Tuesday, December 17, 2013

NIGHT OF NETS...Celebrating 2013 and Looking Ahead to 2014

This week is a really quiet one on the CU campus.  I'm getting a chance to do some long range planning and vision casting, finishing up grading, and spend time with some of the folks I work with in my office talking about how to make better our student programs and initiatives in 2014...

I also dropped a few checks in the mail over the last few weeks as we closed up Night of Nets for 2013...the funds raised this fall at CU and several other campuses will provide about 5000 bed nets for families in sub-Saharan Africa...it is a sort of sacred moment for me sealing an envelope with a piece of paper that will ultimately save, change, and better the lives of some remarkable folks threatened by the bite of an insect as the rainy season approaches...

And this morning over coffee and cocoa at our favorite local place a few of us dreamed about how to grow Night of Nets in the year to come...we've seen it move from 500 nets the first year to 5000 in its fourth year while providing about 10,000 bed nets for families in Africa...

And now we dream and are beginning to try and take next steps that might move its impact to 10,000 families involving 20 different campuses in 2014...it's a big step to dream of doing in year 5 what we've done in the first 4 years combined, but I am quite certain that God can do more than I can imagine and it is clearly time to capitalize on our chance to make a massive dent in the impact of this deadly killer...here's some encouraging and compelling info via my friends at World Vision in their Beyond 5 Blog:

Malaria falls under preventable diseases and children under 5 years old is the group most affected.  The world’s deadliest creature, the mosquito, kills nearly 655,000 people every year. The World Health Organization estimates that an African child younger than 5 dies every 45 to 60 seconds from the disease.
Last week, the World Health Organization reported positive news in the fight against malaria.
Global efforts to control and eliminate malaria have saved an estimated 3.3 million lives since 2000, reducing malaria mortality rates by 45% globally and by 49% in Africa.
An expansion of prevention and control measures has been mirrored by a consistent decline in malaria deaths and illness, despite an increase in the global population at risk of malaria between 2000 and 2012. Increased political commitment and expanded funding have helped to reduce incidence of malaria by 29% globally, and by 31% in Africa.
The large majority of the 3.3 million lives saved between 2000 and 2012 were in the 10 countries with the highest malaria burden, and among children aged less than 5 years – the group most affected by the disease. Over the same period, malaria mortality rates in children in Africa were reduced by an estimated 54%.


There's no chance to turn back at this point...and it's my prayer as I wrap up my last week on campus for 2013 that 2014 will see NIGHT OF NETS continue to transform lives in Africa and in west MI as we seek to end malaria in the name of the ONE who entered into the mess of disease and sickness to redeem all things at Christmas...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

10 reasons I’m hopeful and excited about the next wave of leaders...BRAD LOMENICK, Catalyst

I recently read this list and resonated with it...and continue to love working with the young leaders in my student engagement team and student leadership teams at CU...it's one of the best parts of my job!  Can't wait to watch their impact in the decades to come...
1. Passion for God. Everyone seems to think we’ve lost a generation of Christ followers in our country, but after seeing the 60,000 college students gathered at Passion Conference earlier this year, and the 20,000 + who gather at Urbana every other year, and the 20,000 who were just in Kansas City for the IHOP One Thing gathering earlier this year, and the thousands who gather at Catalyst, and Hillsong, Jesus Culture, Worship Central, and many other venues- this instills confidence that the next generation of leaders love Jesus and are passionate about serving Him and making Him known for their generation. 
2. Willing to work together. 20 and 30 somethings are more willing to collaborate than any other generation before. They trust each other. Really. And see collaboration as the starting point, not some grandiose vision of teamwork that is far off in the distance. Collaboration is now the norm.
3. Don’t care who gets the credit.. For the next generation- it’s way less about who, and way more about what and why. The next wave doesn’t care who gets the credit. It’s way more about “what’s right” instead of focusing on “who’s right.”
4. Generosity and sharing are the new currencies of our culture. In business, relationships, networks, platforms, technology, distribution, content delivery, etc- Open source is the new standard. This new wave of leaders has tools/resources such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, and tons more social media tools that make influencing much more readily available.
5. Understand the holistic responsibility of influence- They are wiilling to connect all of life together- faith, compassion, charity, work, career, church, family, friends. It’s all connected. There is way less compartmentalizing of life among the next generation of leaders. .
6. Authenticity wins. Trust is incredibly important. Leaders won’t have followers going forward unless they trust them and see that they are authentic and real. Authenticity is not only important to the next generation, it’s a requirement.
7. Not willing to wait. Young leaders are ambitious and passionate about making a difference now. They are not necessarily willing to wait their turn. They want to influence now. Evidence of this is the explosion of church planters in the last 4-5 years, along with social innovation and social entrepreneurs.
8. See social justice as the norm. Leaders who care about the poor and lean into causes and see the social gospel as a key ingredient to following Christ are no longer seen as the exception. Young Leaders see taking care of the poor and sharing the Gospel as BOTH crucial to the advancement of the Church and of God’s Kingdom. 20 somethings I believe are and will continue to become more balanced in their pursuit of both. They don’t have to be one or the other.
9. Seeking wisdom and mentors. Overall, I sense that 20 and 30 somethings are highly willing to be mentored, and are hungry for wisdom from older leaders around them. Those of us Gen X’ers tend to think we have it all figured out. Millenials and Gen Y are assumed to have it all figured out because they have so many tools and technology at their fingertips. But from what I’ve experienced, they still are seeking wisdom, just as much as any other generation before them.
10. Change the world mentality. The next wave of leaders have global visions way beyond generations who have existed before. They truly believe they can make a difference, have an impact, and build significance, regardless of resources, organizational help, team, and overall scale. This kind of vision inspires, and also forces leaders to work together, hence #2.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


