21 Project Leadership Experience was birthed out of the necessity of the increasing need for new models of training.
It had several key inventors who are best described as thought leaders and innovators in their respective fields. The environment of its creation was polite and civil yet at the same time highly disruptive. There are many reasons for this but at the top of the list are three major cultural disruptions.
- Tsunami of Cultural Decline in America
- Technology Revolution and its Innovation
- The Entrepreneur Revolution – Each person now has the tools in their hands to actually change the world.
The team chose to not see these as negatives but rather as a major opportunity to meet the market and the culture with something just as disruptive. There were other lesser factors that played into the early discussions and are worth mentioning.
These discussions centered mostly around definitions and interpretations and their modern day limitations. The need for broader messages that put the focus back on Jesus and off secondary and social exegesis. We were losing the war and declining in both numbers and influence yet the conversation seemed to be stuck and circular. Conversations about how to get old things back up and running were prevalent and distracting. Conversations about broken systems went beyond empathy into dead ended cycles of partial solutions.
Radical innovation and disruption was needed. This was the think tank that filled the night air in Southern California.
These conversations were not just going on with this group but they were happening and are happening across every single state in America. There is coming a Jesus Revolution that is on the scale of the revolutions already mentioned. Every revolution starts with a single idea that leads to a drop of disruption into the still waters of what is the current thought. From that drop comes ripples and although small contain an inevitable change and a new norm. Who would think that Uber is revolutionizing relationships in China by those with wealth using their cars to pick up normal people to have conversations about life? That ripple is a long way away from the first car becoming a cab. So it is with all revolutionary concepts and the men and women who dare to question what is broken and address it with fresh ideas.
Limitation and lack of permission is the enemy of all society shifts.
There are short seasons where the limitations placed on innovation survive but it is not long before a group of young people walks innocently through them. This can be both for great good or great harm, but the important point to emphasize is putting our heads in the sand will not bring the young people back to the present image of the church as it is presented in todays society. Innovation and disruption is on its way to every church in America.
These were the discussions respectfully exchanged in Dave Gibbons living room and Brian Brennts garage.
21 Project would begin in earnest research and development of three key ingredients of multiplied cultural impact. Those ingredients would be tossed into the test tube of this leadership experience. Underlying all of them was raw hunger and hunger was and is probably best described as normalcy affliction. It’s about daring to say what you really think without fear of leaving the approval of being seen as normal. What came out of this were three defining ingredients of the experiment.
- Collaboration – This was the broadening Element
- Love – This was the catalyst
- Sphere Training – Skill set Training Unto Real Projects
The question was what would happen if leaders from each sphere of society collaborated unto projects that were game changers. Projects that carried a heavy emphasis of love and catalyzed the re-defining of Jesus back to the clarity of Scripture. Driving this was the time sensitive urgency of providing an opportunity for the youth of America. An opportunity that did not say becoming more liberal was the only way to reach out to the youth of America. An opportunity that included a vision of collaborative teams that had the tools to change history. Teams rooted and grounded in the love of Jesus and rooted and ground in what it means to be a Biblical Leader. This was and is the experiment of the 21 Project.
God was going to give American Youth an opportunity. He was so to speak going to give them a vision that ended disillusionment and aimlessness. A vision so compelling and practical yet so disruptive that it would be met with a resounding Yes in their hearts. A tsunami that once begun as the ripple in the pond would enviably bring life back to existing churches and plant millions of new churches around the world. A vision so explosive that the veil of sacred and secular would be torn as violently as the veil Jesus tore through His Death on the Cross.
This limitless collaboration rooted in love would start its own endless inventions of Gospel Enterprises.
