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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

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?

 

Best of the Week. v.1

What a fun week. I had a great time posting this week. The posts that I wrote were fun, original and genuinely thought-out.

If you’re a regular blogger, you know that sometimes posting something, especially every day, can become a bit bothersome. It’s a labor of love, for sure, but sometimes it’s more labor than love.

That being said, here are the top three posts from the week. These are the ones you read the most, shared the most and discussed the most.

  • How to Get What You Want (Nearly Every Time) – There are two ways to get what you want in life: Pushing and pulling. Find out which one is more effective and will get you what you want.
  • 5 Resources for Becoming a Digital Pastor – This post will give you a starting block for getting started with digital ministry. What’s digital ministry? Well you’ll just have to read the post and find out!
  • Your Next Million-Dollar Idea – If you’re looking for a tried-and-true business strategy to literally make a million dollars, look no further. You’ve got it here, in this post.

Enjoy. Re-read. Retweet. Share with a friend or write that comment you were going to share during the week but didn’t have time for.

A Really Easy Way to Start Your Blog

Let me help you!

Last week, I shared about a project I’ve been working on that will drop early 2011.

I’ll be releasing my first eBook on blogging.

More than that, though, it’s a story of how this site started and the mistakes (and successes) we’ve had along the way. As a special treat, here’s the first page of the book. I can’t wait for you to see the whole thing:

(more…)

Top-of-Mind Mondays

  • Christmas is almost here! I love getting presents *hint, hint*. What’s the best present you’ve ever received?
  • I had the chance to sit down with DJ Chuang to do an interview for an upcoming article I’m writing. Really impressed with DJ and his ability to think forward on behalf of the Church.
  • We’re going to be launching our online campus for Lutheran Church of Hope soon, and very soon. Excited to show you what we’ve been working on behind the scenes!
  • Skitch Pro is totally worth it. I’ve never had this much fun taking screen caps before.
  • Have you ever read the E-Myth? It should be required reading for all small business owners andchurch planters. The two roles share more in common than you might think!
  • Hootsuite is slowly winning me over. I was, shall we say, less than pleasedwhen they forced people to choose between “pro” and “standard” (i.e. severely neutered) accounts. Turns out, they have the best comprehensive solution for social media management around. They deserved the right to charge for it. Hooray capitalism!
  • Holidays are always such an odd time for church workers. Such a strange dynamic. Everyone else has holidays off (for the most part), but church workers don’t. I guess that’s part of the sacrifice, no?
  • One of the ideas DJ dropped on me was the notion of “multi-churching.” You’d have a “home base” church, but be involved with activities with other churches throughout the week. Very interesting. Maybe the college kids got it right!
  • LiveTheme by the 8Bit guys is rock solid. I’ve had so much fun utilizing this theme and taking it for a spin. Dead-simple solution for a church that’s wanting to take their services online.
  • I’m contemplating taking a podcast idea I’ve had for Deviant off the shelf. We’d talk talk social media and ministry. Kind of like my online office hours. Would you guys listen?
  • What’s the latest and greatest in your world, deviants?

A Simple Guide to Blogging

An eBook that shares everything I know about blogging.

  • What works.
  • What doesn’t.
  • How to have fun along the way.

Coming in early 2011.

Blogging on a Rocket

My friend and fellow “Words with Friends” playing partner, Bryan Allain, has just launched a new project.

BlogRocket.net is blog coaching network that Bryan has started up. How can Bryan help you?

I created BlogRocket in 2010 as a way to help other bloggers overcome their biggest frustrations to help them achieve their blogging goals.

If your blogging efforts need a shot-in-the-arm, check out Bryan’s gig. He’s a good guy, he writes well, and he plays one mean game of Scrabble.

Visit Bryan on his daily blog and then check out BlogRocket.net. Let me know what you think. And, if you want even more options, you can always read about the Deviant Apprenticeship and shoot me an email if you’re interested.

Top-of-Mind Mondays

  • I’m struggling as of late in determining what to do with BeDeviant.com. Over the course of the past year, I’ve switched from a regular weekly preacher to a social web and tech guy. I still work in a church, but that’s about the only thing that has remained the same. The content on this site over the last year has showed that transition. Struggling to find a consistent voice for this blog.
  • Call me crazy, but I love this time of the year. In my mind, the colder the better. It could be because I have been known to sweat at the drop of a hat. But nothing beats coming home to a nice, cozy house where I can put my feet up.
  • The Behance crew is a legit. On a whim, I picked up the phone and called their offices to see if we could work together on a future project. I got a hold of Alison who gave me her full, undivided attention and listened to what I had to say. Then she followed up with me. That’s service. That’s why I like these guys so much.
  • Starting to wade in the waters of the LiveTheme by the @8Bit guys. This thing’s for real. If your church has ever thought about going online with services, you owe it yourself to check this theme out.
  • Some people love it. Some hate it. Egg nog is in the running for my favorite beverage of all time.
  • Just discovered Meetzi last week. Set agendas, action steps, take notes and define purposes for the meetings you run. It still has a few bugs, but it’s definitely worth checking out. Let me know if you use and what your thoughts are.
  • So proud of Des Moines’ Ben Milne. Ben runs a company called Dwolla and he just secured a million dollar investment for the company. Ben and his team are legit. They’re good people and they produce a great service. Great job guys!
  • Absolutely floored by @messycanvas‘s post “I’m Tired of Being a Christian“. This should be required reading, ya’ll. I must write a follow-up to this post.
  • We just got a short URL for Deviant Media Group: DVNT.be. Kind of fun.
  • What’s the latest and greatest in your world, deviants?

Top-of-Mind Mondays

  • Wow. What a weekend! Thanksgiving weekend was more fun than normal this year … Forgive the lack of updates! I think that’s the longest I’ve gone between updates in over three years!
  • Speaking of Thanksgiving, how was yours? What did you do? Who did you see? Was there anyone you missed out on being with that really bummed you out? What surprised you the most?
  • I added two new (to me) feeds to my Google Reader: LifeHacker.com and ReadWriteWeb.com. It’s official, I’ve graduated to full-on Geekdom. Who’s with me?
  • Speaking of geek, this little app just made my life a whole lot easier.
  • Ben Arment is firing up Dream Year again. As someone who was fortunate enough to participate in the inaugural year, I can say without hesitancy that it was absolutely worth it.
  • I bought a new domain. It’s going to rule. Want a sneak peek? “Digital lifestyle design.” That’s all I’m sayin’.
  • Black Friday is not worth it. Again, Black Friday is not worth it. Now you know.
  • Speaking of Black Friday, a better way to go is Cyber Monday. Which is today. It just so happens that the theme this blog is built on is on sale for the rest of November. 30% off. Standard Theme. Do it.
  • What’s the latest and greatest in your world, deviants?
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