loren Eric Swanson: November 2005

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles & Cynthia Burnett

Today I visited a couple of very good externally focused churches--Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village near Thousand Oaks and Water of Life Community Church in Fontana. Unfortunately there was a whole lot of distance between them. Fortunately Pasadena was right on the way. Now one of the all time restaurants in Southern California is Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. Christian Washington introduced me to Roscoe's a few years ago and it's a must eat at when you are in Pasadena--Right on Lake Avenue, five or six blocks north of Lake Avenue Church. I'll attach a couple of pics. It's probably the best fried chicken you'll ever eat.

After meeting with Pastor Danny Carrol of Water of Life Community Church in Fontana (founding pastor, great friends with Dr. Bill Bright...incredibly externally focused ) I met Liz at Macaroni Grill to have dinner with Cynthia Burnett and her daughter Elizabeth. Cynthia, Liz and I worked together for several years with Campus Crusade and a dozen years ago she left staff, got her masters and now teaches and counsels at Mount SAC in career counseling. Ten years ago she flew to China and adopted her beautiful daughter who is now ten! It was such a treat to see her and catch up with her. Really one of our all-time favorite people. Attached is a picture that rivals my waffles of Cynthia and her daughter Elizabeth.

Saddleback HIV / AIDS Conference Summary

The following is a brief summary written by Liz Swanson

The Conference opened with Rick and Kay Warren delivering a message entitled:

“How God Got Our Attention and Taught Us to Care about People with HIV/AID”

Kay was drawn to an article written about the HIV/AIDS pandemic. She couldn’t stop thinking about what she’d read in regards to the suffering and the scope of the issues. It was she who alerted Rick to the importance of the churches engagement.

They addressed three obstacles that have kept us from caring:

We have been afraid of catching a disease
We have been afraid of what others will think (supporting homosexuality etc.)
We have been afraid of the scope; it’s just too big

They addressed our obligation; why we must care:

We have been blessed so that we may bless others
Jesus modeled compassion
The problem demands it
God commands it

“Developing Your Church’s AIDS Ministry”
Given by a group of speakers:
Kay and Rick Warren, Bishop Charles Blake: West Los Angles Church of God, Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell: Windsor Village UMC, Rev. Frances Karemera Anglican Diocese of Kigali, Rwanda.

C-care for and comfort the weak
H-handle the testing and counseling
U-unleash a volunteer group of compassion
R-resource them, remove the stigma
C-champion the need to prevent HIV/AIDS (abstinence programs)
H-help with nutrition and medication

Rick Warren also reviewed the PEACE Plan

Bill and Lynne Hybels spoke. They told their stories concerning how they became involved in the HIV/AIDS ministry. They were contacted by Bono of U2. Lynne flew out to meet with him in England. After that meeting, Lynne was so moved; she initiated the ministry at their Willow Creek.

Their suggestions for starting an HIV/AIDS ministry in a church:

Sew a little bit of seed.
Sew the seed winsomely
Sew the seed with hope
Let it grow
While you wait for it to grow, educate yourself
When you begin to plan, plan as if you have plenty of money and plenty of staff
Choose high-capacity volunteers to do your leading
Move the way of compassion and God will meet you along the way.

Recent Stats:

Global Estimates for Adults and Children:

People living with AIDS………40.3 million
New HIV infections in 2005…...4.9 million
Deaths due to AIDS in 2005…...3.imillion

Adults and Children Estimated to be Living with HIV in 2005

North America………………...1.2 million
Latin America……....................1.8 million
Caribbean…………………… 300,000
Western and Central Europe…..720,000
North Africa ad Middle East…..510,000
Sub-Saharan Africa……………25.8 million
Eastern Europe
and Central Asia…………….1.6 million
East Asia………………………870,000
South-East Asia……………….7.4 million

An estimated 14 million children have been orphaned as a result of AIDS. 12 million live in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Many of the children in Sub-Saharan Africa live in “child-lead” homes.


The call to the church and our need to take responsibility for this pandemic was strongly and powerfully communicated. There was little indication, however, that any churches in the US have ministries in full swing. Saddleback and Willow Creek have certainly begun to “turn the ship,” but even they do not seem to have a fully engaged ministry, as of yet. They do, however, have both the vision and desire to influence the church to take the lead.

In Africa there are many churches that have taken responsibility for ministry to those with HIV/AIDS.

The conference was challenging, thought provoking and directive. I think those who were there, will be moved to take some type of action. Not sure how much influence this effort will have on the church as a whole. Hopefully, there will be ripple affects.

I believe one of the true “change agents” is Bono. Although I had heard that he’d contacted the President and many heads of state and leaders of corporations, I had no idea that he had contacted Christian leaders.

(From Eric) One of the things speakers that are new to this thing they said was, "I just didn't know!" or "How could I have missed this!?!?" The first step for everyone was getting information that began to shape their hearts and minds. Here are a few compelling information:

More than 15 million children have been orphaned---6,000 orphaned each day because of HIV /AIDS
More than 28 million people have died in the past 25 year, with more than 8,000 / day dying
Currently infected in our world is a population living with HIV / AIDS totaling more than 40 million and another 14,0000 are newly infected each day.
More than 1 million people are HIV positive in the US

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Saddleback HIV / AIDS Conference--Disturbing Voices

Pretty incredible day today at Saddleback. More than 1500 folks gathered on the floor of Saddleback's auditorium to be part of this historic event. The church was being challenged to take on the problems of HIV / AIDS. Kay Warren started off by telling her story. Her story begins with reading a Newsweek story on the AIDS pandemic. She could not get the images and statistics out of her mind. Her message centered on four reasons why we don't get involved:
1. Ignorance--most do not understand the intensity of this pandemic. This led her to a trip to Africa.
2. Fear--Psalm 38:6,8-11 describes a man that has the symptoms of AIDS
3. What will people think?--Jesus didn't care what others thought
4. Im afraid the problem is too big. "This train is moving although not everyone is not on board yet.

What was great about Kay was seeing her passion and transformation.

Rick then got up and finished the talk with his four points.
"How did I miss the biggest health crisis in history?"

Why we must care
1. Obligation--God doesn't give you money and notoriety for yourself. "God, what do you want me to do with my influence and affluence?"
2. Because Jesus modeled compassion--Matthew 4:23--Preaching, teaching, healing. "1/3 of Jesus ministry dealt with health!" "If you want to be like Jesus you must care about the sick."
3. The problem demands it.
4. God commands that we care--Luke 6:36. Jesus hates it when we ignore needs--Ezekiel 34:4, 9,10
How did we miss this?

The evening plenary session was led by Bill and Lynne Hybels of Willow Creek. Just as Kay initiated the engagement in the AIDS pandemic, it was Lynne who led the charge at Willow. In 1993 when Bill and Lynn were in Europe Bill got an email from Bono (whom he thought died in a skiing accident!) Bono asked to meet with Bill but he sent Lynn instead. So in a coffee shop in Dublin, Lynne walked out saying, "God, I think you just used a Rock Star to turn my life upside down." "I was ambushed by Africa." Bill encouraged Lynne to lead the Willow Creek effort. So Lynn pulled together willing volunteers and without money, they began planning and dreaming "as if they had money and staff." In 2004 Willow did "Christmas on location" with the three teaching pastors going to various parts of the globe. Bill and Lynne went to an AIDS clinic in Africa. When the 20 minute broadcast was piped back to Willow on Christmas eve, $600,000 was raised for this ministry. Their strategy was to partner with churches in Africa that doing something to help with HIV / AIDS.

