Summer Update from Beth in Vegas

I haven’t been able to keep up to speed on Linchpin, so you’ll have to settle for an update on how life is for me personally and in the MA world in Las Vegas.
We just sent off our last teams on Friday, bringing our summer Mission Adventures to an end. It was a bitter sweet week for us, sad that we’re done for the summer but ready for a break. We’re all ready for rest and not working 16 hour days. This summer we’ve seen 120 students wrecked for missions and the gospel. It’s awesome to be able to see the growth in the students in such a short time. I love seeing God do amazing things with students as they step out in their callings.  It’s crazy to thing that one short week can have such an impact on a student; it’s the very thing that got me into missions, so I love seeing the same thing happen in other students.
We had a great summer staff crew this year which I was extremely blessed by. It’s great to have fresh hands help out and staff that are passionate and excited about ministering to the students and people on the strip. I’ll be sad to see them all leave, but I can’t wait to see what God has planned for them all in this next season of their lives.
I think that this summer has been difficult for me spiritually. I’m not good at being wise and taking the time that I need to spend with God. I often have a “Martha mindset”, just doing things and making work for myself, instead of just sitting at Jesus’ feet like Mary and letting him teach me and grow me. These past couple of weeks, I’ve felt like God hasn’t been hearing me and that I’ve been talking to a brick wall. God reminded me several times this week that He does indeed hear me and is answering prayers that I even forgot I had prayed. Even when I feel like giving up, He’s still chasing after my heart.
During our staff week we did some intercession on the strip with art that we had made to show what our prayers for the city was. It was fun dancing up and down the strip in His freedom, as we cry out for His children to come back to Him.
Hope everyone is having a great summer!!
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Pages 93-103 by Rich

Seth Godin on page 97:

“The job is not your work;what you do with your heart and soul is the work”

What Seth is saying here is true for many of you – this summer in MA!  You’re working your guts out and you’re exhausted and some of you maybe tempted to ask: “Why am I doing this? Should I just give up?”

But deep down although you’re tired and stretched beyond what you thought was possible – you LOVE what you’re doing! You are ministering out of your heart and soul – and so really you have found the true key to work!  You’re doing it the way that God does it – He loves His work – He enjoys being God and all that He does – all of His works are just awesome – and He enjoys being available to you to give you the energy to do what you need to do this summer!

But are others criticizing you for what you’re doing?  Maybe from back home – or maybe even those around you?  Let me share with you one of my favorite stories from a great former missionary…

C.T. Studd, missionary to the Congo, presented this parable:
“Remember the miller’s donkey . . . the miller, his son and donkey went to the market. The miller rode the donkey all the way and people exclaimed, ‘Cruel man, riding himself and making his son walk.’ So he got down and his son rode; then people slanged, ‘What a lazy son for riding while his poor old father walks.’ Then both father and son rode, and people then said, ‘Cruelty to animals, poor donkey.’ So they got down and carried the donkey on a pole, but folks said, ‘Here are two asses carrying another ass.’ Then all three walked and people said, ‘What fools to have a donkey and not ride it.’ So let’s go ahead with our work for God and not care what folks say.”

Find out what God wants you to do – and do it with all your heart and soul – and don’t worry about what others will say about you!  Chances are that it is something that is a desire that God has already given you! That is the greatest discovery about work: to do something that you love – and then it is no longer work – it is a joy – even though like MA it might may you exhausted!  So stick with it – and see what God will do!

I Know You Want One

You Know You Want One!

Since there’s no post this week, I thought it might be appropriate to put this info up here. The fine folks over at McPhee have put together the ultimate Seth-a-Be accessory: An honest to goodness Seth Godin action figure. Check it out here:

http://www.mcphee.com/sethgodinactionfigure.html

Page 61-71 by Mr. Davies

“The closer you get to the front, the more power you have over the brand”

I liked this quote that Godin uses here as it really doe pertain to who we are in YWAM. YWAM is shaped by those on the front line, not by the leadership and we could also say that we are closer to the front in respect to our relationship with God. There are a number of points that really stuck out to me in this section and again as in most of this book they could so easily be connected to or applied to the Mission Adventures program. In the Cricket analogy Godin expresses that it is possible to make yourself better on a scale that is measurable, however he then goes on to suggest that if didn’t only focus on perfecting our craft, but focused on our skills and interactions, this will allow us to stand. He calls this emotional labour and I think we can be very good at this in YWAM and Mission Adventures. I wonder that if over the last few years we have become a little more involved in making the “program” better and have not continued in the emotional work or service that we can be really good at.

