Adam McLane http://adammclane.com changing the world one blog post at a time since 2004 Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:58:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Spectacle: Making things go boom in youth group http://adammclane.com/2014/12/17/youth-group-spectacle/ http://adammclane.com/2014/12/17/youth-group-spectacle/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:58:19 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15924 At last month’s Summit, Chanon Ross (Director of the Institute for Youth Ministry at Princeton Seminary) talked about the concept of spectacle as it relates to adolescent culture, literature, and ultimately faith development. Spectacle isn’t something I’d really thought about before Chanon’s talk. I won’t steal his thunder, you can watch it for yourself. Of […]

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At last month’s Summit, Chanon Ross (Director of the Institute for Youth Ministry at Princeton Seminary) talked about the concept of spectacle as it relates to adolescent culture, literature, and ultimately faith development.

Spectacle isn’t something I’d really thought about before Chanon’s talk. I won’t steal his thunder, you can watch it for yourself.

Of course, I had heard the word “spectacle.” And when he used the example of the power of spectacle in Roman culture I was very familiar with the concept from my latin classes back in high school. (Yeah, I was that kind of nerd in high school.) But I’d never really thought about the value of spectacle in our culture, specifically it’s importance to adolescence. But really… now I’m seeing it all over. 

“OMG. Did you see _____?”

When I think about the things that have really exploded in the past few years I see spectacle. Remember KONY 2012? That was kind of ridiculous. It had an unbelievable “Did you see ____?” factor. But even on a smaller scale, spend any time on a middle or high school campus and you’ll hear the latest spectacle. “Did you see what ___ did? Check it out… here’s the video.

Popular YouTube videos, something on TV, a concert everyone has to go to, a fight after school, Homecoming, break ups, the new video game, on and on. It never really ends.

Youth Group as Spectacle

When I think about the times in my youth ministry where things exploded there was spectacle.

  • Some of our best “gotta be there” times came when we went through our gross out phase. I think we had a high school student puke 5-6 weeks in a row playing a stage game. I’m not really saying that I’d do that again– long live the 1990s– but dang, you had to be there to see it.
  • At multiple points the “gotta be there” factor was through the roof because one student came to faith and absolutely lit their campus on fire with the Good News, literally telling anyone who would listen.
  • One thing Brian does really well at Encounter is fostering a little spectacle on his retreats. I mean, they basically sent a water heater to space this year in the desert. Of course high school guys want to go next year… you can always make something go boom a little bigger.

I’m not saying you’ve got to get kids to puke on stage to get them to show up or blow things up in the desert or preach your face off until someone important on campus gets on fire for Jesus. If I’m completely honest, so many of those times where things just EXPLODED, and we had amazing responses to something we did… they were spectacle… but we didn’t really know what we were doing. It was kind of accidentally spectacular. (You know, the Holy Spirit, and all.)

But what I’m saying is that there’s something to spectacle in youth group. If things are flat, if there’s no “gotta be there” factor, then– quite frankly– I’m not so sure students are going to show up and they definitely aren’t going to be quick to drag their friends.

The counterpoint: If you heard my talk at The Summit I pointed out that entertainment has a depreciating return over the long haul. And it’s totally true. The problem of spectacle is that you have to ramp it up. Just like Rome had to go from one gladiator fight per day to one per week to… within a few decades… needing HUNDREDS of gladiators to draw a crowd… spectacle is a short-term motivator.

It’s not the answer. But sometimes a little spectacle goes a long, long way. 

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Looking for Help in the Wrong Direction http://adammclane.com/2014/12/10/looking-help-wrong-direction/ http://adammclane.com/2014/12/10/looking-help-wrong-direction/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 15:57:42 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15910 Pastors have an infatuation with the business world. I’m not exactly sure where it comes from but it is unhealthy. Perhaps it’s because church hierarchies tend to favor business people on boards and committees and eventually they give in to the way business people think? Or perhaps it’s kind of an Oedipus or Freudian thing with pastors […]

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Pastors have an infatuation with the business world.

I’m not exactly sure where it comes from but it is unhealthy. Perhaps it’s because church hierarchies tend to favor business people on boards and committees and eventually they give in to the way business people think? Or perhaps it’s kind of an Oedipus or Freudian thing with pastors looking longingly towards the business world, pinning for the type of money and success they think they deserve?

The irony is that successful businesses create community and benefit their employees in a way churches only wish they could. So, in a lot of people’s lives… they go to church and see a poorly run business but go to work and experience the church.

