Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Digital media and the end of college

A lot of thoughts and inputs converging lately. Here are some of the inputs:

1. Via email - I received an email last week making it clear our national leadership within the USCM understand the future of campus ministry will prominently feature digital media as a tool and platform towards evangelism and discipleship.
2. Via podcast - I listen to a podcast pretty regularly called "This week in Google", which sounds both narrow and nerdy. However, the conversations covered by the three hosts (and one weekly guest) range from the practical (tips on using Google Voice, for example) to the theoretical and futuristic. It is the latter which fascinates me and keeps me listening. I posted about one such topic (how technology allows us to learn from anyone in the world at almost any time) and it's ministry implications on my test blog a few months ago.
3. Via RSS Reader - Seth Godin posted recently about "The coming melt-down in higher education". This flows right out of #2 above. What if the college campus as we know it radically changes...or becomes obsolete?
4. Via News - The level of debt around the world is threatening to radically change financial priorities and realities for the indefinite future, from government all the way down to the individual.

And now for the thoughts:

First, the internet disrupts everything it touches. It has changed the music industry, the porn industry, the movie industry, the retail industry, the news industry, the telecommunication industry, and the travel industry... to name a few. How long until the internet disrupts the college "industry"?

Second, bubbles eventually burst. There is a lot that could be said about the reasons behind the ever-upward ratcheting of college tuition, but it is looking increasingly like there is a college "bubble". There have been tulip bubbles, stock market bubbles, a bubble, and most recently a housing bubble.  Costs can only get so high, and people leveraged so far with debt, before things collapse.  And after the collapse and disruption, things may look very different.

What if the internet is the thing that makes the college bubble finally burst? And what will "college ministry" look like in this new world? Is this new reality coming? How long until it gets here? What can we do to prepare?

Ah, if only we knew the future...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Inbox Zero and GTD

[I had a request to move this post topic up in the queue. Here it is...]

For the longest time, my inbox was an ever growing "to-do" list and emails I held on to lived in an increasingly complex folder hierarchy.

Then I read "Getting Things Done" (GTD). Here is how I do things now:

When I check my email inbox (either on my phone or computer), I immediately either delete the email, respond to it, or move it to another folder.

If it is clearly junk, it gets deleted. If I'm not sure, but don't want to take the time to figure it out, I move it to a folder labeled "action". If I can respond to it quickly (2 minutes-ish), I'll likely do so immediately if I'm able. If it's going to take some time, it goes into action. If I read it and no further action is needed, I move it to a folder labeled "reference".

Those are the only three folders I have for email: inbox, action, and reference.

Many GTD systems have more folders than that. For a while, instead of "action", I had "read/review" and "respond". I found that most of the time, however, it was just an extra layer to toggle between the two folders that really were the same - they required time on my part. For me right now, one "action" folder works best. This could be different depending on the way you use email and what kind of email you get. 

The question you most often hear with this system is "what about my folders?!?" One big folder labeled "reference" scares people. It scared me, too. However, what enables you to get rid of folders is the "search" feature found in all modern email clients (Outlook, Gmail, etc.). In over a year of using this system, I have always been able to find the email I was looking for that previously would have been in a complex folder structure. Whether it be the subject, the sender or recipient, or some info within the body of the email, the search function always finds it. This does two things:

1. You no longer have to remember where you filed something
2. You no longer have to think about where you want to file a new item

Time saved on both fronts.

So there is the system. The GTD book addresses why an empty inbox is better even if you have an "action" folder that is full: you don't think about the email that needs response every time you open your inbox, rather you only think about it when you go to your action folder.

The next step is to begin moving items from your action folder (or directly from your inbox) to your calendar or task list. But that is another topic.

The underlying philosophy with email, GTD, and any good productivity system, is always being clear about the next action required. Decide what it is, then do it, delegate it, or defer it.

Now about that "do it" part. This is where the "work" part of "workflow" kicks in...

