Are you a Generous Mind?

Are you a Generous Mind? If you are intrigued by the idea, this is a place to explore what it means to you. Our blog focuses on helping you to learn what it means to be generous with what you know. You will find helpful tips and encouraging examples that will inspire you to release your ideas to the world! Find out more at www.generousmind.com.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

A Tribute to Africa's Christian Leaders

I've had the privilege of collaborating with African leaders from Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Liberia and have known many others from the far reaches of the continent. These leaders have made my life rich and have given me new insight into faith, family and ministry. From them I have learned joy, perseverance, creativity and so much more. But so many have not had that privilege of learning at the feet of African leaders.

That is why I'm so excited to share about African Christian Leadership, a new book based on an extensive study of Christian leadership in Africa. This new book gives a broad and realistic look at the challenges and opportunities facing Christian leaders through the study which was conducted in Kenya, Angola and the Central African Republic. The book is not a theoretical tretise but a practical lens on the data from the study. Chapters focus on topics such as the characteristics of influential leaders, the role of social capital for leaders, formation of Christian leaders, patters of influential Christian organizations, women in leadership and challenges for leaders.

The Africa Leadership Study, which developed the book, is a group of people from the continent and around the world who have come together to research leadership in Africa in an effort to build up the African Church and help outsiders to best support and encourage. I had the privilege of being a part of that team after the research part of the work was complete. As CEO of GMI, I (and my team) worked with the team to popularize the key findings by developing infographics, maps and other resources to help people engage with the study. You will find GMI's maps in the book and our other resources here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

I came away from my work on this project with a more complete and rich picture of the daily priorities, challenges and opportunities Christian leaders in Africa face. These simple and helpful insights into the African Church made me a better co-laborer with my African friends and I hope and pray it is helping African leaders to grow in their own leadership.

Particularly insightful were the trends in African Christian readership and publishing. Also the importance of mentoring for the future growth of leadership in Africa is worth mentioning. The study also did a great job of highlighting the role of lay leadership in the African Church.

Please take a moment to purchase this book for yourself and those who work in the area of leadership development in Africa. Also take some time on www.africaleadershipstudy.org to download resources, contribute to the dialogue and learn about the work that has been done.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Curating Insight on 500 Years

This is an important week in the life of the Global Church. 500 years ago the Protestant Reformation began. For many in Christian circles, this anniversary has been talked about for many months. Others who may not live in that space, may not realize its coming up this October 31. But instead of writing yet more thoughts on this anniversary that has been so well documented, I thought we could share some insights from others. Enjoy this simple curation and I hope it allows you to better appreciate this significant event. 


The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon Conwell put out this very insightful infographic on the 500 Years of Protestantism. http://www.gordonconwell.edu/shared-content-temp-research/documents/236e0d3b6-d706-4bcf-a892-87a608c59104-18.pdf 

Robert Saler wrestles with Luther’s contribution to freedom in the church while recognizing his flaws and faulty thinking about Jews and other minorities. https://www.faithandleadership.com/robert-saler-why-500th-anniversary-reformation-important-study-today 

Richard Gunderman highlights all that Luther did in making Scripture available in the German language and, through that process, promoting literacy, freedom and the individual’s freedom to learn. http://theconversation.com/on-the-reformations-500th-anniversary-remembering-martin-luthers-contribution-to-literacy-77540 

Alex Duke shares 4 ways the Reformation has changed the Church, including how it reframed the role of the priest/pastor. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/4-ways-the-reformation-changed-the-church 

Here is a great list of 50 things most people don’t know about Luther written by Timoty Wengert including this one, “Luther lectured at the University of Wittenberg on one book of the Bible (Genesis) for 10 years (1535-1545).” https://www.livinglutheran.org/2017/06/reformation-500-50-things-may-not-know-luther/ 

The new Museum of the Bible in Washington DC (Opening on Nov 17 of this year) has a wonderful collection of audio, video and text on Luther’s impact on Scripture: https://www.museumofthebible.org/reformation

Sunday, October 22, 2017

A Theology of Migration

I have been so impressed by the latest collection of essays from Andrew Walls, Crossing Cultural Frontiers (Orbis). It is deep and well thought out but approachable and inspiring. With the significant focus I have had on the refugee crisis and migration in general, I was particularly attracted to his chapter "Toward a Theology of Migration.

He describes the centrality of this human pattern in this way, "Migration receives no single, defining treatment in Genesis, but the book offers so many examples of migration that the reader is left in no doubt that it is one of the constants in human life." (pg. 52)

Walls paints a picture over all of human history showing the movements of civilizations and how God has utilized each of these movements for His glory. I especially appreciated his distinction between Adam's migration out of the Garden of Eden and Abraham's migration to the Promised Land. Walls describes the Adamic migrations as "involuntary and punitive" and the Abrahamic migrations as "voluntary and hope driven." History is a ebbing and flowing of these two types of migrations as God exerts discipline and rewards faith.

This migration framework is helpful as we look at the migrant crisis of the 21st Century where over 65 million are forcibly on the move with hundreds of millions more moving to find a better life.

The main insight I was left with was that God is working through each of these movements to bring us into deeper relationship with Him. What a powerful reminder even in these liminal moments.

Friday, October 20, 2017

A God that is Greater than our Feelings

"Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything." 1 John 3:20

Isn't it wonderful to have a God that is greater than our feelings? When we feel sad, God brings joy. When we feel anxious, God brings calm. When we feel angry, God brings peace and forgiveness. 