Business Books are Taking Us the Wrong Direction

When I hang out with a pastor I’m always intrigued by what they are reading or who is influencing the way they pastor. And frankly, there’s a lot of influence tracing back to two particular books: Jim Collins Good to Great and Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing. (With Godin, many pastors are impacted by derivative works of Godin. Most of his new books simply flow from or expand on the lessons taught in his first major book though.)

Both are pretty old. 2001 and 1999 respectively. And they were pretty good books with some impact on the business community. But within churches? Their influence is huge. They are getting booked to speak at church leadership events but not with very many business leadership conferences anymore. See, when I hang out with start-up leaders and business folks… Collins and Godin are in the rear view mirror, artifacts. In an age of big data do you really think “Permission Marketing” is influential? If you are trying to get acqui-hired do you really give two craps about building a great company structure?

Where are the books on farming?

So here’s my point.

Do you really think people are coming to your church to experience a business? Have we devalued the churches sacramental, innately desired place in people’s lives to leftover department store management mantras and outdated marketing techniques? Is that all that’s left of the Good News? 

There’s bunches… MULTITUDES… of “church leadership” books which are built on business and marketing principles that were popular 15 years ago. But there is very little written about or learning experiences created for pastors to learn from the metaphors Jesus actually used relative to leading a church.

  • Shepherding a flock
  • Managing a field, pruning a vineyard
  • Casting nets to catch fish

These aren’t things you learn in the city. These aren’t things you learn in a classroom. You learn these things by getting dirty, long hours doing menial tasks, being patient, and learning skills from a master shepherd/farmer/fisher who learned from another master.

But formal ministry preparation looks almost exclusively to the city and never to the farm. The very act of getting ministry preparation usually means coming to the city and learning from city people.

Yet when I read the Gospels I see Jesus rolling his eyes and walking away from the rabbis and formally trained religious people in the city to go and invest in the regular people who understand some things only regular people can understand.

Friends, the Gospel isn’t elite. It’s not about sales and marketing. It isn’t reserved for those with the resources.

The Gospel is about bringing Good News to those who are hungry for it, the regular Joes.

Get your nose out of business books and start planting a garden, raising chickens, cast a line, going on a hunt…

Jesus said, “The food that keeps me going is that I do the will of the One who sent me, finishing the work he started. As you look around right now, wouldn’t you say that in about four months it will be time to harvest? Well, I’m telling you to open your eyes and take a good look at what’s right in front of you. These Samaritan fields are ripe. It’s harvest time!

John 4:34-35, The Message

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3 Practical Investments in Women in Youth Ministry http://adammclane.com/2014/12/09/women-in-youth-ministry/ http://adammclane.com/2014/12/09/women-in-youth-ministry/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 17:07:26 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15904 Sometimes we do things at The Youth Cartel which are revolutionary… which really shouldn’t be all that revolutionary. This is the case with some of the stuff we’re doing right now for the women in youth ministry tribe. Here’s three things we’ve done which act as practical investments. But this isn’t a brag. It’s an […]

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Sometimes we do things at The Youth Cartel which are revolutionary… which really shouldn’t be all that revolutionary. This is the case with some of the stuff we’re doing right now for the women in youth ministry tribe.

Here’s three things we’ve done which act as practical investments. But this isn’t a brag. It’s an invitation. Join us.

  1. 9780991005048-cover-1000BOOK: Earlier this fall we released a great book by Gina Abbas, A Woman in Youth Ministry. Sure, the book has a bunch of practical stuff for women who are currently in youth ministry. But what I loved about Gina’s book is that she tells her story, the real story, of her life as a full-time youth pastor at a variety of churches. I think the book is important for both men and women to read. I think it’d be incredible to read as a church staff… the things that Gina talks about transcend gender while also putting words on negative things the church is doing to hold women back in leadership.
  2. THE PLATFORM: Last month, at The Summit, half of the people on stage were women. Thinking back to 2002, at my first big youth ministry event, I started asking… Where are the women? (The same could be said for ethnic and theological diversity.) And over the years I’ve heard the excuses among the various events I’ve been part of planning. (That’s all they are, excuses. I won’t even validate the logic by listing them.) This year we set all of the excuses aside and got it done. And you know what we learned? It was awesome that people didn’t make a big deal out of it. The content of the event was excellent and that’s all that mattered.
  3. GATHERING THE TRIBE: This April we’re hosting a gathering of the tribe at the Women in Youth Ministry Campference. Even though Marko and I aren’t going we’re fully supportive of it and obviously investing our resources to make sure it happens. Our Director of Coaching, April Diaz is part of a team collaborating to plan it… and based on what I see I think it’s going to be a great time of fun, encouragement, and practical help.

