Tag Archive - technology

1

Why I Took a Month Off from Social Media

It’s become a new normal for our family. For the past couple of years, each July, we take a step away from screens for the month. I don’t blog, we’re not on social media, the T.V. stays turned off, and my teenage daughters stay off their phones. They may not like it…at least for the first week or two, but they do it. And while this kind of move may not be for everyone, I’ve never regretted it. Here’s a couple of reasons why:

Distraction Free Family Time:

Instead of binge watching Netfilx or spending time on phones or tablets we actually interacted face to face with each other over family dinners, playing board games, going on walks, and other fun stuff on the family summer bucket list.

Turn down the Noise:

Screens can create a lot of added noise in our lives. Social media, texting, and video sound bites create a non-stop flurry of distractions and noise in our lives. Turning down that noise can help refocus our attention on things that have a higher priority in our lives.

Intentionality:

It’s a simple step/action that our family has decided to take each year to be intentional and place a stake in the ground, so to speak, about what’s important to us. We’ve learned that if we don’t take simple intentional steps like this we’ll end up just running through the motions and get lost in the business of 4 kids schedules.

I’m still not Convinced 24-7 Access to Screens is a good thing for my kids…

Yes, I’m that dad who has drug his feet as long as he could on getting his kids cell phones. Even though they have them (at least my High School daughters) I’m still not there. We have a consistent approach with it. No phones after dad gets home (I can’t stand phones at the dinner table) and no phones in rooms at night time. I may be a little old school, but I keep seeing articles on studies connecting cell phones to teen depression etc. I want my kids to grow up using technology not getting addicted to it.

…and if you want to know the real brains behind the idea, it was Lisa, not me who made the call on this a few years ago…glad God put her in my life…makes me a much better parent!


Posted in Family, Leadership, Spiritual Formation

1

Why the Internet will Strengthen, not Kill the Church

Ever since the modern internet hit the scene in the 1990’s (thank you Al Gore…smile) doomsday Church Leaders have been fretting that it would be hurtful to culture, the Gospel and the movement of the Church.

Nothing could be further than the truth.

The last time there was a technological advancement of this magnitude the printing press was invented, which helped propel the Gospel in an unparalleled manner at the most opportune time of the Protestant Reformation. For the first time in history the average person (who was literate) could actually read the Bible for themselves in their own language! It was legitimately world changing.

The internet and this highly technological culture that we are living in has the same potential to catalyze the movement of the Gospel in a way not seen since the Protestant Reformation.

The Bible App

The Bible App, developed by the good folks at Life Church has been downloaded and installed more than 200 million times. When YouVersion launched there were 12 versions of the Bible available in 2 languages. Today there are more than 1,200 versions of the Bible available in more than 900 languages! YouVersion is working to make God’s Word available to every person on Earth, no matter where they live or what language they prefer.

Video Teaching

The internet and technological advances have fueled video teaching, which has propelled the multisite movement not only in North America but around the world. Each week more than 100,000 people attend a Hillsong Church Campus in one of more than 25 locations in more than 12 countries around the world.

Internet Evangelism

The internet is creating a unique and interestingly safe place for people of other spiritual backgrounds to investigate Jesus’ claim to be the only path to God. Thousands of Muslims, in particular, are saying yes to following Jesus as a direct result of intentional internet evangelism.

Technology and the internet are creating opportunities to fuel the Gospel that haven’t even been thought up or leveraged yet. My hunch is if Jesus walked the Earth today instead of reading someone’s account of the sermon on the mount (Matthew 6) we’d probably be watching it firsthand on YouTube.

