Monday, January 30, 2017

UPDATE - Week of January 23

Christina Sandstedt showing off her bowl balancing skillz. Ned (Photo Bomb Cred)
Some might say we bit off a bit more than we probably should have chewed, and those people were probably right - but golly DID WE HAVE FUN!

What a week!


The Fellows sure made their presence felt this week throughout this city. A few highlights:

Rahel, Camille, Christina, Jess, Alex, Melissa Martin (Board Member), and Julia
Round Table: On Monday, we split up guys and gals for Round Table. my great friend and board member Melissa Martin hosted the gals with a fine salmon and salad gourmet meal with probably the most delicious pie I have ever seen for dessert (I stopped by to check in with the ladies before heading to guys time...I did not get any of that delicious looking pie. 

Stephen Edwards hosting the Fellas in his man cave (that currently has a crib in it). 
Another great friend and board member, Stephen Edwards and wife McKenzie, had the guys over for good old beer and pizza - oh! - we had dessert, too! McKenzie made brownies, about the most delicious brownies imaginable. Thanks guys!

Both groups shared about the credo of five - the five adjectives of Old Testament Scripture used to described the character of God: merciful, gracious, faithful, forgiving, and steadfast in love. A great night of fun and conversation. 


Wednesday, we started volunteering with G.I.D.E. Half of us went to the Main Office, while the other half headed to Cleveland Avenue. 

I fell in love with a girl named Zadaiyah.

Dakota barely lost in arm wrestling to Jaylen. 

Jaylen and Dakota
Julia started a dance party in the back. 

It. was. awesome!!!

Bill McClain called me the next day just to tell me how impressed and excited he was with the Fellows. 

OH! And we got shirts! 

We showed them off on Sunday, at the Black Ministerial Alliance Installation Service on Sunday. Speaking of awesome - THAT - was awesome!

Then, it was off to Samaritan Inn to spend the night with homeless friends. 

Half of us went on Wednesday night. The other half went on Thursday. 


Julia demonstrating proper mopping technique
Ned in the deep pits. Camille with her princess wave.
Dakota reliving his glory days
Julia eating a midnight snack of spinach and black beans. You learn a lot about people when you serve with them!
We had a ton of fun, and not just because I helped manufacture a mind-altering come from behind victory in Spades!

And not just because folks like Campbell stayed up all night because they were simply too fired up to go to sleep!

Donnie, the Manager, wrote me the next morning: "Thanks Ned. The Fellas are a great group with great positive energy. THANKS! Keep coming back. Peace and Love."

Thanks Donnie! Trust me. We will be back!

On Tuesday, Ned, the Director, went freelance and served with Leadership Winston-Salem's Alumni Action Learning Projects. We were few, but we were effective. Thanks Lea Metz and Robert Egleston for inviting me. A great night!


Abbey Sams and Jen Sanders
We had Abbey Sams come in for her final formal interview with us on Monday. The admissions team was impressed. We have extended an invitation. Join us in praying her in!

A special thank you to Jen Sanders who had her over for lunch. It was a wonderful touch. Abbey couldn't stop talking about it.


Will Troxler, Dakota Lee, and I provided snacks at the Wake Forest RUF meeting on Tuesday night. Thanks John Bourgeois for inviting us!

Praying specifically for Allie, Antonius, Martha, and Mary Augusta. got away. I received a message that our candidate coming into town on Friday had decided to go to another program. Darn!

But! The same day, we received another application...and I have a good feeling about this one! PRAY!


True Inspirations!
I had the opportunity on Sunday night to drive an hour thirty-six minutes east to my friends in Raleigh. Courtney Lancaster let me sit in our their meeting and share a few words about Young Life Camp and the Fellows Initiative.

What a night! What a group! I want to be a Raleigh Young Life Leader! If heaven is like worshipping with Young Life people - I'm IN!

Made several connections. PRAYING BIG TIME that we get Wolfpack Fellows this year! Come on Lord!

LISTEN! WE NEED YOUR HELP! Spread the Word! Anyone, including you, can recruit for us. 