Any questions?

Upcoming posts for the end of June

You get out of your blogging rhythm and look what happens. A week goes by with no posts! Time to get back in the saddle and share what's percolating in my mind that will be developed into upcoming posts:

- There is some cool stuff going on organizationally that confirms our leaders at the national level understand the importance of Digital/Social Media. I'll share what I can about that, as well as why I think digital media could radically change the college campus as we know it in the years ahead.
- A podcast interview with a social media consultant (expert?) got my wheels turning about how social media can help us get better at training.
- The breadth and reach of our summer project venues. Plus, some things we could do to increase the number of students we are sending.
- A couple weeks ago I stumbled upon a blogpost by one of our US Campus Ministry national leaders. He shared some interesting thoughts regarding leadership development that are worth attention five years later.
-Getting practical with email. Sharing why, and how, I've become a practitioner of "inbox zero".
- Some campus outreach and evangelism ideas I've had that would blend some past practices with social media.
- Why it's increasingly strategic for our campus staff to have iPhones or similar.
- Using a Winter Conference Facebook page year round to drive regional vision and momentum.
- How to initiate change as a new member on a team. (I'm not sure, but I'm trying to figure it out)
- Thoughts stemming from reading "Celebration of Discipline". Can simplicity and technology coexist?
- Why I want my peers to give me a virtual tour of their offices (btw, I haven't asked them yet). How could the ideas of virtual tours help us in ministry? (Weekly meetings, evangelism, leadership development, discipleship, etc.)

So there are a few. I'll probably go through them mostly in order, and some of them will overlap, but if there's one you want me to bump up in the queue just let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hello to the office

Seth Godin has a post today called "Goodbye to the office". I want to share more thoughts about that in the future (it is questioning the need for offices at all), but it served as a spark to share some thoughts as I transition to our regional office:

Organization: How will we arrange people and space for productivity, collaboration, momentum, efficiency, and community? When there are trade-offs, how will we decide which value wins?

Systems: How can we set things up so our desired outcomes happen as automatically as possible? Everything from having the needed office supplies and ministry resources on hand to making sure our conference planning deadlines are met.

Technology: We've got office technology that is sufficient, but quickly becoming dated. Do we continue on with a physical server or go cloud based? Do we use regional funds to buy computers for our office staff? If so, what kind? Would investing in higher speed internet save us in travel costs (video/web conference) and efficiency? What would make the most sense in helping us serve the field? For communicating and collaborating across our ten national regions?

Communication: How are we going to communicate with each other? With our field staff? Who should be communicating what? How much should we respond to the field (use methods they are comfortable with), and how much should we lead the field (help them get better at embracing new/better communication channels)?

Field support: What are the best things we could do as an operations (and office) team to help our field staff better win, build, and send? What operational issues can we help them with or even take off their plate? What training should we give, and in what format (face to face, online, etc.)?

Environment: How can we create an environment in our office where people want to come in each day? And by environment, I am speaking comprehensively: physical (office decor and feel), emotional (a place that is relationally safe and where friendships flourish), and spiritual (deepening connection with the Lord and the body of believers that is stationed in our office).

Finance: How much money do we have to work with? What investments would provide the most benefit to our field ministries?

Change: Some things will need to change just because of the number of people coming in the office (seven new in the fall joining a current office of nine). But some things might need to change that will be difficult for our current office. How fast do we change? What is the best process? Who needs to be involved in the decisions?

Lots of questions (and that is certainly not a comprehensive list), especially for a guy that hasn't been based in an office since a college summer job.

So back to Godin's post. It is thought-provoking. But I think a well-led regional headquarters can be a very powerful force for accelerating the spread of the gospel to students in the Northwest. The above list is just the foundation. After you take the time to lay a solid foundation, then you really get to start building and seeing results. That's (part of) why I'm saying "hello", rather than "goodbye", to our regional office.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Leading with social media

"Be a student, not a critic." - Andy Stanley

I heard that quote on a podcast I started listening to last summer, and I've been repeating it to myself ever since.