I read this today and thought it was a fantastic way to look at things, as I often  find myself trading the right thing for the nice thing...check out these example questions from Mark Miller at his blog entitled "Great Leaders Serve":

Nice Thing or Right Thing?
Set a new strategic direction or stay the course to avoid challenging anyone?
Attend a portion of an all-day meeting or stay all day so as not to offend the host of the meeting?
Challenge a team member who fails to prepare for a meeting or avoid the issue?
Decline a speaking engagement or accept every request regardless of the audience?
Dismiss an employee who can’t grow with the business or keep the person on the payroll indefinitely?
Eliminate a program to reallocate needed resources or sacrifice new ideas so outdated ones can be funded?
Have a difficult performance conversation or continue to give inflated performance ratings?
Say “no” to non-strategic work or say “yes” to non-strategic work?
Confront problems and issues or avoid discussing problems at all costs?
Give stretch assignments to people and expect them to struggle or avoid giving stretch assignments because they may create some discomfort?
Cut your losses when a product or program has failed or continue to let a project flounder to avoid confronting the project leader?
Pursue truth through conflict or avoid conflict because it makes some people uncomfortable?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Why You Should Have a Compelling Cause in Your Life…

Here's an article I recently wrote for our school paper here at CU...

Let me make a confession as I start this article. I am a cause guy. I am easily drawn into trying to meet the needs of others, into trying to make the world better, into helping to bring God’s Kingdom in all its fullness to His creation. The first real cause I jumped on board with was the global HIV/AIDS pandemic over a decade ago and that led me on a journey engaging several others like education, microfinance, poverty, food security, clean water, and the current cause I’ve been chasing for the last few years is the reduction of cases of malaria through the distribution of bed nets. To be honest, I never dreamed I’d care so deeply about so many injustices in our world.

I’d love to ask every student on our campus about what particular cause or issue they are passionate about today! Here are a few reasons why I think everyone should have something that draws out our passion and a piece of our heart as we live our lives:

1. We are wired, we are made, and we are called to be engaged in helping bring change to other’s lives and our world. God has given us that remarkable privilege and opportunity as His ambassadors and hands and feet as we encounter the things that break His heart on this planet…

2. You meet some great friends who share the same beliefs and values when you join others in trying to make the world a better place. The first group of students that pulled me into caring about AIDS became a community that is one of my favorite groups of all time…

3. You end up learning a ton when you seriously tackle a major problem in our world. I’ve become so much more aware of things truly happening in our world and in people’s lives because I’ve tried to figure out the best way from really bright people how to help be part of changing people’s situations.

4. You find joy and purpose that we all long for in our lives. You and I were made for so much more than just a “normal” life where our goals include only comfort and security and having everything we want in material possessions. Opening a schoolhouse, drilling for clean water, and handing a family a bed net are memories and moments I know I will never, ever forget.

5. You are part of a team, part of something that leaves a legacy of transformation.  Causes require collaboration, and the pooled resources of a group of people do more together than they ever could just being used by individuals.

6. You don’t fixate on your own issues and needs in an unhealthy way. The battle against narcissism is a challenging one in our culture, and one of the best ways to slay the demon of selfishness is to give deeply of the best of you for something or someone else.

Keep your eyes and your heart open as you read and listen and watch; and when something grabs your interest, please decide to learn all you can. And then actually throw your time, your money, your words, and most of all your gifts and strengths into doing something to literally change lives and our world. 

We’ve raised the resources to provide about 10,000 bed nets so far through our Night of Nets campaign at CU, and frankly, I really hope we double that number just in 2014. It’s something that gets me up in the morning as a follower of Jesus! Be unashamed in your advocacy and your campaign for that thing that causes major holy discontent for you personally. You’ll watch yourself be changed into something far more than you have experienced before…

Chip Huber is the Dean of Student Engagement and Founder of NIGHT of NETS