So that’s what we’re up to. It’s not everything we can do, but I’m proud of the effort we’re able to make as a small start-up. I’d love to hear what other organizations and churches are doing. And, if you’re looking for practical investments you can make we’d love to have you jump in and support these three things above.

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A Call for a Better Adult Verification System http://adammclane.com/2014/12/06/adult-verification/ http://adammclane.com/2014/12/06/adult-verification/#comments Sat, 06 Dec 2014 17:49:40 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15885 “How many of you guys have a cell phone?” [most hands go up] How many of you guys have an account on Instagram or Snapchat?” [nearly the same amount of hands go up] This gymnasium of 4th through 6th graders in Northwest Kansas was just another example of our failed Adult Verification System. “Age gating”– […]

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“How many of you guys have a cell phone?” [most hands go up]

How many of you guys have an account on Instagram or Snapchat?” [nearly the same amount of hands go up]

This gymnasium of 4th through 6th graders in Northwest Kansas was just another example of our failed Adult Verification System. “Age gating”– the industry term for asking users their age when signing up for an account on a website that collects personally identifiable information, aka every social media app on the planet, is horribly broken.

The intent of age gating is to comply with COPPA– a federal law that prevents the collection of personally identifiable information of those 12 and under. More technically, age gating helps social media apps get out of very expensive COPPA compliance because they don’t have to maintain a system whereby parents can get access to all of the information collected about their children.

See, creating an account on a social media site is not about capabilities or gaining parental permission. (see When Should I Allow My Child to Get a Social Media Account?) Creating an account on a website or app that collects personal information is about age… like driving a car or voting or buying alcohol.

The minimum age to create an account is 13. But the system for verifying users is virtually non-existent.

An Age Old Cycle of Blame

You can’t tell me that app manufacturers don’t know that they’ve have tons of underage users. It’s rampant and they definitely profit from their usage and data.

Whenever I do assemblies with elementary-aged kids lots of them have questions about apps that they aren’t old enough to use.

And when I talk to parent groups– most of the parents readily admit that their 9 or 10 year old has an account on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or another app that they aren’t old enough for.

When questioned about this, most app manufacturers simply blame parents. They cite quotes from research like this:

“Our data show that many parents knowingly allow their children to lie about their age — in fact, often help them to do so — in order to gain access to age-restricted sites” — Dana Boyd

Source

The problem with app developers blaming parents? The Federal Trade Commission doesn’t make age verification the responsibility of parents… it’s the website or apps responsibility:

If you operate a commercial Web site or an online service directed to children under 13 that collects personal information from children or if you operate a general audience Web site and have actual knowledge that you are collecting personal information from children, you must comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

Source

COPPA requires those sites and services to notify parents directly and get their approval before they collect, use, or disclose a child’s personal information. Personal information in the world of COPPA includes a kid’s name, address, phone number or email address; their physical whereabouts; photos, videos and audio recordings of the child, and persistent identifiers, like IP addresses, that can be used to track a child’s activities over time and across different websites and online services.

Source

See, in regards to COPPA compliance from a legal perspective, the burden isn’t on parents. (Though we all agree they should play a part in compliance.) It’s on the operators of the sites which collect personally identifiable information.

We Need a Better Age Verification System

Click to view slideshow.

Most apps deploy a simple script on their account creation page which acts as their Age Verification System. They call it Age Gating  because the app is only going to check once, it’s a gate. Provide a birthdate older than 13 years old one time and it’ll never ask again.

Technically speaking we’re talking about a few lines of code, asking for a user’s birthdate, and that’s it. If you tell Instagram or Facebook or Snapchat you are under 13 years old it doesn’t allow you to create an account. But standard age gating doesn’t prevent the same IP address or even browser session from submitting the exact same information with a different birthdate. Deploying a blacklist isn’t that hard to do. It’s simply blacklisting an IP address or device ID to prevent it from changing the birthdate to get past the gate. If app developers wrote a script that told users they weren’t old enough and then prevented them from trying to submit the form again for 24 or 48 hours, most would go away.

Most of these same sites use a similar blacklisting technology to prevent spammers and bots from creating hundreds of accounts from the same device or IP address. So the technology already exists and is deployed, just not applied to age verification.
Did you know Instagram and Twitter don’t even ask users for an age? How is this COPPA compliant? The operators make no attempt to keep underaged users off their application.

