How to Build a Movement in 4 Easy Steps

If you are a leader who built something unique over the years (a business, a church, a foundation, a philosophy) and you now sense/know/feel called to unleash a movement that is bigger than yourself out of it, the first thing to recognize is the biggest blockage to growth - to it really taking off - might be… you.  So take a look at this link for 4 “Easy” (yeah, right) Steps to building a movement, and learn with me over the 7 next days as I share and comment on 7 Ted Talk links with ideas from some of my favorite thinkers. On the docket this week I’ll be posting:  How to Get Ideas to Spread (Seth Godin) Oct 10 Contagious: Why Good Ideas Catch On (Jonah Berger) Oct 11 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation (Celeste Headle) Oct 12 Alone Together (Sherry Turtkle) Oct 13 The Puzzle of Motivation (Daniel Pink) Oct 14 The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters (Priya Parker) Oct 15 Compassion and the True Meaning of Empathy (Joan Halifax) Oct 16  If you have a small group, task force, or team you want in on the discussions, invite them to this link and into a conversation on a private Facebook group you set up, a coffee/dessert club or another venue for personal thoughts and reflections.

If you are a leader who built something unique over the years (a business, a church, a foundation, a philosophy) and you now sense/know/feel called to unleash a movement that is bigger than yourself out of it, the first thing to recognize is the biggest blockage to growth - to it really taking off - might be… you.

So take a look at this link for 4 “Easy” (yeah, right) Steps to building a movement, and learn with me over the 7 next days as I share and comment on 7 Ted Talk links with ideas from some of my favorite thinkers. On the docket this week I’ll be posting:

How to Get Ideas to Spread (Seth Godin) Oct 10
Contagious: Why Good Ideas Catch On (Jonah Berger) Oct 11
10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation (Celeste Headle) Oct 12
Alone Together (Sherry Turtkle) Oct 13
The Puzzle of Motivation (Daniel Pink) Oct 14
The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters (Priya Parker) Oct 15
Compassion and the True Meaning of Empathy (Joan Halifax) Oct 16

If you have a small group, task force, or team you want in on the discussions, invite them to this link and into a conversation on a private Facebook group you set up, a coffee/dessert club or another venue for personal thoughts and reflections.

Here’s a Ted Talk worth a listen, and a book worth a read. https://ideas.ted.com/how-to-build-a-successful-movement-in-4-steps/

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Cross+Gen Stewardship

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Ever thought of doing six weeks of stewardship on time, talents and treasures in Cross+Gen small groups? Let the boomers and the busters and the millennials and the builders and the babies and the teens all learn together, create together, serve together and talk together about their attitudes/practices in faithful living and giving, and share times in their lives when God has provided in unexpected and surprising ways?/

Stewardship should be a life style. A frame-of mind. A faith discipline. And... a joy filled and meaningful community response of thanksgiving and thanksliving for all God provided.

The best way to learn a life-style is in an intentional Cross+Generational community where the wisdom of the elder and the wonder of the child collide in the adjacent possible of stories and examples.



Rapid City Flood and the Power of Prayer

I don’t know if you let convicted armed felons drive your church bus. But one named Lyle saved my life once.

It was June 9, 1972. I was a high school sophomore on my way from Williston, ND, to Dallas, Texas, to hear Billy Graham, Bill Bright, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristopherson at Explo ’72. The 50 kids in the old painted school bus were scheduled to sleep in Rapid City on the first night of the trip, but because of the hot dusty roads and non-air-conditioned bus, we pleaded with our chaperones to take us to the giant swimming pool down the road in Hot Springs. It began to rain, and after dinner at the McDonalds, all the adults agreed we should just go to church and go to sleep.

We kids begged again. Finally, bus driver Lyle Thorpe made the call. “If the kids want to go swimming, get in the bus!”

Nobody argued with Lyle.

We filled up with diesel at the Skelly station and drove to Hot Springs through sheets of rain. After swimming, the rain was coming down so hard we couldn’t get back to Rapid City. We made a few calls and spent the night on a floor under the leaky roof of Custer Lutheran Church.

The next morning we awoke, wrung out our sleeping bags, and turned on the radio. It was then we discovered that 238 people had died in Rapid City during the night when the Canyon Lake Dam burst. The Skelly where we bought diesel had been washed away. The McDonalds where we ate dinner had been washed away. The church where we were scheduled to sleep that night had been washed away.

