Beautiful Unknown

I was going through my e-mail and came across a note from Kelly Rohner.  She has become a good friend and someone that I enjoy talking to every Sunday!  She runs the Early Childhood Room (3 – 5 year olds) at Kensington Community Church.  This is where 2 of my kids spend an hour each Sunday learning about God, the stories in the Bible and most importantly discovering their faith.  It’s an amazing environment that a lot of the Kensington kids get to experience and she does a fantastic job with it.

Kelly’s note was about a mission trip to Kenya that she’ll be going on later this summer.  She and a group of people from Kensington are heading to an orphanage in Kenya to do 2 things:

  1. Plant a community garden so the people in the community can grow their own crops and have a food supply available to them
  2. Install a solar powered irrigation system that will keep the garden watered even during periods of draught

More importantly, I wanted to share with you WHY she is going to Kenya on this trip.  With her permission, here is what she sent in her e-mail:

Now, why am I doing this? There are a lot of reasons, but I’ll share a couple of the big ones with you.  Over the past few years, I’ve really come to realize that life is about a whole lot more than just this little bubble that I live in.  Here I am in Rochester Hills, watching my flat screen TV, and complaining because my car doesn’t have air conditioning, when there are people out there who don’t even have access to enough water to keep them alive.  I’m ready to get out of my comfort zone and use the resources and gifts that I have been given to help some people who could really use it. But probably the biggest reason for going is that I really believe that God is calling me to go on this specific trip. I have a feeling that He is going to use this trip to do a lot more than any of us realize right now.

This really hit home for me as I read this.  I was reminded of the feelings I had at April’s Future Midwest Conference and Jay Adelson’s key note where he talked about taking steps outside our boundaries and “getting a little crazy”.  This is what Kelly is doing.

So this is where you can help.  Each person going on the trip needs to raise $3800.  This money covers everything from travel costs, to supplies for the garden, and some fun things for the kids.  Any amount that you are able to give is HUGELY appreciated. The easiest way to give is by CLICKING HERE, which allows you to donate electronically. Just don’t forget to select her name from the drop down menu. Your gift is 100% tax deductible, and you will receive a statement from Kensington.  If you’re able to make a contribution, please do so by July 11.

The final thing I wanted to leave you with is the following video.  This was shown at the Easter services at Kensington and hits at the heart of what Kelly mentioned above…where she wants to get out of her comfort zone and use her gifts and talents for others.  It’s 14 minutes long but worth the time.  The song, Beautiful Unknown, is from Danny Cox, Music Director at Kensington (super talented musician by the way).

Stepping out of our comfort zone is a step into the beautiful unknown.  Are you ready to take that step?


Detroit Reverse (video) – Pay attention #FMW10!

Hey everyone!  If you recall, last week Bryan Willmert (@bryanwillmert) and I kicked off our recaps of Future Midwest 2010.  Well today, we’re here again to give you an opportunity to put into action the energy and emotion that you felt during that 2 day conference!  Watch the video and please be thinking about how you can give back.  We need volunteers, sponsors and help communicating this locally.

Thanks for taking the time and please let us know if you have any questions!

Twitter: @detroitreverse

Hashtag: #detroitreverse

Information for the event this Sunday, May 2 at 6:30pm is below:

Second Ebenezer Church
14601 Dequindre Rd.
Detroit, MI 48212-1503

Best of Future Midwest ’10 (#FMW10)

Continuing with my Future Midwest recap, I wanted to give you a snippet of some of the great content that was shared last week.  These are just some of the many quotes that I feverishly took as they were spoken from the stage.  I’ll also give kudos to Southfield, Michigan’s very own Jay Adelson who gave the keynote on Friday night.  His message followed the Future Midwest opening video which you can view here.  It was the perfect combination to motivate and inspire everyone in attendance!

