Sunday, January 25, 2009

Innovation in Short Term Missions

A lot has been written about Short Term Missions for sure. We have heard the good and the bad. Whatever your experience has been, the movement has impacted global missions in a significant way. Lately it has all seemed to be the same old . . . but a member of our facebook group connected me to a new innovation in short term missions.

The site is called Their tag line is "Sharing Christ through social media." Here is the amazing thing about this site. They are organizing a global mission trip where youth groups can sign up to do missions on facebook and other social media.

The experience is completely virtual but has all the components of a typical trip. You get training through January 31. Then the trip goes from February 1-14. After that the group is organizing online follow-up events to disciple new believers.

They are signing up youth groups who are going to take this on as a project. One youth pastor named Brad Cooper wrote:

"God didn’t allow the internet to be created so the whole world could be addicted to pornography…

He has much bigger plans….

Im hoping we wont miss the opportunity He’s giving us!

Innovative… I think so…"

Usually the Internet evangelism efforts have been spread out and ongoing. The innovative elements of this are:

1. They are giving it a beginning and end to build it as an event.

2. They are signing up youth groups to do online evangelism together

3. They are offering training and follow-up materials to help people engage those they reach.

4. They are using all of the new tools strategically. They have YouTube videos, twitter feeds, facebook apps, and on it goes. So many times we try to use old school tools in new environments.

One of the most innovative pieces is the accountability. As I mentioned above, because it is being done in youth groups, there will be local/live interaction about the ministry effort. Instead of being isolated by technology, this group is using it to give youth groups a plan and an strategy for their outreach.

Take a look, what can missions learn from an effort like this?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pencils, stones and good friends

I was recently corresponding with a member of our Innovation Team on facebook and a very cool insight on innovation happened. We had begun the conversation about a book but then when I asked him to share about his particular innovation that he was working on, he sent back a summary of the last year's progress.

At the end of the summary he shared how helpful it had been to write it down and how surprised he was to see that more progress was being made that he had ever imagined.

When we are in the middle of a major innovation effort, we can't see how far we have come. The daily challenges mount and keep our eyes focused down on the ground. We can become so focused on the project that we don't see when major shifts happen. We may have taken our idea in a whole new direction and not even realize it.

So I would like to share three things that can keep us plugged into the bigger goal while we are slogging through the daily struggles.

Pencils: Journaling, blogging, twittering are all ways that you can share where you are at. The ability to write down what is happening will help you to process it and look at it in the bigger context.

Stones: When you hit a milestone (it is good to identify some of them at the outset) you need to put a stone (figuratively or literally) there and celebrate that step. Those stones are key to giving us perspective.

Good Friends: Who are you sharing about the progress of your innovation with? Do you have some good friends and colleagues that are dialed into your journey? They give you perspective because they are looking at your process in a new way.

Blessings as you set your innovation in perspective today!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Are you ready to innovate?

"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed." 1 Peter 1:13

Does the Bible have anything to say about being innovative? I think there are several places, but I would like to share the above verse with you and make some connections for you to consider. In this verse Peter is challenging people to be holy. Holiness is a focus on Christ that results in acting Christ-like.

Innovation isn't so much about genius. It has more to do with perspective. Are you ready to see things differently? Are you ready to act on what you see? The more I work on new ideas, the more I am convinced that innovation in God's kingdom is a question of Christ-like obedience. God is the ultimate innovator. He will do the most creative mind-boggling things to bring people to Himself. If that is true, then He is always giving us opportunities to innovate - but are we listening?

So lets break down this verse:

prepare your minds for action: This speaks of the fertile ground that will produce innovation. If your mind is prepared to act on what God gives you, then you will be an innovator. But if you do not prepare your mind for action, then there will be a million reasons why you will not be obedient and turn down the opportunity to innovate.

be self-controlled: Living a life that is self-controlled puts you in a position to be obedient. If you are reading, proactively looking at your time, studying the Bible, engaged in your community, then you will have the lifestyle that allows you to be innovative. People who cannot manage their time and efforts, find very little opportunity to make a difference.

set your hope fully on the grace: Instead of looking back and wondering about what you could have done, this verse focuses you forward. It calls us to set our hope on what Jesus has done and is doing for us through his grace and love. As I have shared before, Hope Expects Good! That means that we are called to expect good from God and look forward to what He has done for us. Forward motion allows us to build speed around new ideas and key projects.

Are you ready to step out in obedience and innovate?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

30 Ideas in 30 Days

A key part of innovation is learning and sharing new ideas. What does it look like when you are disciplined about that process?

In our efforts to share practical ways to be a generous mind, we are twittering 30 ideas in 30 days. It's simple: go to and follow our twitter to get these practical ideas. At the end we will document them all on this blog as a summary.Blessings as you are generous today!