Our Own Kind of Fireworks

Happy Fourth of July!!

Here’s a couple shots from our celebration today in Fort Collins. There was a staff kid parade that Morgan (and us) participated in, which was fun.

I got the day off from the leadership track, but Christine still had to go to school. She’s taking an elective class right now on the Psalms from Dr. Mark Futato from Reformed Theological Seminary. She’s really enjoying it, though 2 hours at a time is a little rough for her in terms of sitting through class. She would love my seminary intensives!

As fireworks are going on as I write in Fort Collins, we just finished cleaning up a pretty gnarly round of puke as Morgan turned everything she’s ate today loose in her pack n’ play. The color? Red, White, and Blue of course – just like the patriotic jello we ate for dinner tonight. At least we’ve been able to celebrate Old Glory in our own way tonight!

Christine just asked her, “Do you feel sick?” Morgan answered “No, I feel happy.” Go figure.

Happy Fourth of July!

Dr. Pratt&the Lord’s Prayer

Friday, Dr. Richard Pratt from Reformed Theological Seminary came to speak to us. I’ve read bits and pieces from some of his books, but had never seen or heard him in person. He’s an Old Testament Prof. so a lot of staff have taken Old Testament Survey from him out here in Colorado.

He spoke on the Lord’s prayer being a place where our vision of God could be expanded to a place where we as ministry leaders could be sustained through the tough times. He rightly said that evangelicals typically just focus on the last part of the Lord’s prayer (providence, assurance of salvation, forgiveness) and gloss over the beginning that has to do with the Lord’s Fatherhood and Kingdom. Really, these verses are about praying to the King of the universe and not just a big granddaddy in the sky.

He went back to Isaiah 6 and other places to demonstrate that the dominant metaphor in the Scriptures for God is King and that we need to understand the gospels in that light and consider our own lives as being subjects of the one true King. It was very motivating and very right on from my vantage point.

Those first two verses need to become so much more a part of my daily and hourly life with Him:

“Father who art in Heaven
-(connotations of the throne room in Heaven – Is. 6),
Hallowed be thy Name
They Kingdom Come
Thy Will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.”

From Shoes to Who’s Who

I wanted to highlight two of the speakers we heard late last week in the leadership track as both were really engaging and enjoyable. Neither were explicitly getting after leadership issues, but I think both hit on things that are really crucial for us to remember as we develop as ministry leaders and maybe more importantly, as followers of Christ.

First, the former Mayor of Fort Collins, Colorado came to speak to us. His name is Ray Martinez. He mostly shared about his own journey. He grew up as an orphan in the system for 5 years, was adopted, and started working as a shoe shiner in Fort Collins – shining even the Mayor’s shoes at the time. He eventually got into law enforcement and then when he retired from the force he became Mayor for 6 years and had to stop because of term limits. That story alone is impressive in light of the determination and commitment to overcome all of those challenges. I was very moved to hear that story, but he shared more about his recent journey about trying to find his biological mother. This was a very powerful story, though I won’t recount it here. All I would say is that his story is a must read for anyone who has been orphaned or in the system. He has a couple books out and a new one on this recent journey called Baby Boy – R that people can order from his website http://www.raymartinez.com.

The one thing that stood out to me besides God’s grace and capacity to redeem all things was Ray’s emphasis that one moment of leadership – where we are stepping out to influence for the sake of the well-being of others for a genuinely good purpose – can make all the difference in the world. He had a couple stories from his police career that illustrated that powerfully. Sometimes I can get casual about my day and forget that God can accomplish divine and powerful encounters through some of the most basic or routine encounters we have. I want to see the possibilities of all my interactions and not take them for granted. Ray was a great example of someone who maintains that expectation that God is at work around every corner.

The second speaker was Dr. Richard Pratt from Reformed Theological Seminary, but I’ll touch on him tomorrow since it’s late and I’m tired.

Leaders at Risk

One of the cool things about the leadership track that I’m serving at right now is the breadth and exposure we’re getting to so many quality leaders and insights. Late last week we heard from Marc Rutter, the national director in the campus ministry of Human Resources and Leadership Development. He gave a talk on “Leaders at Risk”. I’ve heard it at least twice before, but it is a sobering message to be reminded of how so many leaders have been derailed in their ministries because of character issues. His talk came as a result of a joint study of fallen leaders between him, Dr. Henry Cloud, and others. They identified 6 main profiles of ministry leaders who were at risk for some sort of major moral failure (sexual, moral…).