The last month, I've been undergoing a rather rigorous certification training to become a Highlands Ability Battery (HAB) administrator and consultant.

It's been 16 hours of classwork, another 10 or so hours of homework, and requires 4 hours of one-on-one practice debriefs to complete.

If all goes well, I should be official by the middle of February!

The HAB is absolutely amazing! I have never experienced an assessment so objective, so insightful, and so encouraging! I'm excited to share it with the Fellows, and with you!

Let me know if you are interested.

I like how it the process keeps the Whole Person in mind.

Exciting stuff!

I'll be glad when it's over.


Thank you Charley Donohoe for speaking with our Fellows for Leader Lunch this week.

Charlie and Board Member Holly Heath
Charlie has thirty-five plus years in Executive and Career Coaching. You can't beat that if you are a Fellows trying to figure out what you want to do with your life!

Thanks Charley for sharing your story with us!


Adventure Braves with their Adventure Princesses
Saturday was Adventure Princess Daddy Daughter Dance.

Oh what a night!

Anna Rose, Ned, and Joel Zendel
Anna Rose got Runner-Up in the Dance Competition. 

And I think we could have won if I hadn't kicked her in the head when I was doing my back spin!

Georgia, Anna Rose and Adelaide
Earlier that day, we went bowling for David's first of several birthday parties that we'll be having for him. 

The dude bowled a 114! Go Dave Dave!


Pray for Fellows!
- Current, as they are starting to think about Next Things
- Future, that they would be drawn to our program

Pray as we make decisions about a Mission Trip this Spring!

Pray as we take more time to breathe this week.

On that note, as soon as I push send on this update - I'm heading to the mountains for some solitude.


Keep up the support!

Keep spreading the love and sharing the story!

And for all of you who have read to the bitter end of this Update...a little video for you!

Monday, January 23, 2017

UPDATE Year 1 - Week of January 16

“Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.” MartinLuther King Jr. 

Dakota, Will, and Bill Davis swapping stories

We have our first Fellow for the 2017-18 Class!

Patrick McCarthy - a future Wake Forest Grad - is a fitting first round draft pick. 

Dear Ned,
Brilliant! Love to hear that. That is great news. Thanks so much for all those kind words of affirmation - likewise to you! And for the rest of the Fellows administration and future Fellows who will be embarking on this journey with me next Fall - can't wait!
Equally confident that this Fellows program will provide me with enumerable valuable experiences and memories.  Fingers crossed that I am able to bring and give as to much the WS Fellows as I am sure it will build me up and place deposits in my life...
Welcome, Patrick. I can tell you are going to make next year a lot of fun. 

This week, we have two more candidates arriving into town for final interviews, and I'm hoping for a couple more applications to roll in. 

We will be at Wake Forest RUF Tuesday night and Raleigh Young Life on Sunday as well. 

REMEMBER: You can recruit as well as anybody. Help us spread the word about this amazing program. 

Here is a link to the website.

The Fellows with my hero, Myrtie Davis

I had been waiting for the perfect time to introduce the Fellows to two of my very favorite people in Winston-Salem - Bill and Myrtie Davis. 

Time came Monday night. 

As expected, Bill and Myrtie played host par excellence. Myrtie served up her world famous Chicken Casserole and her signature Ice Tea. All fourteen of us squeezed in around the dining room table and laughed and told stories and eventually segued into the living room where Campbell serenaded us on the piano and we sat around and read Scripture together. 

What a treat. 

Other cities can claim things they have over Winston-Salem - but no city has a better couple than Bill and Myrtie Davis. You two are my heroes. 

Thanks Nathan, Darrell, Sherry, Roderick, Connie and others!
YMCANWNC: The Fellows were met by basically the entire leadership of YMCA of Northwest North Carolina on Wednesday for Leader Lunch. 

We had a little bit of technical difficulty, which proved to be a blessing because it forced us to talk more. I'll tell you, we are very fortunate to have such mindful, servant-hearted leaders in this city. 