What was great about today was that a page has turned in the life of the church. They are not waiting to figure everything out before proceeding forward. "God will meet you along the way but you've got to move."

Monday, November 28, 2005

Why I Like Privately-owned Businesses

Last week as I was savoring a "Black and Tan" from Fenton's Creamery in Oakland, I thought about how I've eaten the same thing here...I mean the exact same ice cream Sundae that I've savored for 36 years. The benefit of being a privately-owned business--especially a family owned business is that they can produce the product they want without having to answer to the fickle share-holder. Shareholders of publically traded companies are always demanding a greater return for their investment. So companies cut back, take a few almonds out of the icecream, use artificial products and additives and relabel the product as "new and improved." Stock prices rise, unloyal share-holders sell their stocks and now we are left with a product that just doesn't taste like it used to. Fenton's Creamery uses all natural products--always has and always will. My sister said it was the best icecream she ever tasted. My mom couldn't believe all the almonds in the toasted almond icecream. The place does a bustling business. I always have had to wait to get a seat. Now this reflection is the type of piece that old-timers write, but that's not the point. I like Wal-mart. I like what they've done to raise the wage of the average worker by having the lowest possible prices. Did you ever think you could buy a color TV for $67? Thank Wal-Mart. My point is this...there is something very attractive about quality executed over time. Think of your favorite food...or favorite park...or favorite beach...or favorite restaurant. Wouldn't you like to think that 35 years from now you could go there and the food would be just as good, the park just as clean and the beach be just as you remembered it?

Transforming Leadership Quotes

I finished Transforming Leadership by James MacGregor Burns (2003), for the second time...it was actually so thought-provoking I had to read it twice just to grasp what he was saying about this facinating concept. This is the first book I have read on the topic for a self-study class I am putting together around the broader topic of "Transformational Leadership." I'll need to do a review / reflection on this book but for now I'll use this as a holding place for quotes that I want to retain from this book that I typed on the plane to SNA--Orange County Airport.

“I believe leadership is not only a descriptive term but a prescriptive one, embracing a moral, even a passionate, dimension. Consider our common usage. We don’t call for good leadership—we expect, or at least hope, that it will be good. ‘Bad’ Leadership implies no leadership. I contend that there is nothing neutral about leadership-it is valued as a moral necessity. P. 2

“Summoned forth by human wants, the task of leadership is to accomplish some change in the world that responds to those wants. Its actions and achievements are measured by the supreme public values that themselves are the profoundest expressions of human wants: liberty and equality, justice and opportunity, the pursuit of happiness. P.3

“And if leadership is, as I believe, a moral undertaking, a response to the human wants expressed in public values, then surely its greatest task—the task, even, of global leadership—must be to respond to the billions of the world’s people in the direst want, people whose pursuits of happiness might begin with a little food or medicine, a pair of shoes, a school within walking distance. They might seek some respect and dignity, some understanding of the interlocked burdens and frustrations of poverty as they, the poor understand them. They might become followers of those who hear their wants and whose responsive leadership in turn empowers them, in the initial steps of a leadership process that might break the vicious circle of poverty. P.3

“Hence I would call for the protection and nourishing of happiness, for extending the opportunity to pursue happiness to all people, as the core agenda of transforming leadership.” P. 3

“The American philosopher Sidney Hook distinguished between the ‘eventful’ man who happened to be involved in an historic situation but without really determining its course, and the ‘event-making’ man whose ‘actions influenced subsequent developments along a quite different course than would have been followed if these actions had not been taken,’ actions that were’ the consequences of outstanding capacities of intelligence, will, and character rather than accidents of position.’” P. 11

“Historians of ideas have long noted the elements of simultaneity in the advent of theories and concepts. Thinkers taking different paths converge at almost the same moment on a problem and even on its solution.” P. 24

“Leaders take the initiative in mobilizing people for participation in the processes of change, encouraging a sense of collective identity and collective efficacy, which in turn brings stronger feelings of self-worth and self-efficacy, described by Bernard Bass as an enhanced ‘sense of ‘meaningfulness’ in their work and lives.’ By pursuing transformational change, people can transform themselves.” P. 26

“Transforming leaders define public values that embrace the supreme and enduring principles of a people. These values are the shaping ideas behind constitutions and laws and their interpretation. They are the essence of declarations of independence, revolutionary proclamations, momentous statements by leaders that go to the core meaning of events, that define what is at stake, such as the Gettysburg Address…Transforming values lie at the heart of transforming leadership, determining whether leadership indeed can be transforming.” P. 29

"A functioning democracy not only acknowledges that conflicts without end are woven into the fabric of human society and accommodates them but attempts to turn them to vital and progressive purpose. Antagonistic groups, or classes, oppose one another, accept defeat, and return to fight again for their values or interests in another election on another day. The test of a democracy is the acceptance of majority rule and minority rights. The majority's right to govern is matched and validated by the minority's right to oppose and struggle to replace it." P. 122"Where does leadership begin? Where change begins. Where does change begin? In my view, with the burgeoning in humans of powerful physical and psychological wants. Leadership is so intertwined with fundamental change, and change with the dynamics of wants and needs, as to make rather arbitrary any locating of origins in what is really a seamless web." P. 140
“Here perhaps is a missing link between inward-and outward-directed motivations, between ‘self’ and situation in individual and collective processes of change: the capacity to produce a final result of effect. In a work, it is efficacy.’ People strive to exercise control over events that affect their lives,’ psychologist Albert Bandura wrote in 1995. ‘ By exerting influence in spheres over which they can command some control, they are better able to realize desired futures and to forestall undesired ones…Inability to exter influence over things tht adversely affect one’s life breeds apprehension, apathy, or despair. The capability to produce valued outcomes and to prevent undesired ones, therefore, provides powerful incentives for the development and exercise of personal control.’
Nothing strengthens the motivational power of efficacy like sucdess. Persons with a high feeling of efficacy have great confidence in their ability to make changes, to remain committed to goals, to overcome difficulties and failures, to exercise control. Those with little conviction that they have the capacity to master their fate characteristically lack the motivation to try.” P. 150

“Transforming change transforms people and their situation.” P. 151

“What sets this intricate mobile of empowered motives into motion is the spark of creativity.” P. 151

"At its simplest, creative leadership begins when a person imagines a state of affairs not presently existing. this initial creative insight or spark is elaborated into a broader vision of change, possible ways of accomplishing it are conceived, and--in a fateful act of leadership--the vision is communicated to others. Because most ideas of significant change make some persons followers and others opponents, conflict arises. It is such conflicts that supply powerful motivation for transforming leadership and followership, fusing them into a dynamic force in pursuit of change." P. 153