They are as follows with some rough notes I made describing each one:

  1. Narcissistic Star Who Rises: selfish, gifted, talented, idealized by others because of gifting, successful so ministry becomes their measure, go all bad if confronted on character issues, success is more important that
  2. Narcissistic Star Who Doesn’t Rise: selfish, not coachable, see themselves as not needing to learn and grow, like 1 they tend to fall in moral area
  3. No Boundaries Person: put things at risk because they don’t say no to themselves and others
  4. Floaters: don’t do bad things, they don’t do much at all, gravitate to place of low accountability, itinerate complainers; look for a lateral move if someone moves in; allergic to authority
  5. Irresponsible Person: just don’t do any work and aren’t productive;
  6. Authority Problem: out to do destructive things to ministry, black and white thinkers, they’re never wrong

I would say all of us can either relate to one of these profiles in some way or know some one who does. It really reemphasized the importance to me of doing the hard work of character formation in our relationships with the Lord so that our scope of ministry does not outgrow our walks with the Lord.

If you want more info on leaders at risk or are intrigued let me know and I can send you more of my notes from that time.

Pinata Softball

Joe Priola is demonstrating his perfect pinata swing. He didn’t keep this one in play, but I bet that form could net a lot of candy on Cinco de Mayo.

Despite Joe’s best efforts to hit the ball about 500 feet (which he almost did a couple times if not for a light pole), we couldn’t pull off the second game of our double-header tonight. I was stoked to take a break from compiling 360 degree feedback and play some ball, but playing two games in this kind of heat was pretty intense.

Somehow I became the shortstop on this team. I thought those days were about 5 years and 30 lbs. behind me. I had a lot of anxiety going into the doubleheader since I wasn’t tested in the first game. Games 2 & 3 provided a great challenge and I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to make about 12 or so putouts in the two games tonight, especially since I couldn’t get any of my line drives to drop in for hits.

It was fun to have a competitive game with a little drama. Though self-umpiring did lead to some controversy, we had our chances to win that second game and couldn’t make it happen. Brad pitched great both games, but we came up short with the bats and had a few key defensive miscues at bad times. It was fun though. Tonight we went out with the families of the other guys to get to know them. There’s a bunch from the northwest and from south carolina so it was fun getting to know them a bit more.

Now, off to ice my arm, knees, and ankles.

Photo: Jason Sorge demonstrating how much he pays attention to base coaching. Spud should get a bullhorn.

Family Trip to Urgent Care

Because we don’t have a primary care physician and all three of us were fairly sick we took a family trick to urgent care here in Fort Collins. Bronchitis, ear infections, sinus infections, and a few other things were diagnosed and we got on the necessary medications and antibiotics to start the road to recovery.

Because this was a three hour endeavor, Morgan overcame her deep fear of doctor’s to spontaneously begin serving as the urgent care host/receptionist. She got up in the chair at the table on the right and started pretending to type on a computer. Unprompted, she asked a nurse walking by, “Can I help you?” Then she turned to us and asked, “What’s the problem?” And then in the middle of my attempted response she yelled, “Next!”

She was really funny and provided relief to the dozen or so deathly ill in the lobby, but it amazes me how much she absorbs when she is in these environments. She certainly has been in enough Dr.’s offices to pick up the receptionist “cliches.”

Future Career?

What is the Leadership Track?

I would not be surprised if many out there, especially those who are a part of team of ministry partners, have a sense of ambiguity about what it is that we’re doing out here in Fort Collins, CO for 6 weeks. Here’s a layout of what we’re doing and why we think it’s strategic…

The Leadership Track is a leadership development venue to help senior staff with Campus Crusade grow in all facets of ministry leadership. It’s designed to provide leadership equipping, individual and group coaching and community, and personal and ministry feedback. One of the reasons this is a strategic assignment for us this summer is that serving as a coach in this venue allows me to integrate my seminary degree in Transformational Leadership with my role and leadership within the Campus Ministry.

It’s very fun playing the role of mentor and coach in light of both my staff experience and my education. Overall we really wanted to interact with a broader range of leaders within the ministry at this point in our own development and we have prayed that God would use some of this extended time with organizational leaders and other staff to refresh our vision and motivation in the ministry.

