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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

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?

Top-of-Mind Mondays

  • This is the second to last TOMM on BeDeviant.com ever! Next week, I’ll be transitioning this blog project elsewhere. Stay tuned.
  • I had the chance to visit with the Twin Cities’ Social Media Shepherds last Friday. What a great group of servants who want to serve God through building his kingdom online! Go get ’em, shepherds!
  • Speaking of fun groups, I beamed into Charles Lee’s social media marketing class at Biola last week. Those students are light years ahead of most people in the game. And they have a great coach at the helm. How much fun is that universities are beginning to have enough foresight to build social media know-how into their curriculum?
  • While I was up north, I stopped into IKEA. It’s easy—really easy—to blow a lot of dough in that joint. On a related note, our home office is shaping up nicely.
  • Have you seen the latest wipit video? There’s a Spanish version as well. Fun!
  • One of my favorite professors at Bethel Seminary is transitioning out of his role as a full-time prof. Seems like transition is the name of the game these days. Where are you moving to?
  • Finnegan’s latest trick is spitting. He spits everywhere–the trash can, the sink, the floor, you name it. It would be gross if he actually was expelling saliva from his mouth, but he just makes the “ptooey!” noise. Awesome.
  • Charles Lee does a nice job of breaking down the 2011 social media marketing report.
  • What’s the latest and greatest in your world, deviants?

Top-of-Mind Mondays

  • This is the third to last TOMM on BeDeviant.com ever! On April 13th, 2011 (777 published posts), I will be pulling the plug on this site. It will remain online as an archive, but I will not be actively posting here. I’m writing up a post at to the reasons behind it. Suffice to say, it’s time. Thanks for the memories!
  • Speaking of transition, I made the announcement last week that I am leaving my current role on staff at my church. Shaking things up!
  • Lil’ Jon continues to be my favorite on The Celebrity Apprentice. I mean, c’mon, the guy’s working for the United Methodist church! Not a bad gig, IMO. WHAT!
  • In related news: Big Wednesday.
  • One of our local sports reporters played horse with Harrison Barnes last year. (HB is from Ames, about 45 minutes north of the DeMo.)
  • Speaking of …. VCU! I felt a little redemption with UNI not being in the tourney this year. If you’ll remember correctly, Kansas got punked by the Panthers last year in a colossal upset. VCU = UNI part two?
  • When I broke the news that I was leaving staff, certainly I was thankful for the texts, tweets, emails and calls. But the thing that struck me the most was my online friends. I heard from quite a few of you whom I know solely or primarily through our online connection. That meant a lot to me. And they say that online relationships don’t count as “real.”
  • Follow your favor. Is there an area in your life that you seem to naturally gravitate towards and excel in? Follow it. Follow that trail for as long as you can. Even if you’re not following it now, there’s still time to make a course correction.
  • I tried Bud Select over the weekend. I know some people are keen on Mich Ultra, but I’m a Bud guy, I guess. Have you tried either of these low-calorie brews? What did you think?
  • Nike Free Runs let you run without socks. I’m training my feet right now. They say it’s the closest you can get to running barefoot. I believe it. My legs, feet, shins, etc. are exhausted!
  • What’s the latest and greatest in your world, deviants?

Join Me For a Free Social Media Webinar for Pastors and Ministry Leaders

Hollow out your schedule for Friday afternoon. You just got plans!

I’ll be leading a free webinar in partnership with Monk Development this Friday at 11 am PDT; 1 pm CST. Here’s the description:

Just what is “social media” anyway? Why has it taken the online world by storm? In this webinar you’ll learn why the social web is absolutely crucial to communicating with the next generation. You’ll learn how the up-and-coming generation communicates and why you need to be in those channels, contributing your story to the social media flow. We’ll focus on the “why” and the “how” of social media. If you’re confused by terms like “tweet”, “like” and “blogging”, this webinar is a great place to start in getting a social media education! Join blogger and social strategist Justin Wise to uncover the basic principles of social media and why you need to be integrating it into your ministry work flow.

Hurry up and get yourself registered. Space is limited.

Top-of-Mind Mondays

  • Good morning everybody! I had to be reminded that today was Monday by my local coffee shop guy. When I left, he told me to, “be good.”
  • After a long time of deliberation and prayer, I’m going to be shutting down BeDeviant.com. Three weeks from Wednesday, I’ll transition this blog into another project I’ve been working on. Don’t worry, I’ll still be blogging. It will just look different. A fuller explanation is coming, I just wanted to let you all know ahead of time.
  • Speaking of big announcements, I have another one to make Wednesday of this week. Stay tuned. You’ll hear it here first.
  • This Winter has not been kind to the Wise household. Sniffles, sneezes, coughs, wheezes—we are ready for Spring! Who’s with me?
  • I love what Ben Arment is up to, but this idea really takes the cake. Come to Des Moines, Ben!
  • I’ll be up in the Twin Cities next month for the Social Media Shepherds meeting. If you’re in that neck of the woods, I’d love to connect and the Shepherds would love to have you at the event. Come one, come all!
  • My in-laws were in town this weekend to watch the Finn-man while my wife and I galavanted around town. We had Sunday brunch at a little nook by our place called the Cozy Cafe. It felt like a modern twist on the old, 1950’s-style diners. My son flirted with old ladies and babies, we had great conversation, and I ate a dish called “The Cozy Mess”. Bliss!
  • Speaking of my wife, I can’t tell you how proud I am of her! She finished a 10-week body-shaping class and lost 15 pounds! We celebrated this past weekend by going to weddings and eating one-too-many chocolate chip cookies. Great job, girl!
  • Last but not least, what’s the latests and greatest in your world, deviants?

