At the risk of sounding like a complete Tim Sanders fanboy, I want to send you to his blog Sanders Says again.
Earlier this month I linked to an outline of a talk he gave about what it takes to lead your business out of the recession and suggested there might be some important implications for those of us in ministry. This week, he’s is at it again, expanding on his thoughts about what it takes to find yourself on the leading edge of the recovery.
You really need to head over to Sanders Says to read the whole post for yourself.
But I’d like to reflect on some of his points from the perspective of ministry here. Read more
Weekend Scale of Difficulty:5 of 10, A fairly typical week for us.
Message Summary: Our You Decide series was in it’s fifth week Tuesday night. That’s encouraging. When we started asking students to send in questions they might have about the Bible, I wasn’t sure just how well it would go or how long it would last. But questions are still coming in to our Poll Everywhere poll and now I’m beginning to wonder how many good quesitions we’re going to have to leave unanswered.
Weekend Scale of Difficulty: 6out of 10, There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary in tonight’s service. The only difficulty was the normal and enjoyable task of exegeting a passage of scripture and learning to hear and speak its message to a new generation.
Our Heroes series based on the book of Judges for Junior High continued this week. However, for the first time in our series we talked about someone whom the Bible never calls a judge. Abimelech, son of Gideon, is sometimes listed among the judges of Israel, but he neither saved Israel from any threat, nor was he called by God to this task. His tale is just the end of the story of the judge Gideon.
And to think we laughed when a teen at our youth center declared one afternoon “I’m going to delete the Internet.”
He meant he was going to uninstall Internet Explorer on his laptop. But that’s not what he said. Ever since “I’m going to delete the Internet!” has become a running joke for us.
But it’s not so funny any more.
Last night, Yahoo! deleted Geocities.
Now, before you get too mad at Yahoo!, I should probably point out they had every right to do so. They bought Geocities all the way back in January of 1999. And they gave the world fair warning – the then-impending deletion was announced in April of this year. We had six full months to get ready.
One of the things I do here at Middletown is make the sermon graphics for my Senior Pastor’s (Dr. Phil Rogers) sermons each week. Phil likes to distribute notes when he preaches, and likes to have the “answers” show up on the screen while he’s preaching so people don’t get lost trying to fill them in. That means Power Point!
Of course, Power Point is less than ideal when you’re trying to communicate to people. There was a time when Power Point was new and cutting edge. But the fact is, many people “get” to watch Power Point presentations every day at work (and a lot of times, it’s bad Power Point at that). There’s few things worse than coming to church and getting hit up with more of the same stuff that left you bored and uninspired all week at work (especially when the Power Point at church is bad Power Point too).
That’s why we’ve tried hard to leave Power Point behind. Each of our graphics is designed in Corel’s graphics suite, but we do use Easy Worship’s integrated PowerPoint viewer to make displaying them easier. That way we get the ease of Power Point’s presentation interface without the often clunky and bland Power Point clip art and text rendering (and NO WordArt!!!).
To give you a feel for what our slides look like, here are some sample slides from a sermon Dr. Rogers is presenting today at ONU’s Pastor Appreciation Days. His message shares the story of our small community and our church, and lessons that he has learned in more than 30 years of pastoring in Middletown. The analogy he’s using for his message is the difference between throwing rocks (creating exciting but only short lived splashes) and the less glamorous task of digging channels so the current can flow. I’m pretty excited about the message, and hopefully after he delivers it he’ll let me blog some more about what it all means. (I’d hate to steal his thunder . . .)
I saw a post the other day on the Swerve blog from Lifechurch’s innovation leader (and fellow former Decaturian) Bobby Gruenewald about a time when the Presbyterian Church took official action against the dangers of riding your bicycle on Sunday. Bobby sees in this bit of arcane Americana a reflection of how the church often responds to innovation. He writes:
It speaks volumes about how the Church reacts to innovation at times. Instead of embracing it and looking for ways to leverage it, we feel threatened.
Obviously, this kind of reaction reminds us of cell phones in church. But that is beginning to change.
After years of slides, videos and announcements asking people to turn off their cell phones and pagers, we’re seeing more and more stories these days about churches that are telling people to turn on their cell phones. From encouraging people to tweet about their worship experience to using SMS polls to solicit instant responses from the congregation, to the creation of YouVersion Live, a fascinating mashup of Scripture and Social Media, the signs of a turning in the tide are everywhere.
It’s no secret our youth ministry has been asking the question “How can we leverage SMS and MMS technology for the kingdom?” Last Lent we started asking the question “How can we make sure the next time one of our students pulls out their cell phone to tell a friend ‘Hey check this out’ that the content they are sharing comes from Water’s Edge?” We’re still asking that question. Our You Decide series is also trying to leverage SMS technology to engage students in community and conversation. But we’ve still got a long way to go.
Here are some ideas we and others have used to try to leverage the ubiquitous cell phone technology rather than try to fight it. Some of them are just for fun, to get people talking. “You wouldn’t believe what we did at Water’s Edge this week.” Others are more directly related to our attempts to minister to our teens or reach out to others.