A Call to Develop On-Going Age Verification Versus Age Gating

Rather than simply age gating a social media app which has done nothing to prevent underage users from gaining access to sites intended for older teens and adults, I would like to see a developer create an on-going age verification system that not only prevents underage users from creating accounts but also flags on-going underage user activity

For instance, many app and device manufacturers (most notably Facebook with facial recognition on images and Apple with fingerprints) are using biometrics to identify users. (see Biometric Technology Takes Off) So the technology is available to identify users based on their physical biometrics, like if they use their finger to unlock their phone, or if they post a photo of themselves on Instagram but no effort is put forth by these companies to verify that users are of legal age to use their services. For instance, if a 10 year old creates an account on Instagram saying she is 16 then later tags themselves in a selfie with her mom whom she also tags in the photo… why doesn’t Instagram’s API correlate that data to the tagged parties Facebook account where the mom correctly lists the child’s age as 10? It’s not that the technology doesn’t exist, it’s that Instagram– a Facebook company– has no will to do so.

Similarly, we know that technology exists for apps to flag content based on geolocation, keywords, or message content. If an app developer were truly interested in on-going Age Verification the technology exists to limit the collection of personally identifiable information to those 13 years or older but the will to do so does not exist.

Instead, most app developers take a passive approach, ignoring [and profiting from] underage users and only dealing with it when reported. It’s not seen as a legal compliance issue, it’s usually seen as a community management issue. 

I’ve made the same argument about Snapchat’s lack of will to prevent the creation and distribution of child pornography. Could they not deploy a technology that detected nudity and prevented someone under 18 years of age from sending or receiving illicit images? Of course they could. They don’t have the will to do so because ultimately the illegal behavior is driving usage and making them rich!

A Call on the Federal Trade Commission to Force Operators to Comply with COPPA

14.    Will the amended COPPA Rule prevent children from lying about their age to register for general audience sites or online services whose terms of service prohibit their participation?

No.  COPPA covers operators of general audience websites or online services only where such operators have actual knowledge that a child under age 13 is the person providing personal information.  The Rule does not require operators to ask the age of visitors.  However, an operator of a general audience site or service that chooses to screen its users for age in a neutral fashion may rely on the age information its users enter, even if that age information is not accurate.  In some circumstances, this may mean that children are able to register on a site or service in violation of the operator’s Terms of Service.  If, however, the operator later determines that a particular user is a child under age 13, COPPA’s notice and parental consent requirements will be triggered.

Source, emphasis mine

The Child Online Privacy Protection Act belongs to the Federal Trade Commission. The will of social media operators to comply with COPPA is not there, therefore it is up to the FTC to force operators to comply.

I’m calling on the Federal Trade Commission to do two things:

  1. The law allows fines up to $16,000 per instance depending on the level of egregiousness. It’s time the FTC brings social media operators to account. Operators are knowingly allowing underage users to create accounts and use their services. They are choosing to not deploy existing technology to automatically flag and remove underage users. If the will to comply does not exist, fine them.
  2. I’m calling on the Federal Trade Commission to force large social media operators, those with over 1,000,000 user accounts, to deploy technology which actively verifies user age, automatically flagging potential underage accounts for removal or compliance with parental notification rules.

 What Can You Do?

If you are like me and believe that social media operators should actively comply with the intent and letter of the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) than I’m asking you to consider the following:

  1. Raise awareness of the intent & boundaries of COPPA among the parents and children in your life. Ask them to read COPPA.org or this article for parents from the Federal Trade Commission. Have a discussion about not just the rules… but also why it’s important. 
  2. Report underage accounts to social media operators. (see this post for links to social media operators reporting systems)
  3. Report offending operators to the Federal Trade Commission. If you have reported an underage user and the operator has not removed the account, report it to the FTC for investigation.
  4. Raise awareness among parents and other adults by sharing this post on social media sites.

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Don’t Let 1% Win http://adammclane.com/2014/12/03/dont-let-1-win/ http://adammclane.com/2014/12/03/dont-let-1-win/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 14:08:06 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15881 We each have 1% driving us nuts in our lives.  99% of the people in our lives are fine. They are benefited by the work we do, they are positive about us and who we are as people, or they are just neutral and have no opinion about us one way or the other. But we […]

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We each have 1% driving us nuts in our lives. 

99% of the people in our lives are fine. They are benefited by the work we do, they are positive about us and who we are as people, or they are just neutral and have no opinion about us one way or the other.

But we each have a 1%. Negative Nancys. Horrible Harrys. The Haters.

The apostle Paul, in a moment of self-reflection, wrote about this to the church in Corinth…

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.

2 Corinthians 12:7-8

A thorn. Have you ever had a splinter or a thorn stuck in you? Yeah, you have to deal with it or it’ll drive you crazy!

You can’t ignore it. You can’t do nothing and let it get infected. You have to deal with it.

For you, the issue isn’t just that these people are complaining or don’t like us or something we’ve done. If that were the case we could ignore them. It’s that they’ve gotten under our skin.

