Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Birkman Consulting

Recently I had the opportunity to spend the morning with my freind Doug Holm and a campus ministry director from Chile'. Marie' Jose' was a new staff member in Chile' when my daughter Kelly went to Chile' on a summer mission project to Santiago, Chile in 2003. I had met her when doing a week of team building with Doug in Concepcion. So now in July of 2009 Marie Jose was in the US to share her story and ministry. Doug asked me to go over her Birkman profile with her to help her better understand herself and to advise her on her future.
She is a delightful person who has had a very fruitful ministry over the years. I pray that our time together will be used by God to help her move forward in her life and ministry. It is not unusual for those who have spent seven years as a minister and also who are around 30 years old to need a fresh perspective and an objective "sounding board."

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Coaching Leaders for Campus Ventures

Over a year ago I began a relationship with Campus Ventures a campus ministry active on universities in Wyoming and South Dakota. Here is the website address:

I had completed the Birkman reports with the ministry leaders. I was invited to spend a morning with them during their staff conference. Of course this crew found a retreat center 45 minutes west of Fort Collins literally at the end of the road. I reviewed the main elements of the Birkman report and did an exercise in how each area of interest would look at the future. It was a great time of ministry. Here is what Jack Hall the general director wrote in reviewing the time. "Thank you for your words of encouragement. It was a pleasure working with you. You did an outstanding job with the limited time and number of people you had to deal with."

Thanks to the many ministry partners who enable me to serve in this way. I pray that these leaders will be deeply encouraged by understanding themselves and others they work with.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Stint has a new meaning

I have often thought of a "Stint" as a "short-term" international mission. I have now experienced first hand a new "Stent." (they are pronounced the same.) On thursday afternoon I went to see a doctor because of a reoccuring problem. When walking uphill I began to experience a shortness of breath and chest pain. When I would stop and rest the pain would go away. I thought it had to do with congestion in my lungs, but within a few minutes with the doctor I learned I was wrong. Within the hour I was admitted to the hospital and had an appointment with a cardiologist. He scheduled a procedure for the next morning. By noon the doctors confirmed that an artery was blocked and I had a new "coronary stent" in place. I am grateful to God that all went well and that I had not had a "heart attack." There was no damage to my heart. By Saturday afternoon I was released from the hospital with a whole notebook full of instructions. I am feeling fine and after a walk uphill yesterday no shortness of breath and chest pain.

I am grateful to the doctors and their staff that cared for me, doctors Hudson, Reynolds, Schutz and McNeil. I am also grateful to the nursing staff and technicians at Avista Adventist Hospital. I am also grateful to my family and friends that were with me. Brenda returned from Mexico where she had been taking graduate classes on Saturday just about the same time I got home. Father's Day was a great time being with my children and our "adopted children." Thanks Rich Bledsoe, Don Wilcox and Eric Swanson for being at the hospital. Eric is always taking pictures.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Allison wins at Colorado Dulcimer Festival

Our daughter Allison has become an awesome hammered dulcimer player. She is composing, recording and performing. She made a CD this summer with Philip's help as the producer. She recently entered the Colorado Dulcimer Festival in Fort Collins Colorado and was chosen as the champion player this year.

A visiting judge Christie Burn even wrote about Allison on her blog and posted the you tube video of her performance. Here is the link

I am amazed at how talented Allison is!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Alliance for Vulnerable Mission

The Alliance for Vulnerable Mission (formed 2007) seeks to promote Christian mission to non-Western people using a Biblical model of ‘vulnerability’, more precisely defined as – using the language of the people being reached, and not using foreign funds to support one’s key project or ministry. My friend and ministry partner Jay Gary serves on the board of the alliance. Jim Harries serves as the chairman of the alliance is a Church of God Missionary in Kenya, Africa.

In light of globilization and the advance of the church in the southern hemisphere, I believe it is important for the missionaries and the mission projects that are coming from the "economically developed" nations to review their future mission efforts to ensure that our good intentions are measured by the effects of our presence on the mission field. We must move from positions of "power" to to a position of "presence" with humility.