Here lies the great challenge that will require every possible young leader to gather this summer in Pasadena, California at the second 21 Project. How can we see every college and high school student in America presented with Jesus and His Culture Shift of Love? How can we see every young person given an opportunity to learn how to collaborate and create real solutions to every area of Society both here in America and abroad? How can we see every young person be given the skills to work on teams that know no limits and carry permission slips from Heaven to take on the greatest human challenges of our day? How can we see the dividing wall of secular and spiritual torn down and every believer seen as an actual missionary to their part of the world God has placed them? How can we can see every young person as a message both in word and in action that places the love of Jesus at the front of conversation in America?
Finally every great story has a story but in that story is another story. Sometimes that story is rarely told because it was hidden within the disruption.
21 Project has that story hidden in its early foundation and that story is how a small band of Circuit Riders came together to change a nation in Kona, Hawaii in 2011. This school of leaders came together in response to a call on their lives to be those who would bring both innovation and disruption. The focus of the training was on culture shifting messages and practical boldness to present the Gospel. It was an anomaly meaning it took time for it to be seen as a new paradigm. In the process of Scientific Revolution an existing paradigm comes under challenge by the emergence of an anomaly. At one time most of the world thought the world was flat, it was only Galileo that appeared as an anomaly that said the world was round. There is a process of acceptance of anomalies. They are thoroughly investigated and there can be criticism. If the anomaly survives then eventually over time it replaces the existing paradigm. That is why this process is likened to a revolution. It is not meant to challenge the existing paradigm but the nature of all innovation is disruptive.
As the Circuit Riders came to the mainland they ended up in Huntington Beach and through providence came into relationship with Dave Gibbons and all that was previously mentioned began to happen. Gatherings began to form across California including an incredible breakthrough at USC called Launchfest. This forged a new identity for the Circuit Riders. Dave Gibbons was asked what he thought God was up to in California. What was God doing through the Circuit Riders? His answer was two simple words. He said I hear the words “One Love.” Love for God and Love for people.
The message of love had become a revolutionary standard bearer of the Circuit Riders as they convened in Hollywood in 2013.
That was the night the love revolution was birthed. This collision of messaging exploded and broadened the mindset of the Circuit Riders. One of the key voices Amy Ward spoke to the hearts of these Circuit Riders and described in detail that God was going to change the clothing of the Circuit Riders into modern day clothing. The imagery was that of the colonial clothing of the early Circuit Riders changing into modern day clothing. Once the clothing changed they marched into a line across America joining arms with leaders in the body of Christ. God changed the clothes meaning the appearance and the emphasis was on a modern day expression of the Circuit Riders. This is what the disruption has been all about and it required the full disruption of men and women but more than that the Holy Spirit.
Changing clothes and keeping DNA is no small assignment. The imagery beautiful and effortless yet the practical working out required this team to learn about the very platform they were assigned to serve. Joy Dawson who in many ways became the Grandmother of the Circuit Riders said it best in her new book; “All Heaven Will Break Loose”. Joy unpacked perhaps debatably the greatest disrupter in all of history: “Unity.” This was no doubt the most difficult ingredient to digest because no one saw the moment coming. The words “Together” were about to be woven into the story line and the interpretation of the Circuit Riders walking hand in hand with other leaders across America. The phrase “Come With Us” appeared in the message bag and with it came the need to first build the platform of unity within the hearts of those so willing to launch the catalytic spark of unity fueled by love.
History is not changed by accident nor is it changed by wishful thinking.
It requires what it requires. If you want to crash into changing history it will cost you your best “all.” It will ask for your “yes” and with it the same costs of all those who walked the same road. When hate recruits young people to the middle east to fight in foreign wars how much more will “love” recruit young people to the mission of JESUS CHRIST. Dreamers are often cast aside but not for long if they persist because of the dream and it is of God then “All Heaven Will Break Loose.”
Is 21 the Disruption? In as much as every sphere of society is empowered to think collaborately and like missionaries. Is Circuit Riders the Disruption? In as much as the message of the love revolution pours out across America. Is “Together” the disruption? In as much as we join “Together.” New platforms are built on values. It’s the values that draw the presence. The disruption in the end is the values in modern day clothes marching in unity across this nation.
Much more to come….