Weekend Prep. The Last Straw.

Box of 100 Wheat Drinking Straws!

This week we finally received our shipment of wheat straws along with the packaging. It had a difficult time passing into Ukraine through customs, without surprise! We had fun all sitting around the kitchen table in assembly line fashion for an hour trying to figure out just how to package them in the most efficient manner. Even Abigail was part of the fun as box folder and inspector.

We posted our activity on Instagram and Facebook and didn’t realize our online store was actually live.. we had two orders within minutes! Small problem, we don’t know what we are doing. So that was fun. Long story short, we mailed our first packages of straws to friends in US and Canada, from Ukraine, we have 100 boxes now in Florida with Broderic, and we hope to launch officially soon!

Check out the pretty stamps and where they make you put the address? It cost the same to ship from Ukraine as from within the US.. but now to see if it arrives 🙂

This week we’ve been preparing as a team for incoming friends from Belarus and parts of Ukraine. 27 registered for this weekends leadership training. As these are growing and developing with more content (thank you Fuller!) we are now bringing alongside some emerging leaders (Vadim, Aleksa, Natasha, Lena) in more responsible roles for logistics and teaching of the content.

Last night we spent 4 hours going over some of the material, surveys, and lessons, and allowing them to pick and choose what they felt comfortable leading. Because the material is really interactive, it’s a great way to allow them to both learn the material themselves more deeply, but also better understand and appreciate the sheer amount of work that goes into feeding, serving, design learning space for a large group like this. I love their enthusiasm!

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking, reading and processing the concept of differentiation (as has Deb in her own world of material). It’s been so rewarding, freeing, but super challenging. I’ll be sharing this weekend about the nature of chronically anxious systems (families, churches, orgs) and the symptoms. We’ll be looking into the nature of resistance (to change), how being differentiated is essential to pioneering and helping fearful, reactionary souls adapt and grow. Our post-modern world, like the time of the 14-15th century explorers has changed so rapidly beneath our feet that folks are excessively tribal, seeking stability and a sense of certainty through belonging (who’s in, who’s out).

For the visionary explorer, the rewards of risk are greater than the accepted status quo; The pursuit of what could be just around the corner is greater than the necessary growth that must occur to get there.

Jesus was the ultimate example of being differentiated. He knew where He came from, who He was, and where He was going. He was comfortable with the temporary discomfort of others. He was strong and loving enough to speak the truth, and not fall into the trappings of empathy which often only consoles the unhealthy in need of difficult statements that might help them to actually take responsibility for themselves and grow. He wasn’t in a competition for the most likes, and was the proverbial calm in the tempest of religious hatred and jealousy as He shook the structure through deliberate ‘being’ of Himself. The structure didn’t take kindly to Jesus, and the anxiously fearful within it reacted, blaming and looking for a quick fix as well. Crucify Him!

Can we be like Jesus in this anxious world? The sheer nerve of Jesus is astounding to me.

I’m looking forward to tonight as the different friends arrive. We have a really cool mix this weekend with some new folks as well. We invite those that have long term vision for cultural impact, and are hungry to grow in deeper ways in a learning community. Please pray for us this weekend!

Last week I was interviewed, along with some business folk in our town from a journalist from Kiev. He works with a Swiss government program that is monitoring and aiding government reforms in Ukraine to help with growth in various sectors. I found myself talking about Economic Development, an area I spent 10yrs serving in with our web company in my previous life. It was really neat to discuss the different things happening in our town. One gentleman (by the window) has just developed a solar panel lamp-post which they install turnkey for $400. They crowdfunded the first 6 for our town, and they are already shining in our dark winter night. He told us he is on a waiting list for RazomGo crowdfunding platform to try and take his idea to more communities.. I was like, wait, you mean OUR RazomGo? We’d never met, and he didn’t know that’s our platform! Small world. I’m looking forward to the article, and what the journalist writes.

Deep breath. Here we go.

Posted in Bruce Posts | Comments Off on Weekend Prep. The Last Straw.

One Day. One Day Only.

It’s been a year since we had all of our children under one roof. This year, Broderic and Bronwyn’s itinerary wasn’t able to overlap much. For one day (today) we were able to enjoy having everyone together.

It just happened to coincide with Clark’s 14th birthday. Monday Lighthouse is closed. We pulled some strings and held a little private party.

Bitter sweet.

Happy birthday Mr. Clark (hat on). 14 looks good on you.

I wanted to mark the occasion with a family photo of course, and a post. Something tells me as these young adults find their way and build their lives, these moments will become increasingly rare.