A series of meetings have been arranged in the USA and Europe in 2009 to further discuss the issues raised by the alliance. These one-day "conferences" are open to anyone interested in better understanding "vulnerable mission." While oriented especially to the mission specialists of churches, denominational mission leaders, mission professors, mission agencies and so on. The conferences have been arranged on a regional basis to make it as easy as possible for people to attend. I have agreed for Global Service Associates to serve as the coordinator of the meeting in Colorado Springs on Friday January 16 at the Penrose House. To register your attendance you can follow the link to

The 4th Gathering of the Atlanta EFCLC

I am very excited to be a part of the 4th and final gathering of the Atlanta Externally Focused Church Leadership Community. The gathering will be at Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, and our topic of discussion and action will be RECONCILIATION. Chip Sweeney the community director writes, "Obviously, we will undergird our time with the truth of our reconciliation with God and then we will dive into reconciliation as it relates to the different ethnicities and cultures that we represent AND practically how we can work together and be a model for the rest of Atlanta. This will truly be an inspiring time that you and your church will not want to miss!"

We will start at 7:30 am on Thursday January 15th, and we will go through dinner and into the evening with a fun activity together – maybe bowling? On Friday, the 16th, we will start at 7:30 am and we will be done by 4:00pm.

It has been a great ministry opportunity to serve as the facilitator of these gatherings. I believe that the spirit of love and comraderie will continue to mark the relationship of these ministry leaders as they trust the Lord with a "2020 Vision" to see the city of Atlanta transformed by the mercy and grace of God.

To learn more about the Leadership Community format and how to faciltate the gatherings feel free to e-mail me and let me know how I can be of service to you.

A Vision Large Enough to Encompass a Whole City

One of the most enjoyable ministry opportunities in the last two years has been to visit the ministry leaders in Mexico. I continue to hear the good reports of how God is blessing the service of those leaders that I had the privelege of spending time with. One of those leaders is a man named Joe Cross.

He recently wrote this update, "Coming to Mexico City over two years ago I had no idea what to expect. (And the unexpected certainly has happened during our time here, perhaps even on a weekly basis.) But I did have one clear objective upon arrival: Help lead an effort to start Christ-centered movements on more than 400 university campuses. At the time, I felt that was a “big” dream, and one that would involve a lot of people and resources and a whole lot of faith. But as our group of leaders stared at this awesome possibility placed within our small hands, God lifted up our chins ever so slightly and helped us see a broader horizon. What I beheld caused me to tremble. God wasn’t just asking us to seclude ourselves to the safe confines of the college campus, but He was requiring our participation in an effort already long underway – the transformation of His supercity. I won’t ever forget that gut-wrenching moment when the Lord spoke His will so clearly. We would launch movements on every college campus, but we must also focus our attention on the pressing needs of the whole city.

Fortunately for us, this really wasn’t so much of a pioneering effort as it was a collaboration effort. Without much ado, God opened up doors that would connect us with the rest of His body well at work within the city, and other believers from outside that would aide the venture. And in a short time, miracles happened as literally thousands of laborers mobilized together to raise up a network of over 50 campus movements and numerous other initiatives that encompassed everything from assisting the poor and caring for street children to engaging business executives and high-ranking government officials."

Please pray for Joe as well as other "kingdom-minded" ministry leaders to have a vision that grows so large that the only way to work is in collaboration. Thanks Joe for embracing the vision and know that your work for the Lord done in faith and the power of the Spirit is never in vain. The great thing that God does is change your way of thinking, relating and planning that will affect you for the rest of your life regardless of which city you live in or which path you may take.

