Archive - April, 2011

Moving On

This is the 777th post on BeDeviant.com. It’s also the last post on this site. There are also 777 words in this post. After seven years of actively posting, sharing, thinking, challenging and changing, I’ve decided to bring this journey to a close.

There are lots of reasons behind this decision, but I’ll briefly share three main ones.

Reason #1: Different Interests

It’s no secret that I’ve left my job working at a local church and joined the team at Monk Development. I’m also able to work with wonderful human beings like Charles Lee, Brad Abare and Tim Schraeder on a regular basis.

After graduating seminary, I realized very quickly that I did not want to be a local parish pastor. That might seem like the epitome of irony, or even that my experience at sem was negative. Quite the contrary, in fact. Bethel helped me to see, in fuller detail, the cost of being a pastor in the 21st century church. After graduating I quickly came to the conclusion: I am not a pastor.

Many of you reading this are, in fact, in pastoral roles. I cannot tell you how much respect and admiration I have for you. I’ve been in your shoes at one of the largest churches in the U.S. and can say, unequivocally, you have one of the hardest jobs on the face of the planet. The pressures, the demands, the struggles—you are most certainly gifted with a strength straight from God’s hand!

That said, BeDeviant.com was an online dialogue of the struggles I was facing as a pastor. The frustrations, fears and anxieties that I faced working for a church. Since I’m no longer on church staff, those struggles, thankfully, have disappeared. With that, most of my writing material has gone with it!

My focus is much more specific now, dealing primarily with web and online ministry. Rather than trying to continually morph BeDeviant into something it was never created to be, I decided it was best to simply stop the train.

Reason #2: Too Divisive

I was afraid this day would come because of the subject matter on this blog. My main intent through the years has been to challenge, but sometimes that’s difficult to do faithfully.

BeDeviant, by its very nature, causes eyebrows to raise. That can be a good thing until it isn’t. In the past 12 months, I’ve been asking the question if being divisive is what I want to be about. The answer, thankfully, is no. My intent, obviously, has never been to create conflict, simply reflection. Unfortunately, that hasn’t always translated well.

Some of  you have been hurt, angered and frustrated by the things I’ve written. I’m sorry for that. BeDeviant.com was started with the idea of challenging people to think differently about their relationship with God. I think BeDeviant has served its purpose in doing that, but at a price. Shutting this site down is me saying, “Holy Spirit, I trust you to challenge people where they need to be challenged. When appropriate, use me.”

Being a unified Body in this day and age, is more important than ever. I want to work towards doing that. I’ve tried to do that in the past few months, but moving in a direction is what’s need to make that happen more fully. Please join me!

Reason #3: Falling Flat

The traffic on this blog has plateaued for the past 12 months. I don’t think it’s reactionary to look at that and say, “This may be as high as the ceiling gets here.” If you know anything about blogging, you know that there are certain “niche” markets to get in to. I’m afraid the “Lutheran-postmodern-ex-pastor-theologically-generous” niche is all dried up :) .

That’s not to say the only reason that I write is for traffic, but the amount of time and energy that goes into writing a blog like this is, in a word, substantial. There are so many of you wonderful people who have read this blog since its inception and I cannot thank you enough for it. Your emails, notes, tweets and encouragement blesses me more than I can say. But sometimes, “You gotta know when to fold ‘em.”

So, What’s Next?

I’ll still be blogging. Quitting that would be next to impossible. I’ll be at JustinWise.net talking about blogging, social media, productivity, and my life (on occasion). I want to share what I’m learning in the space with all of you. I’d love it if you joined me or grabbed the RSS feed.

You can always reach me on Twitter as well. @JustinWise for those who don’t know!

Words cannot express what our conversations through the years have meant. I’ll simply wrap things up by saying “Thank you!”

May God bless you and yours.

Peace,
Justin

Building the Kingdom with Social Media

If you’re at all interested in the field of social media and ministry, you know the metrics that we use to measure success aren’t the same as the marketplace.

  • Churches don’t measure sales.
  • Ministries don’t generate leads.
  • Faith organizations can’t necessarily (primarily) focus on goods sold.

So how, then, do we measure results in social media and ministry? Well, that’s what Monk and some of our partners are setting out to do. I’ve written up the details over at JustinWise.net, suffice to say it’s a survey we could use your input on.

If you:

  • Work at a church that uses social media,
  • Go to a church that uses social media,
  • Use social media yourself

You need to take this survey! Like I said, instructions are over on JustinWise.net. Check it out and let me hear  you holla!

Caption Please!

Caption Please!

Context: The person who received this letter recently went through a divorce.

Intoxicating

What’s keeping your from being great? No, seriously. When you look at what you’re doing, are you satisfied with the results? Are they subpar? Mediocre? Less-than-stellar?

What’s keeping you from excelling and being great at something?

Is it fear?
Doubt?
Disbelief?
Laziness?
Bitterness?
Self-sabotage (ooh, that pinged someone right there. I can tell. Even through this computer screen.)?

Only you can say for sure. The rest of us can only guess.

What’s keeping you from being great? I don’t want  you to look back at your life and think about how you could have done things better. I want you to leave it all out on the table–for better or worse.

Don’t let the allure of the “good enough” steal you away from creating a life that you can be proud of.

 

Caption Please! Easter Edition

Top-of-Mind Mondays

  • This is the last week of active posting to BeDeviant.com. It’s been a wild ride, but it’s time for newer, deeper interests! Have you ever needed to transition out of something that was good but not great?
  • CWC was this past weekend. Did anyone here go to it?
  • I had to knock down a bird’s nest by our door three times. Poor little guy kept building it on top of one of our porch lights. Can’t have that birdie flying into the house. Shoo, bird!
  • Just learned that my hometown, West Des Moines, is Forbes.com’s number one best place to raise a family.
  • My wife and I just got into Glee on Netflix. Why did it take me so long to find this show?
  • John Daker with subtitles.
  • I hope you’ll be continue to read my blogging efforts. I’ll be moving permanently to JustinWise.net. It just makes sense. I don’t work in a church anymore, I’m a dad, a husband, and I wear sweater vests. The “deviant” title just doesn’t fit anymore.
  • Palm Sunday > Easter might be my favorite liturgical season of the year. Tradition seems to be a four-letter word anymore, but the ritual of Holy Week, attached to the Spirit, is a powerful tie to the Church Universal. Does your church celebrate Palm Sunday?
  • Found some old books while sifting through seminary stuff. Two books that forever changed my life: With Christ in the School of Prayer and In Over Our Heads. If you want to get the gist of my seminary education, order and read these two books. Multiple times.
  • What’s the latest and greatest in your world, deviants?

Distributing Wealth

I recently heard a pastor say something along the lines of the following:

If you were to evenly distribute all the wealth across this whole country, so that every person had exactly the same amount of money, down to the penny, in five years the people who were rich would be rich again, and the poor people would be poor again.

If nothing else, it certainly will make you think. So, what do you think about that?

Caption Please!

You’ll Be Getting a Steal of a Deal

If you’re a deal-chaser, I’ll level with you: You’re about to get a steal.

Along with Tim Schraeder and Kem Meyer, I’ll be teaching at Exponential this year. We’re each leading individual sessions during the actual event, but we’re team-teaching a session at the Expo precon that you will definitely want to be a part of. Kem and Tim are there to teach you what’s up. I’m just there for the eye-candy (SNAP!).

I can assure you that this will be an ultra-intimate setting where you will get top-tier content from me, Kem and Tim. If you’re going to be at Exponential, you won’t want to miss it. I swear you’ll be kicking yourself later if you do. Like, right in the face.

The details break down like this:

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