We rejoice in their adaptation to western culture and yet preserving the things that we all hold dear. Through the mercy of helping family they are working hard and landing on their feet. Examples for Brent and Tucker as these next arrows prepare to fly. Broderic is working full time at Disney in Orlando and continuing his studies online with University of Florida. Bronywn is helping lead a Harrisburg cohort of musicians with Visible Music College while also working and continuing her Bachelors.

Neither have any debt, they’re breaking the system!

To the world. Bring influence and love to this hurting world. Listen, and continue to learn. You make this father & mother proud.

I wouldn’t mind if some of these arrows flung around and served with us one day. For now, they are being formed, growing where they should be. Now I know how my own father feels. He still asks me when I will return home, 25 years later.

Bronwyn (aka the ‘bronner’) is beloved by her little sisters.

I hope to update more soon – We have a leaders weekend coming up soon January 24-26 with +25 young believers coming to collaborate and grow personally and as a missional community. Making some important changes at Lighthouse the past few months. Change is always difficult, and part of a healthy life rhythm. We must stay agile, holding things that are unessential, loosely.

Praying for discernment here out of the gate in 2020. When to sit, when to stand, when to walk, and when to run. Right now, I feel we are to wait on the Lord more intentionally, to wait for the fruit that remains. Abide. More being in our doing.

Bruce & Deb

Posted in Bruce Posts | Comments Off on One Day. One Day Only.

Happy Holidays | Here we come 2020!

All but Broderic – several congratulating us on social media for having the ‘whole’ crew back.. guess there’s so many they just figured it had to be all of them 🙂

Nice to have Bronwyn back from college in PA. Excited to see Broderic mid January for a week. Unfortunately the entire family won’t be together for more than 2 days at the same time, but we’ll take it! Something tells me it will become increasingly rare to pull off.. especially if they launch themselves all over the globe.

Just said goodbye to a YWAM crew of 12 that stayed at the Big House over the Christmas break. They are fresh from Hawaii, and seemed to really appreciate the home atmosphere and get over jetlag at the same time. Our power in the city went out this morning, so not sure how many of them got a shower or coffee down there, but welcome to Ukraine!

It’s been strange to not have pressing papers and book assignments due with Fuller. I thought I would enjoy it more, but I think I’ve grown to appreciate the required structure, and with it, the regular seeds mulling over in my heart.. challenging me. I start that back up January 7th – this next semester is on “Leading a missional community” – this entire season of learning continues to amaze me, so relevant, timely. I have gleaned a lot from my peers, through dialogue online as well as the material itself.

This past week Deb led an enneagram class with those who were interested at Lighthouse. Also, her and Natasha hosted a refresh for our local widows ministry volunteers. They went to a Ukrainian spa.. outside big pot of water with fire underneath it.. and a freezing pond.. dip in, out, in out.. I think I’ll pass! They loved it, was great time of prayer and rest for these lovely servants too. Some of them really struggled to enter quiet prayer, but when they did, the Spirit spoke several deep, encouraging things to them. This is why we need to go and provide more of these spaces in areas we are growing this ministry – that the leaders would know how to care for their own souls, that they would know how to refill and give out of a full heart.

Last night we hosted a Christmas carol sing and free hot chocolate night for customers and friends. It was nice to have the YWAM team, joined by our staff and Bronwyn join in. There was a mix of Ukrainian traditional and western carols. I noticed some eyes closed, not sleeping, but just taking in the atmosphere and being blessed. We heard some neat testimonies, one person shared how thankful they were for the evening, that they had a new and deep sense of peace. I also met an older gentleman and his wife who shared their daughter married and American and now lives in Florida. I said to them in my not-so-good Russian, “I understand as a parent, my son is in Florida also.. we all have a piece of our heart in that State!” They can’t visit their new grandchild because Ukrainians still have much difficulty getting visas to the US.

Next step for us is to get working on our next leader’s weekend. We have a large group coming, I think around 30… January 25-26. We’ll be starting a new year obviously, but I’m really asking the Spirit for wisdom how to move forward and specifically how to integrate new hearts and friends into a community that has already journeyed through some great material and experiences over many weekends. Time to perhaps have two tracks.. those going in deeper material and prayer times, while newbies go over some of the core material on missiology, leadership theory, Trinity… Really appreciate some prayer there as my heart wants to tackle more than I know I should right now.. but we love this group, and the potential it has for growing and influencing long-term in so many places.

Thanks for checking in – love to each of you. May 2020 be a year of victory, closer friendships, growing, and increased faith.

Bruce & Deb

Posted in Bruce Posts | Comments Off on Happy Holidays | Here we come 2020!

