Sunday, July 22, 2007

Music by Stem

There is a new band that is emerging on the scene... called Stem.

Jaclyn... Grant... Luc... and Sam
You can get samples of their music on their website

or you can sample some of their acoustic recordings on


Monday, July 2, 2007

Re:Visioning Leadership According to Myspace, TiVo, Web 2.0, Costco, Organic Foods, and itunes

Re:Visioning the Myth of Leadership
Jon Talbert

To re:vision something is to assume there was a “vision” in the first place. To stretch the imagination to “re:tool a dream” or “re:work a mental picture” indicates that somehow somewhere along the line the original vision died or was in desperate need of repair. Many who work in church leadership circles can sense that we live in a different world with ever changing technologies, multiracial communities, and mass communication systems, just to name a few. This different and changing world is more like an undiscovered region that early European explorers and navigators would chart and discover. Yet these new people groups long for a new way, a new thought, and new language; and are searching in every cultural nook and cranny to identify something spiritual and meaningful. Even ancient forms of worship have re:imerged in post-modern circles and are considered “new” and “cool” to a generation that rejects the previous worship form. Some emerging worship venues have taken on an eclectic (even chaotic) form that has been pieced together from the remnants of deconstructionism, soul-searching, and ancient liturgy. This worship form is taken from the old, and given new life… its messy and organic, but the next generation likes it that way. A re:visioning form of leadership should work to re:interpret ancient truths in light of common/popular culture without re:working the theology. This would include re:packing the message and re:trofitting the methodology. Alan Hirsch puts it this way, “The tools and techniques that fitted previous eras of Western history simply don’t seem to work and longer. What we need now is a new set of tools. A new “paradigm” – a new vision of reality: a fundamental change in our thoughts, perceptions, and values, especially as they relate to out view of the church and mission.”[1]

Re:visioning leadership… according to Myspace
In 2003 two students by the name of Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe set up an interactive website that has quickly grown into the number one site of connectivity and community called Myspace. Originally Myspace was designed to communicate with friends who wanted to connect to the Los Angeles indie music scene. There are currently over one hundred million people who find a sense of cyber-community within its massive social network. Friends, pictures, blogs, videos, instant messaging, are just some of the main menu of items that are found on the menu template of each subscribers page. “Myspace is an online community that lets you meet your friends' friends… create a private community… share photos, journals and interests with your growing network of mutual friends!”[2]. If the rise in popularity of Myspace has shown us anything it is that people in the 21st century have a deep desire to be connected in community more than ever before, and with that an indictment on the church that has imposed its old forms of gathering in community onto a new world order. In her book Finding Our Way, Margaret Wheatley indirectly lays down the gauntlet for church leaders who want to take the advances of technology and the principles of organic myspace-like networks and bring them into healthy relational communities. She writes, “Our great task is to rethink our understandings of community so that we can move from the closed protectionism of current forms to an openness and embrace of the planetary community.”[3]

Myspace is not without its misgivings. This enormous portal of networking has both its blessing and its curse on common culture. However the task of the emerging leader is to see the core values and principles within this phenomenon and dream of community for the next generation.[4]

Core values include… Personalized profiles, Self-expression, Feedback, Open-invitations, and Massive unique networks.

Re:visioning Leadership… according to TiVo
In many homes in the US there is an entertainment component that is almost as important as the TV itself, that is, the revolutionary toy called TiVo. TiVo is a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) that allows the user to easily program shows for later viewing. Although recording shows is nothing new[5], TiVo affords its user much more power than a simple pre-recording. Its website boasts that TiVo “automatically finds and digitally records all of your favorite shows, every time they're on. Every episode of your favorite series. Every Coppola movie. Every home improvement program. Even Dora cartoons! Whatever you choose. All while you're out living life. Plus, only TiVo lets you watch your favorite shows any time, anywhere.”[6] Personal users rave about the ease of usage and the commercial free life. TiVo also allows you to pause live TV, while interruptions occur in the home, and with its 8 second rewind and slow motion capability users will never miss a dropped pass or a soft spoken word.[7]

In Anthony Willaims and Don Tapscott’s new book Wikinomics, they develops a concept under the term prosumers. Prosumption is “the gap between producer and consumer”[8] where the consumer has the capability to watch what he wants to watch… when he wants to watch it. Prime time TV is becoming more my-time to watch the shows that have been set to record. While TiVo does not meet the full specification of prosumer[9] it still creates a sense of self-prescribed personal programming and consumption at the discretion of the viewer.