He continues in the next chapter talking about making remarkable things, this time in the context of luxury goods made in France. Again I look at the parallels with MA. We are not trying to create a production line outreach experience, but one that is remarkable and does offer more than just a basic trip. “innovative solutions to new problems don’t get old. Seek out achievements where there is no limit”. We need to continue to be innovative in our approach to MA and the outreaches that we do, I do think that we are most certainly in role where there is no limit to what we might be able to achieve. Of course in all this we have our relationship with God and need to be constantly seeking Him for innovation.

He continues to talk about being remarkable using different analogies in the remaining pages of this section, a couple of other comments do stand out and merit being mentioned. “Raising the bar is easier than it looks and it pays for itself. If your boss wont raise your bar, you should.” We could look a this with and earthly or heavenly view. I think God continually raises the bar as we allow Him too. Looking at it from an earthly sense how do we encourage our staff to raise their own bar, to go the extra mile, to be the person that their job is “an opportunity to give gifts.” I think that if we can crack this then our MA programs can not help but flourish and be remarkable.

We need to “whisper” to our staff and leadership their call to freedom, to bring their genius to work and we will see amazing things happened lives changed.

Blessings,

Mike

Pg. 51-60

Morning all. So, there will not be a post today for Pages 51-60, but if you could please read er and make comments here on what you thought of it and how it affected you. We only have a few people who consistently post, please take some time to read and post this week.

Also, hoping your summers are going well. Much love.

Phil

Page 41-50 by Josh in the Couv

“It seems ‘natural’ to live the life so many of us live; but in fact, it’s quite recent and totally manmade.”

Unlike a lot of you, I’m still new at this particular style of living. I’m also new at mission adventures so I don’t have years of participants to draw from, so walk with me for a little bit.

For the past couple years, I have lived quite comfortably. Day in and day out I would sling espresso for the man, and at night maybe I would check out a band or a film or play some more Fallout 3. Basically my life before mission adventures had a simple focus: “Go throughout the day with as little human interaction as possible.” and that was one thing I was really good at doing.

Looking back at the past couple of years I could see how slowly this sole purpose was created as means of survival. You start questioning customers, you get flack. You get flack, the boss gives you flack. I can’t even begin to think of how many times I was told to “just give them what they want” and get over it. My heart was slowly warming to the idea of a “no conflict” life. I could have just chosen to be okay with the fact a grown woman is screaming at the top of her lungs because you have no more soy milk. I could just have been “okay” with the fact my boss wanted me to be faster every day at doing my robotic like job. In came the money, out came the coffee. It was a working system and who was I to dare mess with it. I could do “not caring” really well.

Until the one day that didn’t work anymore…so I chose to do something else.

I started by looking every customer in the eyes, which was strange when they couldn’t seem to look forward—ever.  Then I proceeded to respond genuinely to their questions. Soon I found myself unlearning the automatic response of “I’m fine, how are you?” Then I did something unimaginable. I sat down and asked someone to tell me how they are doing, and let them talk. They ranted, whined, really spoke their mind and I listened. Eventually I started responding. So when my former boss came to me and asked what had changed in my life, I put everything into practice. I sat her down; looked her in the eye; and as politely as I could, told her the system doesn’t work for me anymore.

“We want steady work, something that smooths out the bumps, a sinecure that will protect us.”

I came from the “natural” way of life into something that most people can’t even begin to understand. Yet there’s still a problem with me. I still suffer from the ultimate Mediocre Man complex. How do you go from this world where little talent got you a steady non-existence to a place that asks you specific questions expecting answers? That challenges you to use your abilities to surprise people?

I took one final class from college this past year. Not to get any closer to graduating but as a test to myself to see if I would be able to do college work. I opted to take one three hundred level, Advanced Digital Imaging class. Despite the class structure I actually love to learn. Seth Godin continually questions this idea of school, of college. I was hoping to be challenged, but in this advanced level class I did very little of that. I could do any of the projects hours before they needed to be turned in, and by the eighth week I was told I “tried too hard” and was given a lower grade because of it. I was asked to creatively animate a series of pictures telling a story. I created a forty-five second animation (which is a series of pictures) that told a story. I did what was asked of me in a more time-consuming and creative way than any other person in the classroom…and that is discouraged? Talk about clipping my figurative wings.

Why is it that in the creative industry, the church or even YWAM, we are training the same factory workers for optimum output? How do we avoid this? How do we stand back and look at something and appreciate the fact that it is probably the most unexpected solution to a difficult problem.

How do we become artists in Mission Adventures?

Last Friday I was with the summer staff as they were debriefed on one of our first outreaches together. The woman doing the debrief is probably the most amazingly passionate AND caffeinated woman I have ever met. She saw that the problem with the ministry is that people would only put in the minimal effort. Our schools teach us that this is okay, but she wanted to choose something different. Three years later and during a chapel service people listen now instead of dropping a string of obscenities. She’s been slowly working, and investing, over a period of time in change in the city. She unapologetically will call you out at the drop of a hat. She won’t let you hide. She listens and asks of you the same effort she puts in, especially if you plan on helping. I look at her and I think “linchpin.” She has the trust of some of the most untrusting people in the city.