 

Let’s Hang in Louisville

In my entire 30 years of existence, I have visited the state of Kentucky exactly once.

Once.

And that was to attend the wedding of my cousin. (I can literally hear the jokes formulating in your brain.) This was the same trip that led to the unfortunate #KYwedding hashtag debacle. In my innocence, I wanted to catalog the trip with the state’s initials (KY) and what we’d be doing there (wedding). Some of you were kind enough to point out the obvious problems with this Twitter nomenclature. Moving on…

From what I saw in Kentucky, I liked it. I liked it so much that I’m heading back in the middle of May to speak at the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit. I’m teaming up with Drew Goodmanson from Monk Development to give what I believe will be a transformative breakout session. Here’s the scoop:

Low Cost, Big Reach: Harnessing New Media to Grow Ministry Impact (Drew Goodmanson, Monk Development; Justin Wise, Deviant Media Group) Are you capitalizing on the social media revolution? Is your Website designed for high-impact on potential donors and volunteers? Are you maximizing the use of mobile technology to reach out to key publics? Learn how harnessing New Media can take the impact of your ministry to unprecedented levels of impact and influence.

I’d love it if you would consider joining the conference to not only attend the session, but get in tune with God’s heart for adoption. You can find the site here. Also, read up on some of the other breakout sessions that’ll be going at the same time.

The real question is: Have you ever been to Kentucky?

An Update on Some Projects I’ve Been Working On

A few days ago, I sent an invite out on Twitter to play a game of Words with Friends. I had just finished a good game and wanted to branch out a little bit. Call me a nerd, but Scrabble scratches an itch for me.

The invite went out and within 10 minutes, I had 12 new games going. I love me some letter games, but that’s a whole lot of words with a whole lot of friends. Oops. Seems I either needed to be a little more cautious about inviting people to play or just stick to the few friends I already had been playing.

Similarly, when you’ve been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug like I have, life can begin to look like an all-call to Words with Friends. Over the course of the past year, I’ve started a lot of projects and want to make sure I’m keeping you up-to-date on most of them. Some of you have expressed interest in them, so I owe you a “progress report” of sorts.

Here’s what I got cooking:

Speaking Gigs: I’ll be at a few events this year and I couldn’t be more excited to connect with some of you in person. To see a full list of where I’ll be, check out, in Scott McClellan’s words, my International Speaking Tour!!!

BeDeviant Social Media Summit: I’m taking off on Monday to head down to Kansas City. I’m meeting with some fine folks about the possibility of holding a Summit down there. I’ve also just started turning the wheels with Social Media Summit alum, Josh Larson, for a new Summit here in Des Moines.

Digital Ministry Intensive: Scrapped due to low interest. Experiments are helpful, even when they don’t work. The demand isn’t there just yet.

Deviant Apprenticeship: I was most surprised by the response to this. A funny thing happened when I announced this: I got super busy. Just a few weeks after the interest emails started coming in, I became co-director at the Center for Church Communication. Mark my words: This will happen. I want to bring people along with me as I learn about the intersection of social media and ministry. This field is too important to pioneer alone.

A Simple Guide to Blogging: I will have this shipped by Easter. That’s technically still Spring, which is when I wanted to have this thing out the door. Trust me, my loyal deviants, you will be the first to know when this thing drops. As a side note, I cannot wait for you to get your hands on this!

Online Office Hours: Still going strong. We’ve picked up steam and there’s a fun little community that’s been forming every Wednesday from 2-4 pm CST. We talk blogging, social media, pastoring in the digital age–even sweater vests!

My goal is to finish these projects strong, even if it takes a little longer to get them out the door. Know this!

I have to thank this community, first and foremost, for giving me the freedom and encouragement to experiment with this site and what we’re all about at BeDeviant.com. You’re the best!

Top-of-Mind Mondays

  • Whew! What a bender. I was at Catalyst West last week—my first time ever. What a great event! Although, I think I was more inspired by the relationships I formed with new people. Did you miss it? Check out my friend Tim’s notes. He’s, like, a pro.
  • Speaking of Catalyst West, I found a new (to me) worship artist, John Mark McMillan. Awesome. He led worship on Thursday, but I’m pretty sure he was super sick. I could have sworn he ended the set early to run backstage and hurl. Can anyone in the know confirm or deny?
  • Speaking of worship artists, I’ve been humming this song since the live performance of it at CatWest.
  • The closer you get to doing what it is you want to do, the more people will try to bring you down.
  • Most of us live in a constant state of anxiety that we aren’t doing what we’re created to do. When we see people who are moving into their calling, conviction rises up and we must demonize that person to stay sane.
  • I’m selling my iPad if you’re interested. 64 GB with case and AppleCare included. All for a cool $574 OBO. Interested?
  • I still can’t get over this clip of Lady Gaga when she was still Stefani Germanotta (she’s the one in the black dress).
  • I’ll be headed down to Kansas City next week to scope out locations for the next Social Media Summit. Stay tuned….
  • Is SEO DEAD?
  • Made a switch in plans. The wife and I are postponing our NYC trip for the 99% Conference to head out to Cultivate instead. It’s too important to miss. Coincidentally, I now have a 99% Conference ticket for sale. Any takers?
  • What’s the latest and greatest in your world, deviants?

Top 10 Posts from 2010

I like ending things on a high note. So to cap off 2010 here on BeDeviant.com, I thought I’d walk us through the top 10 posts from this past year.

These are the posts that generated the most traffic, discussion and momentum.

These are the posts that kept your attention.

These are the posts you tweeted, shared and bookmarked.

These are the posts that made this community what it is.

Here they are:

(more…)

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