Sticks and Stones Actually Do Hurt Me

Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.

That little childhood nursery rhyme is a lie. Many a great person has been destroyed by words. I’m sad to admit that I bet at some point in my life my words have shattered someone. Words are worse than stones, the bruises they leave last a lifetime.

I don’t know about you. But if 100 people gave me feedback and 99 of them were either neutral or positive and 1 were mean-spirited… I’d go home thinking about that 1 personI’d lay in bed that night thinking about what I could have done differently.

That 1% carries with me. It hurts me. It’s debilitating.

Don’t Let Them Win

While I fully acknowledge that I cannot ignore the hater-voices in my life I can make one rational choice: They aren’t going to own me.

They have a job to do: Hate.

But I have a job to do: Deal with them. I chose to overcome their words with actions. They poke at me but I just keep swinging away. When I’m tired their anger, doubt, self-righteous do-nothingness drives me to keep going. I deal with haters using their bruises to motivate me.

Why? I don’t know about you. But the calling on my life is way more important than to let the voices of Negative Nancy and Horrible Harry slow me down.

I can’t shut them up. But I can refuse to let them win.

Just keep swinging.

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November 2014: Youth Pastors in the News http://adammclane.com/2014/12/02/november-2014-youth-pastors-news/ http://adammclane.com/2014/12/02/november-2014-youth-pastors-news/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 15:20:08 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15878 Here’s a list of headlines from the month of November for the Google News search term, “Youth Pastor.” I’ve deleted multiple links to the same instance. 11/30/14 Beachy named new pastor at Centreville church – Sturgis Journal – MI 11/20/14 Queens Youth Ministry Accused of Sexually Assaulting Teen Girl – WABC-TV -NY 11/19/14 Arsonists Burn Down Their Former Youth Pastor’s […]

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Here’s a list of headlines from the month of November for the Google News search term, “Youth Pastor.” I’ve deleted multiple links to the same instance.

Archives: July 2014August 2014, October 2014

Moral of the story: Don’t like the news? Make Good News in Your Neighborhood.

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How to Lead Young http://adammclane.com/2014/12/01/lead-young/ http://adammclane.com/2014/12/01/lead-young/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 18:03:40 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15868 I got my first “real job” when I was 21. After Kristen and I got married in June 1997 the big boss at my company called me one day. “Adam, we’re going to post a job today supervising your area. I want you to apply for it because I want to hire you.” A couple weeks […]

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I got my first “real job” when I was 21.

After Kristen and I got married in June 1997 the big boss at my company called me one day. “Adam, we’re going to post a job today supervising your area. I want you to apply for it because I want to hire you.

A couple weeks later I got the job.

At 21 years old I was put in charge of one of those jobs in a company that’s really important but no one wants. Weird shifts, overseeing three shifts of workers, union issues, very expensive and complicated equipment, constant unrealistic expectations and impossible deadlines, and higher ups who constantly reminded me that it’d be way cheaper to outsource my department to another company. Oh, and just for fun, this little mini-department had just been moved offsite to a warehouse where we were hated.

Looking at the facts it was a no-win situation. I was a new manager, in charge of very expensive equipment, doing a very important job for the company, but put on an island and given a hodgepodge team of full-time, long-term employees in their 40s and temporary workers… many of whom had felony convictions and never had a “real job.”

I never saw it as a no-win situation because I had one thing in my corner… a boss who really believed in me. She didn’t hire me to be lead to the slaughter. She hired me because together we were going to kick some butt.

My charge was pretty direct:

  • Meet or beat every deadline.
  • Create a team that believes in itself.
  • Figure out how to do this cheaper than outsourcing.

Over the next five years that’s exactly what I did. We never missed a deadline, we created the proverbial “mail room” for the company where a crew of temps and union employees became family, and every year I was there we lowered the cost-per-item produced.

But, in all honesty, this little feat only happened because I had a boss who invested in me. I believed it was possible because she believed in me. She didn’t just hire me and stick me in no man’s land in that warehouse. She continually invested in me and taught me the right things to do.

And most relevant for you? She taught me how to lead young. The things she taught me about being a young leader were directly transferable to my next life as the young leader on a church staff. So I wanted to pass them along.

