Who is SYNC?
SYNC is under development by Dr. Stan Nussbaum, an independent mission innovator, researcher, and writer with wide international experience. Known as “Coach” to research students on five continents, he thrives on helping open-minded people experiment and innovate as they grow into their roles in God's global campaign to connect, heal, and bless the world.
SYNC is a non-profit Christian organization funded by donations from individuals and church congregations. It is registered in the State of Illinois as SYNCx.org (DBA of Fifth Day Ministries). It has a governing board for financial and legal matters and a strategic advisory team of three of Stan's long-time friends, all with doctorates in mission-related fields.
Stan is in the capstone period of his life, dedicating this period to one of his core convictions: in our world there is a magnificent story going on, a story that gives value and hope to every person, family, and nation. Unfortunately most of the world is still clueless about that story and its amazing implications for them.
Stan coaches people who are in on the story as they discover and develop new ways to draw others into it. He developed the SYNC site to give people a running start on “new ways to tell the old story” and to encourage them as they develop stories, songs, and other SYNC-related tools.
The "us" in "About us" means Stan and anyone who wants in on the discussion of what he is up to. We are in this together. Our aim is not to agree on a one-size-fits-all version of the magnificent story but to customize the story for vastly different places and situations. God designed the story and is writing the story to include everyone in every situation. May his will be done through this amazing story, which is always the same and never the same.
Stan, a living oxymoron
Old and innovative
Stan is a technologically stunted, formerly young man, perhaps the least likely person to produce a web site or an app. You can bet he had some help from 20-somethings.
But age has ripened his thinking rather than fossilized it. "An old young man will be a young old man," and Stan was a very old young man.
From then till now, there is nothing he loves more than innovation. That is one thing he admires most about God and regrets most about the ways we have made Jesus boring and predictable, boiling the gospel down to a transaction about sin and eternal life.
SYNC is his attempt to help people get the big picture of what God is doing, who Jesus is, and how the Holy Spirit SYNCs us with him. It is a fascinating picture, full of twists and turns. Like a good mystery story, it leads you to think you know exactly where it is going and then it goes somewhere else.
SYNC does not pretend to provide all the answers to life, but it does point people to Jesus as the center of all the answers, and it does give an invitation to discover and celebrate more answers. Nothing would make an old innovator happier than for SYNC resources and activities to take other storytellers into territory he has never explored.
White and multi-cultural
Stan is a white American who was raised in a mono-cultural, small town in the Midwest and lives there now, but he has lived in Africa and England for seven years each, and in Colorado for 13. He has also visited dozens of other countries, often teaching field research or attending conferences.
Anything intercultural will interest Stan, including training people for intercultural work. See his book, American Cultural Baggage: How to Recognize and Deal with It. (leave this site)
Xenophobia is the fear of foreigners and their ways. Stan is a xenophiliac if not a xenomaniac. He enjoys foreign languages, foreign food (especially Indian), and foreign just about anything. His personal favorite countries happen to be Malaysia and Kyrgyzstan, both with multiple cultures strongly represented.
This is part of the reason he is so fascinated with Jesus and the story of the Bible. Its story line is so rich and deep that it connects powerfully with any and every culture even though each one views the story from a different angle.
Educated and down to earth
Stan has a doctorate in theology and he can speak academic jargon when he is among colleagues in the American Society of Missiology, but no one would guess that from reading the SYNC site. To him, complex academic jargon is a foreign language that he can speak, but he much prefers to find fresh, vivid ways to say things in down to earth language.
For example, the seven SYNC stories (see "Story of the World" tab) summarize the entire story of the Bible and the gospel while deliberately avoiding nearly all standard theological terms, even ordinary ones like sin and salvation. And each story tries to do this in just a few hundred words, distilling the essence of a book of over a thousand pages.
In these stories Stan is aiming at the “simplicity beyond complexity” that is attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes, “I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.” Stan wants to do the complex academic thinking but move beyond it to a place few academics ever go—the profound simplicity that non-academics appreciate. Jesus is the all-time master of this skill.
Hard to categorize
As noted above, it is not clear whether to categorize Stan as a “scholar.” The same is true of him in most areas of life.
He isn’t exactly an introvert or an extrovert.
He is legally a “minister of religion” but not seen that way by most who know him.
He is an “evangelical” but is really uncomfortable with a lot that is done by people who use that label.
He looks and sounds like a white American but he doesn’t exactly fit that type either.
In typical male fashion, he likes to ride his bike and golf, and he enjoys almost any sport on TV--but he also does most of the grocery shopping and cooking for himself and his wife of 52 years, Lorri, a wonderful photographer and an even better person.
The only spectrums where he is not in the middle are creativity (very high) and bookkeeping (off the low end). He is also somewhat toward the high end in competitiveness, especially in word games.
Stan finds himself as Exhibit A of the post-postmodern view that “All categories and all labels are flawed and misleading.” This contrasts with both the modern era that tried to put a precise label on every category and the short postmodern period that said, “All labels are created by power holders in order to reinforce their hold on power.”
As you can tell, Stan enjoys all these oxymorons. He has gotten comfortable with them because he is becoming comfortable with the much larger oxymorons that make the world go around--God is three in one; Jesus is fully God and fully human; the reign of Jesus has already begun but is not yet here.
Amidst it all, he does not take himself or his age-based challenges too seriously. He knows the truth of the Apostle Paul's ancient oxymoron, "When I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Cor. 12.10