Art of Design in Learning

We grow forward when the delights of growth and anxieties of safety are greater than the anxieties of growth and the delights of safety.


This past semester we spent a lot of time considering various theories of learning. As adults, we don’t learn the same way as children. Yet, most of our institutions reflect pedagogical, or child learning theories. Teacher-authority at the front, the conduit of knowledge. Learner expected to absorb, memorize, and recite. Integration of subject matter in the learner’s context is secondary, and often never occurs. In Adult learning theory, which has only been seriously studied and understood over the past 80 yrs, a number of factors are required for there to be meaningful learning to take place.

Here’s a little graph from a very cool organization called, Global Learning Partners that sums up a few of the essential conditions for serious adult learning.

At Lighthouse, we are beginning to practice more of these conditions as we tackle learning as something we facilitate and design more than we authoritatively prescribe. No longer do I, or our leaders spend as much time instructing from the front, but engineering intentional dialogue and interaction that leads to deeper considering, letting go of old and embracing new.. and ultimately, self-directing towards intengration in their context.

To come alongside the learner is to serve the learner in their quest for growth. Asking open questions seems to be key – the kind that allow for verbal processing and engagement.

Too much of the traditional format of education is unaccountable in that you really never know if any learning took place (memorization doesn’t count). Traditional education is subject driven, and focuses on the often coercive, positional power structure of the ‘teacher’ as authority and students motivated by reward and punishment more than individual growth. That may work for kids in basic training, but very few over 18yrs old learn this way. In fact, studies have shown just how little learning results in changed attitudes and behavior when these power structures are in play. Why? One of the reasons is that adults become increasingly protective of their ideas and convictions as they age.

Traditional power structures limit that observable, deep processing that’s required before we let go of something we’ve valued, and exchange it for something more meaningful to us. It becomes more difficult to discern our ‘selves’ from our ‘ideas’. Without embracing an intentional life-long learning posture, adults resort to defending existing ideas, even to the point of hostility – at that point, it’s clear the person has ceased learning, and is more concerned about being right and securing themselves in supposed certainty.

Learning requires humility. Certainty is a dangerous quality. Is the nature of faith consistent with certainty? Is confidence the same as being certain?

Read those 6 aspects again, ask yourself how many learning environments you are presently participating in that provide these? If you are a teacher or leader of some kind, do you design spaces that provide them? If you don’t, pretty good chance it’s more about the teaching (or perhaps the teacher!) than the learning. There’s a place for authoritative instruction obviously, but we ultimately learn and grow through integrating, practicing, processing, and discussing. We need to stop thinking once the input has been provided, that the learning is over.

In adult education, the learner is the primary starting point, and measurable learning itself the goal. Learning is a process, not an end.. a posture, not a result.

Safety involves the challenge of dissent. Challenge is not a fear. Fear stops learning, freezes creativity and spontaneity, shuts down laughter and destroys community.


It’s really interesting to take the theories and read scripture through their lens. In the Gospels for example, Jesus uses so many open questions, drilling down to the heart of the issue but allowing the listener/learner to find the answer without simply being told.

We love learning, increasingly. It’s not easy, but deeply rewarding to cease from striving to know everything. In our family we’re devouring books, all kinds of podcasts, and it seems none of us are studying the same things. Some like philosophy, others history, science. It’s a free for all at the Crowe house in the battle of ideas. The more you truly learn (not just acquire information), the more you realize we really know so very little! If we are called to be disciples, we need to be skilled at letting go, and applying new. I’m learning that the greatest gift to our own children, and those we lead, is our own learning and growing.

Certainty is the enemy of learning. To make more learners, our Master’s final command. Notice Jesus didn’t call His followers to be knowledgeable, but disciples, learners!

Graph Copyright Global Learning Partners – Click here to visit it!

What kind of a learner are you? How do you most effectively learn?

The art of designing learning spaces. It’s sad to think how most church’s, at least from my experience, are quite terrible at emulating learner-focused ways of Jesus and have simply copied the power structures of the world. Fortunately there are a number of wonderful resources available that help us deconstruct our concepts of teaching and learning. I highly recommend the book “On Teaching and Learning” by Jane Vella and anything by the late Malcolm Knowles. If you are like me and don’t have time for fluffy theory but practical tools for designing learning space, in steps, and with examples, get her book. It will flip your western, individualistic concepts of learning on their head, and you’ll like it 🙂

Learning is not a task or problem; it is a way to be in the world. Humans learn as they pursue goals and projects that have meaning for them.


The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.

Alvin Toffler 

Posted in Bruce Posts | Comments Off on Art of Design in Learning