When I found out why he took off running I couldn’t believe it…

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It was late, almost midnight – years ago. My friend Michael called me after a long bike ride where he was praying for what was next in his life. He had recently lost his father. He had some major life changes happening and I knew he was ready for change himself. But, when he told me he was walking into work to quit the next morning – I knew he was serious and he knew he was on the right path. I’m so thankful for a friend who listens when God is telling him to do something crazy, because Mike has been changing the world ever since.

Mike’s story is amazing and inspiring. Check out this video on the release of his new book, The Ability To Endure.

Michael Chitwood heads up Team World Vision for the World Vision organization. Here is what Richard Stearns, president of World Vision US and author of Unfinished and The Hole in Our Gospel , had to say about Mike’s new book:

“Heartbreaking. Encouraging. Passionate. Look out. This book may bring you to tears. It may inspire you to run a marathon or change the world. Michael Chitwood has that effect on people, and this book will show you why.”

Get Mike’s book here.

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You won’t believe her reaction when she finds out her bill has already been paid

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Proud of my boy Rob Westerman and all the work he and his church, SNC Norwood, are doing in Cincinnati. He recorded this with his friend and talented Cincinnati native, Mike Lewis of Jesus Painter Ministries. This is much more than a ‘pay it forward’ initiative. As Rob explained to me of all the final quotes Paul shared from Jesus with the Ephesian leaders before he went back to Jerusalem, it was this quote from Jesus that he left them with in Acts chapter 20, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” The full verse is here:

Acts 20:35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. ”

Here is the local news coverage. Just one day after it was shared it had over 5.1 Million views, and now 10 million views as of this post! For a few hours work and $400 dollars it’s a good lesson to any business or organization to create moments that are sharable, and doing it is NOT expensive. As SNC Norwood states on their facebook page, just $400 showed love to over 5 million people.


So go, and give. It’s better than receiving.

7 Ways to be more dangerous at work

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Watch this amazing video of explorers walking on beautiful clean ice in the Slovakian mountains. It’s some of the clearest ice you could ever imagine. It looks like they are walking on thin ice it’s so clear.

In the hustle of getting projects done, meeting deadlines, doing our day-to-day work, growing our careers – and all while juggling home life –  sometimes we feel like we might fall through the thin ice below. But maybe, the ice isn’t thin at all. Maybe the ice is solid and we just need to trust the ground we’re exploring. Be dangerous. Be daring and do great things.

Here’s seven things to help you be more dangerous at your job.

1. Take it serious. Run your job like it’s your own company and a company you will fight to make successful.

2. Trust yourself. If you have an idea you feel could make a difference, share it. Present it with passion and excitement.

3. Test the waters. If something looks a little shaky, proceed with caution. The important part is to proceed. Don’t avoid things because they look a little risky. Test the waters, but do it quickly.

4. Be courageous. There are times for caution and there are times where courage is needed. Every team needs to break out of their mold and every team can use a win that is outside of their normal work. Big wins will come with great courage to do dangerous things.

5. Do the math. You are only going to succeed as much as you are willing to fail.

6. Explore new places. We’ll never find new success if we don’t get off the beaten path.

7. Enjoy the view. When you look around and see you are doing things that you never thought could happen – enjoy the view. Work hard to make the unbelievable happen and then celebrate your victories – big or small.

Sometimes what we think feels like walking on thin ice is really more like exploring new ground.

Recognition

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Recruiting volunteers, and good ones, is important for any organization that depends on good people to keep it moving. I’m pumped about this photo shoot and campaign I helped develop. The campaign has a few different goals, most of which is to say thanks to some key volunteers and highlight their volunteer role to others. The campaign also helps recruit people who get a quick understanding that they don’t have to be an expert in a particular area to help out. They just need to be available and willing. These photos really capture the culture of the church by highlighting the faces of the volunteers who keep it going. While the pics are nice, the story of each volunteer that’s shared in the posts really help convey the message. Enjoy the photos and to all the great volunteers of 4CornersChurch – You are amazing!

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Creativity in Church Spaces

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How are you transforming your space into something that turns people toward a posture of worship? Are you called to rebuild the creative walls of the Church? Man, that calling resonates with me. The Church largely has built spaces for function and less for definition, but what’s emerged is a canvas to play with. Bending light is a high calling. The journey of being creative with our spaces and using them for something other than a place to sit in, is a journey that is transformational and demands our interactions with others. Watch this video from my friend and someone I highly admire for his creativity and leadership, Luke McElroy of Salt Nashville for insight into his manifesto for the Salt movement.


 

Take my unsolicited recommendation to consider attending Salt Nashville this year.

Tear-jerking story behind the Ice Bucket Challenge

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I didn’t want the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to come my way. But it did. Then I found this story. The story of the person with ALS who started it all. Warning, this video will wreck you.

I love this story of former Boston College captain Pete Frates, who has inspired the Ice Bucket Challenge. I did accept the ALS challenge and passed it on to a few close friends. But, I added a critical element I believe strongly in. I have a few friends who devote their lives to making sure people around the world have safe drinking water, so wasting a bucket of good water, even for a good cause, didn’t sit well with me. So, in addition to giving to ALSA.org I’ll be giving to TeamWorldVision and challenge you to do the same.

Not to devalue the cause, but the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a marketing phenomenon and all marketing teams can pick up a few great points from the campaign that has brought in millions of dollars to the ALS organization for research to cure the disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”.
If you’re putting a viral marketing campaign together for fundraising or product awareness, take note of these elements that make the ALS campaign great.
1. Be Authentic. This campaign started from a heartfelt story for change. Give participants in your campaign a relevant and real connection to your cause.
2. Give a tangible challenge. Simply challenging someone to donate to ALSA.org isn’t enough for a killer campaign. Challenging someone to do something tangible, has a strong effect, and putting an 24 hour time limit on it drives it forward.
3. Empower people. Give permission for people to own your campaign. The ALS #IceBucketChallenge is a sensational success because not only does it asks for me to do something short and fun, but it also asks that I grow the event 3 fold by challenging 3 of my close friends. The peer pressure is incredible but it’s healthy here.

You won’t duplicate this campaign. Find your own voice and your own story to share. Authentic campaigns need to revolve around your story.
#IceBucketChallenge
#StrikeOutALS

Perfect Body—The video you won’t believe

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Being perfect is overrated. Being perfect is impossible, but we pass by it in marketing and advertising messages hundreds of times each day. The bar is set so high, you can’t reach it.

This video explores the reaction of models and window shoppers who get to see a different side of the what are normally perfectly chiseled, half-naked, perfect 10 mannequins wearing clothes we gawk at as if we’ll be shaped like the models once we dawn the wears. Fat chance.

I like imperfection. I like odd.
I want to think I’d pass this window with the best reaction, but I’m not so sure about that.