Your GPS is Broken

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Missional Map-Making: Skills for Leading in Times of Transition is one of those books that jumped out at me as one that I needed to read. First, it was penned by Alan J. Roxburgh who has been a key player in the missional movement for a very long time. Second, the title alone highlights the fact that Roxburgh is not just talking recipes but is seeking to dive deeper into the heart of what is happening in the church today.

The text is broken out into two parts. The first is entitled, “When Maps No Longer Work”. In this first part Roxburgh makes a cogent argument that the world is not changing but has changed. The shift has occurred and our culture has moved from the “enlightenment/modern” understanding of the world to the “post-modern”. This means that our entire way of understanding the cultural terrain is broken.

Roxburgh uses maps as his key metaphor. He argues that each of us have internal maps to help us navigate our daily meanderings through life in this broken world. This is the primary function of worldview. They are to provide us the means by which to make sense of the world around us.

But what happens when the world is no longer what it once was? What happens when the maps no longer work?

This is catastrophic when it comes to leadership. Roxburgh makes great connections from the business world and from the world of philosophy to make his point that leaders must not use the old maps but must be willing to change their maps so that they can lead the community of God’s people toward reaching a lost world.

I think one of the best arguments he makes is in chapter 7 where he discusses the development of the internet and compares it to the culture at large. The internet was initially a linear connection of a handful of super-computers. It is now an interconnected web with no beginning or ending. This is true of our culture. The boundaries are being erased and as a result we struggle to even speak “multi-culturalism” or “pluralism” because inherent to both are boundaries.

The boundaries are disappearing, so argues Roxburgh, so what will the church do about it?

Part two, “The Map Making Process” seeks to answer that question. There are four key components to building a new map that Roxburgh discusses. The first is to assess and understand the changes that have taken place in your community. Unless we have a firm understanding of the lay of the land it will be very difficult to draw a new map. We must become surveyors of the new landscape.

The second is the cultivation of a core identity. This core identity is developed from the Biblical narratives and calls people to a renewed confidence. It is a pushing down to the “regular folks” the mission of God and removing it from the hands of the “pros”.

The third is the “cultivation of parallel cultures in the kingdom”. This means that we must ease change into being by living out the new culture alongside those in the old. As more and more people live off the new map the old map will give way. While this is requires patient and slow change it is the way of love.

The fourth are “partnerships between a local church and neighborhoods and communities.” Roxburgh argues for the church to partner within its neighborhood to meet real needs and to care for the community within which it resides. These partnerships will help the church to ask the right questions and begin to draw an even more proper map for it’s world.

Conclusion

This is a great text. It’s strength lies in the critique of contemporary church culture’s ability to engage with a changed world. It’s weakness lies in application. While Roxburgh provides some good stories, the reader is left wondering, “How?”. I was expecting this from the start (thanks to a very well done introduction). The truly engaged leader will be spurned on to creativity and thoughtfulness.

Your GPS is Broken

Missional Map-Making: Skills for Leading in Times of Transition (Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series) is one of those books that jumped out at me as one that I needed to read. First, it was penned by Alan J. Roxburgh who has been a key player in the missional movement for a very long time. Second, the title alone highlights the fact that Roxburgh is not just talking recipes but is seeking to dive deeper into the heart of what is happening in the church today.

The text is broken out into two parts. The first is entitled, “When Maps No Longer Work”. In this first part Roxburgh makes a cogent argument that the world is not changing but has changed. The shift has occurred and our culture has moved from the “enlightenment/modern” understanding of the world to the “post-modern”. This means that our entire way of understanding the cultural terrain is broken.

Roxburgh uses maps as his key metaphor. He argues that each of us have internal maps to help us navigate our daily meanderings through life in this broken world. This is the primary function of worldview. They are to provide us the means by which to make sense of the world around us.

But what happens when the world is no longer what it once was? What happens when the maps no longer work?

This is catastrophic when it comes to leadership. Roxburgh makes great connections from the business world and from the world of philosophy to make his point that leaders must not use the old maps but must be willing to change their maps so that they can lead the community of God’s people toward reaching a lost world.

I think one of the best arguments he makes is in chapter 7 where he discusses the development of the internet and compares it to the culture at large. The internet was initially a linear connection of a handful of super-computers. It is now an interconnected web with no beginning or ending. This is true of our culture. The boundaries are being erased and as a result we struggle to even speak “multi-culturalism” or “pluralism” because inherent to both are boundaries.

The boundaries are disappearing, so argues Roxburgh, so what will the church do about it?