5 Things Every Young Leader Can Do to Earn Respect

  1. Be Prepared – Each week we had a weekly staff meeting. Like a lot of organizations, these meetings were predictable, we were going to go around the conference table and each person was going to give a brief report on their area. I was surprised how many people got fired as the result of performing poorly in the meeting. They came unprepared, they didn’t have the right information, they didn’t have answers, they didn’t offer solutions for the rest of the team– they thought it was casual because we served coffee and donuts.  Before my very first staff meeting I was pulled aside and told the truth: This might seem casual and even friendly sometimes. But don’t ever show up to this meeting unprepared. Sometimes you’ll get away with sharing very little info, but other times the pressure will get applied. Always be prepared. Never show up without all the information you need.
  2. Be on Time – Living in Chicago, it would have been easy to be late a lot. (Traffic is always an issue.) I saw managers come and go in my time and one of the big reasons was simply that they couldn’t manage to control their time. They were late for meetings, they were late for work, and they fostered this expectation that they wouldn’t be on time. The flip side is that when you are young you want to establish that you are dependable. Being consistently 15-20 minutes early told older managers I valued their time enough to be on time. We live in a culture who expects young adults to be lazy, disorganized, and otherwise undependable. Get on the other side of that and you’re winning hearts.
  3. Dress Right – I worked in a warehouse. A dusty, hot, place where I might go a week between seeing someone from the main office. But I learned the value of dressing right. As the years of success built it became more and more normal that my little area became part of the tour that the people wearing suits showed off to visiting company presidents. Our success story became part of the success story for the whole company. I can’t tell you how important it was to be dressed appropriately so that when I got a call that the “big bosses” were coming to tour our facility or I needed to go make a presentation at the headquarters, that I was ready. It might seem silly, but one thing I was queued into early was that it was important to have a nice watch and a nice pair of shoes. I might have left for work at 3:45 AM, I might have had a lot of laughs with my team, but I also rocked those uncomfortable dress shoes and that gold watch day in and day out.
  4. Don’t Make Excuses When You Fail – Mistakes will happen. Your team will fail. You will not always meet every last expectation. I’ll never forget seeing a high level boss catching a co-worker in a lie during one of those staff meetings over a mistake in her area. She was trying to cover for someone and got called out on it like a shark on a baby seal. Reduced to tears by the embarrassment, credibility lost, she transferred to another area of the company. I learned right away that having “sober judgement” about failures, being clear with the facts, holding the people at fault accountable, and owning your own mistakes grows respect and credibility. Those who tried to cover things up or sugar coat their failures… they didn’t survive when their blood was in the water. A failure is a test of character, nothing more and nothing less. Own it, deal with it, and move on.
  5. Don’t Kiss Butt – One of the biggest mistakes I see young leaders make is kissing butt. It’s one thing to kiss a ring… there are a lot of rings to be kissed as a young leader… but it’s another thing to kiss someone’s butt. Kissing butt can get you attention. But it’s the wrong kind of attention from the wrong kind of leader. If you want to establish respect in an organization you’ll let your results speak for you. If you’re resorting to kissing up to get what you want, your boss already knows you aren’t a leader… you’re a butt kisser. That boss owns you and you’ll never lead. Worse yet, your coworkers see it and respect you less and less as the butt kissing goes on.

What advice do you have for young leaders in an organization?

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

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An Ode to the Cranberry http://adammclane.com/2014/11/26/an-ode-to-the-cranberry/ http://adammclane.com/2014/11/26/an-ode-to-the-cranberry/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:08:25 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=5227 Thanksgiving season is upon us. And with Thanksgiving arrives one of my favorite foods. The Cranberry. Discovered in 1924 by Joseph Cran, the cranberry is useful for many things. It is delicious. It is tasty. It is tart. It is good mixed with various other fruits. It floats. It is from heaven. It’s amazing canned shape […]

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Thanksgiving season is upon us. And with Thanksgiving arrives one of my favorite foods. The Cranberry.

Discovered in 1924 by Joseph Cran, the cranberry is useful for many things. It is delicious. It is tasty. It is tart. It is good mixed with various other fruits. It floats. It is from heaven. It’s amazing canned shape invites my gobbling. It’s juice keeps my urinary track free of infections.

Cranberries are magical.

cranberryMore fun facts about cranberries:

  • The cranberry is the national fruit of Bermuda.
  • There is a Cranberry Festival in Iowa in which the Cranberry queen is worshiped as citizens stuff cranberries in their ears.
  • A rival festival happens concurrently in New Hampshire. In 1986, the Cranberry Queen’s met in the ring at WrestleMania 2. Iowa’s Christina Applewood pinned New Hampshire’s Deborah Macintosh. Event organizers failed to note that Applewood was also Iowa’s Junior Hog Queen in 1985.
  • Sacrifices are made to the cranberry god in Nova Scotia.
  • There is even a cult band, The Cranberries.
  • In 2002, George W. Bush ordered the secret invasion of Prince Edward Island for the secret stash of cranberry DNA. It became Dick Cheney’s job to protect the DNA stash in a cave in Virginia until 2008.
  • When boiled, the cranberry releases essential oils originally flowing from the fountain of youth. The french word for cranberry is Ponce de Leon.
  • When John F. Kennedy declared he was a jelly donut in Berlin, the jelly inside his donut was cranberry.
  • A secret society stages the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City to celebrate the harvest of cranberries in Central Park.
  • It’s a well known fact that Benjamin Franklin and Cotton Mather both first ate cranberries with the Pilgrims on the first Thanksgiving in 1619.
  • The female cranberry is separated from the male cranberry in the processing plant. Males are bagged and served fresh. Females are canned. Left together they would make way too much cranberry.
  • Grey Poupon stole their marketing slogan from the Cranberry Growers of America. Originally, the Bentley pulled alongside a limo and the occupant leaned over and said, “Pardon me sir, do you have any cranberry porridge?” There was subsequent legal action settled out of court in 1997.
  • Driven by ancient viking rumors of cranberry’s powers, Christopher Columbus discovered America.
  • Chuck Norris lives on a diet solely of cranberry.
  • The red in the United States flag… symbolic of the ancient order of the cranberry… dates to 1749.
  • It is against the law to serve turkey on Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce in the city of Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Up until 1983, cranberries were acceptable currency in Maine.
  • It is good luck to keep a dehydrated cranberry in your left pocket in December.
  • If cranberries last longer than four hours, consult a physician.

Oh cranberries… you are welcome in my home all the time. But especially in November and December.

Do you know more fun facts about cranberries?

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

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It’s About Measurables http://adammclane.com/2014/11/24/measurables/ http://adammclane.com/2014/11/24/measurables/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 17:04:27 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15860 “Ministry isn’t about numbers.” There’s some truth to this. But it’s also a cliche. It’s a mischaracterization of reality that is absolutely killing youth ministry. You can’t read the book of Acts and say… “Yeah, it’s not about numbers.” You can’t check your belief about hell and conclude, “It’s not about numbers.” You can’t check […]

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“Ministry isn’t about numbers.”

There’s some truth to this. But it’s also a cliche. It’s a mischaracterization of reality that is absolutely killing youth ministry. You can’t read the book of Acts and say… “Yeah, it’s not about numbers.” You can’t check your belief about hell and conclude, “It’s not about numbers.” You can’t check your ecclesiology and decide, “It’s not about numbers.”

And, you can’t look at current movements in non-profit funding and conclude it’s not about numbers.

The Lie That It’s Not About Numbers

Ministry isn’t about numbers like Thanksgiving isn’t about turkey and stuffing. Yeah, sure… without it it’ll happen. But it won’t be any good.

At it’s heart, ministry isn’t about numbers but it is about effectiveness. And you’ll never be effective until you measure stuff.

Whether it’s articulated to you or not you are held accountable, not just for the quality of your ministry, but by your ability to create an effective ministry that reaches an appropriate amount of students for the amount of money invested.

Here’s what I experience: Youth workers who are frustrated, burnt out, feeling misunderstood, and sold out to the idea of “ministry isn’t measurable, it’s about relationships.” But when I press them, when I say… “If you were a board member and you spent $50,000 last year and the only measurable outcome is a few testimonials shared, a wishy-washy leader who can’t cast a vision for what they are trying to do, and a mission trip video… what would you do?

Literally, what would you do? If you were in their shoes and you weren’t getting the data you needed… You’d take measurements for that leader. You’d count butts in seats, it’s a default when nothing else is defined as measurable. You’d give them the benefit of the doubt for that season. And you’d ask them, “Hey, in the next year we’d really like to see a stronger plan for what you are doing.” (See the previous paragraph for what happens next)

Here’s what I know: Youth workers avoid defining measurables because their biggest fear is being held accountable for their ministries failures and their second biggest fear is that someone else in youth ministry is going to say, “Your ministry is all about numbers.

This isn’t kindergarten. Failure is an option.

And you know what? Those who say it isn’t about numbers usually aren’t trying to earn your paycheck from your church. You feel me? 

A lot of youth workers have got a very mid-1990s, cavalier attitude, about youth ministry. We think it should be funded because it’s important. (well, whipty-doh!) We want it to be funded but we don’t want to have a fundable plan.

Drop the cliche and get comfortable with this: People fund things that are effective. You don’t do ministry because of numbers. But you do get a paycheck because of numbers. (A paycheck is a number, am I right?)

Measure Effectiveness

Want to get funded? (cough, or even a raise of COLA?) Want to keep your job? The plan is simple: Lead your ministry towards measurable effectiveness. (Here’s a starter list of what to measure)

Bottom line: Ministries that thrive– measure stuff to get more and more effective.