Leadership Models

Models are important way of thinking and discussing any issue. This is particularly true of leadership. Some models are complex while others can be very simple
The test: "If some idea is Biblical then it should transcultural. It should be easy to translate into many languages." I never forget when I was in Cyprus and I was having a discussion about vision with a group of middle east leaders. Often in America we embrace the importance of a group of leaders developing a shared or common vision in a collaborative way and then write a simple vision statement to communicate to our "followers." We were looking at a well known verse, Proverbs 29:18 which is translated in English, "Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law." NIV "Where there is no vision, the people perish (scatter): but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." KJV Even in the English context "vision" is associated with "law." What came as a surprise in Arabic this verse is translated, "Where there is no seer (or prophet) (literally a person who gives the law of God) Vision is not simply a statement of direction to communicate to followers to motivate them toward a common purpose, it is very personal. The question then become if a leader listens to God then why should they work with other leaders to develop a statement of vision, are they not the vision and would they not speak for God?

Do You Need and Executive Coach?

This is the title of an article that appeared on written by Hannah Clark dated 01/12/07. Some of the highlights:

"You may be a brilliant negotiator, a financial whiz or a technical genius. But do you have what it takes to manage other high-level employees? If your communication skills have been a sore spot during your annual reviews, a leadership coach might be able to help. Once a tiny industry, dominated by boutique firms, leadership coaches have moved into the mainstream."

The trend is driven partly by demographic shifts. In North America and Europe, the executive-age population--i.e., baby boomers--is nearing retirement. Companies need to start focusing on developing internal leaders, rather than just recruiting from the outside.
"There is going to be a real premium for companies to try to retain talent," says Mark Marcon, an analyst with Robert. W. Baird. "And the talent out there to replace the people retiring is going to be scarcer and scarcer."
Meanwhile, India and China are growing faster than their business schools can churn out candidates. While the twin tigers are developing a large class of professional workers, the executive ranks are still thin.
"It's going to take another generation before they have enough management talent," says Peter Felix, president of the Association of Executive Search Consultants, which recently published a survey about the executive job market worldwide. "It takes a whole generation to train effective, modern management."
Leadership coaches often work with managers who have been highly successful, but see barriers preventing them from reaching the C-suite. Some are technical whizzes who don't have the interpersonal skills to manage a large staff. In other cases, coaches are called in when there has been turnover on an executive team, and the senior officers need to get to know each other. Leadership coaches can help a new CEO adjust to his or her position, or aid a board trying to develop a succession plan. The price for such leadership insight can vary, but it's not for executives with low bank balances. LeaderSource charges anywhere from $25,000 to $65,000 for a coaching engagement, which lasts a year or more and involves 20 to 30 sessions."

I believe that more and more leaders in new missional efforts will require a leader coach to help them make sense of themselves because most of the traditional support systems friends, family, traditions, experience can be relied on to continue to give encouragement to move ahead.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Retirement and Financial Security

With the economic turmoil last week there is a great deal of uncertainity about the future. Here is a quote in the Boulder Daily Camera from a reader who was commenting on a story about the plunging stock market, "My new plan is to start saving aluminum in my backyard one beer can at a time! With the price of metals going up daily and stocks going down this is the only fail-safe retirement plan I can think of."

I used to have a lot of confidence in my ability to manage my retirement plan, but I lost most of my retirement two years ago through making a risky high-yield investment with other friends in what turned out to be a "pyramid scheme." So now that the rest of America is seeing their retirement plans quickly losing value because of risky financial schemes by the leading investment bank officers, I can see my loss in a different perspective. In an AP report on Tuesday, October 7 it stated, "Congress' top budget analyst estimated that Americans' retirement plans have lost as much as $2 trillion in 15 months." The "criminals" whether the pyramid scheme bosses or the bosses of these investment banks have stolen our financial security and robbed us of our confidence in the future.

As I have gone to the Lord in prayer to ask for justice, He has caused me to ask forgiveness for my own misplaced confidence. He alone is to be my confidence, He alone is my security, and I must respond in faith to His will for my life. I have been encouraged as I have meditated on the Psalms, particularly Psalm 31, 32 and 33. "No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save."

Once I regain my hope in the Lord, "collecting aluminum cans in my backyard might just be the best retirement plan for now." It certainly can't be worse than trusting in the idiot money managers who have lost $2,000,000,000,000 in 15 months or than trusting in myself when I foolishly invested in a risky scheme!