Archive - September, 2009

What Used to Be True

HT: Tim Schraeder

Ministry 2 Unpacks the Possibilities of the Web

ministry2_boxgraphicMinistry 2 is more than a conference–it’s a movement. A movement that seeks to “unpack the possibilities of the web in ministry.” Want to hop onboard?

On October 9-10, web ministry strategists from across the country will gather in Pensacola, FL to discuss what God is doing through the internet and how we can join him there. The speaker list isn’t too shabby either: Tony Steward, John Saddington and Jason Reynolds will all be there. BeDeviant.com is proud to be a sponsor for the conference, and we’re even happier to give you, our readers, a 10% discount when registering for the conference:

From now until the day of Ministry 2 Pensacola, BeDeviant.com readers can save 10% by registering with the code “BEDEVIANT” at checkout!

If you’re at all interested in exploring what it means to be the Church in the digital age, Ministry 2 would be a great place to ask questions and see what others are up to. From Ministry2.org:

Ministry 2 is a hands-on workshop and live event designed for church leaders and volunteers interested in enhancing their ministry using the latest in Web technology. Conceived by a team of Web evangelists with a heart for the local church, Ministry 2 is a grassroots effort allowing believers of all backgrounds to come together to celebrate Christ, while sharing and learning from one another. Driven not by the interest of event sponsors – our relaxed learning environment offers everything from hands-on workshops for beginners, to more theory-driven curriculum tailored to the needs of more seasoned participants. If you are seeking a path to grow your ministry, Ministry 2 is the event for you.

You can read more about Ministry 2 by checking out their Twitter, Facebook or the official hashtag for the event, #ministry2.

Happy Deviant Day!

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In honor of our new site design and relaunch, we’ve decided to make today Deviant Day! We also want to celebrate by giving away a $25 iTunes gift card. To you. Today.

How?

It’s real simple. Be the 25th person to use the hashtag “#DeviantDay” on Twitter with a link back to the site and you win! We’ll be tracking closely, so as they say in Chicago, “Vote early, vote often!” Get creative–maybe try something like…

  • Happy #DeviantDay! What are you doing to think differently today? BeDeviant.com. Tweet This!
  • #DeviantDay. Because the world needs more people who think different. BeDeviant.com. Tweet This!

Wherever that hashtag shows up, we’ll be tracking. You could win.

So thanks for checking out the new site and enjoying the day made for deviants. Alright, the contest starts … NOW!

(Mega HT: Nathan Davis for this sweet new site. He’s the real deal.)

UPDATE: We have our winner! Congrats to Mr. Dan Bryan who had the winning entry “Mahalo #DeviantDay – King me.” Hilarious. Honorable mentions go to the following:

  • @tlamarca: #DeviantDay: Because if the world deviates from you, maybe you are the true deviant. www.BeDeviant.com
  • @chriskimpston: Happy #DeviantDay, what are you doing to honor God’s blessing of originality today?
  • @d_eickelberg oh happy #deviantday. when j. wise washed my preconceived notions away!
  • @BenLemery Happy #DeviantDay! Where Justin Wise lays the smackdown on your conservative opinions in one sentence. BeDeviant.com.
  • @jakebouma Did you know @bedeviant had a 9″ long rat tail in 4th grade? Me either. Once a deviant, always a deviant. #DeviantDay

Did You Know?

I had a dream the other night that in the future we would be able to experience any situation, from any vantage point, from any place, all in real time. Social networking had become so interwoven into the fabric of our culture that space and time were no longer limitations to the human experience.

Perhaps this video is a stepping stone in seeing that dream become reality?

Oh yeah, welcome to the new BeDeviant.com.

Send a Saint to STORY!

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I’m pumped to be able to go to STORY. It’ll be an amazing conference with top-notch speakers. It’s also being hosted by a great guy, Ben Arment.