If it hadn’t been for bus driver Lyle’s firm “Get in the bus,” we would all have been at the church and disappeared in the flood. And if it hadn’t been for an old grandma prayer warrior praying for a Lyle - when he was a troubled young man  a few years before, we would all have drowned.

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Lyle Thorpe was our bus driver. A few years earlier he was in prison for armed robbery. A few years before that he was on the FBI’s most wanted list. And through it all, his grandma wouldn’t stop praying for him. Even when he was locked up and thrown away - considered worthless by society - she wouldn’t stop praying for him. “Lyle, we raised you right. You know this is not the way. And I’m not going to stop praying until you’re down on your knees and give your life back to Jesus!”

And yes, in prison he got down on his knees and gave his life back to the Jesus who had claimed him in baptism. And yes, on July 9, 1972 he was driving our church bus and decided, in the pouring Rapid City rain against the other adult chaperones to the Texas event, that he’d take us swimming in Hot Springs.

The power of prayer has eternal consequences that we rarely get to see on this side of eternity.

Fifty kids, including future pastors Nancy Lee Gauche, Kathy Lynn Valen and I, were on the bus that night.

Pastor Lyle Thorpe died Sunday. Yes, pastor.

He was 87.



The Neurology of Theater (the play's the thing)

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Over my years in ministry and education, I have found using theater is both attentive and retentive. And, whether you're Nathan the Prophet telling David off ("you are the man!") or Shakesphere's Hamlet ("the play's the thing whereby I'll catch the conscience of the king") or George Bernard Shaw ("If you're going to tell the truth, you'd better make them laugh or they'll kill you"), embedding a message in drama is rather brilliant neurology.

We are bombarded with billions of bits of info per second. Most of our senses have gate-keepers to keep information out. (except the sense of smell). There's just too much information! The brain uses these filters in order to focus on what's important.

But when you bombard the senses with theater - the eyes (the visual cortex processes 7 billion bits per second), the ears (they process up tp 10,000 bps), the tingling skin (when the empathetic nervous system gets involved in the story), and what story and music do to engage significantly more of the brain (the logical centers of the brain, the sense of humor or drama), you have a tool for attention and retention. Engagement and involvement.

And you get beyond the gate-keepers to encounter the audience (ie, listeners) an spectators (ie, viewers) in more than just a show.

You get to the heart of the matter... because great theater gets to the matter of the heart.

(Photo: RICH Learning 2018 Cast and Crew following our final show at the Carolina Theater in Allendale, SC)

 

Unraveled, Elders, Dementia

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Our friend Lori Hammel has four nights left, playing the younger age of a character with dementia in the off-Broadway play Unraveled this week. If you’re any where near NYC, go see this gripping drama.

I have asked her to reflect on three questions to share with our network:

1. What did you learn about dementia through this process?
2. What did you learn about yourself through this process?
3. What did you learn about living life while you’re young and healthy and award?

I look forward to her reflections on this after the play is over.

Killing Sunday School - Birthing Cross+Gen

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Just went to the printer - Volume 3 is written by educational/worship pioneers from a dozen churches who've spent the last two years trying to figure out Cross+Gen and are willing to share their strategies, mistakes, and joys of life with the adjacent possible of the wisdom of the elder and the wonder of the child in covenant relationships every week at church and in prayer every night in every home. Thanks to all who dared and shared. see you in Estes Park!

Traces Across Faces

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Fun to open Facebook this morning to see our friend Cecilia Javed in Pakistan marking a child with the cross of Christ. We've been pushing "traces across faces" for some time now in the Cross+Gen world and it's pretty dang powerful. Wonderful. Fun-fun-funderful to see it popping up more and more. Hands that are raised in blessing will rarely be raised in anger.

 

Mark someone with the cross of Christ today and see if it doesn't spread.

Three Favorites from Tuesdays

 

Thanks Dad, for everything you were and are.

In "Tuesdays with Morrie", Mitch Albom wrote three things that helped me with my dad's death. 

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.” 

“All endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time.” 

“Lost love is still love. It takes a different form, that's all. You can't see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partner. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it.” 
― Mitch Albom

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Teen Girls and Anxiety Without Phone

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Interesting Pew Research out this week that might be worth a teen/parent discussion this fall. Half-way down the article is a chart detailing the emotional impact of NOT having their cell phone, and the stat that 49% of girls and 35% of boys say they feel anxiety without it. A third of girls and a fifth of boys also feel lonely when they don't have their phone. Worth a read. http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/08/22/how-teens-and-parents-navigate-screen-time-and-device-distractions/

Raising A Teen Who Talks Every Night?

