Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tim Keller at Campus Crusade Staff Conference

I'm working the live connection desk at the Campus Crusade for Christ staff conference this morning for part 2 of Tim Keller's talk on the Gospel. The best place to get all the good soundbites is on my twitter site at or at the CSU Twub. You can read thoughts from Tim Keller and Steve Sellers posted yesterday.

Monday, July 20, 2009

One Million People Come to Christ in June reports for the first time, Global Media Outreach (GMO) saw over 1 million people indicate decisions for Jesus Christ in one month. In June, 1,030,581 people indicated either a first-time decision to follow Jesus or a decision to recommit their life to Christ through one of more than 90 GMO Gospel Web sites. The five-year-old media arm of Campus Crusade for Christ also received and responded to more than 180,000 people who e-mailed the ministry asking for discipleship. “This is an historic event only possible by God’s power,” said Walt Wilson, GMO founder and chair. “Over the past few months, we have seen an increasing number of people come to our evangelistic web and mobile sites.”

Monday, July 13, 2009

Want a Break From Church?

That's the number one reason young people leave the church according to the most recent study done by LifeWay. The question is, what about church makes students and young adults want to take a break?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

4 Lessons on Leadership Influence

Fiiiiiinally, I'm starting to catch up on my blog reading. Months of intense Marine Corps training has slowed enough to allow me to catch my breath. I just read through some of Jay Lorenzen's posts. He posted this gem of an article from Business Week:

From his study of 1000 leaders in 50 global organizations, Joseph Grenny offered the following insights to help explain why so few leaders either grasp or exert influence well:

1. Leaders act as if it’s not their job to address entrenched habits.

Most leaders put a great deal of time into crafting strategy, selecting winning products, and engaging with analysts, shareholders, and major customers.

But few realize the success or failure of their grand schemes lies in influencing the behavior of the hundreds or thousands of people who will have to execute the big ideas—their employees.

The most influential leaders—the 5% who succeed consistently at influencing profound and essential behavior change—spend as much as half of their time thinking about and actively influencing the behaviors they know will lead to top performance.

The 95% who dither and fail tend to delegate what they dismiss as “change management” to others, most often leaders in human resources—who often lack the credibility to influence real change.

The average leader spends little, if any, of his or her time on active efforts to create behavior change. Consequently, nothing changes.

2. Leaders lack a theory of influence.

Very few leaders can even answer the question, “How do you change the behavior of a large group of people?” And yet, this is what they’re ultimately paid to do. It isn’t just about making a decision; it’s about getting people aligned to execute the decision. And this means influence.

Imagine discovering just as the anesthesia is taking effect that your heart surgeon—the one hovering over your chest with a scalpel—is working off a “gut hunch” about how to conduct a bypass.

Unless leaders become articulate about a repeatable and effective way of influencing profound, rapid, and sustainable behavior change—they’ll continue to rack up predictably high failure rates at leading change.

3. Leaders confuse talking with influencing.

Many leaders think influence consists of little more than talking people into doing things. It’s no wonder most influence efforts start with PowerPoint presentations. But profound, persistent, and overwhelming problems demand more than verbal persuasion. Anyone who’s ever tried to talk a smoker into quitting knows there’s a lot more to behavior change than words.

Leaders make the same mistake when they publish platitudes in the form of Mission and Values statements, give a few speeches on why these values are crucial, and then assume their job is done.

4. Leaders believe in silver bullets.

When leaders actually attempt to influence new behavior, it’s common for them to look for quick fixes—to fall into the trap of thinking that deeply ingrained bad habits can be changed with a single technique. The failure mode is to rely on any single approach.

Some host star-studded retreats. Others hand out inspiring posters and color-changing mugs and think people will line up for change. Still others believe it’s all about incentives, and so they tinker with the performance-management system or tie new behaviors to executive bonuses. The research shows that when leaders rely on just one simple source of influence to drive change, they almost always fail

What we’ve learned is that when you know what you’re doing, change can happen relatively quickly. And it all starts with gaining greater clarity about what leadership really means, then finding a way of thinking about the fundamental principles of influence.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Ed Stetzer on Current Church Trends and Issues

Good interview on Ed Stetzer's blog. Speaking with the lead pastor of The Journey in St. Louis, Darrin Patrick, Ed hits on some great topics. Of particular interest to me is how he addresses the kingdom and the different levels of partnership between churches and other organizations. I'd love to hear any other thoughts!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Story of Stuff

Fascinating and creative look at how our consumer society contributes to the destruction of our planet and our own bodies:

They talk about perceived obsolescence in the video. How true it is. All the messages we receive from fashion, pop culture, the media and marketing campaigns let us know how much we suck by not having the latest and greatest gadget. Coming back to the U.S. from Mexico City I was shocked by how many people were carrying iPhones. Despite all the talk of a desperate economy and trying times, I didn't see any tangible evidence that people were changing their consumer habits.

I was just receiving flack this morning from some fellow officers for drinking from an empty organic peanut butter jar in my room. In fact, I reuse all the glass bottles from salsa and peanut butter for storage. That allows me to store food safely without having to throw those out and buy other products. I find that to be resourceful, but that doesn't seem to be the sentiment of most Americans today.

Now, I'm far from perfect in my consumption habits, but I'm committed to playing a role in reviving our planet and a way of life that doesn't feed the monster. And unfortunately, I believe these habits flow from a more systemic problem that we might find in front of a mirror.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Twitter Stats & The 'Magic' Number for Community

Just came across this comprehensive report and summary of some Twitter statistics. Check out the following stat:

150 followers is the magic number. In a particularly interesting data point from the survey, Sysomos found that Twitter users tended to "follow back" all their followers up until about 150 connections. Then the reciprocation rate fell off dramatically, which seems to indicate that this number may be the crossover point where people shift from using Twitter for more personal use to using it more for "lifecasting" their thoughts and actions to a community of people who they feel varying levels of connection to.

What's interesting is not the statistic itself but what it tells us about community. Dunbar's number, the theoretical limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships, is also set at 150. Pastors and church-planters often talk about the '200 ceiling', a typical peak in church attendance.

How could these numbers inform us about authentic and sustainable community?