While personal convenience can sound negative and selfish in a church community the value of customization could serve as a tremendous asset to emerging ministry. Many churches preset a membership curriculum that introduces new attendees to the fundamentals and the basics of that particular denomination or community. Within all of those membership groups are people with individual needs and specific nuances in their journey. Too often the church presupposes a one-size-fits-all mentality that herds people through a system with little to no personal programming. Re:visioning leadership would be to empower the church member to take more personal ownership of their journey and become the spiritual-prosumer. Leaders participate as co-creators in the personalized artistry of the prosumers soul.

Core values include… Customization, Convenience, Prosumption, Participation, Co-Creation.

Re:visioning Leadership… according to Web 2.0
Web 2.0 is a reference point to the second generation of web technology that has emerged over the past few years. Web 2.0 is a concept that moves technology beyond simple interfacing and global users to social networking, wikis, and collaborative mash-ups. One of the biggest values to web2.0 technology is the idea of open sourcing.
Open source is a concept that allows the user to become an active participant and contributor rather than a passive observer or bystander. The book Starfish and the Spider qualifies open source this way, “put people into an open system and they’ll automatically want to contribute.”[10] This idea of open source also excels under the creativity and innovation of “mashing” technologies together. Mash-ups are some of the most cutting edge technology to come from Web2.0 and allows for chaos, creativity, and collaboration on the highest level. Brafman and Beckstrom also write, “when you give people freedom, you get chaos, but you also get incredible creativity. Because everyone tries to contribute to the community, you get a variety of expression.”[11]

The community is in desperate need of Church 2.0. Leaders need a re:visioning of the value of active contributors and kingdom mash-ups that allow for creative collaboration on a new level in ministry. Churches mashing with other churches, businesses, government, education, organization, media, entertainment, and health care to unleash ministry in a new way, and in unparalleled levels.

Core values include… Collaboration, Open-source, Imaginative, Creative, and Mutating.

Re:visioning Leadership… according to Costco
Costco has changed the shape of shopping. It is the largest membership warehouse club chain in the world based on sales volume. Costco focuses on selling products at low prices, often at very high volume. These goods are usually bulk-packaged and stored in the same facility affording customers bulk prices with no fancy showroom overhead. The chaos and messiness of the warehouse is part of its appeal. Forklifts, stacked pallets, 3-story storage shelving, and the buzz of bakers, butchers, and stockers give a sense that you’ve been granted back-stage passes to factory in the chaos of full production. Right before holiday weekends Costco reaches a level of messiness and chaos which becomes its most productive time[12]. Abrahamson and Freedmans book The Perfect Mess write, “in any situation there is a type and level of mess at which effectiveness is maximized, and our assertion is that people and organizations frequently err on the side of overorganization. In many cases, they can improve by increasing mess, if its done in the right way.”[13]

Churches that want to embrace the idea of birthing new innovative ministry must become accustom to the idea of mess and chaos. At the onset of birth or new life (be it ministry, church plant, or a human baby) the process is extremely messy.

Too many churches leadership teams that exist with a hierarchical structure find themselves too mess-adverse. They avoid the ministry and the risk of something new because of the potential mess it may bring. A re:visioning of leadership would value chaos and disorder to afford room for ministry that is otherwise order-adverse.

Core values include… Mess, Struggle, Chaos, Risk, Disorganization.

Re:visioning Leadership… according to Organic Food
Almost all major grocery stores carry a label entitled O that represents a movement in food, that is “Organic.” This is a hot trend that requires retailers to carry products that are good for the consumer and good for the planet. Or as one product reads, “To be certified organic, dairy cows must be managed under organic livestock practices at least one year before milking. Their feed must be grown on land that has been under organic cultivation practices for a minimum of three years.”[14] From the consumers side the big O represents that there are not unwarranted chemicals or pesticides that have made any contact with the product in any way. From the farmers perspective the product was acquired in a humane and ethical way that follows a code warranting the O label. There is usually a higher price associated with Organic, but as many nutritionist would say, “you can pay more now, or you can pay more later… either way you’re going to pay.”[15] Health coaches, nutritionist, books, and magazines all preach the message of the value found in the O. There are many reasons associated with the move towards Organic, the main one being the recurring theme of cancer-causing chemicals and pesticides that are put into common everyday food items. Many pesticides approved for use by the EPA were registered before extensive research linking these chemicals to cancer and other diseases had been established.[16]
The value of Organic represents something to people in the church life as well. Individuals long for something that rings of authenticity and real life. Community’s desire relationship that have not been manufactured or mass produced, they long for spiritual journeys that are not the latest book fad or discipleship craze. Christ followers would rather be part of something that is organic and homegrown. Re:visioning leadership would bring the O back to church, that is, to