  • There is no next big thing.  The next big thing is now. ~ Joseph Jaffe
  • Every community has an Oprah, someone with tremendous influence. Your job is to find the Oprah and arm them with what they need to influence the community. ~ Christopher Barger
  • You have one mouth and two ears…use them in that proportion. ~ Requoted by Scott Monty
  • Build community around what you are passionate about. ~ Blagica Bottigliero
  • Engagement is a generic term for not doing the diligence you need to…be specific. ~ Ken Burbary
  • Success means never letting the competition define you.  Instead you have to define yourself based on a point of view you care deeply about. ~ Tom Chappel, Tom’s of Maine from Scott Hauman

As you can see, lots of great information to help you build your social web and marketing strategies.  I’m confident that if you take these approaches, most of your projects have a greater chance of succeeding.

On to Jay Adelson…his message was simple, “We need crazy.”  Don’t accept the limits that are around you.  He said, “Limits aren’t real…look for limits and break them.”  His presentation was short and to the point…take risks and fail forward.  Given what this region went through the last 18 months, what do we really have to lose?  Pardon the cliche, but it can only get better!  Below is an interview Jay did with The Hub right before going on stage.  This should give you a great representation of his message to the crowd at the Royal Music Theater on April 16th.

There you have it.  That’s my recap of Future Midwest 2010.  I’m sure the organizers have even bigger things planned for 2011 and I can’t wait to be a part of it!

One final thing…look out for the challenge that Bryan Willmert and I are going to pose to all of you!  It’s going to be great!

Thanks for your time!  Feel free to leave comments below!  Would love the feedback!

My thoughts on Future Midwest 2010 (#FMW10)

We are almost 1 week removed from Future Midwest 2010.  I can’t tell you how much of a joy it’s been to read the other recaps and thoughts from bloggers in the area throughout the week.  One thing is for certain, if the goal of the organizers of Future Midwest 2010 was to educate, inspire and motivate the attendees…mission accomplished!  The overwhelming themes I’ve been reading are about taking this energy and excitement beyond just a 2 day conference and making it a part of every day life in metro Detroit.

If you haven’t read a blog about Future Midwest, here are four you can choose from:

Soul Excursion (@bryanwillmert)

Detroit Moxie (@becksdavis)

I’m Working On It (@beckyjohns)

How to be Amazing, and Take Over the World (@CAGarland)

You may ask, “So Patrick, what did you take away from Future Midwest?”  Well…a lot!

  • I got a lot of great quotes (which I share later this week).
  • I received confirmation that what I believe about the social web is true…customer focus and building relationships always wins.
  • I once again realized the true value of the social web is getting to meet the people I’ve interacted with online in person!
  • Detroit and the Midwest can come back because of the amount of talent and smarts that I saw at the Royal Oak Music Theater on April 16 and 17
  • This technology is here to help bring us back to the roots of business…relationships.
  • The value of online community is research…finding out the questions we didn’t even think to ask (Thanks Ben Smithee for that one!)

The greater challenge will be the “what’s next” that I mentioned above.  How can we make an impact now and carry this momentum forward?  It will take passion, hard work, and an idea that the area can rally around.  That’s where I think you can help.  Stay tuned later this week as Bryan Willmert and I propose an idea to Detroit’s tech community.  We’ve all talked and blogged about making a difference.  Now is the time to take you up on that.

Have a great week everyone!

P.S. If you attended Future Midwest, the organizers are seeking your feedback.  Click here for the survey!

Future Midwest 2010

On April 16 and 17, I attended Future Midwest 2010 in Royal Oak, Michigan.  This conference brought together some of the brightest minds in the digital and technology world for 2 days in Metro Detroit.

At a high level, the words “inspiring” and “motivating” capture the spirit of what this conference was all about.  Below is the opening video that represents Future Midwest.  It’s great to see the reaction of everyone as we watched this on Friday and again on Saturday.  It still brings a chill…

Over the next few days, my good friend Bryan Willmert (@BryanWillmert) and myself will be recapping for you our experiences and thoughts of Future Midwest.  We hope ours and the other blogs and stories that are written about it will give you hope that Detroit and the Midwest can be known as a hub of digital technology and innovation for years to come.

Future Midwest…Innovate.  Collaborate.  Communicate.