Effectiveness isn’t about avoiding failure but it is about dealing with failures.

You won’t know you’re doing something ineffective until you begin measuring stuff. That’s what professionals do.

Not measuring effectiveness?

You’ve got 5 weeks until January 1st.

Get on it.


A Path Appears by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunnWant to learn about what people are giving to, funding, and excited about? I recommend reading Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn’s book, A Path Appears. It isn’t about people giving to church. But it is about celebrating and funding NGOs and NPOs that are embracing evidence-based programs that improve the lives of people all around the world. It’s a book I think every church leader in America should read to better understand modern, responsible giving

 

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

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Yik Yak Threats Are a Bad Idea http://adammclane.com/2014/11/21/yik-yak-threats/ http://adammclane.com/2014/11/21/yik-yak-threats/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 17:04:22 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15846 CBS News 8 – San Diego, CA News Station – KFMB Channel 8 [Link to the above video – I appear in a phone interview talking about the situation at Torrey Pines High School and Yik Yak, in general.] Yik Yak has a problem. The harder they try to market themselves as an app for college […]

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CBS News 8 – San Diego, CA News Station – KFMB Channel 8

[Link to the above video – I appear in a phone interview talking about the situation at Torrey Pines High School and Yik Yak, in general.]

Yik Yak has a problem.

The harder they try to market themselves as an app for college students the more high schoolers they attract.

In fairness, they really have been a good digital citizen. 

They make it easy for law enforcement to contact them, they provide information to aid investigations when they receive a court order, and they went to great expense and effort to geofence off every middle and high school over the summer. They’ve even made it possible for school administrators to request geofencing or correct it.

And yet problems persist. The perception of anonymity gives some teenagers license to wreak havoc. Just like there were idiots who pulled the fire alarm every day at Hanau American High School when I was a junior in high school, the (child of) that same idiot will make threats on Yik Yak.

“You Are So Dumb”

You-are-dumb-you-are-really-dumb-fo-realIn the words of a great American, Antoine Dodson, I say this: If you think you can post an anonymous threat on Yik Yak and get away with it… You are so dumb.

Here’s What You Need to Know

All of the so-called anonymous and ephemeral apps point directly back to you. (Yik Yak, Snapchat, Whisper, Secret, etc) The only people that thinks things disappear or are anonymous are the users.

So if you are using these apps and thinking it’s all private or secure or anonymous, recognize that this is merely a perception.

There is no such thing as privacy or anonymity online, only the perception of privacy or anonymity. 

Here’s Some Reasons Yik Yak Threats Are a Bad Idea

  • To create an account you need a valid email address. Oops. 
  • Even if you use a fake or “anonymous” email address to create an account, the IP address associated with your account points back to you. (Learn about IPv6 — “Every device on the Internet is assigned an IP address for identification and location definition.”) Oops. 
  • Most people are too lazy for that so they login with their Facebook account. Oops. 
  • With Yik Yak specifically, the app simply won’t work if you don’t have the GPS on your phone activated for the app. (Location Services for Apple Users) So while a Yak posted my only show you a general area it’s posted from, the app recorded your exact location when you posted. Oops. 
  • When you post an image to something like Whisper or Snapchat… the image itself has TONS of metadata that points directly to your device and location. Oops. 
  • The data network on your phone is constantly pinging your location back to your service provider. Actually, the GPS on most phones actually works even if you have data turned off. In other words, if that phone is on, it’s logging your location within about 10 feet. Oops.
  • The cellular network on your phone connects to nearby towers each time you make or receive a call or send a text. While not as accurate as the GPS, it establishes that you are within a general area. Oops. 
  • Let’s say you think you are slick and use a VPN. Wanna know what? Your phone logs that you used that VPN. So if a threat came through a VPN and your phone used the same VPN? Oops. 

And do you know how hard it is to get all of that information? Not that hard if you are law enforcement. A court order, subpoena, or search warrant is all that’s needed. A little paperwork and the signature of a judge.

So, let’s say you make a threat about a school on an “anonymous” app. Within about two weeks you’ll discover that what you thought was anonymous was anything but that.

Far from putting on winter gloves and pulling the fire alarm in 1993, an online threat posted to Yik Yak or another so-called anonymous app leaves a digital footprint that easily establishes your guilt. All of this data is admissible in court. And all of this data will prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you did it.

 

Yes! I agree that it’s weird that I have to write this. It feels kind of obvious. But then again… every day a new story emerges of someone doing it. So, I guess this post really is needed.

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

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