“Still, the indispensable spark is supplied by the imagination. Few have expressed this idea, and its moral possibilities, more eloquently than Robert F. Kennedy, borrowing from George Bernard Shaw: ‘Some people see things as they are and say: why” I dream things that never were and say” why not?’” p. 153

What causes such eruptions of creativity? Perhaps when we try to account for cultures that engender creativity, the emphasis ought to be on the word culture—the cross-fertilization in a given place and time of individuals and their turns of mind and ambitions, of developments in education and knowledge techniques, of new ideas or the groping toward new ideas. Even more important is the interaction of creative people, and the opportunities for interaction—within and among families, at schools and in workplaces, in political and scientific and artistic groups and professional associations, and across entire societies. There are leaders and there are followers, and there are followers who become leaders. Newton wrote that, if he had seen farther, it was ‘by standing on the shoulders of Giants.’ In epochs of collective creative ferment, the uplift is mutual.” P 161

“Many are the stories of geniuses who were raised in supportive households, finding both intellectual stimulation and parental discipline at home. In some cases, though parents were more demanding than supportive, and even tyrannical. Yet stress and estrangement seem able to produce, or at least not suppress, creativity. One study found that ’75 percent of a group of 400 noted people of the twentieth century—novelists, playwrights, artists, scientists—had come from markedly troubled homes. Other studies suggested that parents of creative scientists had shown their children relatively little warmth or affection…. Writer Gore Vidal [wrote] ‘the protective love of two devoted parents ‘can absolutely destroy an artist.’” P. 162

“For creativity to become leadership, however, conceptual transformation is not enough. As scientists must go beyond ‘revolutions on paper’ and put their ideas to the test in a struggle to win acceptance by their peers, all the more so must creative leadership. Leadership is a social phenomenon, and leaders are ‘intimately tied to other people and the effects of their actions on them.’ According to Wolin, the groundbreaking political theorists were motivated b y ‘the ideal of an order subject to human control and one that could be transfigured through a combination of thought and action.’ They intended ‘not simply to alter the way men look at the world, but to alter the world.’ Plato, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Marx—all considered their new ideas to be guides to healing their sick societies. They meant to lead.” P. 168

“As the leadership and ethics scholar Joanne Ciulla puts it, true empowerment gives people ‘the confidence, competence, freedom, and resources to act on their own judgments’ and ‘entails a distinct set of moral understandings and commitments between leaders and followers.’” P. 184

What transformational leaders do, sociologist Boas Shamir and his colleagues have found, is to raise ‘the intrinsic value of effort and goals by linking them to valued aspects of the followers; self-concept, thus harnessing the motivational forces of self-expression, self-consistency, specific mission-related self-efficacy, generalized self-esteem and self-worth.’ Or in leadership scholar Jane M. Howell’s terms, ‘socialized leaders’ recognize followers’ needs, respect their autonomy, and engage them, while ‘personalized leaders’ dominate followers and ignore their needs except when necessary to advance their own ambitions.” P. 184
“…instead of identifying individual actors simply as leaders or simply as followers, we see the whose process as a system in which the function of leadership is palpable and central but the actors move in and out of leader and follower roles. At this crucial point we are no longer seeing individual leaders; rather we see leadership as the basic process of social change, of causation in a community, an organization, a nation—perhaps even the globe.” P. 185

“The clues to the mystery of leadership lie in a potent equation: embattled values grounded in real wants, invigorated by conflict, empower leaders and activated followers to fashion deep and comprehensive change in the lives of people. The acid test of this empowerment is whether the change is lasting or whether it is temporary and even reversible. Deep and durable change, guided and measured by values, is the ultimat purpose of transforming leadership, and constitutes both its practical impact and its moral justification. And that is the power of values.” P. 213

“The pursuit of happiness must be our touchstone. As means and end, it embodies the other transforming values—order, liberty, equality, justice, community. It encompasses the highest potentialities for transformation both in people’s situations and in themselves. And it epitomizes, as perhaps no other phrase, what it is that many in this world—the millions, billions—most profoundly lack: the opportunity to shape and direct the quality and meaning of their own lives. For them—the people—Leadership is the X factor, potentially the indispensable discipline.” P. 214

“Interaction begins when the innovator rallies support to carry out the change he intends. Innovators have a triple burden: they must break with the inheritors among whom they may have been numbered; they must mobilize followers by appealing to their wants and hopes and other motivations; they must adapt their intentions to those of would-be followers without sacrificing their essential goal.” P.221

“Passives become actives, followers become leaders, workers and writers become revolutionaries.” P 221

“Great plans must be loose at the joints, in fact a process of planning and replanning.” P. 221

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Totally Bloated!

Liz and I had Thanksgiving with my folks in Stockton on Thursday. It was quite a feast! I'm still full two days later. There were a dozen of us who gathered for Turkey with all the trimmings, ham, plus one of the best batches of potato sausage my dad ever squeezed into 22 feet of casings! I'm so bloated my shoes feel tight!

On Friday Liz, my daughter Kacey, my folks and I drove down to watch my daughter's finance, Erik Olson, play basketball against Cal in the opening game of their four team tournament. Erik played well, scoring 7 against the California Golden Bears with four steals and tonight he had 15 against Cal State Northridge. After the game we went out to Fenton's for ice cream. We stayed at the Doubletree Hotel on the Berkeley Marina so it was quite a treat. It's been a great weekend.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Externally Focused in Northern California

On Monday I drove up to Sacramento to meet with Jim Holst and Sandy Davis at Bayside Community Church in Roseville (www.baysideonline.com). Bayside is really doing a great job outside the walls of the church. They were given a hotel and they have spent $1.2m on renovation. This hotel will house homeless single moms. Three hundred folks from Bayside (30 small groups) have taken responsibility to work on this project. Bayside did an extreme makeover for another under-resourced church, refurbished parks and playgrounds. The principal of one of the local schools has asked them to plant a church in their school to have a greater influence from the folks at Bayside. I like the depth and scope of their externally focused ministries.
Helping Hands for the Homeless
Serna Village Transitional Housing
Senior Citizen Outreach
Special Needs Ministry
Bayside Deaf Ministry
Men’s Prison Ministry
Women’s Prison Ministry
Union Gospel Mission
Military Outreach Ministry
The Depot—food, clothing, furniture warehouse

They are very intentional about under-promising and over-delivering
Bayside has also adopted the ambitious goal of raising $12.5 m dollars—half to be spent outside the walls of Bayside. As an early adopter of Saddleback’s PEACE plan they have committed themselves to planting 15-20 new churches in the next 3-5 years, train 100,000 Chinese pastors, and 30 or other incredibly aggressive goals.
They are very interested in being a part of the next Leadership Community for Externally Focused Churches that will begin the end of February.

From Roseville I drove down to Danville to meet with Scott Farmer at Community Presbyterian Church. Scott was very gracious, since I was an hour late (my Outlook adjusted the time one hour later since I was in a different time zone…very weird). To my delight Scott had a couple others with him—Roberta Hestenes—former President of Eastern University, author, teacher, leader and someone whose writing I am very familiar with. She was pretty excited to hear what was happening with externally focused churches. An elder—retired business exec, Lee, also joined us. Lee represents a new type of retired person who doesn’t want to golf, sail, and play golf (at least all of the time), who wants to make his / her time count for eternity.