It's so much easier to be a critic. A student has to learn, engage, feel stupid at times, study, make decisions, ask questions. A critic doesn't need to do anything other than watch and...criticize. 

This holds true when it comes to new media technologies. I don't know anyone who has ever said "I love Twitter!" - but isn't actively using it. Similar things can be said about YouTube, Facebook, and most recently, Foursquare.

I think this short (just under ten minutes) interview with Michael Hyatt is compelling because:

- It captures a leader that overcame the inclination to be a critic and instead became a student of a new field/technology
- He is a leader that has seen his influence expand as a direct result of two often misunderstood mediums: Twitter and blogging
- His thoughts resonate as truth: leadership is influence and to influence you must communicate effectively

How Can Christian Leaders Get Started with Social Media? from Michael Hyatt on Vimeo.

I'm certainly new in this arena, but my sense is that Michael is right on.

Who would you like to see start influencing people using social media? Why?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Upgrading your personal systems

We all have work flows and personal systems we are comfortable with. They may be dated and inefficient but, gosh darn it, that's how we've always done it!

Well, maybe a late spring Saturday morning is a good time to think about upgrading one of your systems.

An example: Do you ever see those drop boxes where people can deposit their utility payments? Why are those still there? The people that use them never update their system.

I'm guilty of it. For some crazy reason, whenever I had a check to deposit at the bank, I would go in and have a teller do the transaction. Something in me didn't trust the ATM to do it right, and perhaps most importantly,  I had never used it for a deposit. After my wife made fun of me I realized it was time for a change. The next time I had a check to deposit, I went to the ATM. While I seriously almost put the deposit envelope in the wrong slot (the receipt dispenser - I'm not kidding), I successfully made the deposit and had it show up in our account the next day. Once I'd done it successfully, there was no going back to the old way. That was this year.

Isn't that how it is? We don't want to do something new - even knowing it's better and that everyone else does it - because there might be a little bit of a learning curve. We might look stupid or do it wrong. We might cause more trouble reworking things than we had bargained for (I had visions of trying to pry that envelope out of the wrong slot on the ATM and having the cops show up).

And yet...we might not only save time, but have more fun doing things that were once drudgery.

How you pay bills, manage email, remember information, store/organize stuff in your home or office, get up in the morning - any of these need a rethinking? A reset?

So here is my thought: let's not get complacent with our personal systems. Maybe this will help us keep from getting complacent in other areas of our lives, too.

Have you rebooted any of your personal systems lately?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Update: Campus Crusade at Creation NW news

I spent some time on the phone today with a staff guy that works on conference and events out of our National Conference Office in Orlando. He's getting ready for New Staff Training kicking off down at Rollins Colllege while he is simultaneously coordinating Campus Crusade being at the NE and NW Creation events. Really fun to talk to operations people that are relational, detail-oriented, visionary, and energetic. Glen is all of those.

As for news...I found out from Glen that several campus movements were launched just from contacts that were made at the Creation events in 2009 - when we weren't nearly as organized as we will be this year. We'll have a six person team at the Creation NW event (5 students and one staff member - me), most of the time interacting with high school and college students that come to our booth (which is going to be pretty cool - Glen has done some great advance work with Creation and thinking through an engaging booth for us to set up). Also, one of the students on our team will speak from the main stage each night for a minute or two, sharing a little about who we are and inviting attendees to come talk to us at our booth. That will be in front of 20,000+ people. Whoever this person turns out to be (I'm working on that now), they'll have to get used to a lot of eyes on them...and having acts like Switchfoot, David Crowder Band, and Tenth Avenue North follow on their heals.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Evangelism - Share what you love, share the gospel

Is there something you are passionate about? Gifted at? Interested in? Trained well at?