Part two, “The Map Making Process” seeks to answer that question. There are four key components to building a new map that Roxburgh discusses. The first is to assess and understand the changes that have taken place in your community. Unless we have a firm understanding of the lay of the land it will be very difficult to draw a new map. We must become surveyors of the new landscape.

The second is the cultivation of a core identity. This core identity is developed from the Biblical narratives and calls people to a renewed confidence. It is a pushing down to the “regular folks” the mission of God and removing it from the hands of the “pros”.

The third is the “cultivation of parallel cultures in the kingdom”. This means that we must ease change into being by living out the new culture alongside those in the old. As more and more people live off the new map the old map will give way. While this is requires patient and slow change it is the way of love.

The fourth are “partnerships between a local church and neighborhoods and communities.” Roxburgh argues for the church to partner within its neighborhood to meet real needs and to care for the community within which it resides. These partnerships will help the church to ask the right questions and begin to draw an even more proper map for it’s world.

Conclusion

This is a great text. It’s strength lies in the critique of contemporary church culture’s ability to engage with a changed world. It’s weakness lies in application. While Roxburgh provides some good stories, the reader is left wondering, “How?”. I was expecting this from the start (thanks to a very well done introduction). The truly engaged leader will be spurned on to creativity and thoughtfulness.

Book Review: Surviving Your Serengeti: 7 Skills to Conquering any Business Challenge

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Surviving Your Serengeti: 7 Skills to Conquering any Business Challenge.  It was given to me by a friend who said, “You have to read this.  It’s pretty great.”

I was looking forward to reading it because I had already taken the leadership style inventory that goes with the book and found out that I was a “Wildebeest”.

That didn’t seem very inspiring.

You can read that last comment as “I was a bit skeptical”.  I have read many books on leadership.  I could list them for you but, my fingers would stop working. Swanepoel, has however, brought a unique twist to the game.  He identifies seven key skills that a person needs to succeed in the Serengeti of leadership.

I am a pastor and so I read Swanepoel’s parable of the Serengeti through a bit of a different lens. I am not very interested in making a lot of money.  What I am interested in is making an impact.

A big impact.

As I read I tried to imagine the Serengeti of church leadership and how the skills of the strategic lion, the enterprising crocodile, the enduring wildebeest (me!), the risk-taking mongoose, the communicating elephant, the efficient cheetah, and the graceful giraffe, would play out in our community.

The reality is that all of them, as Swanepoel states, are necessary.  The skills that he highlights are at the principle level and cross the chasms business, education, non-profit, and wherever else leadership is needed.

I deeply appreciated the fact that in the Serengeti you could not go it alone.  Each of the skills worked together for the survival of the whole.  This is true in the church context as well. We must have teams who lead together. These teams must recognize the giftedness of the players and embrace one another’s special role.

I recommend you take a peak and think about what it would take to survive your Serengeti.

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THE ENDURING WILDEBEEST

Like the wildebeest, endurance for us in its simplest form is the ability to exert ourselves for relatively long periods of time. More specifically, it’s all about the ability to withstand hardship and stress. We need to remain steadfast and persistent in the face of obstacles. It‘s often not the fastest nor the strongest one that wins the race, it’s the one that stays the course and goes the distance.

Book Review: Surviving Your Serengeti: 7 Skills to Conquering any Business Challenge

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=FFFFFF&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=danielmroseco-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&m=amazon&f=ifr&asins=0470947802
Surviving Your Serengeti: 7 Skills to Conquering any Business Challenge.  It was given to me by a friend who said, “You have to read this.  It’s pretty great.”

I was looking forward to reading it because I had already taken the leadership style inventory that goes with the book and found out that I was a “Wildebeest”.

That didn’t seem very inspiring.

You can read that last comment as “I was a bit skeptical”.  I have read many books on leadership.  I could list them for you but, my fingers would stop working. Swanepoel, has however, brought a unique twist to the game.  He identifies seven key skills that a person needs to succeed in the Serengeti of leadership.

I am a pastor and so I read Swanepoel’s parable of the Serengeti through a bit of a different lens. I am not very interested in making a lot of money.  What I am interested in is making an impact.

A big impact.

As I read I tried to imagine the Serengeti of church leadership and how the skills of the strategic lion, the enterprising crocodile, the enduring wildebeest (me!), the risk-taking mongoose, the communicating elephant, the efficient cheetah, and the graceful giraffe, would play out in our community.

The reality is that all of them, as Swanepoel states, are necessary.  The skills that he highlights are at the principle level and cross the chasms business, education, non-profit, and wherever else leadership is needed.

I deeply appreciated the fact that in the Serengeti you could not go it alone.  Each of the skills worked together for the survival of the whole.  This is true in the church context as well. We must have teams who lead together. These teams must recognize the giftedness of the players and embrace one another’s special role.