On Tuesday morning Liz and I drove down to Manteca to be with a bunch of pastors that pastor of Crossroads Grace, Mike Moore, had put together. Mike read Externally Focused Church last year while on vacation and he was very gracious in his enthusiasm and response. He had all of his staff read the book and then bought a case of books and gave them to the other pastors in Manteca. Mike has been very committed to working with other churches to love and serve the community.

From Manteca we drove to Santa Cruz to meet with Bud Lamb and Michelle Whiting from Santa Cruz Bible Church. SCB has long been externally focused in their community. They just finished a “Sharefest” serving the Santa Cruz are with acts of love and practical service.

Yesterday I drove back to Roseville to meet with a few leaders with Adventure Christian Church (www.adventurechristian.org). Adventure Christian was started in 1993 by Rick and Amy Stedman. The church was born out of a desire to be a blessing to the community. After meeting with city leaders he discovered the biggest problem was drugs. To help with the need and to meet people Rick wrote a small pamphlet called, “How to Drug Proof Your Kids.” When they launched they had 250 people. Today nearly 5000 people call Adventure Christian their home. Pastor Rick writes,

Every week, I ask the staff, "Tell me one person who has come to know the Lord this week, one person you met with, one parent you talked to." I don't care about the big numbers at all. What I have learned is that if you love people one at a time they add up after awhile. So our whole church is organized for that. But, I also personally make a real effort at it.

Adventure Christian has too many externally focused ministries to elaborate here. I’m looking forward to getting to know them better.

Cal-Stanford Game

I’ve got a few late blog entries. I left on a 9 day trip…left my powercord for my computer sitting on the kitchen table, threw in my car Ipod adapter instead of my Blackberry power cord so I had to be pretty conservative in my digital world until Dell could overnight a power cord and I could find a car adopter from Verizon.

On Saturday Liz and I drove with Don and Mel Wilcox down to Palo Alto for the 108th Cal-Stanford football game—known provincially as the “Big Game.” Don and I both played at Cal during the Jim Plunkett years so we’ve decided that as long as we can we’ll commit to being at the USC or UCLA-Cal home game, the Big Game and whatever bowl game Cal might be invited to. Last year at the Holiday Bowl we hooked up with a bunch of old team mates, most of whom we hadn’t seen in over 30 years, and had a ball. This year was no different. My good friend Bob Swenson had a tail gate party before the game and after the game (Cal won…Go Bears!) we stopped by another tail gate where a bunch of other players were hanging out. We’ll hook up again at the bowl game—hopefully Insight Bowl in Tempe.

After the game we went to Fenton’s Creamery for dinner and ice cream (and went to Top Dog in Berkeley before driving to Palo Alto). Virtually the perfect day. I have attached a picture of the perfect "German" from Top Dog...the best!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Bold New World by William Knoke

One of the things that resonates with people I interact with is the way William Knoke thinks about communication, space and time in the 21st century. I thought I'd put my previously written thoughts here so I can refer people to this important paradigmatic way of thinking.

As a futurist, William Knoke has left us with a new way of thinking about the world. Knoke posits that to understand the trends and forces that will shape the world of the twenty-first century, we need to understand what has happened to the world at the meta-level since the dawn of history. To give the reader context in how to think about the future, Knoke outlines a way to organize the past—not in terms of sociology, politics or geography but in terms of space and time. Knoke puts forth the idea that human society first was organized as “dots”—small communities living in isolation from one another. Knoke refers to these people as “zero-dimension” people because of the limited contact with other people and places. Because, in a hunter-gatherer society, a larger community is counter-productive (because of the accelerated depletion of food sources) small bands of people, living in isolation proved to be more efficient. But isolation also meant that knowledge and ideas had little opportunity to spread and cross-pollinate.

As nomadic bands discovered that grasses could be grown to produce edible grain and animals could be domesticated and bred, larger groups of people settled in permanent villages. Nomads became farmers. The permanence of place allowed people to interact with other neighboring villages. In time trade routes were established carrying goods and ideas along lines of connections along a fixed path. These are “first dimension” people, operating from point to point along the “Amber Route,” the “Silk Road,” the “Roman Road” or the “Inca Road.” As trade routes crisscrossed, the “second dimension” evolved allowing people to explore the length and width of their world. By the fifteenth century, through the technological maritime advancements, man could circumvent the globe. Two-dimensional maps of the world were drawn to help two dimensional people move from one place to another.

The dawn of the twentieth century ushered in the “third dimension” with the advent and perfection of commercial air travel, satellites and space travel. Each dimension has its own characteristics. The second dimension was dominated by those who knew how to set up empires and control the seas. The third dimension, was controlled not by nation-states but by multinational corporations.

The forth dimension is a “placeless” society where “everything and everybody is at once everywhere.”[1] Far and near are the same. The primacy of “place” in the zero place, first dimension, second dimension and third dimension is quickly being replace by the placeless society where global communication is instantaneous, where corporations run a “just-in-time” global assembly line. Through the Internet and powerful search engines “ideas, facts, and knowledge gathered in one place are available everyplace; location becomes irrelevant.”[2]
The implications of living in this fourth dimension are quite dramatic. Knoke predicts:
Nations as we know them are becoming anachronisms
Terrorisms will emerge with the upper hand
Labor unions are doomed
Religion will resurge around the world
World government is inevitable
Large corporations will fragment
Business strategies and economic theories need radical rethinking
The labor skills of today are already irrelevant for tomorrow.

Because Knoke points out that those who were the first movers into the new dimension had a distinct advantage of those who did not choose to connect, this thought has a lot of implications for today. For instance, in your organization or church setting...or company for that matter, are people living as isolated dots--learning better ways to strike a flint arrowhead but never having the capacity and connectivity to share it with others? Supposed leaders who say, "I don't want to get a cell phone...too expensive" or "I can get dial-up for a fourth of the price of high-speed" are telling you and the world, "I'm choosing to be left behind. Don't follow me!"

Now because we live in an everything and everyone at once present age that presents another level of complexity--how to go past data to information to valuable insight and knowledge that helps bring about change for the better. Is that not what leadership is about? But that's a different challenge.
[1] P. 8
[2] P.8

The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas Friedman

Many of you have read / are reading Thomas Friedman's best-seller, The World is Flat, which is a good book but I believe the basic foundations of this book ar built on his previous book on globalization, The Lexus and the Olive Tree. I thought I'd post a review I did of this work that I did a couple years ago for a class I took from Ray Bakke.

In 1999 I was in New York City at an international conference on the Internet. Futurists and technologist had gathered together for five days of exhibits, plenary sessions and breakouts to hear from those who were giving a glimpse of the future. John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, had the opening session and in his plenary remarks related the following story:

“A friend of mine was sitting in an Internet café in Beijing checking his email. Outside he noticed that a couple of Chinese women were huddled under the awning of the café to get out of the rain. On an unfolded mat was an array of mushrooms they had picked from the hinterland and were now trying to sell to passersby. My friend engaged them in conversation and explained to them how they could sell their mushrooms over the Internet. It seemed rather foolish but he spent the next hour building them a website and by the end of the day they had their first order from a Chinese restaurant in Germany. They Fed-Exed their first shipment and low and behold, they were an international business.”

