Friday, February 29, 2008

2008 TEDPrize Winner: David Eggers (Part 1 of 3)

Last night... was it just last night? Wow.

Last night I had the wonderful opportunity to see a live web-cast of the 2008 TEDPrize winners. What an amazing event it was too. You can read TED's official blog about it here or you can read my take on the nights events over the next few days since I took several pages of notes as I watched the webcast.

I won't share them all with you, but I will share the vast majority of them. My thoughts will be in bold. Please share your thoughts on what you read here and think about ways that YOU can impact this world.

Because I know that you and I can impact this world for good.

2008 TEDPrize Winners

Chris Anderson introduced the session streamed live over the internet. He introduced the session saying, "Look out! What you hear today might get into your head and make you want to do certain things throughout the year."

Chris told the TEDPrize winners this: "No restrictions. Think big. Be creative." I think I'm going to adopt this as my motto for the church.

He then introduced Amy Nogarets.

She gave a update of the 2007 TEDPrize winners. Then a video rolled of Edward O. Wilson's Encyclopedia of Life, Wilson's one wish from TED 2007. Adobe, photosynth (see video here), and other technologies contribute to the EoL to allow a worldwide audience experience the biological diversity of the globe. It goes live today, February 28, 2008.

How incredible to launch this amazing site as part of the update on the development of last year's TEDPrize! I literally got chills seeing that!

The next video highlighted Adobe's navigational tools that allow the EoL and its users to navigate the massive amounts of information.

Amy also announced the unveiling of A place where the global community can follow the TEDPrize winners for 2008.

David Eggers was the first TEDPrize winner to speak and show his vision for 826 Valencia,

  • David noticed there were schools in Brooklyn where students need a great deal of one-on-one attention and there were lots of writers and artists in the area had flexible hours during the day.

  • Moved back to S.F. and rented 826 Valencia. 826 Valencia was created so the students from the neighborhood could get tutoring from the local writers and artisans.
  • Had to make the site a retail location because it was zoned for retail. Someone joked that when they stripped the interior of the building it looked like a pirate's retail shop. So that's what he created. (Seriously.)
  • Opened the place for free tutoring and for weeks and weeks nobody came in. Someone pointed out there might be a "trust gap" operating behind a pirate supply store!
  • Their goal: 1 to 1 student/tutor ratio

  • They put the tutors in the store front it and it started working. Hundreds of kids came in and quickly realized that the one bathroom wouldn't cut it any longer.

  • "Even if you have a couple of hours a month, those two hours can be transformative." This is so true. With your family. With your church. With you community.

  • Now has over 1400 tutor volunteers!

  • Then 826 Valencia was invited into the schools. After some months tutoring, they were given their own classroom.

  • Isabelle Allende approached them and asked if they would publish the stories in book form with 170 tutors. This led to the publication of several books including "Waiting to be Heard," which was written by the students at 826 Valencia.

  • Then the pirate store started making money!
  • This idea spread to NYC where they opened the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. which also has a tutoring center in the rear.
  • This led to another location opening in Seattle and opened the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co. which offered real NASA food and underwear. Also offered the "Near Death Ray: Why kill when you can be stunning?"
  • Chicago opened their location which is a Spy Supply store called "The Boring Store" because only the spies know what it's really for! Of course the real reason it is there is for tutoring.
  • One girl came for extra credit and thought it would be a quick stop. 2.5 hours later she ended up getting an A on her paper. Now she is a straight A student.

  • LA opened their Echo Park Time Travel Mart. One of the classic sights is a vending machine with a sign reading "Out of order, come back yesterday."

  • One teacher wrote about her students at 826LA saying, "Their courage left me in awe."

  • Other sites have opened: Ann Arbor, Boston, Williamsberg, San Francisco, Austin Bat Cave, Austin, TX, Fighting Words in Ireland.

  • Tell you story at

  • Our goal is to gather 1000 transformative partnerships around the world.
Here is an example of great innovative thinking coupled with community development that didn't just impact a group of kids in California, but has impacted children all over the country.