Why not begin to use this to share the gospel with people around you? Steve Douglass, the president of Campus Crusade, is really good at time management. He put together a talk he could do at college campuses to help students "get better grades and have more fun". It opened doors for the gospel while he got to talk about something he was gifted in.

A friend of mine on staff likes art. She entered in to the Portland art scene and started connecting with lots of people that don't have a relationship with God. You think she has more of a platform to share the gospel with this group as a fellow artist...or as a professional Christian worker?

Organize a tribe on your campus or in your city. Go online and connect with like-minded people. Meet up with a group that has shared interests. Offer lessons to those in your neighborhood.

Perhaps you'll soon find evangelism isn't an event, but a way of life.

Staff, are you itching for more "natural mode" evangelism? Might want to think about this as part of your own personal strategic plan. I know I'm starting to.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My context, your context - sharing "across"

Here are some questions I've asked during my time on staff:

- What do the other Winter Conferences do for their day of outreach?
- How do the other campuses in my region structure their small groups and leadership team?
- What discipleship tools are people using on my staff team?
- How do the other regional offices structure their office space?
- How are other campuses creating a culture of evangelism among their students?
- What are the other teams in my region doing for personal development?
- How are other summer projects connecting with their alumni?
- What do other campuses do for their weekly meeting?

The list could go on and on. What I've come to realize is that I'm always wanting to know what is going on "across" from me. It's often interesting to know what is going on "up" from me, with those leading me organizationally, as well as "down", with those I am coaching and leading. However, it seems the greatest benefit often comes from sharing and collaborating with those in my same place organizationally. Yet, our systems and communication channels seemingly have difficulty carrying information horizontally - between those that are working on the same projects and within the same contexts.

Not that it doesn't happen. It does. We have New Staff training trips, Missional Team Leaders conferences, Regional Director "Verticals", conference guilds, etc. All help facilitate communication and collaboration. And relationships always exist across campuses and regions that lead to ideas being shared.

But what if we could do this in "real-time"? And in a manner that doesn't mean sending group emails and involve lots of "reply-alls" or one-to-one phone calls or (often) expensive face time (travel)? There are lots of software products that could help us do this using the internet, but I remain convinced that, as a campus ministry, Facebook might the best choice to facilitate this process. Our staff are already on it, our students are definitely on it, and the lost people we are trying to reach with the gospel are certainly on there, too. Did you know Facebook is actually designed to do this sort of thing? Fb recently articulated their mission statement:

“Facebook is a social utility that helps people communicate more efficiently with their friends, family and coworkers. The company develops technologies that facilitate the sharing of information through the social graph, the digital mapping of people’s real-world social connections."

The emphases were mine.

So what would it look like? I'm not sure, but hopefully I'll be developing a few test cases in the coming months that I can share.

What about you? Do you feel this need, too? What do you think about Facebook helping us do this?

(Note: No, we can't spend all our time communicating and collaborating. We've got to get our respective jobs done, living and working in our context. my friend Russ writes, we can have a broader impact by tithing our time.)

Event planning: "The right information to the right people at the right time"

Everyone that does campus ministry does event planning.

Small groups, socials, leadership meetings, retreats, conferences, summer projects...all of them require us to plan for a multiple-person event with a start time, a stop time, and an event between the two. Right?

My fellow Ops director (that I mentioned in my post last Friday) is an experienced event planner. One of the things he said he enjoyed about producing events was getting "the right information to the right people at the right time". I like that. 

Having produced and attended a lot of ministry events, combining those three things can be difficult. Ever shown up at an event, found something out, and thought "I wish I would have known that before I got here!"? Me, too. Of course, I've also shown up at events that I planned myself and thought the same thing!

