Sunday, July 29, 2007

2007 National Campus Crusade Staff Conference

Overwhelming. I just left Campus Crusade's biannual national staff conference in Fort Collins, CO. I love connecting with so many incredibly sharp staff committed to helping fulfill the Great Commission.

This conference had a different feel than usual this year. Craig Johring, my partner in crime in Mexico, and I had an opportunity to talk about God's movement in Mexico City during our time in Colorado. We had the privilege of connecting with several national and international leaders. Very, very humbling. I tried to pick their brains and soak in the wisdom of years of ministry experience.

It's not often (never, in fact) that I get to rub shoulders with Jay Lorenzen, Greg Lillestrand, Keith Bubalo, Chip Scivicque, Shane Deike, Eric Swanson, Ken Cochrum, Tom Gooldy and Layo Leiva all in the same week. What a pleasure!

I hope to have many more interactions with these amazing men as we tackle citywide transformation in the world's second largest city. Layo Leiva, our boss and Director of Affairs, continues to affirm how transformation in Mexico City will make powerful waves throughout Latin America.

I am definitely in over my head. I don't have the skills nor the leadership to see this happen - to see movements launched across this mega-city. That fact really scares me, and at the same time gives me great comfort. Only God can make this happen.

Keith is pictured below (left) unveiling Crusade's initiative to strategically focus on 6 U.S. cities and 4 international cities (Mexico City included in that). Layo is on the right talking about our need to reach all sectors of society and plant movements that help students live missionally throughout life.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Journeyers Live the Book of Acts

Wow. Wow. Wow. Where do I even start? My head hurts with the stories of the students that spent 7 weeks in Mexico launching campus movements in 7 different cities. Their stories sound like something from the book of Acts.

The team that went to Toluca, just outside of Mexico City, surfaced so many student leaders in the city that they barely had time to rest. They spent hours and hours with the students sharing life together and coaching them in how to start movements on their campuses.

After about a week in Toluca, these students even insisted that the team move out of the hotel and stay in their homes. So, they did just that!

Through a divine appointment, they spent a few days working at an orphanage with hundreds of children. Normally the government requires you to commit to six months before allowing you to help out, but the Lord opened a door for our Journeyers. They had a blast loving on the kids. Their example actually inspired the Mexican students to begin ministering to their city. The students went with them on one occasion to the orphanage and then went back to their church and said, "These Americans have been here for two weeks, and they have served our city more than we have." That inspired the church to get involved with the orphanage as well!

These students deeply impressed me with their love for Jesus and their determination to surface movement leaders in 7 different cities in 7 weeks. They set the bar for pioneering summer missions projects.

They deserved the 5-day debrief at the beach. (Actually they deserve a whole lot more.)

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Some Rich Resources

These are some rich resources on church planting. Lots of good reading here. Dig around. You'll want to read the article on Ephesians 4 ministers. Thanks to Alan Hirsch for pointing these gems out.

I'm off to meet with some movement leaders and a partner ministry.

Friday, July 06, 2007

12 Steps to Total Burnout

Mark Driscoll shares a list created by psychologist Herbert Freudenberger and his colleague Gail North. This list shows how someone moves toward burnout. Mark nearly arrived at such a point around Christmas of last year.

I thought it appropriate to post the list for you here just in case you want to know how to drive yourself mad.
  1. A compulsion to prove oneself (commitment to win no matter what)
  2. Working harder (feeling irreplaceable they buckle down, raise personal expectations, and take on more and more responsibility)
  3. Neglecting their needs (eating, sleeping, playing are sacrificed for performance)
  4. Displacement of conflicts (something is wrong but I'm unsure what)
  5. Revision of values (friends, hobbies, and fun are dismissed)
  6. Denial of emerging problems (cynicism, anger, and despising of others for being stupid, lazy, demanding, and undisciplined)
  7. Withdrawal (socially withdrawn, loss of hope and direction, pursuit of sinful relief such as drugs, sex, or alcohol)
  8. Obvious behavior changes (shy, apathetic, depressed, haggard)
  9. Depersonalization (lose contact with self, life becomes meaningless and mechanical)
  10. Inner emptiness (often overcompensated for with oversexing, overeating, drug and alcohol abuse in place of leisure time)
  11. Depression (indifferent, hopeless, exhausted, life loses meaning and everything from agitation to apathy sets in)
  12. Burnout (suicidal thoughts and/or obsession with heaven, physical and mental collapse, need for medical help)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Miss Korea Performs at Crusade Conference

Alright, this will probably be the last post on my blog that has anything to do with Miss Universe, but I just have to point this one out. Honey Lee, Miss Korea 2006 and third runner-up for Miss Universe 2007, just performed at Campus Crusade's world conference on Monday evening.