see the value of authentic homegrown organic ministry. Reggie McNeal says it this way, “Much of the incrementalism that plagues the North American church results from a failure to learn. Without the will to learn the church defaults to methodologies and mental maps that keep it anchored to the old world and tether to outmoded paradigms.”[17]

Core Values include… Genuineness, No Preservatives, Organic, Authentic, Homegrown.

Re:visioning Leadership… according to itunes
When Apple computers extended themselves into the music business in 2001 they did themselves and the rest of the world a favor. itunes became the most common digital music and video program used to store, download, organize, and sample music in the history of the business.
The brilliance of itunes is that it served to facilitate the growing needs of the ipod, and now the iphone. This personal music media portal allows users to create their own playlists, manage their own library, update national podcasts, and convieniently download specific songs. “Apple realized that music listeners were getting increasingly frustrated with hearing a song on the radio and going out and purchasing it on CD only to find out the rest of the album was garbage.”[18] With the growing issue of illegal pirating of songs, Apple came in with a system the meet the needs of the customer and music industry by creating this venue that specified, sampled, and systematized the very best of music.

In order for churches to meet the growing needs of the ever diverse culture, leaders need to re:vision and customize church to fit the specific nature of that community. As opportunities to connect and serve the neighborhood arise church leaders need to create a specific “playlist” from the resources they have and get after it. Churches should be able to download (from similar churches) specific songs (specific ministry ideas) that are working in their “playlist” (ministry context). The idea is that churches move more to customize their style to meet specific needs. There is also the idea that churches hit “shuffle” in their worship venues from time to time. The shuffle feature in any worship service allows the user to enjoy a random mix of the old and the new, the forgotten and the fresh, fused together for a unique experience that celebrates the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Bono.

Core values include… Playlisting, Shuffle, Customize, Downloading, Sampling

In the emerging culture, churches are faced with a pressing issue in leadership, that is, change or die. This task may seem obvious to some while impossible to others. To change the nature and shape of church and to contextualize for its specific community requires leaders to look within themselves and their community and read the dials of that particular culture. To start re:visioning the myth of leadership is to create an environment of innovation and creativity that not only empowers your free-thinkers, but it also sets a new course that is organic and contextually fresh for the local church. Many churches in the emerging culture that refuse to release the “sacred cows” of ministry will fade and die with them firmly in their grasp.

[1] Alan Oct Hirsch, The Forgotten Ways : Reactivating the Missional Church (Brazos Press, 2006).
[2] Taken directly from the “about us” section on the Myspace web site at
[3] Margaret J. Wheatley, Finding Our Way : Leadership for an Uncertain Time (San Francisco, Calif.: Berrett-Koehler, 2005). p. 45.
[4] To join my cyber community of friends go to:
[5] There are still people that use VHS to record and watch show while they are out. To program a VCR to do that is an amazing accomplishment in technology.
[6] Taken directly from the TiVo website at
[7] The Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy was probably when most Tivo owners figured out their 8 second rewind feature.
[8] Don Williams Anthony D. Tapscott, Wikinomics : How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything (New York: Portfolio, 2006). p. 126.
[9] With TiVo the producer is still the one responsible for the overall production/distribution schedule.
[10] Ori Beckstrom Rod A. Brafman, The Starfish and the Spider : The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations (New York: Portfolio, 2006). p. 74.
[11] Ibid. p. 81.
[12] Info is found on Why Costco is so addictive by Fortune writer Matthew Boyle at
[13] Eric Freedman David H. Abrahamson, A Perfect Mess : The Hidden Benefits of Disorder : How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and on-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place, 1st ed. (Little, Brown, 2006). p. 53.
[14] This quote was taken directly from the side of an O organics Fat Free Milk carton.
[15] Quoted directly from the produce manager at Whole Foods in San Jose, CA.
[16] Found in the Why Organic? Section on
[17] Reggie McNeal, The Present Future : Six Tough Questions for the Church, 1st ed. (Jossey-Bass, 2003). p. 116.
[18] Brafman. p. 192.