Top-of-Mind Mondays

  • Greetings one and all. I feel like it’s been forever since I blogged. Sorry for the inconsistency! New week, new perspective.
  • I had the chance to be a part of M2 LIVE here in Des Moines on Saturday. There is nothing better as a teacher than a hungry-to-learn crowd. Thank you! If you want to see my slides from the event, here’s session 1, session 2 and session 3.
  • Tim Schraeder announced the Exponential Pre-Conference Communications Bootcamp this morning. I’m very pleased to be taking part alongside Tim and Kem Meyer. Will you be at Exponential?
  • It’s been pushing the 50-degree mark here in Des Moines the last few days. For whatever reason, this bothers me. I’m a huge cold weather fan.
  • We’re starting to promote the Digital Ministry Intensive here in Des Moines on March 26. If you like social media statistics, strategy and intense learning environments, you need to be there.
  • Gmail is taking over my world. I recently ditched Apple Mail in favor of the web-based Gmail interface. So far, the change is nice. Although, the mobile version has some catching up to do, i.e. no aliases.
  • Watch as this man takes a bite of his first Twinkie ever.
  • Did anyone watch the Grammys last night? Mark my words, Twitter integration with television will be the new norm for watching TV.
  • Howard Stern live-tweeted during a viewing of his movie “Private Parts” on HBO. He gave “behind the scenes” info as the movie unfolded. He gets it. That’s how you combine the old with the new.
  • What’s the latest and greatest in your world, deviants?

Using the Social Web to “Rub Elbows” with Real People

I’ve been blogging recently on social media and ministry and how to get results. I believe in the power of the social web, and I believe that churches should utilize these new media to further the Kingdom of God.

That being said, sometimes results are hard to come by. Just what are we measuring anyway?

  • Are we measuring “souls saved”? (And how does one quantify that, exactly?)
  • Are we measuring offering dollars in the plate? (Seems like something worthwhile to track, but ultimately shallow.)
  • Are we measuring butts in the seats? (Again, important to measure, but increased attendance does not a faithful church make.)

One of the primary factors of success in social web ministry, in my opinion, is relationship building. Simply put, do your social media ministry efforts enable you to build more relationships with real, live, flesh-and-blood people?

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Asking Questions No One Wants to Answer

I had a professor in seminary who started out the class by saying, “At the end of this, I hope to still have my job.” Thankfully, he elaborated, “I’m going to have you ask questions about your faith that most people don’t like to ask.”

That he did.

Throughout the course of the one-week class, no less than three people had some sort of anger-fueled breakdown. One student accused the professor of being apostate. Others accused him of being biblically illiterate. All because he challenged us to answer this question:

Why do you believe what you believe?

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Top-of-Mind Mondays (Lay-Over Edition)

  • My cousin won an all-expenses paid wedding in Bowling Green, Kentucky. We went as a family to go see him and his wonderful new bride. I did the wedding. It was a glorious time had by all.
  • We went to leave on Sunday, but our flight got delayed. Then it got delayed again. Then we got stuck in Detroit. (DETROIT!)
  • I spent the Super Bowl in between terminals C 21 and C 18. My dad and I finally bellied up to the Gery Goose lounge bar and watched the ‘bowl with other stranded passengers. Not a bad way to spend the night.
  • We went from Detroit to Minneapolis early this morning. I write this post from the Skol Cafe. We’re still not home yet.
  • You see the best and the worst in people when flights get delayed. I think the true test for anybody is when they’re told their flight has been cancelled.
  • Airport food is really, really expensive.
  • There’s something disconcerting and paradigm-shattering about overhearing your pilot talk about his Superbowl party plans. I feel like they should be studying pilot manuals or figure out lift-projection angles.
  • Did I mention we’re not home yet?
  • What’s the latest and greatest in your world, deviants?

That About Sums it Up, Yeah?

I read this early one morning during my meditations. This just about sums up my struggle with the Church. See if it doesn’t resonate with you somewhere:

How baffling you are, oh Church, and yet how I love you!

How you have made me suffer, and yet how much I owe you!

I should like to see you destroyed, and yet I need your presence.