Ben’s got a giver’s heart. So do I. I’m guessing most of you do too. That’s why I want to join up in the most recent challenge he laid out on his blog post, “Naming Names.” This is what Ben said:

I’ve been so blessed by the contributors to the scholarship campaign to get 400 urban pastors to attend STORY for free. To be honest, I’ve already invited a bunch of them. Now I’m just trying to play catch-up. In fact, we’ve got a ways to go before we cover the cost of the event.

You can help by purchasing even just 1 ticket on our website and putting the word “Scholarship” in the comment section at the end of the process.

If you can’t give the whole $189, why not invite a few friends to join you? You’ll bless the socks off an inner city pastor.

Basically Ben wants to send as many inner-city pastors to STORY Chicago as possible. That’s where you and I come in. Would you consider contributing to the “STORY Ticket Fund“? It’s simple:

Just click “Chip In” on this widget:

Enter the amount that you want to chip in, and watch as BeDeviant readers buy one, two, three–50? tickets for inner-city pastors to go to STORY Chicago in October. The goal is to allow these pastors to develop their skills to teach the greatest STORY ever told–the story of Jesus.

This STORY fund will be live for one week. For every $189 we raise, I’ll buy a ticket as per Ben’s instructions.

Do you want to take the challenge? Let’s do this!

Can a Church Worker Be Paid On Commission?

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Seth Godin posted this not too long ago:

In a digital world where everything can be measured, we all work on commission. And why not? If you do great work and it works, you should get rewarded. And if you don’t, it’s hard to see why a rational organization would keep you on.

My question to all of us who work in a church is this: Can someone who works in ministry be paid “on commission”? If so, how? If not, why not?

As our society integrates more fully into the digital world, how might the “commission” principle apply to digital pastors and evangelists? What would be some respectable, faithful ways that a church or ministry might implement this?

  • A certain percentage of online giving goes towards a bonus?
  • Online bookstore sales become part of a commission?
  • The more hits on ones blog the higher the salary?
  • Would the amount of Twitter followers and Facebook friends factor in?

Godin raises an interesting point, but I’m not sure if it translates into the church world. I think it would be worth a shot. Why? As the Church evolves inside of the modern framework, compensation packages will necessarily need to be diversified. Simply put, the money won’t be in the offering plates that same way that it used to be.

The days of wealthy congregants tithing a majority of the church budget are fast coming to a close. What you’ll see is more people giving, but the amount they give will be less. The Church will soon enter the world of “microfinance” and she will find a way to do ministry around it.

Which is why, I think, commissions may just become a part of the church worker’s pay structure.

But I could be wrong. What do you think?

Content is Only Great if People Read it

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Darren Rowse is a professional blogger. He’s such a pro, the name of his blog is ProBlogger.com. How’s that for a calling card?

Darren’s one of the few blogging tip experts that I allow into my info stream. He’s realistic, practical and his posts usually never mention the words “SEO optimization” or “marketing genius.” I appreciate that. Nothing will make me hit the “close tab” button faster than someone who proclaims they’re an expert in SEO, social media or internet marketing. Ugh.

Bottom line, when Rowse speaks I usually listen. You should to. So imagine my surprise when he said that great content, a staple in any effective blog, will only get you so far.

Rowse states, in a nutshell, that great content is only great if people are actually reading it. It’s kind of like the tree-falling-in-the-woods question: “If a blogger posts great content but no one is around to read it, is it still considered great?” Rowse’s answer is no. I agree with him.

From ProBlogger.com:

Letting your content market itself DOES work IF you already have an audience to help with that process by spreading word of it through word of mouth – but if you’re just starting out and don’t yet have a readership the reality is that YOU are the only person who knows your great content exists.

Word of mouth can still play a part in your finding of readers – but as YOU are the only person that knows about your great content YOU need to be the one who starts the process and starts the process of getting the word out.

It’s time to hustle and get word out about your content.