Welcome to globalization—two Chinese peasant farmers from rural China selling mushrooms to a restaurant in Germany. This is the essence of NY Times writer Thomas Friedman’s 479-page essay on globalization—The Lexus and the Olive Tree, wherein the Lexus represents bourgeoning technology and the olive tree represents traditional culture. Friedman’s thesis is that in the post Cold-War world, “the One Big Thing” people should focus on is globalization as the worldwide shaping force—the defining international system of the future.[1] Whereas civilization thus far could be characterized by “walls” and who is in charge, globalization is built around the single word “web” where Friedman asserts no one is quite in charge.[2] Defined by Friedman, globalization is
“the ..integration of markets, nation-states and technologies…in a way that is enabling individuals, corporations and nation-states to reach around the world farther, faster, deeper and cheaper than ever before, and in a way that is enabling the world to reach into individuals, corporations and nation-states farther, faster, deeper, cheaper than ever before.”[3]

It’s “defining technologies” are computerization, miniaturization, digitization, satellite communications, fiber optics and the Internet…”[4] In a nutshell the essence of globalization is that the world has become a marketplace, no longer divided by political ideologies and strength of military power but by speed to market. Market forces prevail over politics. All political “friends” and “enemies” have been reduced to “competitors.”[5] Power is now measured by connectivity to the Web and by the number of cell phones, not the number of nuclear warheads. Anyone that thinks otherwise is wrong…they just don’t know it yet!
Friedman concludes that there is a precarious balance between the Lexus and the olive tree and that the task of each society is to recognize, appreciate and preserve them both. Beepers should never take the place of conversation. A cyberpal should never replace a friendship of a neighborhood pal. To go forward is to take the best from what the Lexus and olive tree represent.
I suppose if I wanted a description of the world today, to understand the forces that shape our world, The Lexus and the Olive Tree would be a good place to start. Friedman uses an engaging style and peppers the book with personal illustrations from his global travel of the past several years to explain our emerging world. The Lexus and the Olive Tree is a convincing study in how the world works today. It is a world where individuals can influence the masses and the influence of the masses can touch an individual. It is a world of paradoxes—of cell phones next to oxcarts, but it is the cell phones, not the oxcarts, that will be the predominant influence in this world. It is a world of irony where the technologies that were developed to build “walls” between nation-states (ARPAnet, global spy satellites, etc) are now the very things that have torn and will tear down existing walls between nations and no nation will be beyond its reach. It’s a world where a Moody’s Investor Services can control the economic fate of any country without discrimination simply by adjusting the credit rating of that country. It’s a world where the stock of one American company (Microsoft) has more value than all “emerging-market stock markets in all the rest of the world put together.”[6]
The world we now live in is a world where companies rather than countries have the dominant proliferating presence in the world. One can travel from Beijing to Bankok to Bangalore to Berlin to Bangor and there you will find McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and Microsoft. Whereas, as in 19th century England, the sun never set on their empire, the same can be said today of Disney, the NBA, Toyota, Seimons, or Eriksson. And the oddest thing about it is that no one thinks it strange that this is so. It’s a world where social consciousness and economic viability are one in the same because the world market forces this reality. The world, not only is changing, but has already changed.
Friedman puts forth a convincing argument that globalization, like the sunrise, is inevitable. The three revolutions that have begun an irreversible trend, Friedman asserts, are the democratization of communication, finance and information as access to all three have become snowballs rolling downhill. We can never go back. For its upside and downside, whether one likes it or not, globalization will not go away.
Friedman proposes that the world today is controlled by the “Electronic Herd” –the mass of anonymous traders and investors who reward and punish countries as companies for their wise or foolish decisions, for their corrupt or sound practices—both economic and political. So corrupt countries like Russia or inept countries like France both get hammered while countries like Ireland and the US are rewarded. “Live by it’s (the Electronic Herd’s) rules or run alone and live by your own rules but accept the fact that you are going to have less access to capital, less access to technology and ultimately a lower standard of living for your people.”[7] Globalization is what makes Sadaam and bin Laden so angry. They have lost the global war and they know it but maybe don’t know why. This is the reality of globalization.
Friedman concludes with an “ideal country” scenario, cobbling together the ideal location, demographics, economic and political influences to position a country that would enable one to be “rationally exuberant” about the future of that country. That ideal country, of course, is the United States. It is clear that Friedman believes in value of globalization and the strength and position of the US.
There are real issues that are surfacing with globalization. Lumberjacks in Washington or Brazil are now under international scrutiny as they seek to make a living off the ecosystem we all share. When a global corporation moves into a community, often the wealth that is produced in a community is being siphoned out of that community or a country. So when I stay at a Radisson Hotel in Riga instead of a local hotel, a good chunk of my payment goes to Radisson Inc. The same thing holds true when I eat at McDonald’s or Burger King in a community. Presently, corporations pay workers far less in Bangladesh than in Dallas. But, Friedman points out, no one would ever say that these same Bangladesh workers were better off in the world of pre-globalization. In the film documentary Life and Debt, Stephanie Black tells the story of McDonalds coming to Kingston, Jamaica in 1995 and suing a local restaurant already possessing the name McDonalds that sold curried goat and jerk chicken. It is bullying tactics like this that will continue to be a black eye to the concept of globalization. Since globalization favors the entrepreneur, many of the “slow turtles” will be left behind and nations that are moving forward must take this into account and provide a “safety net” for these people. But the norm should be a nation where speed and change are normative and rewarded. Another twist to all of this is that although there are those who oppose globalization in principle, it is ironic that they are forced to use the enabling technologies (e-mail, cell phones, Websites) of globalization to make their views known and protest against globalization.
This is a great book for understanding globalization. I realize that globalization is what I have been experiencing for the past several years although this is not the term I have used to describe this phenomenon. For example, in 1999 I was in Tehran, Iran for the World Wrestling Championships. Between bouts I went up to the pressroom, logged onto the Internet and instantly checked the score of the University of Colorado / Colorado State game played the previous day. And although I realized that the government opened up the Internet for this international event, the Pandora’s box of information and communication has been opened and it will be impossible to close it. In Tehran there will only be more and more access to communication. The recent re-election of the Ayatola Mohammad Khotami against a hard-line radical is the people’s way of expressing that they want to be part of the global village where their national “brand” is respected and valued. As expressed in a late July, 2002 interview condemning the U.S.’s sword rattling against Iraq, Khotami said, “The actions of one nation affect all nations.” He is recognizing globalization.
In November of 2001 I was in the geographic (but certainly not cultural or technological) center of India, the city of Nagpur. Yet, in this remote city, across the street from our humble hotel was an Internet café where I could daily check my email so that when I returned to the states I was completely caught up with my digital communication. And it was rare when the place wasn’t packed. Even as I write this while on vacation on the coast of Spain, my daughter is at an Internet café to check the results of her boyfriend’s state playoff baseball game. Things that are commonplace today would have been impossible just ten years ago.
In June of this year I was preaching in a Russian-speaking church in Riga Latvia. Present that morning were Russians, Latvians, Ukrainians and Texans (a youth group that had come to do summer missions). The world had come to Riga.
This past summer my oldest son was in China with nine other American students taking language classes at one of the universities. Every morning they would buy breakfast from entrepreneurial street vendors before the police came and drove them off or roughed them up for engaging in non-government sanctioned free enterprise. But once they have tasted the fruits of free enterprise, can they ever go back to Communism? Little wonder that these vendors return each morning. With the Olympic games coming to Beijing in 2008, China has no option other than to join in the flow towards globalization. Last week I read in the paper that the Chinese government is cleaning up auto emissions and polluting factories and planting trees in Beijing in preparation for the world coming to the Olympics. They want to be recognized as a favorable “brand.” As my son engaged in conversation about important issues with his Chinese friends their common response was, “We in China believe…” or “We in China think….” But Andy and his American friends would challenge them with, “But what do you think?” My son confirms Friedman’s observation that China is becoming democratized and will have a free press even though their leaders don’t know it yet.
Friedman has been a real mentor to me in understanding globalization. Up until now, I had heard the term but somehow linked it too closely to the World Trade Organization and the annual protests at their international summits. I see also that globalization has a healthy life force of its own and although a snapshot of how it is working today is not ideal, the principles that drive globalization are for the most part positive and will bring about greater freedoms—economic, political and perhaps spiritual as the flow of information and communication becomes even more widespread.
[1] P.xxi
[2] P. 8
[3] P. 9
[4] P. 9
[5] P. 12
[6] P. 125
[7] P. 168

