanings. It is clean, quick and cheap. If I was leading a local team I would have everyone take it in the 360 mode - and then lead a serious discussions on how the effects the way we move toward the mission.

This tool ( will help reveal much about how you lead, why you lead that way, and what are primary motivating factors in your spiritual leadership.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Facebook and Beyond

A bit off topic, but this stuff has changed the world. My friends Rhett and Link just put this together - these dudes got some talents.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Lid

This is an old ad for PS2, but I think it illustrates a great point. I wonder how our lid has trained us?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

And now page 104 [more disciple making]

Hirsch goes on to say that he thinks we have lost the art of disciple making. He identifies three reasons as at least partly responsible:

  • We have reduced it to the assimilation of intellectual ideas
  • The abiding impact of cultural Christianity embedded in our understanding of church.
  • The phenomenon of consumerism pushes against a true following of Jesus.
This appears to me to be the values of knowledge, safety and comfort. As a result, we have lowered the bar for participation in the Christian community to the lowest common denominator.

Alan goes on to say that the phenomenal Jesus movements of the past operated against this type of intuition - the early methods seem to go directly against many of our basic church growth principles (and yet they grew much much faster and deeper). In fact, it was difficult to join, but not complicated.

Alan then leans on Neil Cole's often quoted line regarding this principle - 'We want to lower the bar of how church [movement] is done and raise the bar of what it means to be a disciple.'

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hirsch on Disciple Making

From Alan Hirsch in The Forgotten Ways (pg. 103 if you are following along at home):

"It is interesting that when we really look at the dangerous stories of the phenomenal movements, at the most uncomplicated level, they appear to the observer simply as disiple-making systems. But the rather funny thing is that they never appear to get beyond this - they never move beyond mere disciple making. This is because it is at once the starting point, the abiding strategic practice, as well as the key to all lasting missional impact in and through movements." Amen and Amen.

Two observations.
1. In Crusade, I believe we would say this used to be our strong suit (along with evangelism).
2. I believe we have suffered as a movement / organization as a result of moving away from this staple and replacing it with complex issues of personal growth and theology (not bad, but maybe as essential).

It is interesting to me that over time our methods have become more complex and at the same time less effective. We think people need more information to grow and yet the rapidness of this growth seems to have decreased. Is this a false observation? Is this simply the aging of us as an organization? How are we missing this key component? Or are we?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Rutz on "Christians in Diapers"

I loaned out (and apparantly lost) my copy of Megashift. Bummer - I will have to buy a new one. I copied this quote sometime in the fall of 2005. I think it is fitting (if not biting). (The comments in brackets are my additons).

Most people who are called Christians are spiritual babies. They can't even feed themselves. they have to be spoon-fed weekly by sitting passivley in a church service (weekly meeting). Trouble is, this only make the problem worse.

That is why improved sermons, bigger churches, and better trained pasotrs can't help. Quaker statesman Elton Trueblood once gave me a copy of his book The Company of the Committed, in which he lamented dumping all religious affairs onto the clergy (staff), this secularizing everybody else: "The basic trouble [with the traditional church] is that the propoesed cure has such a striking similarity to the disease."

I will be back on Alan Hirsch book and next steps in a day or so.