My schedule is as follows: The Leadership Track meets from 8:30 – 12pm every morning to dive into a variety of leadership issues – from spiritual leadership to vision casting to stewardship and results. I meet with 4 guys for 2 hrs. each every week to help them examine their own spiritual leadership and to help them construct personal development plans that will guide them in their development over the coming years. We meet as a small group once a week as well. All in all it’s a full schedule (considering I am finishing my last seminary class right now), but it’s fun. And I’ll sneak away to play softball once or twice a week 🙂

Christine has been planning on taking a class out here and we’re trying to figure out how to make that happen with Morgan. But the Leadership Track has a weekly evening Bible study for wives who are going through the Leadership Track or wives of spouses. She’s really enjoyed connected with other staff women. She’s also been very encouraged to find out that there is a weekly support group for staff mom’s with children with disabilities and she’ll be participating in that this summer as well. Both of those are big felt needs. As far as the class, Christine’s trying to decide whether to take a class on the Psalms or a class on motherhood and ministry.

This past week was catching up with things and getting everything in order as well as getting to know people and for me, getting to know the guys I’m coaching. They’re all great guys hailing from all over (Washington, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Los Angeles). This coming week I’m working to compile and summarize 360 degree feedback for each of them so you can be praying for me and them in this endeavor.

We’re confident that this was where we have needed to be this summer, but we do miss being home.

Softball and Ring Around the Rosie

Today was a very full day (8:30am – 10pm), but one hour in the middle was dedicated to the Campus Crusade CSU intramural softball league which started. In 2001 when we were out here taking classes, I was fortunate enough to be on the championship team with other Pacific Southwesters. This year there are 3 returnees – Brad Fulton, Jason Sorge, and Myself – from that team and we’ve been teamed up with a couple others from the PSW as well as a bunch of dudes from the Mid-South – places like South Carolina. Good team, at least by the looks of it. We won today 32-2 I think because our team really can swing the bats. Joe Priola surprised us all with his all around game and skills.

But my favorite moment was when Morgan came with Christine to watch and came over to me and told me, “Dada, you run fast!” Of course I was encouraged even if it wasn’t really true. Then while the game was still in progress she came to me while I was waiting and asked, “Dada, can we play ring around the rosie?” It was so tender. We played a little bit, but I wasn’t able to play ring around the rosie in the middle of the other 12 guys on my team. Morgan’s awesome.

Reasons Why Leaders Need to Love God With Their Minds

We’re now in full swing at the leadership track here in Fort Collins. For those of you who can’t get a handle on what we’re doing in Colorado right now I’ll share more later, but was motivated today by one of the first guest speakers we were able to hear from.

Dave Horner is on the faculty of the philosophy department at Talbot School of Theology and he is out here teaching one of classes for staff called “Christian Worldview.” He came over to the leadership track to share with us 5 reasons we need to love God with our mind. Here they are:

1. Because Ideas Have Consequences (citing examples like Auschwitz)
2. Because God Commanded it (Matthew 22:37-40)
3. Because it’s How God Created Us (Gen 1:26-28)
-We’re made in the image of God which involves being made as rational (thinking) beings
-We’re called to steward all of ways in which our mind (brain) works and use them all to the glory of God.
4. Because it’s How We Flourish
– We are called to think deeply and love deeply; non-thinking leads to shallow spirituality and community. He said, “We’re not all called to be scholars, but we are all called to be thinkers.”
5. Because it’s a Blast (Remember he’s a philosophy professor and I know at least one guy from my seminary cohort that would challenge this point)

He made a comment that also stood out to me – that the early Christians out-lived, out-thought, and out-died their generation. Can that be said of our contemporary generation? Are we out-thinking our generation? Are we out-living it? Horner made a connection between the two (thinking and living), but was clear in that he was arguing for a growth in wisdom as opposed to just factual (or propositional) knowledge. It was challenging and motivating.

One of the things I took away though was that I need to find more people or get with those more regularly that enjoy thinking and talking through the same issues I enjoy or am challenged by.

Anyway, there’s a lot more to come. Also, if you’ve been praying for my dad’s heart procedure, he’s doing well and recovering. He’ll stay the night in the hospital for observation and be released tomorrow if all’s well. Thanks for praying!

Leadership Formation & Development Within Systems and Organizations