Monday, November 14, 2005

Salinas Valley Community Church

Yesterday I drove down to Salinas for the 10:45 service of Salinas Valley Community Church (www.svcc.net) SVCC is an externally focused church in the Salinas Valley of California, a few miles inland from Monterey. On Saturday they sent another team of 20 folks down to Gulfport, MS. On Friday night they sponsored a community concert that raised $4K for Habitat for Humanity (not to be confused with Halibut for Humanity, which is a local fish restaurant). Under the leadership of pastor Diane Pate their externally focused ministry has flourished. They have really taken Jeremiah 29:5-7, 11 as their mandate. Diane says, "We love Salinas. We want to be the church that, if we were to leave, we'd leave a huge hole." Executive pastor, Mark Simmons, adds, "We measure ourselves not by our seating capacity but by our sending capacity."

Mark Simmons led yesterdays service. He started by asking folks in the auditorium their professions. Then he asked how many professional ministers were present. Then he asked the question, "If you were God, which group would be more strategic to change the world, professional workers or lay people? With him, on the platform, were seven community leaders that folks from the community have been praying with since April. Included in this group were the mayor and chief of police of Salinas. They meet to pray for each other and for the community. Mayor Anna Caballero was recently the keynote speader at a Young Life fund-raiser. When some of her colleagues questioned her, she said, "I've never met a parent who said, 'I'm going to mess this child up,' but life has its way of getting away from us and the more we can provide healthy opportunities, physically, mentally and spiritually, in a safe environment, well, I'm all over that." It was a great morning.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Cal-USC Game

A disappointing loss to USC yesterday. It was two years ago that Cal upset SC in a triple overtime game at Memorial Stadium. But this was not to be repeated yesterday. Cal just doesn't have the horses this year. As Cal fans we must learn to have the patience of Job. Actually Job could probably pick up a few pointers from die-hard Cal fans. Cal has suffered since their last Rose Bowl appearance in 1959. One thing Cal fans learn to do is find their joy in other things besides a victory. One of those is a visit to Top Dog on Durant Street. Top Dog opened in 1966 and has not changed their menu in nearly 40 years. The dogs and buns are grilled and there is nothing like them. Then of course there is Fenton's Creamery at 4226 Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. I've been eating the Black and Tan (toasted almond and vanilla--I substitute the swiss milk chocolate, chocolate fudge and home-made caramel sauce) since 1970...unbelievably good. Fenton's has been around since 1894 and the recipes for generations. There is no bad day...even a losing day...when it includes Top Dog and Fentons!

And we did meet some good SC folks. I had a couple extra tickets and before the game and lunch at Top Dog, we met a couple from SC who needed tickets--Gary and Vanesca Frueholz. Real, longtime SC fans. Don and I were sitting near the top row in the endzone and early in the game his digital camera slid out of his coat pocket and slid 30 rows forward--an impossible find amidst a packed stadium. But after the game Donny offerred $20 to the son of some SC fans. And the kid was a genius and he found the camera

Friday, November 11, 2005

Jeff's reflections on being home and in Iraq

My son Jeff has been in Baghdad since early March. In September, he was able to come home for two weeks to be with his wife and be there for the birth of his son. I pass on his letter that Ashlie sent that arrived today. If he want to write him, his address is at the end of his letter.

I had the best time being with my family and friends. My whole life was changed when i witnessed my wife giving birth to my son. It's a humbling experience to wathc helplessly while the two people I love the most have to suffer. This of course was followed by praise and celebration, and then moments later...exhaustion. God definitely answered my prayers. We were able to spend some time toghter while Ashlie was pregnant and ten days with our brand new baby boy. Leaving Ashlie and Gentry David was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I miss them so much, and long to hld both of them again soon.

This month has been a hard month not only because i had to leave my wife and son but alsob because of the increase in enemy activity. It should calm down within the next couple weeks but not withou reminding our company of the tragedy of war. Our friend Sgt. Marshal Westbrook was killed on the first of October. The memorial was powerful, and I think, brought us closer together. We all cried and paid our respect together. [Jeff told me in a phone call shortly after the memorial, that the unit was assembled for the memorial service. After a short message the men were called to attention and the Final Roll Call was taken with each soldier responding "HERE First Sargeant!" Then Sgt. Westbrooks name was called out three times--SGT. MARSHALL A. WESTBROOK...SGT. MARSHALL A. WESTBROOK....SGT. MARSHALL A WESTBROOK..Final call...Dropped from roll call." Then "Taps" was played while the 21-gun salute was executed. Jeff said that he and his buddy Ben cried and then spent some time talking about how they could be better soldiers and Christians to the people around them.] God is teaching me so much right now, even though things are really hard. Despite all the sadness we are still smiling and laughing almost every day.

Lately thoughts of how I can fix up our house have been on my mind. I spend most of my boredom time drawing sketches of what our house might look like when I get back. Ash has gotten pretty excited about it too. I think its' just one of those thoughts that puts us back togetehr again. The weather is cooling down no and the chilly breeze reminds me of Las Cruces. It makes me even more anxious to get home.

My squad and I feel proud to be part of rebuilding a better Iraq. Iraq passed their constitution which is an amazing thing. I was surprised to be so happy about it, but I guess no matter how much I want to be home, we've still become a part of life in Iraq. God is hearing all your prayers, and they are fully appreciated over here. One day closer.


