Archive - October, 2008 in the Chicago Sun-Times!

This made my day. “The Digital Pastor” appeared on the Chicago Sun-Times’ website today. Very cool.


AC/DC = God’s Messenger?

A friend of mine just popped by my office and told me that AC/DC’s new album, “Black Ice” is #1 on the charts in 29 different countries.

AC/DC. Number one. In 2008.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love crankin’ up “Back In Black” when I’m taking a jog just as much as the next guy, but #1? Really.

But then he dropped another bomb on me, “it’s all because of Guitar Hero.” Guitar Hero. A video game. A video game where you get to pretend you’re, well, a “guitar hero,” playing along to songs as the notes come on the screen. (If you have no idea what Guitar Hero is, get an update here.)

My friend is a youth pastor and interacts with little boogers everyday. He says that on the “likes/dislikes” sheet the students fill out at the beginning of the year, bands like AC/DC, Journey, and Foghat are showing up in the “Favorite Band” category. The link? All of the aforementioned bands show up in, you guessed it, Guitar Hero.

13-year-olds groovin’ on “Smoke On the Water.” In 2008. Something’s up. And that “something” is “Guitar Hero”, or more broadly, video games and the “digital migration” in general.

Technology (text messaging, social media sites, the internet and yes, Guitar Hero) has a profound effect on the lives of the youth. I heard on the radio that males 18-25 are the hardest age group for advertisers to reach. (I would also tack on “and the church” at the end of advertisers, as, speaking from my own experience, young men in this age range are few and far between.) Ad execs (and pastors) are largely left scratching their heads when looking at this age group saying, “What the heck do these guys want anyway?”

Enter video games. Ask the execs at Nintendo if they’re having trouble reaching men 18-25. I think you’d find that your answer would be a resounding, “Nope, no problem here!” Same with XBox. Same with PlayStation.

Politicians are picking up on this phenomenon, so much so that Barack Obama is buying advertising in video games.

Karl Barth insisted that theology had to be done with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. Translation: As a Christian, you need to be aware of what’s going on in the world around you. As people in ministry (and if you’re a follower of Jesus, that’s you!), what can we learn from this? How do we “play ball” in a field that is becoming increasingly digital? How does the Church engage the culture at this level?

I’m certainly not suggesting churches buy a virtual ad in “Madden ’09”, but what does a digitally fluent Church look like?


This Kid Can Throw!

You’ve got to read a comment left on “Can You Vote For Obama?” by reader Dave. This kid can throw! Needless to say, this is a heated topic and I must say, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the civility you’ve all shown! You guys rock. readers are classy folk.


I Think I Should Stop Thinking For You.

Rhett Smith absolutely knocks it out of the park on this one. Peep this:

“I wonder if we as preachers have helped condition people to often not think for themselves. They are so used to coming to church and hearing advice on how to do something, that anytime we leave the how to steps out they are paralyzed. I wonder if we have gotten away from the mystery and some of the parable style teaching of Jesus that often makes you scratch your head and say, “What?” Giving how to advice and laid out steps does not lead to transformation of people’s lives in my experience, at least not internally. But rather, engaging them in God’s Word and allowing them to wrestle with the meaning and action for their own lives is powerful.”

Amen! I had a woman call me today telling me how her daughter has gotten into the wrong crowd. “We just need to get her into church, that’ll fix the problem,” is what she said to me. Wrong!

Going to church is not the fix-all.
Putting your child in Sunday School will not automatically “fix” them.
Your pastor cannot and should not take your place as parent.

I said it once and I’ll say it again, pastors over-function for their people. Can I get an “amen”?


Ronald Jenkees is My New Hero.

The world needs more people like Ronald Jenkees:

Give Ronald some love over at iTunes.


Can You Vote for Obama?

Can you vote for Obama? Brett McCracken can’t. He cites a Princeton professor in part of his explanation why, “Barack Obama is the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the office of President of the United States. He is the most extreme pro-abortion member of the United States Senate. Indeed, he is the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either house of the United States Congress…” What about you? Is this issue a deal-breaker for you? A deal-maker?


A Question For You…

Photo 20.jpg

Well? Let me know.

I’ll start. I feel like I can’t say that sometimes I don’t have an answer when people come to me with problems.

How about you ?

HT: Anne Jackson


What’s Your Tweet Worth?

Picture 2.png says mine’s worth $8.04 per month. What’s yours?


Digital Conversion PSA

HT: Paul Stewart.

REVEAL anyone?

“A church is not an organization that surveys its demographic to find out what the market is demanding at this particular moment and then adjusts its strategy to meet that consumer need.” Rob Bell.


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