Friday and Saturday at the Reset Conference

by Justin Long on September 30, 2011

Friday was a full day at the Reset Conference. Here are some highlights. Look for the video and audio to posted for registrants, eventually!

First of the morning to speak was Tim Breene, author of the book “Jumping the S Curve: Lessons on Renewal.” Tim discussed accelerating change and its impact: “To sit on the sidelines is to risk irrelevance.” The number of companies that have become irrelevant in the corporate world is growing: the number exiting the Fortune 500 list has doubled. (Will this apply to mission agencies too?) Even when your core is strong and seemingly unassailable, you must be continually reinventing yourself. But what factors should you pay attention to? Most companies only focus on finances. Instead, they need to pay attention to three other curves: talent, strategy and capabilities.

Second, Norwood Davis, CFO with 12Stone Church, whose thought-provoking statement was: we are not in the midst of a cyclical change, but rather a structural shift in digital, generational and financial realms. This is the “new normal”: facing structural unemployment for next decade. The challenging thought: “90% of giving to churches comes from Boomers.” This will shrink dramatically in the short-term future. Will the next generation pick up the gap? Are we prepared for the onrushing generational downturn in giving? How will this change our missionary support models?

Friday evening we took time to honor a number of organizations with awards for excellence. The Lifetime of Service Award went to Greg Livingstone, who helped to found Frontiers. Through the service of he and his wife, over 1,000 missionaries have been sent to the Muslim world.

Following these presentations, the third address was via video by Dave Gibbons, who talked about the global shift happening in the world and how he felt the church was lagging behind. First, Gibbons felt the church was focused on the mass and the result was an “impotent engagement” with culture through “one-size-fits-all” programs which weren’t tailored to the need of indigenous communities. “Where we need to change is to focus more on the margins.” The second way the church is lagging behind on is human development (sometimes we refer to this as leadership development or the spiritual journey). In the Western framework we develop strengths, gifts and personality. The other side is the more Eastern perspective: pain and suffering. How do we integrate that into understanding one’s destiny? The church has focused a lot on putting out propositional truth, but the world is asking–”are you [the church] true? Are you talking to me, or rehashing what you’ve memorized, selling me something?”

The final session of the night was a passionate talk by Skye Jethani, who gave some thought provoking ideas about how the next generation should be mobilized. He discussed the ways in which we interact with God. Perhaps the most challenging idea to me was when “mission becomes the center of everything.” Initially this seems good–but when you think through the ramifications, it means “my mission becomes the center of everything.” Rather than bringing people to Jesus, we bring people to our mission. If they don’t adopt our mission, well… Rather, we should “bring people to the foot of the cross–and leave them there.” When people get closer to Jesus, they will get closer to His calling on their life, too.

We left the conference that night with our heads stuffed full, indeed!

Saturday morning was the final day. We began with the business meeting at which a historic vote took place: The Mission Exchange (EFMA) and CrossGlobalLink (IFMA) have voted to merge their respective organizations into one new organization. This will be a “deep change” in itself!

After that announcement we shifted in to the Younger Leaders’ Response forum, moderated by Paco Amador. Four younger leaders (representative of the several dozen who attended) gave significant feedback on the interaction between the generations. Some of the thought-provoking things said:

  • “Young Christians don’t have a passion for organizations or denominations but rather in living for Jesus.”
  • “Authenticity is essential [when mentoring]. Young leaders can sniff it a mile away–or the lack of it.”
  • “Young leaders have  a deep desire to be given permission to dream.”
  • “Give the gift of high expectations to younger leaders. Call them beyond their current level of confidence and comfort.”
What was most thought provoking for you?


Night 1 at the Reset Conference

by Justin Long on September 30, 2011

As the official conference journalist I will be posting brief recaps of the sessions as well as live tweeting the conference (see and search for the hashtag #resetconf).

The first plenary session of the night was led by Cobie Langerak, who reflected on how organizational resets must begin with personal resets. Among many thought provoking ideas she shared were three many commented on around the tables. First, while we in America are often focused on knowing and developing our strengths, we need to spend an equal amount of time understanding the things that can derail us (our personal derailment risks). While we focus on developing clear vision, we also need to understand our core drivers: the things that motivate us, the “how” of acting on vision. And third, that the Bible speaks far more about shepherd leadership than servant leadership.

The second plenary session was led by T.J. Addington, who shared 9 shifts in missions that have played out over recent history and changed forever the kind of world that missions lives in. When he first went to the field, PanAm was an airline and the Internet didn’t exist. We live in a different world today. Of the nine shifts he spoke of, two were particularly commented on: from owning and controlling to owning nothing and controlling nothing (give it away) and from competition to cooperation.

So, tonight, what was the most thought provoking thing you heard? Share your thoughts below!


Seeing What Is and What Will Be

September 12, 2011

Historian and futurist Dr. Stephen Millet has a 5-point framework of Keys which he says help understand the future. His Third Key I found a helpful reminder for those of us in missions. “Futuring and Visioning offer different perspectives of the future, and these perspectives must compliment one another.” My mentor, Ed Dayton, used to [...]

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What do you want out of the Reset event?

August 19, 2011

I was with a good friend, a mission leader. He enthusiastically told me that he was going to attend the Reset – Mission Leadership Event in Phoenix this September. Then he asked me a question that set me scrambling for a response. (Just a simple “I don’t know” is never enough.) I hemmed and hawed [...]

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The Ambidextrous Corporation

August 11, 2011

Is your ministry right or left handed? Perhaps your ministry is even ambidextrous. Let me ask that question a different way. Is your ministry more adept at “exploring” or “exploiting?” These terms come from Professors Sebastian Raisch, and Michael L. Tushman, ofHarvard Business School. Most missions I know are “exploiters.” In fact, most came into being because [...]

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HBR: Change as Business as Usual

July 19, 2011

Harvard Business Review has just posted a new article, “Communicating Change as Business as Usual,” which has some instructive thoughts about our topic. The article advocates an organizational model promoting “change readiness”—intentionally positioning one’s organization to seek out and take advantage of change. This framework assumes that change is coming (indeed, comes every day) and [...]

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Where is God in our Reset?

July 18, 2011

Of late I have been convicted that in this discussion of a missional Reset, we have almost omitted God. We unconsciously neglect His crucial position of preeminence as we become absorbed in our thinking and strategizing. We naturally assume that He is essential and likewise assume that He will bless our efforts. But we have [...]

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Our Reset and Negative Space

July 8, 2011

It is all fine to talk about a reset moment, but when you or I push that button, what is going to come up on the next screen? What should my ministry look like? What will be my context of ministry 5 – 10 years from now? These are questions any responsible leader must ask. [...]

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Have It Your Way

June 23, 2011

by Paul McKaughan Way back in 1993 Joe Pine popularized the term “mass customization.” He stated that soon the customer would be able to buy most anything built or created to his own personal specification. Time has proved Pine right. Today Dell computers’ big selling point is that they will build a computer to your [...]

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When deep change becomes personal

May 25, 2011

Mostly, we’ve focused on deep change in terms of organizations. While there is a great deal involved in organizational deep change, most of the “work” of organizational deep change is administrative. The cause of organizational deep change, however, is always personal deep change. This is why I think “deep change” is so difficult. It’s because [...]

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