That may not seem like a huge deal, but let me share my side of the story. After hearing Miss Korea share her passion for missions in front of a global audience during the Miss Universe pageant, I really hoped to have a chance to chat with her after the show. My buddy Jason and I hob-nobbed with the best of 'em at one of the after-parties, but Honey eluded us.

Finally, just after we decided to call it quits (in the wee hours of the morning), we spotted Honey leaving the exclusive after-party (where we couldn't go). Unfortunately, her ear was glued to a cell phone, so I settled for her boyfriend instead. We spoke for a few minutes, and I shared the vision of our world conference in Busan, South Korea. He'd never heard of Campus Crusade before, but offered to talk with Honey about it.

After that short interchange, we exchanged info, and I emailed the powers-that-be to try to connect Miss Korea to the CM2007 conference. It seemed like a no-brainer to have this gifted young lady join us in her home country as we talk about fulfilling the commission of reaching every university.

Thankfully the hosting committee agreed, and a few weeks later, here she is! (Fast forward through the first few minutes. She gives a great testimony of how the Christians at the Miss Universe pageant met together for prayer every morning - and several of them were in the top 5.)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Unleashing the Potential of Urban Growth

The United Nations Population Fund has released their State of World Population Report for 2007. It begins like this:
In 2008, the world reaches an invisible but momentous milestone: For the first time in history, more than half its human population, 3.3 billion people, will be living in urban areas. By 2030, this is expected to swell to almost 5 billion. Many of the new urbanites will be poor. Their future, the future of cities in developing countries, the future of humanity itself, all depend very much on decisions made now in preparation for this growth.
The growth of the Global South of the Far East continues to out pace the rest of the world.
Between 2000 and 2030, Asia’s urban population will increase from 1.36 billion to 2.64 billion, Africa’s from 294 million to 742 million, and that of Latin America and the Caribbean from 394 million to 609 million. As a result of these shifts, developing countries will have 80 per cent of the world’s urban population in 2030. By then, Africa and Asia will include almost seven out of every ten urban inhabitants in the world.
The report reveals some statistics contradicting earlier predictions of urban growth in the world's mega-cities. Many of these cities, even Mexico City, show a decline in urban sprawl, while some moderate sized cities show dramatic growth.
. . .the mega-cities are still dominant, but they have not grown to the sizes once projected. Today’s mega-cities account for 4 per cent of the world’s population and 9 per cent of all urban inhabitants. This is an important slice of the urban world, but it will probably not expand quickly in the foreseeable future. Many of the world’s largest cities—Buenos Aires, Calcutta, Mexico City, São Paulo and Seoul—actually have more people moving out than in, and few are close to the size that doomsayers predicted for them in the 1970s.
The report gives some clear recommendations for government officials and policymakers. One general exhortation I've posted below:
. . .population institutions and specialists can and should play a key role in supporting community organizations, social movements, governments and the international community in improving the nature and form of future urban expansion, and thus enhancing its power to reduce poverty and promote environmental sustainability. A concerted international effort at this critical time is crucial to clarify policy options and provide information and analyses that will support strategies to improve our urban future.
How should the Church respond?

Our New Church Plant?

Yesterday I traveled two hours outside of Mexico City to visit the city where we helped construct a house for a poor family a few weeks ago. Our one week "Hands of Hope" service project led to 23 or more decisions for Christ. I decided to visit these new believers to encourage them in their faith and to check on the possibility of planting a new church.

I strolled into town with only a vague memory of where one of the guys lived. I didn't have any way to contact them before coming, so I spent a lot of time asking the Lord to help me connect with someone. After a few circles and some asking around, I found one of the men who worked with us, and he led me to about 10 others.

Right in line with Mexican hospitality, they invited me to have dinner with them. We spent several hours sharing, laughing and talking about the Savior. And, of course, we had to take lots of pictures together.

I learned how they all came to faith. Our team had done an excellent job explaining the Gospel to them. I explained how they could begin to bring people into their homes in order to commune together, grow in their relationships with the Lord, and introduce others to Jesus. They liked the idea. I left them some materials to help them continue to grow, including our Life Transformation Group brochures. We'll continue to have contact with them.

Right now they currently attend a Catholic church in town. This church preaches salvation through Jesus Christ. There are no other Christian churches present.