So I've got an event coming up next month that is taking a little planning and coordinating. What needs to be known? By whom? When? Amazing how many details pop out of those three questions. Think about those three the next time you're planning an event.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Winter Conference and March Madness "look-ins"

The Winter Conference evangelism post from last week got me thinking about another idea for the conference:

What if we did live "look-ins” on other regional conferences as a way to give vision and a sense of scale? There are 10 regional Winter Conferences in addition to the different context conferences (International students, ethnic students, etc.) around the country. Why not have our mc's interact, at times, with those from another conference that runs concurrently? Or just stream the conference sessions online and have one conference occassionaly "look -in" at the other?  Technology not for tech’s sake, but to “get the people in the room” that would ideally be there. If we could get the same number of students to meet in the middle of the country for a “mega-conference” we probably would, right? (Explo, KC '83, CM 2007, anyone?). But time and expense of travel is too much. So why not try to merge the best of both worlds…especially now that technology is making it possible? We've done this on a small scale with teams of students that are overseas during the conference, but never with a whole other conference.

And while nothing beats being physically in the same place, there still is power in knowing others are in the same place emotionally. Think of "selection Sunday" in the NCAA tournament. Part of the fun is knowing all these other peope are watching and engaging the same thing. I got to go to WSU basketball selection Sunday a few years ago (2007) when they were projected to be in the tournament for the first time in many years. It was an amazing experience. Partly from the people and energy in the room (500?), but largely from knowing the whole country was watching and that dozens of other schools were all simultaneously waiting for their name to be called. If CBS flashed a picture of the room we were in (a "look-in"), it made everyone go crazy. We felt like a part of the madness when we saw the bigger picture and realized this was going on all over the country.

Here is a clip from the next year (2008). Check out the announcement of the seeding at the 1:25 mark.

So doesn't some of this translate to our conferences? How could it impact some of the things we try to do at our conferences? Could it work? Should it work? Would it be worth the coordination required? Has this already been happening?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Learning - The Power of Operations and Systems

This morning I was on the phone with my operations counterpart for the Great Plains Region of Campus Crusade. Andy is a veteran leader, both on campus and at the regional level. I'm grateful that we're going to be connecting regularly in the months ahead so that I can learn from him and his experiences.

We talked a little about how we each came to hear God's call to serve in operations leadership. One of his big influences was Eric Swanson. Staff in the USCM have probably encountered something Eric has written at some point , as he is a visionary, strategist, leader, and author. He had a blog post back in 2005 that Andy referred me to as having helped clarify his thinking related to Ops. I think it's worth sharing:

The power of capacity is found in operations even more than strategy. When the right systems are put in place they provide the back end operations that allow multiple strategies and tactics to be more effective. Remember Moses' dilemma in Exodus 18 that he reviews in Numbers 1. He was totally exhausted yet prayed that God would multiply the Israelites a thousand times. It was his Mideanite father-in-law that advised him correctly regarding the selection, training and empowerment of leaders. No amount of talent, drive and hard work can overcome bad operational systems. Bad systems are those where even the best people are reduced to mediocrity. On the other hand good systems allow everybody to function at their maximum capacity and ability. Because Moses was freed up from much of his sun-up to sun-down responsibilities, he had time to do that which he needed to do...write the Pentatuch!

He goes on...

Good systems cause good things to happen even if no one is paying attention to them. If you have automatic withdrawal from your checking account to pay your regularly scheduled bills you understand the power of a good system. Operational systems wedge between your vision of what you want to see happen and what actually is happening. If the behaviors or outcomes are not aligned with the vision, the problem most likely lies in operational systems. Like an iceberg, the behavior is what you see on the surface but what's under the surface is what leaders need to pay attention to. Systems drive behavior. What do I mean?

You can read the rest here. He has two interesting anecdotes about two Campus Crusade leaders, one I had heard, one I had not! (Hint: both have a first name "Steve")

I love the Biblical examples. I also like how he points out that operations systems will enable our behaviors and outcomes to line up with the vision we have: reaching the campus today, the world tomorrow.

What do you think? Have you found operations to be key in achieving your vision? Personally? With your ministry?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summer Project and YouTube

I love summer projects.