They love their jobs! And they did a heck of a job selling it. I think by the end of Leader Lunch, half of our Fellows, including me, wanted to quit what we were doing and come on staff at the YMCA!

Thanks guys!

You are an organization worth supporting (they did not pay me to write that...but it does currently happen to be the YMCA's Annual Giving Campaign)!

A Special Welcome: The Fellows were then surprised with a special drop in by our honorary twelfth Fellow, Sarabeth Abbey and her boyfriend Arturo from the Dominican Republic!

Meeting and Greeting in the YMCA parking lot
Sarabeth is raising support this year to go on Young Life Staff in the DR and so was unable to commit to officially joining the Fellows - but she has been part of our community from the beginning. And we had heard of Arturo - but this was most of ours first opportunity to meet him!

Sarabeth is one of my favorite people
Will and Arturo
Mentor Prep: Afterward, the Fellows jumped in the Young Life van and we followed Bill McClain around East Winston to all the sites where we will begin our Mentoring and Tutoring this spring. 

Bill at one of his mentoring locations
Bill knows East Winston. And everywhere we went, it was like being the entourage for a celebrity. Mr. McClain - you have made an impact in this city! Thank you for inviting us to be a part of what you started. 

Basketball! Wednesday night, the Fellows split, half going to the Wake Forest v. Miami game at LJVM (Go Wake!) and the other half cheering on the Rams of WSSU at the C.E. Gaines Center. 

Go Rams!

Go Deacs! (Special guest Leslie Rainey - a Falls Church Fellow!)
Victories were had across the city. 


This Friday, we commenced a new class on Faith And Culture that will run through the spring semester. Dr. Clay Cooke is our professor, and if the rest of the class is as good as his first, we are in for a treat!

Thanks Clay! You are the man!

Unsanctioned Events: I had meetings the rest of the Friday, so I had to slip out and gave the Fellows a much appreciated afternoon off.

It was put to "good" use. A viewing of the inauguration turned into somewhat of a drinking game Bingo which somehow turned into an afternoon at the bowling alley. Ha! I sure do love these guys!

Heads Up!
Bowling for 'Merica
What else are you going to do on Inauguration Day?
Good Form

January is a great time to start giving monthly. 

Three ways of monthly giving:
- set up a monthly draft with your bank
- go to Click on DONATE and follow the instructions
- or email and we can set up a monthly credit card donation

Again, thank you all for supporting the Winston-Salem Fellows. Your contributions make it possible for us to provide this amazing opportunity to these men and women. 

It is making an impact that will last. 



- We are mixing it up and having a special Guys and Girls Round Tables tonight. 
- Tuesday, we have Wake Forest RUF
- Wednesday, we are having Leader Lunch with the one and only Charley Donohoe, a man with thirty-seven years of Career Coaching experience! Holy cow!
- Wednesday and Thursday, we are spending the night at Samaritan's Inn
- Friday, we have classes with Dr. Clay Cooke and Dr. Jack Wilkerson. 

Ned will be finishing his certification in the Highlands Ability Battery! Hooray! (More on this next week)

- Sunday, we will be joining the Black Ministerial Alliance for a commissioning service for the G.I.D.E. program. 
- Then, some Fellows will likely join me as we travel to Raleigh to promote the Fellows Program. 

Big Week!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

UPDATE Year 1 - January 16

The time is always right to do what is right - Martin Luther King Jr.

One of our Mentors, Michelle Schapira, begins her day

Leader Lunch: Terrance Hawkins told a story this week about one of his mentors. I'm blanking on her name, but I remember she is an old woman from Chicago who you'd never imagine by lookng at her that she was an activist.

She said, "When we die, the question Jesus will ask us is: 'Where are your scars? Was there nothing worth fighting for?'"

The lunch only got better from there.

Thanks Terrance for your raw, deliberate passion for this city and for the people in it.

Thank you Leadership Winston-Salem for the venue.

It was one of our best Leader lunches yet.

Terrance was amazing - I swear I wasn't checking my email!