I recommend you take a peak and think about what it would take to survive your Serengeti.

THE ENDURING WILDEBEEST

Like the wildebeest, endurance for us in its simplest form is the ability to exert ourselves for relatively long periods of time. More specifically, it’s all about the ability to withstand hardship and stress. We need to remain steadfast and persistent in the face of obstacles. It‘s often not the fastest nor the strongest one that wins the race, it’s the one that stays the course and goes the distance.

Lead, lead, lead…

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Yesterday I committed myself to watching The NINES leadership conference.  I set up the laptop with the projector and big screen and kicked back in our youth room. I was impressed with the variety of speakers and the depth of insight that was being presented.  I was less than surprised by some of the poor exegesis.  I was able to invest in about half the conference.

For those of you who don’t know how the The NINES works it’s a single day web conference where speakers discuss a single topic.  This year they got 6 minutes.  So, over the course of the nine hours there were over 100 videos.  The pace is fast and a couple fo hours disappear before you know it. This year’s topic was “Game Changers”.

There were two highlights for me as a developing leader that I am going to continue chewing on.  The first was from Mike Slaughter.  He discussed the centrality of discipleship in his ministry.  What really caught me was when he said, “Programs and services do not produce disciples, disciples do.”  Now, this is not new information.  But, it was one of those reminders that as a pastor/shepherd my calling is to disciple making.  It is not to entertaining or building a social club. The ramifications of this are still swirling in my head.

The second talk that has stuck was from Eric Geiger.  He discussed the role of the pastor.  He argued that the typical church structure is:

[Pastor]—->Minister—–>[People]

He then turned to Ephesians 4:11-12 and made the case that the biblical model is:

[Pastor]—–>Prepare—–[People]—–>Minister

This ties directly into the discipleship issue.  While I was on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ I think I was a pretty effective discipler.  The movements that I served developed high student ownership and our staff teams were diligent about preparing people to do ministry.  There was a clear DNA that we sought to replicate within each student.  I think that this has been the hardest part of the transition into the local church.  Our DNA is not as clear, the folks who have been entrusted to us are not as available, the expectations on the role of pastor is very different because the people have expectations!

This morning as I process I am wondering how do we effectively disciple in the modern world?

The Quest to Be Unconventional

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I like to think.  I like to think new things and seek to develop original ideas.  I also enjoy reading and interacting with those who think in fresh ways.  One of the people who I enjoy reading is David Fitch.  He is a missiologist who is calling the church to be local and missional. He understands that the gospel needs to be contextualized to particular local contexts without undermining its narrative truth.

That being said, I think that David does something in a recent post which is not authentic. He is discussing how to deal with conflict in the community of believers.  He evaluates two approaches which are highlighted in the work of Al Mohler and Brian McLaren.  He argues that neither of their approaches (autocratic or democratic) fit with the biblical model and he calls for a “new” approach, the incarnational.

I want to briefly summarize this approach:

  • People in disagreement are encouraged to discuss one on one.
  • If there is continued disagreement three or four are brought together.
  • If there is continued disagreement the acknowledged leaders are brought into the conversation.
  • If there is continued disagreement the issue is brought before the whole church.

If this sounds strangely familiar it is because it is.  This is what we find in Matthew 18.  It is also the methodology outlined in the Book of Order for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. I appreciate that David is calling the church back to this reality.  I agree with his conclusions. What I struggle with is that he encapsulates the call in language that makes it sound like a “new” thing.

I think we need to be careful about a quest for the unconventional that does not credit the past rightly.  I also think that we need to look around and notice that many of the processes put in place by those who have come before us are good and helpful.

Give it away, Give it away, Give it away now!

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I love the moment when an idea flashes in my mind and I grab hold of it and it turns into something worthwhile. This happened a number of weeks ago when I was hanging out with a friend of mine named Zak.  I was asking him about his friends and what kind of context they would most likely come out to for a conversation about spiritual things. He said that a coffee house would be best.  In that moment, what would come to be called Coffee/Doubt, was born.

An idea became a vision which became a mission.

Things started slow but momentum has been growing and continues to grow.  The beautiful thing though is that it’s not really mine.  It’s Zak’s.  He own this things.  Last Thursday there were sixteen adults and kids sitting at Starbucks for a conversation and Zak led it.  Zak is a 16 year old guy who gets fat lips in mosh-pits and has two rings in his lower lip.  He is not evangelical Christendom’s poster child which looks likes this:

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I love the fact that this is not mine.  I love that it’s Zak’s!  For an idea to become mission it requires ownership.  Who owns your ideas?  Are you giving it away?