God did some significant work in my life when I went to San Diego as a student in '97 (and again as staff in '02). I've loved getting to help lead our Lake Tahoe Summer Project in '06 and '08.

This year's LTSP staff team just showed up to prepare for the students that will be arriving in a week and a half. I wish I was there for so many reasons. I guess I'll just have to depend on YouTube for highlights. Here is the first (courtesy of Jason Larsen):

If you've been on LTSP, this certainly qualifies as entertainment. Others, I'm not so sure. :)

If you're on project right now, how could YouTube help you tell your story this summer? Could it help your supporters (and all those that gave to send students) understand the amazing things that happen on project? Show some of the lives that are changed? Involve project alumni in praying for the summer? Help students say "yes" to summer 2011?

Facebook lists - a useful but seldom used feature for campus ministry

I'm certainly not an expert on Facebook list usage. However, I want to share a few things that I'm starting to do on Facebook that I think can help me (and you) lead, share, and collaborate. As I've said before, I think we in campus ministry have good reasons to be Facebook experts!

First, what do Facebook lists do? And how do you create one? Well, here it is straight from the source:

Friend Lists provide organized groupings of your friends on Facebook. For example, you can create a Friend List for your friends that meet for weekly book club meetings. You can filter your view of each list’s stream of activity separately on the home page. Friend Lists are easy to manage and allow you to send messages and invites to these groups of people all at once. 

To create and customize your own Friend Lists, please follow these steps:
  1. Click the "Create New List" that appears beneath the filters on the left side of your home page or your Friends page. Or, click the "Create New List" button from the "All Friends" tab of the Friends page.
  2. Type the title of your list and hit enter.
  3. Add friends to the list by typing their names into the "Add to List" field or selecting them from the list.
  4. Select "Create List" to store your changes.
In addition, if you have more than two Friend Lists, you can easily add or remove friends from lists by using the drop-down menu that appears next to their names on the "All Friends" tab of the Friends page.

A few things I plan on doing with Facebook lists...

- Create lists for different working groups and teams. I've created the "USCM Operations" - for my fellow operations leaders around the country, "GNW RD's" - for those on our regional director team in the Greater Northwest, "MPD - Supporters" - for our ministry partners that give to our ministry and pray for us.
- Update my status to select groups. Not all my friends care if I'm in the office that day, but my office co-workers might. Not all my friends might care about a certain online article I read, but my fellow Ops leaders might. When you update your status, you can click on the little padlock symbol and customize who sees your update.
- Be available for online chat to select groups. Again, there might be times I'll be fine chatting with anyone, but most of the time when I'm on Facebook, I probably only want to make myself available to no one or just a select group. Lists allow you to do this. After you create lists, they will pop up on your chat menu (lower right of facebook screen) and you can toggle them "online" or "offline" individually.
- Keep tabs on status updates and activity from select groups. While I still have my default for "everyone" in my news feed (for now), I can quickly scan updates from relevant groups by hitting "friends" on the left side of the home page, then selecting the list I want to see. A great way to stay in the loop on the people you care most about.
- Send messages to select groups. I didn't even know I could do this until just now when I was reading about Facebook lists. Nice! This might actually be one of the best features. I think I'm going to spend some time updating my lists tonight. :)

If you're still reading and want to get more ideas about how to use Facebook strategically for ministry, there are some great resources at

Do you actively use Facebook lists? Any additions you would recommend to the above list?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Evangelism - Using the internet at Winter Conference?

I had the chance a few months ago to do some brainstorming with our NW Winter Conference design team about this year's conference (an annual event at the end of December for students, faculty, volunteers, and staff from around our seven state region - here is the facebook fan page for the last one). One of the aspects of the conference we discussed was evangelism. Like other Campus Crusade conferences around the country, we usually spend part of the conference doing outreach in the city. What if, as an aspect of this time, we did something like...