Center for Creative Leadership: Instead of meeting at the main campus of CCL for our professional development course - we met instead at BREAKOUT off of Wendover Avenue for some group dynamics work.

Winston-Salem Fellows and Greensboro Fellows United

If you don't know about BREAKOUT of ESCAPE ROOM or things of that nature - they are hour long problem solving activities that challenge your group skills, your nerves, and your wits in order to get out in time.

I placed myself with Will Troxler, Dakota Lee, and Camille Stogner (the A Team). Unfortunately, we were placed in "The Hostage Room." In one hour we had to get our handcuffs and blindfolds off (we were handcuffed and blindfolded!) and unlock the code sequences to figure out a way to get out of the room before the Imaginary Bad Guys come back.

It was NOT easy!

But we were able to get out with a little less than three minutes to spare.

Camille, Ned, Will and Dakota out in the nick of time
Rahel, Alex, Christina, and Sean out in the nick of time
(not pictured: Reese, Julia, Jessica and Campbell... It appears they are still Kidnapped!)

It really was a great experience. Hopefully, not practical! But it was a fabulous way to think through problem solving and group dynamics. This will be key as we move into our Capstone Projects for the year.


Thank you for praying for me. Speaking at the YMCA Annual Giving Campaign was a big success. I used a quote that I had written down from Dabo Swinney after the Clemson victory last Monday. He said: "I told them the difference in the game tonight was going to be love. My word all year has been love. I said, 'Tonight, we are going to win it. I don't know how we are going to win it. But we are gonna wit it because we love each other.'"

So good. I wasn't a Clemson fan (although I was cheering for them) before the game - but I am now!

(My condolences to all you Alabama fans. Take heart. I'm sure you'll be in the final four again next year.)

From there, I had my second breakfast with Steve Lineberger. We have been acquaintance friends for years - but it really was the first time we actually sat down with each other.

Two hours later! I think I speak for both of us in saying - we are true friends. What a special time. Thanks Steve for offering it!

That led to a great coaching session with fellow, Dakota Lee.

Then, off to take David to tennis where I left him and went for a run - which led to a literal run-in with Peter Barnes. A sweeter time it could not have been.

In one day: Community Engagement, Business Discussion, One-on-one Discipleship and Coaching, and Church Connecting. That's the Fellows...

And it's all built on friendship. 


Nigel and Sarah - two of the best
Lia and I had a special treat on Saturday. We invited Nigel and Sarah Alston to go to see the movie Hidden Figures with us. And they said YES! What a wonderful time and what a wonderful movie! My allergies were acting up or something though - I couldn't stop my eyes from leaking!

And if you haven't been to the Grand to enjoy their new recliner seating - wow!

Another sweet part: Christina, Jessica, and Rahel also joined us. We took them across the street for drinks and dessert at Providence Restaurant (a very cool spot created by the Second Harvest Food Bank and partners). I recommend the cheesecake. Man!

Nigel says he once had a coat just like mine
I'll let you decide
He certainly wears it better than I do!


Faith is taking the first step even if you don't see the whole staircase. - Martin Luther King Jr.

The good news is that programs across the country are ahead of they usually are. Those are great indicators for us.

We are on the lower side of the spectrum. So there's a great spot to pray!

Yesterday, we interviewed our third candidate, and we have a few more in the pipeline.



OR Mail Checks to

WS Fellows
851 W. 5th Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101

OR Credit Card - email Ned at


We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now. - Martin Luther King Jr.

- Interviews the next several Mondays - PRAY for Interviews and Recruiting!
- Leader Lunch with the staff of YMCA this Wednesday
- Starting a new class on Faith and Culture this Friday with Dr. Clay Cooke.
- Samaritan's Inn next week.
- Christmas Tree Bonfire this Saturday!
- PRAY for Fellows as they move toward future prospects.
- PRAISE! For Campbell who has transitioned to Boosterthon. A great fit! In Campbell's words: "I walked into a room full of Campbells!" Ha!
- PRAY for Next Year's Class - 12 folks. 6 guys, 6 gals.
- PRAY for wisdom as we finalize details on possible Mission Trip.
- PRAY as I continue my certification process for the Highlands Ability Battery. (the HAB).

