Social Enterprise

Epoch2011 giving away $50,000


Big event tonight in Atlanta at the Fox Theatre. I received an invitation to be a part of Epoch 2011 but unfortunately, I am in the wrong part of the world tonight. From what I can see, the event is a celebration of Christian ministry and creativity. I like the idea of making the selection and funding process something more visible, more accountable, more open, more celebratory. What not throw a party????

7 people will receive cash awards tonight totaling $50,000. There was a big list of potentials but only a few got nominated. Read on to see who they were. Or buy a ticket to see them yourself. 90% of ticket proceeds gets given away.

Sorry I cant be there but i hope you all have a fabulous night!!!!

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I need books on emerging blogging nomadic couch surfing apostles

I need you to recommend some books for me. The creative people at Cornerstone Festival have taken my three seminars and given them a single title. THANKS! I have asked them to change the "emergent" word, which I try to avoid, but that's fine if they want to use it. Here's how the seminar looks on their website:

Emergent Blogging Nomadic Couch Surfing Apostles
Andrew Jones (3 Sessions)

The Tall Skinny Kiwi offers a travelogue of places and people on the road into the 21st century. First, an account of one man's journey through Emergentdom, its rise, controversies, and what remains after the movement finally shaves off its goatee and gets a real job. Second, a survey of Christian blogging and look ahead down the online stream. Third, a look at existential migration as an alternative to short term missions — how to survive, and how to make an impact.

Heres the deal. For Northern Seminary to offer credit for the courses they sanction at Cornerstone,  I need to recommend some books in each of the three areas. Can you help me?

The three sessions needing books for students to read before they come, and the books you can possibly point me to, are:

1. The global emerging church. I want to trace the movement over the last 25 years as it has grown on each continent. Most books only deal with USA and sometimes UK. Very few, if any, deal with Asia, Latin America and Africa. I suggested The New Conspirators by Tom Sine because it deals with plenty of countries (although mostly Western) and include the new monastic movement which is important in my opinion.

2. Social media and Christian ministry. My talk will be an overview of the first decade of Christian blogging, how social media has changed the way we do ministry today and the future of life-streaming online, publishing on tablets and the shift from web site to app. Any books on this????

3. Mission among the next generation. What global missions is looking like today with young couch surfers, new monastics, global nomads and missional pilgrims carving out a new and more sustainable way of changing the world on a budget through Kingdom oriented social enterprise. I can think of a lot of real life examples but I am pulling out my hair trying to think of a single book on this subject.

Somebody help me.

Lunch with Isaac Slade of The Fray

Our family stopped into Denver last week and had lunch with Isaac Slade, lead musician and vocalist for The Fray.

I met Isaac last month in South Africa, right after he visited a social enterprise in Rwanda. Great to see a musician with a heart for changing the world. Nice guy - intelligent, hard working, polite, someone who probably would have succeeded in anything he put his mind to . . .  not just music. Can't say the same for Ozzy.

Over lunch our kids used crayons to draw some pictures and Isaac insisted on taking them. Later that day, he sent us a video from his studio of the two crayon pictures hanging proudly on the wall - inspiration for his upcoming third album, I wonder. Well, count us in for a copy.

The Fray opened for U2 recently on the West Coast and they will do so next year at four concerts. Mark the dates and enjoy a really great concert:

The Fray and U2 in 2011:
Saturday 21 May 2011 in Denver, CO
Tuesday 24 May in Salt Lake City, UT
Sunday 29 May in Winnipeg, Canada
Wednesday 01 June in Edmonton, Canada

ALBUMS: Last year, The Fray offered a free Christmas album to their Facebook fans. I am hoping they will offer it again for members of the new Fray Fan club that opens soon. But in the meantime, The Fray have two albums - The Fray and How To Save a Life, which is the one we just ordered from the record shop here in Salem, Oregon. Yeah I know - old skool!

Entrepreneurs or Leaders?

The USA is lagging behind in social innovation and social enterprise rather than leading, suggests a well-researched post released in June by Timothy Ogden. Almost all of the world-changing innovations from from the developing world and very few from USA, despite the money poured into them. Reasons for this, Ogden suggests, have to do with lack of training and lack of scarcity that drives innovation. He suggests:

Spend less time and money training entrepreneurs and funding contests domestically; invest more in social entrepreneurs globally.

I see the same problem in the church which decided to take the "leadership" route many years ago rather than the "entrepreneur" route. Leaders help move the existing and sometimes struggling structures forward into greater productivity and encourage people to follow. Entrepreneurs invent and innovate new structures tailored for the changing situations, but not without continuity with the past. In a world of relentless change, entrepreneurs rule. If the church expects their impact to continue, it needs to create and celebrate a culture of innovation, finding precedents in the Scriptures [come on . . . look harder] and examples in the developing non-western world.

