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Can Ministry Have Two Worlds?

It’s quite amazing to watch everyone get bit by the social media phenomena. I think about every pastor I know is on Facebook and Twitter; and if they’re not on it yet, I guarantee you they are talking with their staff about putting their profiles up very soon.Part of this online and social media phenomenon is that you don’t have to look very hard to find news or information; it finds you! It used to be if I wanted to know what was going on in my community, my church or in the world I would have to go out and seek information. But, now it finds me! It finds me on my Facebook, my Tweet Deck and on my phone. This new wave of interaction with people and information has quickly changed media and our culture. So, with that being said how will this effect how we do ministry?

Can you really reach and impact people in 140 characters or less? Can your Facebook profile and personal brand across different social media platforms be used to spread God’s Love and Hope to hurting people? Can ministry be divided into two worlds – Online & Offline?  Could it be possible to lead an online ministry that impacts thousands of people every day? The answer of course is YES!

I’ve been pleased to see so many ministry leaders embrace the online world and social media as a tool to bring awareness and connect with people; but I think it will get deeper than that. I think new ministry terminology will be created.

For example, LifeChurch.tv has coined a new word that we can add to this new terminology for Online Ministry:  Digital Missions. They have learned how to intersect pornographic viewers by placing ad’s on Google about LifeChurch.tv. These days, you can reach any audience you want. LifeChurch.tv wanted to reach individuals who are at home looking at porn. So, through Google ad’s they intersected porn viewers. So instead of seeing naked women, they would see and hear the Gospel message of hope and love right into their homes, computers or i-phones. Testimonies have flooded in on how men have been turning their hearts to Christ.

The online community is a dark world and it’s a mission field. What can your church do right now to reach people online in your community and around the world? What will be your digital mission? Or, what can be your digital ministry?

Your Thoughts?

Boundaries & Accountability – Part 2 (Tech Toys)

One of the biggest distractions for leaders and their families is an over emphasis on technology. In other words, if you can’t sit down and have dinner with your family without checking your Blackberry, Facebook or Twitter, you have some serious issues you need to work out.

I believe one of the most important things we can do as a innovative-leading generation is put boundaries with our tech toys. Technologies that are used for communication and marketing for business and ministry are meant to be used as a TOOL, not an ADDICTION.

Some things I would try:
•    No tech interruptions and net surfing during family time. (Turn off all iPhones, Blackberries, Twitters, Facebook’s and blogs)
•    Take a break from blogging ever so often (Guest bloggers are great!)
•    When you’re on vacation, don’t check emails
•    Take one day per week where you step away from all tech toys including email and twitter.

What are you doing in your life to place healthy boundaries with your tech toys? What would you suggest for others? When would you make exceptions?

Your Thoughts?

(Guest Blogger: Micah Davis) Twitter + Live Experiences = @ParaTweet

A lot of folks have asked me how to utilize Twitter at their live experiences. With most applications centered around the web or phone, there hasn’t been much in the way of an answer. Hence the decision to build http://ParaTweet.com. (@ParaTweet)

ParaTweet is a real-time, full screen display of tweets pulled from any #tag or search term(s). It also provides powerful moderation capabilities that allow for any tweet to be approved or disapproved prior to showing on the screen. Since #tags aren’t exclusive for use, they can often come with:

•    Inappropriate content (profanity)
•    Irrelevant content (other folks using the #tag for other purposes)
•    Spam (when a #tag becomes popular…in come the spammers)

This is where ParaTweet’s moderation and filtering really helps out by only displaying relevant and appropriate tweets to a live audience. It has been used by the Catalyst West Coastand Catalyst One Day conferences.

Pastors could use it for Q&A with the audience. It could also be run between services to help facilitate community and ministry announcements. And rumor has it that there are several new features in the pipeline for ParaTweet, but those will have to wait for another time. Until then, enjoy!

Micah Davis is the co-founder of ParaTweet and Roov.com. He is a creative social entrepreneur and non-profit activist. He attends Gateway Church in Dallas, TX. You can follow him on Twitter @mdavis.

(Guest Blogger: Daniel King) 7 Things I’ve Learned about Pastors on Twitter

I am not a pastor, but I am interested in why pastors do what they do. For the last two months I have followed hundreds of pastors on the new social networking tool Twitter.com. Here are seven things I’ve learned about pastors:

1. Pastors are looking for new ways to reach people.

For those of you who have not caught the buzz, Twitter enables you to use your cell phone or computer to send out “tweets” or short updates about what you are doing to all your friends. Basically, it is text-messaging lots of people at the same time. I was amazed at how many pastors are using this technology to build relationships with their flock. It shows that pastors can be cutting-edge and innovative.

2. Pastors can reinvent themselves to reach a new generation.

Are bulletins boring, offerings blah, and church announcements putting people to sleep? Why not film your announcements, post them on YouTube, and send everyone a tweet to go check it out. Then provide a link to give tithes and offerings online through PayPal. Today’s generation lives online. Relevant churches desiring to be effective will join the online conversation.

3. Pastors are using new terminology to express age-old truth.

A new vocabulary has arisen to communicate to a modern generation. “Christian” is out, “Christ-follower” is in. No one is a “head pastor” instead they are called “lead pastors.”  In addition to being pastors, many have added life coach, spiritual entrepreneur, or success motivator to their resume. Relationship is now more important than denominational labels.

4. Pastors like to preach.

From messages about grace and forgiveness, to exegetical studies of First Thessalonians, pastors spend a lot of time studying God’s word and preparing to communicate truth to their congregations.

5. Pastors are normal people.

Pastors pick up their kids from soccer, watch Lost and American Idol on television, go to the grocery store, play Nintendo Wii, and love their wives. Pastors are not supermen or superwomen, but they do rely on a supernatural God.

6. Pastors have one of the toughest jobs in the world.

Who is called when someone gets sick? Or dies? Or has a problem in their marriage? Usually, the pastor is there to offer comfort and advice. Continually putting out fires can be mentally and physically draining, but pastors keep going because they genuinely care about people. Some of the tweets I read brought tears to my eyes as pastors dwelt with human tragedy by offering hope.

7. Pastors have one of the most rewarding jobs in the world.

I have read statistics that show many pastors think about quitting the ministry, especially on Monday morning, but I saw little evidence of this on Twitter. Most of the pastors I follow are excited, energized, and motivated. They are reading, learning, and continually looking for new ways to communicate the Gospel through modern methods of evangelism. Eternity is their focus, the world is their parish, and changing lives is their reward.

Daniel King is a missionary evangelist who has ministered in more than fifty nations. He invites you to follow him on his Twitter profile: danielking100. Or check out his website: www.kingministries.com

Your Thoughts?