I ask you this: Would you be willing to create a Pirate Supply Co.? What kinds of criticisms do you think David faced when he chased this idea? Do you have the guts to look foolish to achieve an incredible goal?

Please, join the conversation.

On Monday I will share my thoughts on Neil Turok's presentation.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

AMD's 50x15 Campaign

The TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference started yesterday and from what I have seen it has been an incredible conference so far. You can read all about it on their blog.

One thing that I have learned about from it is AMD's 50x15 campaign. 50x15 is a campaign which has the goal to connect 50% of the world's population to the internet by the year 2015. If they reach that goal the internet will have approximately 3.5 Billion users, 2.2 Billion of them added within the course of just seven years.

The church has typically responded to technology and digital movements pretty slowly, although we are getting better. Just read about Greg Atkinson's switch to HD at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship, in Carrollton, TX. Todays screens are tomorrow's pews. Today's models of church are tomorrow's out of touch and dying churches.

Now is the time for boldness! We must begin to take steps to prepare to engage this culture on their terms, using their terminology, so their condition isn't terminal.

Globalization and digitalization is where we're headed. Are you and your church ready to step into this brave new world?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Church Online (Part 2 of 2)

So yesterday I asked whether or not it is possible to have a real and connected Christian community in an online environment. I know there are those who will disagree with my theory, but we'll see what the research says in a few weeks.

I think that as Generation Y, (those born from 1980-1995) continues to encourage development in the technology and culture of the internet, experiencing a true community online will not seem like such a strange idea. The previous generations may never truly embrace these communities on a wide-scale, but to Gen Y and the generations that follow Y, online communities may be just as tangible as the relationships developed in "the real world."

Research also shows that exposure to technologies can help bridge the generational gaps, so teach your grandmother how to blog, get her on MySpace and Facebook. Who knows? She may be the next visitor to your online church.

Do you think Gen Y can or will embrace internet-based churches? Why or why not?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Church Online (Part 1 of 2)

This is a map of the internet (larger view). Where 1.3 billion people are connected through tiny glass strands. Where hopes, visions, and ideas are reduced to 1's and 0's and still retain their meaning.

The internet is full of people who have collected into communities of like beliefs through the use of forums, blogs, and social networking. Web 2.0 has given us the tools to test whether true community relationships can be formed and/or maintained in these types of environments.

I'll give you what my theory is tomorrow.

Is it possible to have a real and connected Christian community in an online environment?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Big Thank You!

I need to offer a huge thanks to and especially Bobby Gruenewald and Brian Ahern and his team over at OPEN, LifeChurch's webpage of excellent resources that are free to use in your church. Brian and his team worked extra hard to get a video available on OPEN several days before it was scheduled to be added so our church, Ennis Bible Church, would be able to use the video as part of our message this week. A huge thanks to you guys!

The message this morning was on Mark 10:17-31, the story of the rich young ruler. Clearly the issue of money came up. As part of the message we used this hilarious video made by LifeChurch. Enjoy!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Miss Saigon and the Online Church

Tonight I had the joy of seeing J. J. Pearce High School perform Miss Saigon, and it was excellent. The lead role of Kim was played by Elizabeth Judd, a senior at Pearce, and she has a fantastic voice!

The whole experience made me think about how live theater is such an enjoyable experience, but is a somewhat lost on a media-saturated society. Thus, theater does not have the widespread impact that other media offer.

As I study the online churches, I've begun to think that the potential to reach
1.3 billion people offers a level of impact that the "brick and mortar" churches cannot come close to offering. "But there's just something about actually being in church" some might say. There's just something about being seeing live theater too.

Theater hasn't gone away just as the "brick and mortar" churches haven't and hopefully never will. But is it time for us to rethink the impact that they have given the audience available online?

Do you think churches should rethink their online presence? Besides a webpage, what does your church do to have an online presence?
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