If you want to hear about our plans to travel the 10/40 window and
locate "missional entrepreneurs" then keep an eye on our North
America tour that starts next week. Cities and dates coming soon.

Echoing Green looking for social entrepreneurs

Echoing Green is looking for their next crop of early-stage emerging social entrepreneurs. Are you thinking of starting a new project? They offer a helpful grant and plenty of support. Check out your eligibility. They do not support faith based initiatives but your social enterprise can have a spiritual base.

I had the privilege of being one of their Readers this year and read through a selection of amazing applications giving some thumbs up when I thought appropriate. I also attended The Feast Conference along with a few friends last year in New York - a fun and exciting one-day event for social entrepreneurs. The next one is Oct 14-16. I cant make it coz I will be in Cape Town, South Africa but I do highly recommend it.

Giving our children a happy place

So this afternoon we interviewed Ajith Fernando, well known minister and Director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka for over 30 years. I was in Prague today and I didnt have my watch but I suspected I was running LATE and I had to walk up a really STEEP HILL with my backpack STUFFED with more dirty laundy than an Televangelist. And then I had to and borrow a computer from a French guy I just met and steal a Wifi signal from a campground I was not staying at [but i did ask them] so my voice was more panic-stricken than everyone else on the conference call. And I thought I was late on my central European time when actually I was an hour early. But it all worked out.

Ajith said a lot of great and noteworthy things during the skype call as he answered questions regarding his recent article on a theology of suffering. And he gave a great response to one of my questions.

But then someone asked him about children and families and their place in a theology of suffering. Do we allow our families to suffer also? And Ajith said some incredible things and I was typing as fast as I could . . DANG IT WAS GOOD  . .  and the French keyboard was all screwed up so the letters were different that what I typed but here is my take on Ajith's response. And in a few days you can probably download the audio and listen yourself. Watch for it at the Lausanne Blog.

The health of the family is very very important, Ajith said. We need to take it seriously. The church has been unfair to children and there have been many casualties. The welfare of the family one should serve at whatever time. Many of us live in situations where suffering sometimes happens so we need to have a HAPPY HOME. Children who suffer must be able to come into a HAPPY FAMILY.

He gave an example about a family he knew who were in desperate poverty but managed to bring some fun and celebration into their lives through finding some FLOWERS and some COOKIES. Its important to take time to celebrate and have fun.

Be committed to happiness, and I am quoting Ajith pretty much word for word here, especially the happiness of our children. Give our children a happy place.

Obedience to God means obedience to the people He has given us responsibility for and the prime group of people we have been given responsibility for is our family.

So there was steam coming off my keyboard. You can imagine. We need to hear this stuff before we overwork ourselves due to insecurity and end up with kids who are jealous of God because they never see their fathers or mothers who cant get themselves off the ministry treadmill.

Here's to happy families.

UPDATE: Dion Forster also blogged the interview.

Social enterprise and mission-shaped mission

"Mission-shaped mission" is a phrase that came to mind a few weeks ago. If mission shaped churches no longer resemble traditional churches then mission-shaped mission also will be hard to recognize, since it takes its shape from factors other than the modern missions movement (1791 - 1991).

Some of the most exciting mission projects I have seen [and supported] recently have stayed under the radar. Like the new social enterprises that are run from a Christian base. A good example is the viable social enterprise that my dear friends Shannon Hopkins and Jessica Stricker have been working on and the Boaz Project has been pleased to sponsor in a small way. I won't pimp it again here because I have raved on and on about Sweet Notions and the way they are creating value out of recycled fashion to help vulnerable women. But I will put up their new video because its just DANG GOOD and fun to watch. Even if you don't like pink.

Sweet Notions from ilovepinatas on Vimeo.

And you might be interested in the Sweet Notions Boutique Event in London Sep 16th. Ask Shannon for more details.

Our eldest daughter leaves to help social enterprise

Our eldest daughter, Elizabeth (17) left home this week. Wahhhh!!!! We dropped her off at Heathrow airport where she flew to Austin, Texas. We must be getting old. We will also lose our son this week as he flies to Edinburgh. Wow. 2 children leaving the nest in one week.


For the next 5 months, Elizabeth (Liz) will be helping a social enterprise start-up called Sweet Notions which was started recently by some dear friends of ours - Shannon Hopkins and Jessica Stricker. Sweet Notions, based in Houston and London, helps change the world through recycled fashion accessories.

sweet notions

Its not easy to lose the first kid but we know she is in God's hand and we are VERY VERY proud of Liz in wanting to spend her youth on transforming the world rather than pursuing more selfish endeavors. You can pray for Liz and support her in her first 2 months as she gets set up and sorted out. After two months, she should be able to support herself.


This is Liz walking out the door for her adventure - WITHOUT mum and dad. Has this happened to you????

Related: Christian social entrepreneurs measure success by a different yardstick (Baptist Standard), Whatever happened to the girl who started the emerging church network?