- ...have students initiate a spiritual conversation with a non-Christian friend they've been wanting to talk to from their campus or back home...while at the conference via Facebook?
- ...have students go out in the city and initiate conversations. When they've had a conversation with someone, ask if they (the student) could blog about the conversation they've just had and invite their new friend to check it out and comment. They'd need to have a blog and a leaving piece with the address. Wouldn't you want to know how someone would debrief a conversation they've had with you?
- ......same thing, but find out their name and ask if they could be their friend on Facebook/other. After connecting online, ask a follow up question from the in-person conversation.

There are lots of great resources to anchor/augment the above ideas (Boxes of Love, Soularium, Short Film Outreach,, etc.). The thing about the list above is that they all place the event within the context of a larger story and relationship. And while they use the internet, they all involve being face-to-face at some point. Could that translate in to greater things, both at and after the conference?

Any other ideas that could help our students experience the mission, harness the power of the internet...and move people toward the Savior?

Remembering - Part II: Not-so-great moments in risk management history

This was from a WSU Cru "men's time" overnight camping trip in the spring of 2003:

From WSU Cru in the 2000's

I recently read some Campus Crusade finance training related to risk management that used an almost identical situation to the one above as a case study. Here are the questions it suggested we think about:
  • What are the possible opportunities to the ministry and the Kingdom by engaging in this activity? 
  • What are the possible liabilities to you personally, as the staff member involved in this event?
  • What are the possible liabilities to the ministry? 
  • Do the liabilities outweigh the potential to be gained?
I think the answer to that last question could depend on who you are asking.

The case study concluded by recommending a disc golf tournament as an alternative. We had discs at our event, but they were all orange and usually destroyed by shotgun fire. Glad no one got hurt.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Operations Meditations

Can we still meditate when we are doing busy doing "operations"? I think we must.

Foster's "Celebration of Discipline" is very refreshing. I suspect he is so beloved an author because he does the double duty of being deep and appropriately abstract while also being highly practical and descriptive. A quote from the end of his chapter on "The Discipline of Meditation":

"You must not be discouraged if in the beginning your meditations have little meaning to you. There is some progression in the spiritual life, and it is wise to have some experience with lesser peaks before trying to tackle the Mt. Everest of the soul. So be patient with yourself. Besides, you are learning a discipline for which you have received no training. Nor does our culture encourage you to develop these skills. You will be going against the tide, but take heart; your task is of immense worth."

In the fall, we'll spend a lot of time training our new operations team members how to do their jobs and accomplish the various tasks that will come before them. I'm thinking some training in how to meditate and go deep with the Lord will be training of at least equal value.

Remembering - Part I

I really enjoy watching all the pictures scroll by from yesterday's post.

However, I realized that I didn't have any pictures of someone placing their faith in Christ. Nor of someone inviting the Holy Spirit to fill them, or laying down an idol and confessing sin. While it's partly because I either wouldn't be packing my camera when these things were happening or didn't feel it appropriate to take a picture at the time, it has much to do with the definite limitations in photography being able to capture spiritual realities. Photos do a great job of illustrating community and the friendships that form when we are on mission together, but often need the thousand words to adequately bring to life the stories and transformations that led to the moment captured on screen - or what followed.

From WSU Cru in the 2000's

This picture was taken in the fall of 2002. We'd gather Tuesdays at noon on top of the WSU library (while it was still warm enough to be outside!) and share prayer concerns and requests, then spend time praying together. As I look at this picture, a couple things jump out to me. A big one is that I see how much our movement of prayer grew at WSU through the years. We always believed prayer would be the foundation necessary to reach the campus, and as our prayer meetings grew, so did our impact on the campus.

The other thing that strikes me is Liz, the girl in the center of the picture. Two years previous, she had come to Christ at WSU through another girl on her soccer team. Four and a half years later, she would loose her life when she was hit by a car. In between, she left a mark that showed others noticed the mark Christ had left on her.

"...we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." - II Corinthians 4:18