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Imagine

No... Act

He will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents.

MA L A C H I 4 : 6

Imagine raising a daughter who wouldn’t think of going to bed without talking to you about her highs and lows every night, even though she’s 16.

Imagine raising a son who won’t turn out the lights without asking you about your day, praying for your highs and lows, and blessing you.

Imagine growing up in a home where everyone feels loved, valued and heard every night; a family that seeks God’s wisdom, will and Word at the center of their lives; an intimate community where every night is an experience of caring, sharing, comfort and peace. Does this sound like an impossible dream?

It isn’t.

Does it sound like an improbable dream?

Maybe.

One thing is for sure: This dream is not going to magically materialize without intention, commitment and a workable plan on your part to make it happen. Having a close and caring family is a beautiful dream, but a dream without a plan isn’t worth a nickel. However, a dream with a workable plan may be worth a million bucks.

Life is Short, Art is Long

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One of my favorite sayings by China's #1 Christian artist and my dear friend Dr. He Qi, is "Life is short, art is long"

I've used it in a key song in the screenplay for "Baby Silkworm and the Alien Invasion". Shortly before the harvest of earth begins, old Master Han gathers 12 disciples and teaches them the best of the ancient Chinese stories, songs and fables. They are to go to the north, south, east and west and remain in hiding until the danger has passed, then return and teach their ancient identity to the children. Maybe the ancient culture - and their identity - can be saved. Here's the  song.

GREAT MASTER HAN
Books will be burned
And the tall towers rust
Even your monuments turn into dust
In spite of your glory
Regardless your fame
In one hundred years
No one will remember
your name

Life is short
Art is long
Hide all your treasures
In stories and song
Sing it to children
Again and again
And after you’re gone
They’ll live on, they’ll live on
Amen

If there is one lesson I’ve learned, I have learned
Everything owned can be lost, 
can be burned
Possessions posses you
And cause you much pain
Even your statues
Dissolve in the rain

Art is long
Life is short
Paint all your stories
And hide them in art
Tell them to children
Again and again
And after you’re gone
They’ll live on, they’ll live on
Amen

If you have a message
you want to live on
Send it to the future
In art and in song
Sing it loud, sing it often
Paint it soft, paint it brave
Long after you’re dead
Part of you will walk
from your own grave

Life is short
Art is long
Hide all your treasures
In stories and song
Sing them to children
Again and again
And after you’re gone
You’ll live on, you’ll live on
You’ll live on
Amen

Three Reflections

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Three

Reflections

We've invested the last month on the psychology, sociology and neurology of sharing highs and lows. Let's wrap up with three reflections:

Reflection 1

Think of your highest high and lowest low in the last five years.

• Where was God in the high?

• Where was God in the low?

• What wisdom have you gained from these two experiences?

Reflection 2

Put on your psychologist’s hat for a moment. What happens to a person when he or she:

• Shares a significant high with a trusted friend?

• Shares a significant low with a trusted friend?

• Falls asleep every night of his or her life knowing that he or she is loved, heard and valued?

Reflection 3

Put on your sociologist’s hat for a moment. What happens to a family when they:

• Reflect on the significant highs of the day every night?

• Reflect on the significant lows of the day every night?

• Share highs and lows, caring conversations, faith talk and reflection at the end of the day (as opposed to mornings, after school, in the car or around the dinner table)?

FAITH5 for Absent Parents

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What if you frequently have to go out of town on business? What if you are sitting on a military base half a world away? What if you are sitting in a jail or prison cell? All the more reason to connect with your kids! Your kids need you now more than ever in order to feel loved, secure and safe.

Just because you're gone doesn't mean you have to be absent.

Do everything in your power to check in regularly with your kids, ask about their highs and lows, share your own concerns, pray for them, ask for their prayers, and offer your blessing. Don’t let physical distance create emotional distance. Leverage the technology available to Skype or FaceTime or phone them. So much of communication happens without words. The smile, the eyes, the face muscles, the visual clues say more than mere words ever could. 

Let your loved ones know that even though you are away, you care too much about them to let a single day go by without building a memory they will treasure and take with them the rest of their lives. They will remember that their daddy or mommy always had time for them. You can’t buy that kind of message for a child. It will mean more to him or her than you will ever know.