His character, goodness and love can override all our negative emotions that swell up inside us and threaten to crush our spirits. 

But the trick is, that while God is greater than our feelings, He does not impose His remedy to our flawed feelings on us. We must ask Him for the joy, calm, peace and forgiveness necessary to banish those evil urges to rely on our own ability to handle the deep realities of life. 

But beyond how grateful I am for God's ability to harness my emotions, I am even more thankful for the fact that He made me with emotions. Instead of being dull and feeling-less creatures, we are full of energy, excitement and inquisitiveness. Only in His big understanding of how He made us, could God have given us so much life. 

So as you give your emotions to God today, don't forget to also thank Him for those very same emotions. They are life-giving!

Monday, October 09, 2017

Starting a Job Search as a Generous Mind

Today starts our job search in earnest. We have spent months praying and processing what God might want us to do after leading GMI. But most of that processing has been among a small group of people that God brought to us during our sabbatical.

Today, we get to open that process up generously. So after all of Mindy and my discussions, we have created a web site to allow you to hear from our heart and connect with our passion. On this page there are links to my various social media, an introduction letter, an infographic, his CV, and a Program & Product Inventory.

My hope in this job search is that I can be a Generous Mind by sharing what I have learned, how I have grown and the passion I have at the intersection of innovation, ideation and integration.

This generosity is not only to get a job. There is more to it than that. We want our journey to instigate, inspire and inform you as you are on your own journey. So whether you have any thoughts about my future career or not, take a moment to see how God has moved in our lives and ask God to use it to bless you in your journey.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

About Catching Your Breath

There is a short hike near our home where you can quickly scale the side of the bluff, walk along the top and then descend into our community park. I suppose it could be done in a half hour but its better done with some stops along the way. The stops are different in nature. 
As you go up the rocky include of the bluff you stop to catch your breath and regain your energy for the next steep push. Once you are on the top the stops are more relaxed as you hike the small ridge trails, watch the birds or look out over the valley with Pikes Peak in the distance. Finally, as you come down into the park, the stop at a bench has the satisfaction of sitting in comfort; having almost finished the hike. 
As I reflect on my two-month sabbatical, I have realized a few things I wanted to share and to document as I begin my job search and doing some consulting for nonprofits. 
  1. This sabbatical is most like a rest at the top of the bluff. I have spent 20 years climbing the incline. Now as I sit at the top and look out over a world where God is at work, I have new perspective. As I get ready to hike the ridge, I am now benefiting from all the lessons learned as I climbed and I have the benefit of new perspective. This next stage promises to be a time of restoring strength, deepening relationships and honing skills.
  2. I understood better that most of my thinking about my life was related to the “What – Where – When – How” questions. I was good at asking those, but I was not good at asking the “Who – Why” questions. These last two are in a different category and the first set of questions can’t really be answered until you know the answers to the second set. I wrestled with “Who am I?” and “Why am I on mission with my God, family and community.” Once there is clarity on those two the others lose their intensity and power and become simple logistics. 
  3. I wrestled through Steven Covey’s assertion in The 8th Habit that “With people, fast is slow and slow is fast.” I have always been a person who drives hard towards a goal. I get frustrated easily when people are not on the same page or won’t go as fast as I wish they would. That definitely comes out in my driving! But I am realizing that slowing down to understand others, communicate clearly, build trust and get clarity about the objectives allows you to move much faster than if you assume most of those things. 
  4. Adrenaline is a great tool to make the final push, get out of the way of danger or psych yourself up for a challenge. But it’s not the kind of energy to live on daily. For years I have been using adrenaline to make my daily schedule possible. These bursts of energy have been hard to channel, impossible to maintain and draining over the long haul. I need that slow and steady energy of a marathon runner for most of my life and I need to put adrenaline back in its place. 
  5. Nothing can take the place of presence and proximity. You can do a lot through media, technology tools and other communications resources, but in the end, sitting across from someone and talking cannot be replaced. I have spent a career in innovating through media. This has caused me to rely to heavily on media in impacting the lives around me. 
So even as I write this blog, I realize that the real impact of these sabbatical insights will mostly come over coffee or on hikes as I share them and learn from those I am investing in. 
That doesn’t mean these insights can’t be a blessing and help you wherever you are. But I hope that I can connect with many of you in person over the coming months and discuss these insights and others as we seek to understand each other and the God we serve.
Thanks for listening! Now that I’ve caught my breath. Its time the next phase of the hike! 
(If you would like to connect with me as I consider new opportunities for my next phase of service, please visit this page and then reach out.)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Sharing Information in an Emergency

One of the amazing results of digitally-enabled networks is the ability to share information that is vital to the entire community. While you might only have one small piece of the full story, when your information is crowdsourced together with the information of hundreds of others, you create real insight and understanding.

This CrowdRescue Puerto Rico Infrastructure Map is an example of that. People from around the island have submitted road closures, mud slides, utilities outages, and so much more. By allowing the community to report on the status and making it available, we allow hundreds more people to be part of the solutions that must be marshaled to support the island in this crisis.

The amazing thing about efforts like this is that it empowers those serving and those receiving service in equal portions. Not everyone will be rescuing people, clearing roads or running new power lines, but many more will and many more will benefit.

Are there crowdsourcing efforts that you should be joining as you seek to be a generous mind?