We are so proud of Jeff and Ashlie

SPC Jeff Swanson, 1st PLT
126th MP CO
CP Victory
APO AE 09344

Missouri Synod Lutherans in Missouri

Yesteday I had the priviledge of speaking for a couple hours to a number of pastors and Christian teachers from the state of Missouri at a beautiful resort called Tan-Tar-A--an Indian name meaning "no Internet here." One of the conference organizers--Ron Rall from Timothy Lutheran Church had read The Externally Focused Church and thought this would be a good plenary topic for the convention to hear. This was a tough audience--I mean Missouri Synod Lutherans in Missouri...in the "show me" state. To lighten the crowd up I thought I'd start with the story of the Missouri Synod Lutheran who was stranded on a desert island alone for 20 years. When he was rescued he wanted to show his rescuers how he passed his time on the island. First he showed off his house, then proudly pointing to another small building with a cross, he said, "And this is the church I go to." When the rescuers asked about the other building with the cross, he said, "And that's the church I don't go to."

The seminar went fine with a number requesting the powerpoint presentation afterwards. Dr. Kalthoff, who is retiring after 17 years leading the convention did a great job setting me up by presenting ambitious plans for growth and church planting. A great group of folks to hang out with.

One of the strange things was how cheap gas was...under $2.00 a gallon. Well, it must be because of the large oil reserve under Rolla...no....the abundance of refineries....no....the cheap transportaion costs....Hey! What's going on here?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Giuliani's Six Principles of Leadership

This morning I got a note from a very good friend of mine--Geoff Gorsuch who is with the Navigators in Singapore. Geoff and I were campus directors of Navigators and Crusade respectively in the 70's after which he and Diane worked in France for 13 years. He is the author of a best selling book on men's ministry called Brothers and is well-versed in a number of subjects, including leadership. He was just in Hong Kong where he spoke on Giuliani's leadership principles.

Giuliani's Six Principles of Leadership

In his eight years as Mayor, Rudy Giuliani revitalized New York City by focusing on public safety and economic growth. After the devastatingterrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he was heralded internationally for his leadership skills. Giuliani, now the chairman and CEO of the consulting firm Giuliani Partners, captured his approach in his No. 1 best-seller Leadership. Speaking lastmonth at CCL's Friends of the Center Leadership Conference, he explored six principles of leadership that are critically important for success:

Develop strong beliefs: Leaders must define their core beliefs and stick to them in order to achieve long-term goals and visions. Leaders who focus more on popularity than principle risk becoming mired in day-to-day challenges while losing sight of the larger picture, Giuliani said. He citedRonald Reagan and Martin Luther King, Jr. as two individuals who exemplified this principle. Reagan entered politics with two big ideas: that Communism was evil and needed to be confronted rather than appeased, and that American government was too large and discouraged individual initiative. He developed those ideas at a time when others didn't agree. But Reagan stuck with his beliefs and ultimately created major change, particularly by hastening the collapse of the Soviet Union, Giuliani said. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed that nonviolent protest would advance civil rights in the United States. He cultivated this philosophy through study and prayer, prompting tremendous social change as a result.

Be an optimist: "When you can visualize success, it helps you figure out the steps to get there," Giuliani said. Optimism can be "a magnet that motivates people to follow." Reagan and King, for example, both faced stark realities--the Soviet empire and the lack of equality for African Americans--and envisioned a brighter future. Winston Churchill did exactly the samething in rallying his country against Hitler during the Battle of Britain. Thinking of Churchill's perseverance during World War II "helped me getthrough Sept. 11th," Giuliani said.

Have courage: A lot of people assume that they are not courageousbecause they feel fear. But "to be courageous you must have fear," Giulianisaid. "Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the management of fear."Fear, he believes, can be a strong motivating factor. "We should be afraid ofanother terrorist attack," he said, "but we should use that energy positivelyand courageously" to work on prevention and preparation.

Relentless preparation: Leaders must make an enduring commitment toanticipating obstacles and opportunities and readying for them. New YorkCity, he said, had never prepared for precisely what happened on Sept. 11th--two jetliners crashing into and bringing down the World Trade Center's twintowers. But the city had prepared for airplane crashes, high-rise fires, building collapses and other disasters. When the September 11 attacks happened, all the pieces were in place to assemble a response. "Something unanticipated will always happen, but if you've prepared for everything else, you will know how to respond to the unexpected," he said.

Teamwork: Individual leaders, no matter how outstanding, can become isolated, Giuliani said. It's important, therefore, to work closely with atrusted team. "Focus on your weaknesses and how to balance these with the strengths of the other people around you," he said. When Giuliani became mayor of New York, the city was struggling with two major problems -- crime and a weak economy. As a former U.S. attorney, Giuliani knew how to tackle the crime problem. He also knew he needed lots of help to correct the economy, and he quickly sought it out by hiring the best people he could find.

Communication: When the right ideas and the right team are in place,it's critical for leaders to communicate their plans and goals. President Reagan excelled at this step, becoming known as "The Great Communicator." According to Giuliani, "Being a leader has a lot to do with being a teacherand a motivator. ...You have to get your own ideas out of your mind and heart and into the minds and hearts of other people."

Rudy Giuliani is chairman and CEO of Giuliani Partners, a management consulting company he founded in 2002. He is author of Leadership, whichdraws on his experiences as a corporate lawyer, U.S. attorney and mayor. He was named Consultant of the Year by Consulting magazine in 2002.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Southern California Churches

I'm in the process of putting together a leadership community of externally focused churches in Southern California. Eric Marsh from Grace Brethren Long Beach has really been the catalyst and bulldog on this but I do think it is coming together. I prefer to visit churches that are candidates for LCs simply to have a look around...to see how externally focused is expressed in bulletins, kiosks, etc. On Saturday evening I was at Skyline Wesleyan in San Diego. They are really doing a great job in their externally focused ministry...led by Phill Longmire. On Sunday morning I drove up to Rock Harbor Church in Costa Mesa for the 9am service. The place was packed. I think I got the very last parking spaceThey meet in an upscale industrial park (not an oxymoron in SoCal) as many newer churches do in this part of the US. Under the leadership of Mike Kenyon, they are helping to lead the charge in Orange County. Ran into Mike at the service and we talked briefly. He's a great guy. A mile or so away is the Crossing with their externall focused ministry led by Ian Stevenson. They are right on Newport Blvd and I caught their 10am service...(sort of like attending "hurch" since I missed the opening (and they served up a great bearclaw). Again a very dynamic serice and lots of evidence of external focus. From Costa Mesa I drove up to Park Crest Christian Church and ran into Cathy Taylor in the patio area. Wow! She's doing a wonderful job...especially in the area of recovery. While we were talking a tatood man in his 30s stopped to say goodbye. Cathy told me he was a recovering drug addict who had been clean for several months and had just finished painting one of their extention campuses. Pretty cool. I was also able to catch Erwin McManus at Mosaic meeting at the Mayan Theatre at 10th and Hill in L.A. Erwin's always good. They are considering being a part of this EF Community. Erwin mentioned that this week he was at a U-2 concert on Wednesday night. Bono opened with, "What day is it? Wednesday night? No! It's Sunday morning!" What an interesting sysmic rumble.....

Five churches in 24 hours. You'd think something like that would make one more spiritual....You'd think....