I know that I believed the myth of great content doing all the work for me. But the bottom line is that you actually need to let people know that you’ve got some kickin’ stuff brewin’ in your boiler! I utilize a bunch of different tools to “seed” content as Rowse suggests:

  • Twitter is the butter and bread of this blog.
  • Facebook “Networked Blogs” application automatically feeds posts to my profile.
  • Su.pr creates a powerful name brand URL-shortener that is absolutely free.
  • Twitterfeed.com supplies the “Repost” function that gives later readers a chance to check out posts on Twitter.

These are some of the tricks we use to “seed” content around here. The key, as Rowse states, is to be subtle about it. You want to let people know what you’re up to, but you also don’t want to irritate them to the point where they won’t read just to spite you!

Do you agree with Rowse? What tricks and tips do you have for “seeding” your content? What sites that you enjoy do this well?

The Happiest People in the World Live in…

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Iceland. Yes, Iceland.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be.

Apparently, Icelanders get something in their heads and they go for it. They don’t hold back. They don’t let public opinion, naysayers, fears or doubts hold them back from unleashing the creativity from within. Icelanders don’t see failure as something to be avoided and this frees them to create.

And this makes them happy.

According to writer Peter Bregman:

According to the World Database of Happiness (yes, there is one), Iceland is the happiest place on earth. That’s right, Iceland. Yes, I know it’s cold and dark six months out of the year there. I’m just giving you the data.

The secret to their happiness? Eric Weiner, Author of The Geography of Bliss, traveled to Iceland to find out. After interviewing a number of Icelanders, Weiner discovered that their culture doesn’t stigmatize failure. Icelanders aren’t afraid to fail — or to be imperfect — and so they’re more willing to pursue what they enjoy. That’s one reason Iceland has more artists per capita than any other nation. “There’s no one on the island telling them they’re not good enough, so they just go ahead and sing and paint and write,” Weiner writes.

Which makes them incredibly productive. They don’t just sit around thinking they’d like to do something. They do it. According to the psychologist Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi, who wrote the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, “It is not the skills we actually have that determine how we feel but the ones we think we have.”

So if you think you’re good at something, whether or not you are, you’ll do it. The converse is also true: if you think you aren’t good enough at something, you won’t do it.

What would you try today if you weren’t afraid of failure?

  • Ask out that girl in chemistry class?
  • Open that coffee shop you’ve always wanted to?
  • Pick up the paintbrush again and create?
  • Plant that church that you know God has called you to plant?

Iceland is onto something. After all, they’re home to one of the most innovative bands ever to walk the face of the earth, Sigur Rós.

Don’t hesitate. Create.

5 Things Being a New Parent Will Teach You

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I’m a new parent. These are some things I’ve learned having a one-week old that I helped create:

1. Being a parent requires a profound sense of self-sacrifice.

2. Baby toots make me laugh. My son takes “crop dusting” to a whole new level.

3. Guys, when you have a baby with your wife, you will fall in love with her more.

4. Sleep, at least in the beginning, comes in interchangeable segments, not blocks.

5. I never thought the day would come where I got excited about breast milk. That day is here.

Are you a parent? What’s something you might add to the list?

Casting, Repeating, Illustrating, Celebrating

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Vision changes, especially when life circumstances change.

Do you have a vision for your life? If so, how’s it going? If not, why not?

Mark Batterson has some steps for remembering and casting vision–either for yourself or for an organization–that I found tremendously helpful:

1. Keep it simple. The best are concise.

2. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Say it as often as you can!

3. Find ways to illustrate your vision.

4. Celebrate it! Especially when it’s becoming reality.

As for me (Justin), here’s a few visions that have come to pass for me personally that I’m celebrating:

  • My wife and I just welcomed our first child, Finnegan into the world. That’s a vision that has become reality, so we celebrate!
  • BeDeviant.com has also had two of its highest months ever traffic-wise.
  • We’ve also welcomed four new sponsors to the site in the last month.
  • All great visions that we have cast that have come to pass!

What about you? What vision are you casting/repeating/illustrating/celebrating?

(Mega HT: Jeremy Anderberg for the sweet research.)

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