It’s an amazing thing, collaboration. I read this book recently called, “Collective Genius” which recounted the principles of innovation throughout the past century. It was a surprisingly challenging book for me personally, a new way of leading that creates contexts, lays down personal agendas, for the good of what might rise up from within an energetic, creative team.

This marathon that took place on the weekend was, for me, a test out many of those principles. A spontaneous idea with a friend, gave birth to wild growing thing that took on life with each passing week. Though the event itself ended up looking quite different than what I had personally envisioned, I’m learning that’s more often than not, a very good thing. Innovation allows the context for others to bring their potential, their voice, and grow as a group. This should be natural for followers of Christ, but it’s not always the case. How often I’ve lead something only to find myself tightly controlling, or rather suffocating the potential I was entrusted with. Insecurities contort things in all sorts of strange ways! Servant leadership seeks the explorative growth of those journeying among us as we come alongside, and underneath.

The primary role of the innovative leader is to create an environment where diversity and creative conflict flourish, experimentation is encouraged, intelligent mis-steps tolerated and integrative decision making embrace.

Collective Genius – Hill

We saw so many beautiful hearts embrace the project, not only serving but adding their own personality and flavor to the event. It was an interesting volunteer group, folks from city government, Kyiv running clubs, local friends and our own Lighthouse team. We had about 150 registered runners, and an astounding 60 volunteers in total from what I heard. We see a lot of potential with the volunteer group, many of which are students and bonded from the experience – people are looking for a place to belong, for community and to be part of something meaningful in this world.

The project, as mentioned previously, had two elements to it. The running events, and the awareness projects (bathroom and educational resources) for special needs kids. While the lion’s share of the focus was on the races, we were able to continually remind everyone about the children in our area, and celebrate a collective collaboration towards their flourishing.

Some of the highlights for me was the children’s race, which went down the street, around our round-a-bout and back, about 500 meters in total. We didn’t have a lot of the children with disabilities, at least as many as I had hoped would come out, but we did have some and their parents ran along with with, hand in hand with the crowd cheering them on! I felt the joy of the Spirit in that moment – the children all received medals as well, and proudly sported them around the main street for all to see. I was able to share a 2 minute speech I had written in Russian, I had practiced for several days, but when it came to time to share it, I was surprisingly nervous and wasn’t too happy with my delivery – I really struggle sticking to my notes.

The town was excited to have a surprise musical guest, the Ukrainian winners of the Eurovision talent competition. For those that left early, I’m sure they were a little shocked to see all the posts on social media.. we don’t get many ‘celebrities’ here in our town. We also had a Kyiv TV channel come and report on the events.

Thankful nobody was hurt, and the day went off without a hitch for the most part. I heard of one runner that was upset that a car went around the police barricade and almost hit her – when I heard this I responded, “I’ll take almost hit” any day of the week. Thank you Jesus for your protection and blessing over this day!

While we didn’t get as many sponsors as our team had hoped, our Mir / Lighthouse partners really stepped up and encouraged us. Several of you contributed to the project on RazomGo for our $4,000 goal, and also donated on our site. Over 50 locally contributed, which is fantastic and several local business friends helped in different ways during the event too. Thank you Spirit for showing us the love of the Father, may we continue listening, and collaborating under your wings, ushering in new Jesus looking values and culture in every space, as your children, “as it is in heaven.” Amen.

We’re almost there, only $75 to go! Yes we take Paypal –

Next step, to arrange for time this summer to renovate the bathroom. Because the funds channeled through our charity in Ukraine, we have to jump through many hoops to expense and document each step. Charities in Ukraine are not like in the West, they are means of controlling through and incredible amount of left over USSR bureaucratic tape. So deep breath, please rejoice with us when the project is finished later this summer!