“If you’re insecure, the obvious response to my call to become a linchpin is, ‘I’m not good enough at anything to be indispensable.’ The typical indoctrinated response is that great work and great art and remarkable output are the domain of someone else. You think that your job is to do the work that needs doing, anonymously.”

It seems like a pretty simple formula for short term missions, and most of the time it works. Why change it? Why invest the time into something that might not work? Why bother, really? Mediocre Man strikes again! “I’m not good enough.”  Or “It would never work!” The little lies we tell ourselves seem to be spoken from loud speakers by the way they resonate.  I have met some remarkable people so far, with some unrealistically untapped abilities.  Are we using the resources we have in front of us? Are we afraid to?

Consumption, mindless consumptions outputted by formulaic earning of funds to further fund more mindless consumption. What a vicious cycle. We weren’t created to merely exist and avoid as much human interaction as possible. We were created to be a community of people, maybe even occasionally say embarrassing things. Maybe do embarrassing things, like dancing in public. Flash Dance Mob, everybody!

We were created to light fires, specifically for Jesus and the Kingdom. I know that school doesn’t work unless you have great teachers. So all of this heavy handed questioning comes from that desire to see great teachers thrive in MA. I want to be that place that teaches people to take initiative and become remarkable artists of whatever trade, to question the Jones and Trendy Hipsters of the world. If like Peter said YWAM is seen as an alternative to just more school, let’s be that. Let’s be something entirely different and challenging.

Pg. 31-40 by peter

“When your organization becomes more human, more remarkable, faster on its feet, and more likely to connect directly with customers it becomes indispensable.”

I like this quote a lot. I always hear YWAMers talk about how YWAM is such a wonderfully unique thing, and how it’s a beautiful alternative to the ‘norm’ of doing college etc. I really believe it started out in this way. Loren Cunningham talks about starting up YWAM as a way to get teenagers out living their visions before 4 years of bible college/life etc. makes them forget all that. And what resulted was something beautiful – 6 months training on DTS to help you really get in touch with God and his plan for you, then you go out on the field!

Well what happened? I agree with Rich here, we lost something along the ride. We as YWAM have set up our own factory. To the extreme I’ve seen bases go as far as not allowed to be on staff until they’ve done at least 2 schools. I’ve seen bases set up apprenticeships where their new staff come on and work in every department for a year to get a better feel of what they want to do.

Now I have no problem with this in theory, This can help people who don’t know what they want to do to listen to God and work it out. But I do see a problem when we try to send something that works for individuals, and turn it into a one size fits all rule. Why when someone knows Gods calling them to work with teenagers would we make them work in a Seniors citizens home for 6 months?

How does this show up in MA though? Well I feel like we end up with factory workers. I have been guilty myself of wanting a manual of how we do MA. This is the way to do it, and it works, so why change it?

“In a factory, doing a job that’s not yours is dangerous. Now, if you’re a linchpin, doing a job that’s not getting done is essential.”

The whole point of doing this MA is to teach students to be different, to be radical. That means taking chances. And one of YWAMs foundational values is to do first them teach. But not only that but the question I want us to ask is are we being different? Are we being radical? Or are we just jumping on the band wagon.

Everyone teaches on Abortion, and that it’s wrong. But will we make a stand and teach on the cause; on looking after pregnant teenagers, on teaching sex education, on actually helping single mothers bring up their children so they don’t have to have abortions?

Everyone teaches on Prostitution, but will we teach on the demand, on pornography, on the media, on lobbying governments for change?

We had a big discussion recently at our base about our international MA programs. The end result was we decided not to run outreaches to Costa Rica anymore. Why? Because none of us have a heart for it! Costa Rica is a ridiculously easy to set up – there’s a MA base their that helps us do the work, and we can make money off it. But is that any reason why to do it? Instead we decided to focus on places we deeply care about. For me that’s Indonesia, specifically helping basses start running MA there. For Steve on my staff that’s Thailand. These outreaches are far harder to set up, yet they are far more rewarding for us!

Why should we all be producing the same product? Why should we be competing against each other? Instead as a network why don’t we each do something well depending on our staffs gifts and talents? If a team contacts me about going to Cambodia, I’m going to give them Phil’s number, not try to pull a B grade trip from no where! Meanwhile if a rural base about doing an urban trip, I would hope they refer them to Tia, or Sam, or us! I’d encourage each base to work out what their niche is, what sets you apart form the rest of us. This is not to compete with each other, but to better work together and help each other!

I want each of you to dream, and to keep evolving your programs. No matter whether you are the director or the rookie, you have all been called to be linchpins, not factory workers!

“Be remarkable

Be generous

Create art

Make a judgment call

Connect people and ideas”