Well, five churches

Friday, November 04, 2005

Thomas Rainer and Bully's East for Prime Rib

Thomas Rainer was the keynote speaker this morning at the National Outreach Convention. A few years ago he (along with most every Christian leader) was facinated by Jim Collin's best-seller, Good to Great--how companies that had had average performance for years became great perfomers. Rainer pondered if there were any churches that he could study. [Citing his study] So of the 400,000 churches in the US they had data on 52,333. Of the 52,333 churches there were 1,936 churches that met the "evangelistic criteria" of at least 26 conversions per year and a sustained conversion rate of one new convert / 20 members / year. (The average church in America takes 86 Christians and one year to make one convert. Another criteria was it had to be the same senior pastor. Now of the 1,936 they received historical data from 881 churches and of these 881 there were 13 churches that were good to great, or "breakout," churches. Now to me...it seems that out of 52,000 churches there are 13 that changed their vector, statistically is like a thousand monkeys typing or the proverbial blind squirrel finding a nut every once in a while. I think Collins had the advantage of real data from public companies whereas churches tend to be more anecdotal or change their measurements from year to year... But all in all, not a bad session. The study is contained in Rainer's latest book called Breakout Churches.

On a more interesting note I ate three straight nights at Bully's East in San Diego. Bully's has the best prime rib in San Diego and I was not disappointed. Thirty years ago I played rugby with the owner, JD for Old Mission Beach Rugby Club. Attached are a couple of before and after pictures of my dinner.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

John Ortberg in San Diego

This morning John Ortberg was the plenary speaker at the National Outreach Convention in San Diego. He spoke on what kind of person God uses to change communities. Great message with some very powerful insights. Citing a Harvard study, that we were assured was Harvard as in the University, 7000 people were tracked over 9 years. Those who were not in community were 3X as more likely to die prematurely as those who were in community. In fact, people who smoke and drink and over-eat, who were in community, had a better life expectancy than those with better health habits but were out of community. "Better to eat Twinkies with friends than broccoli alone." That'll preach! He also used a powerful illustration by Max DuPree regarding his granddaughter who was born prematurely. Because the father abandoned the mother, Max acted not only as grandparent but surragate father. The nurse instructed Max to stroke the tiny body lightly with one finger for one hour a day while singing songs of love to her. "You must connect your voice to your touch." It was a great illustraion for God's word and God's touch to be connected. Good stuff.

Quotes from November

“Of course money buys happiness. We just say 'money can't buy happiness' to the poor so they don’t riot.” Gabriella Solis, Desperate Housewives

"In the Gospels, there are 130 references to Jesus interacting with people. Of these, only 10 were in “church” (the temple or synagogue). The remaining 120 were out in the community, where Jesus spent his time modeling to his disciples how to interact with people of all kinds. I am thankful this Thanksgiving that Jesus did not simply stay in the temple or synagogue. Instead, he lived a life of grace and truth in the midst of people outside the doors of the established faith community." Rob Hardman

"A functioning democracy not only acknowledges that conflicts without end are woven into the fabric of human society and accommodates them but attempts to turn them to vital and progressive purpose. Antagonistic groups, or classes, oppose one another, accept defeat, and return to fight again for their values or interests in another election on another day. The test of a democracy is the acceptance of majority rule and minority rights. The majority's right to govern is matched and validated by the minority's right to oppose and struggle to replace it." Transforming Leadership, James, McGregor Burns, p. 122

"Where does leadership begin? Where change begins. Where does change begin? In my view, with the burgeoning in humans of powerful physical and psychological wants. Leadership is so intertwined with fundamental change, and change with the dynamics of wants and needs, as to make rather arbitrary any locating of origins in what is really a seamless web." Transforming Leadership, p. 140

"At its simplest, creative leadership begins when a person imagines a state of affairs not presently existing. this initial creative insight or spark is elaborated into a broader vision of change, possible ways of accomplishing it are conceived, and--in a fateful act of leadership--the vision is communicated to others. Because most ideas of significant change make some persons followers and others opponents, conflict arises. It is such conflicts that supply powerful motivation for transforming leadership and followership, fusing them into a dynamic force in pursuit of change." Transforming Leadership, p. 153

“When the reformation shattered the ancient unity of the western church, each of the fragments into which it was no divided was obliged to define itself over against all other fragments…The reformational descriptions of the church thus ended up accentuating differences rather than similarities. Christians were taught to look divisively at other Christians. Eventually, Lutherans divided from Lutherans, Reformed separated from Reformed, each group justifying its actions by appealing to marks of the true church… The church of pure doctrine was a church without a mission” David Bosch, Transforming Mission P. 249

"It is exceedingly strange that any followers of Jesus Christ should ever have needed to ask whether social involvement was their concern, and that controversy should have blown up over the relationship between evangelism and social responsibility."
-John Stott

“A pastor is like a third sex. He has the body of a man but the emotions of a woman.” Sam Williams speaking in Wellington, NZ, October 27, 2005

“Historians of ideas have long noted the elements of simultaneity in the advent of theories and concepts. Thinkers taking different paths converge at almost the same moment on a problem and even on its solution.” Transforming Leadership, James MacGregor Burns p. 24.

“How do we respond to the people who are not persuaded by our message? We are responsible to make their lives better. Genesis 12 tells us that we are supposed to be a blessing to the world, even if they don’t respond. Maybe even especially if they don’t respond. We are responsible to help them, to serve them, to provide a community and a society and a culture that they can live in.” Ted Haggard—President, NAE, CT Nov 2005 p. 45 (Note to my Campus Crusade friends: Ted came to faith at Explo '72)

“As you know, the minimum wage under this administration has been frozen at $5.15. Since it was frozen the Congress have increased their own salaries by $30,000 a year. We have one of the lowest minimum wages in the whole world in the developed parts of the world.” Jimmy Carter on Larry king Live, November 2, 2005

“Poverty, at its very core is a mindset. It’s the cruel message whispered by Satan himself: ‘You don’t matter. Nobody cares about you. Give up!’ More than anything else, the poor feel overwhelmed. Without money, shelter, food, education, justice, or skills to address their plight, they succumb to a downward spiral that leads to despair, then apathy, and ultimately to fatalism.” Wess Stafford, President, Compassion Int’l. Christianity Today (CT) Nov 2005 p. 90

“Remember when, not long ago, CEOs would ask their assistants to print out their emails for them, and they’d dictate responses to be typewritten and sent via snail mail? Where are those leaders now?... In ten years, most of us will communicate directly with customers, employees, and the broader business community through blogs. For executives, having a blog is not going to be a matter of choice, any more than using email is today. If you’re not part of the conversation, others will speak on your behalf…Blogging lets you participate in communities you want to cultivate.” Jonathan Schwartz (www.blogs.sun.com/jonathan). “If You Want to Lead, Blog” in HBR, Nov 2005, p. 30

“The poets job is to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth in such a beautiful way that people cannot live without it; to put into words those feeling we all have that are so deep, so important, and yet so difficult to name. the poet’s job is to find a name for everything, to be a fearless finder of the names of things, to be an advocate for the beauty of language, the subtleties of language.” Jane Kenyon, A Hundred White Daffodils, CT Nov 2005, p. 87