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