You have given me so much scandal and yet you have made me understand sanctity.

I have seen nothing in the world more devoted to obscuirty, more compromised, more false, and I have touched nothing more pure, more generous, more beautiful. How often I have wanted to shut the doors of my soul in your face, and how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms.

No, I cannot free myself from you, because I am you, although not completely.

And where should I go?

—From The God Who Comes by Carlo Carretto


Social Media Statistics (and What To Do With Them!)

The good folks at eMarketer put together a killer webinar on social media ROI (return on investment). ROI with social media is a tricky thing because it both fits and doesn’t fit into the conventional method of measuring ROI.

Fits: Measuring how many people come to your website and go on to buy something.
Doesn’t Fit: What’s the value of a tweet? A tweet from a famous person? (Oddly enough, it’s not as high as you’d think).

There were lots of facts and figures shared, but I wanted to share the ones that stuck out to me the most.

Ready? Here we go:

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Top-of-Mind Mondays

  • My search for social media metrics in church and ministry settings has largely come up short. I want to know how social media is affecting churches across the nation. Can you help?
  • I’m launching a new blog tomorrow. Can’t wait. I’ve been sitting on this one for awhile!
  • Half of the Super Bowl ad campaigns will feature or launch a social media endeavor. That’s a big deal.
  • On a related note, I read recently that 50% of Brits use social media while watching TV. They call it “Social TV”. Aptly named, but huge implications for the blending of new and old media. It’s a trend that will also continue. Need proof? Follow the #bachelor hashtag tonight.
  • I tried a little Twitter experiment at church this past weekend. I tweeted out towards the end of the message, “Find me and win a $50 gift card to the book store!” Within five minutes after service was over, I had a winner. Think people at your church aren’t on Twitter? Think again.
  • Need to lift your spirits? Watch the Interlude Dance. Some students at my alma mater, UNI, made this. I had the chance to see it live and in person last week and the guy is right, it is like a religious experience.
  • Apple TV just got a whole lot cooler. If you have the device and are comfy with hacking, get Seas0nPass. Well worth it.
  • I’m becoming averse to the term “Social Media Strategist,” and I am one. It feels…hokey.
  • My wife and I saw “No Strings Attached” over the weekend. Take out 50% of the curse words and the pointless drug use and you’ve got four stars. Otherwise, I’d give it three and a half.
  • By 2012, 88% of marketers will use social media tools.
  • What’s the latest and greatest in your world, deviants?

Who Is Using Social Media to Generate Real-World Results?

I posted a question on Twitter the other day:

I’m looking for real-world results from the impact of social media on churches. Any studies you could point me to? #helpless than a minute ago via HootSuite

I felt this was a big enough ask to post it here on the blog. So I posit to you the same question as above:

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What are You Be-Holding?

I remember watching a news story once about a woman who died after she accidentally drove her car into a lake and drowned.

Tragic enough, the story had a dark twist of irony laced in. Family members who were interviewed about her death said she was absolutely paranoid about one thing: Drowning in a car submerged in water. The very thing she was terrified of–petrified, in fact–was the very thing that ended up happening to her. Tragic.

Family members filled out the story: She would purposefully avoid driving by bodies of water. She wouldn’t ride in cars with people unless she could drive. A seemingly normal woman who was completely immobilized by fear. A fear that eventually took her life.

What do you spend conscious energy purposefully avoiding during the course of your day? I’m not suggesting it will literally take your life, but it may end up taking more than you bargained for.

“What you behold, you become.” A popular idiom in Christian circles that carries tremendous power. What we focus on doing (or not doing) will eventually shape us into the people that we will be.

Question is, what are you beholding?

One-Sentence State of the Union

In light of last night’s State of the Union speech by President Obama, I want to ask you:

What would your State of the Union sound like?

Of course, “Union” could be anything from your own personal life to how your church is doing to what your dog had yesterday for lunch. It’s up to you.

Either way, let us know in the comments what your address would sound like in one sentence.

Here’s mine:

Learning how to be yourself and listen to what the desires of your heart truly are takes time, patience and the voices of those who’ve done it before.

What about you? Holler.

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