Also! You should all be getting an email announcement very soon about two new books!

Snow Fun
Adelaide and Anna Rose
Snow Cream

Monday, January 09, 2017

UPDATE - Year 1 - Jan 9


One by one, the Fellows returned to Winston after a well-deserved Christmas holiday. They were missed by their director!

It was pure joy to watch them fill up my driveway on Thursday as we prepared to head out of town for a New Year's Advance (Fellows don't retreat - we advance).

John and Jeanne Lovett (Julia's parents) were extremely generous in offering their beach home to us on Wrightsville Beach.

Thank you John and Jeanne
The view from the back porch was not bad
The weather was looking sketchy, but we went anyway.

The purpose of our trip being to reconnect and share life stories, the weather actually improved our ability to achieve our object, especially as the wind chill dipped into the realm known as NASTY COLD.

BUT we still had fun...

Rahel pondering the possibilities of 2017

Jessica contemplating eating her first oyster

Alex thinking dreamily about the upper right in her life

Christina laughing at the abnormally large garlic toast

Julia demonstrating profound concentration during a round of Pie In The Face

Camille, a surprise all star during our Beach Football Game
The Pterodactyls pulled off a surprising upset against the Coyote Hunters!

We had an epic Oyster Roast Friday Night


Oysters about to be slayed

Campbell ate a record 46 oysters!
 You read that right - 46 oysters!!! His stomach was not the same the rest of the weekend.

Reese lamenting his UNO cards

Even after defeat, Dakota had a ton of love for Ned

Sean shares his story during one of my all time favorite games: Telephone Pictionary

Will's happy place is on the water
Reese v. Ned in Pie In The Face

Christina, Reese, Julia and Ned post Polar Plunge
Four of us braved temperatures-in-the-teens and the 40mph wind and jumped off the dock for a little winter wake up!!!

Can anyone say brain freeze!

There was definitely some snuggle time

We went to historic downtown Wilmington on Saturday for some refreshment 
And the inevitable dance party
 It wasn't all fun and games. Life stories are intense. I wish to commend all of our Fellows for their courageous vulnerability and the beautiful authentic way they cared for and honored each other.

We also had four times of solitude and reflection - a great way to re-center and position ourselves for the great things in store for us this coming year.


There is a lot in store...

This month we will be starting to volunteer with G.I.D.E. and their after-school mentoring and tutoring programs.

We will also be beginning our Action Projects for KidzXtreme and G.I.D.E.

We will continue classes at The Center for Creative Leadership, Business Ethics with Jack Wilkerson, and start a new class on Faith and Culture with Dr. Clay Cooke!

Later this month, we will be spending the night at Samaritan's Inn.

We will participate in Martin Luther King Day Activities.

And doing some recruiting!

Longterm, we will have another Advance in February, March, April AND May!

And we might also fit in an overseas mission trip! Holy Moly!

The Future Is BRIGHT!

We are receiving applications for next year's class. There has been some positive movement, but as of yet, no commitments. 

If any of you reading this know of 20-somethings who might be interested in a Fellows year - urge them to apply! At the least, please have them contact me. 

Financially, we are well-positioned for a great second half of our fiscal year.

We would love for you to join the Fellows Team today by giving...


Or donate by sending a check to

851 W. 5th Street
Winston-Salem NC 27104

For credit card donations, contact


  • Pray our Board can land on a good day for our Annual Board Retreat
  • Pray as I speak to the YMCA this Thursday for their Annual Campaign
  • Pray for Fellows as they return to work
  • Pray for Ned as he begins his training to be able to administer the Highlands Ability Battery
  • Pray for 2017-18 Fellows: 6 gals and 6 guys. 12 total! Recruit for us and be part of the answer!
  • Pray that we meet and exceed our revenue projections for this year - another way you can be part of the answer!
  • Pray for continued soul work as we come off an intense time together.