Forbes recently ran an article entitled, “Five Signs That Stores (Not E-Commerce) Are The Future Of Retail”

  1. All But One Of The Top Ten U.S. Retailers Are Physical Chains
  2. Stores Are More Profitable Than E-Commerce
  3. Amazon Purchased Whole Foods
  4. Millennials And Generation Z Prefer Real-Life Stores
  5. Online Retailers Are Being Eaten By Legacy Retailers

In this new cyber-age the Church isn’t going anywhere. It is going to take ground, not lose it. You and your church just need to figure out how to leverage this new opportunity. While technology and the internet can enhance and catalyze the growth of the church in new ways it isn’t going to replace the church. Even with global work place trends towards automation the Church will remain, interestingly enough, distinctly human. A place where real people can interact with other real people about the most important conversations and topics life has to offer. But what technology can do for the Church is:

  1. Create new ways for all people on the planet to engage in the Bible
  2. Build new ways to deliver biblical teaching across the globe
  3. Provide opportunities to get quality, accredited biblical training online anywhere in the world
  4. Create new, easily accessible, safe space for people to connect with other people and engage in dialogue about God and His principles

What other opportunities are you seeing or sensing that may be next for the Church to take hold of and leverage for the sake of the Gospel? I’m interested in your thoughts and ideas…leave a comment!


Posted in Leadership

0

Top Posts of 2016 #3 “What Growing Churches do Differently”

We’ve finally made it to the top 3 posts in our countdown from 2016!

It’s not faith, it’s not luck, and it’s not some leadership secret. Growing churches are actually doing something differently than the other 80% of churches in America that are stuck or declining.

At the Unstuck Group we work with 100’s of churches every year and we’ve discovered that growing churches are actually doing some very tangible things differently than other churches. Below are just a few of them.

1. Staff Led

Look at the statistics across America and you’ll discover that growing churches have very few congregational votes. These churches are Staff led instead of Board led or Congregationally led. Practically speaking that is because Church Boards are part-time thinkers and they simply don’t have the time to give to a full-time job of running the church. As a result decision making and implementation slow down because the staff are constantly catching the Board or the church up on the past instead of leading the church into the future. I know this isn’t always an easy transition for churches to make. I’d suggest you pick up a copy of High Impact Church Boards to read through with the Board at your church and get the conversation started.

2. Intentionally Develop Leaders

Growing churches develop leaders at an exponential rate compared to most churches in America. They do this intentionally, not just “organically,” (which is code for we don’t have a plan and we hope it somehow magically happens). They don’t just use people to fill volunteer roles, they see volunteering as an essential part of the discipleship process. They delegate responsibility and empower volunteers with real ministry decision-making power. They develop some kind of formal content that is specific to the culture of their church and train up and coming leaders in that content. This allows them to hire from within instead of hiring from outside and jeopardizing their culture.

3. Embrace Technology

Growing churches embrace technology. This may simply be evidence that they are more likely to change methodology based on effectiveness more readily than other churches and that they are open to new ideas. But whatever the case they are embracing the use of technology through social media engagement, online marketing, big data, video teaching, and use of technology in weekend worship services. This isn’t new. I don’t think it’s a mere coincidence that the protestant reformation took place during a similar time period to the printing press and the Bible being translated, printed in the hands of the everyday guy. With advancements in technology come opportunities for advancements in the Gospel for churches that embrace them.

4. Clear Strategy

Growing churches don’t just hope and pray for growth, they plan for it and build a clear actionable strategy to grow. Hoping your church will grow won’t make your church grow and growing churches understand this. They develop clear strategies (strategy answers the question “How are we going to do this?”), to help them get to their vision (vision answers the question “Where are we going?”). This informs all of their decision-making and allows them to align resources (people, time, money, facilities, etc.) to get them where they believe Jesus has called them to go. They’re also fanatical about clarity, because they understand the clearer they can make things, the faster they can go and the more effective they can be.

Interested in getting your church unstuck and growing again? I’d encourage you to reach out to the Unstuck Group. We’ve built a trusted track record and have a proven process to help your church get unstuck!


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing

1

What Growing Churches do Differently

It’s not faith, it’s not luck, and it’s not some leadership secret. Growing churches are actually doing something differently than the other 80% of churches in America that are stuck or declining.

At the Unstuck Group we work with 100’s of churches every year and we’ve discovered that growing churches are actually doing some very tangible things differently than other churches. Below are just a few of them.

1. Staff Led

Look at the statistics across America and you’ll discover that growing churches have very few congregational votes. These churches are Staff led instead of Board led or Congregationally led. Practically speaking that is because Church Boards are part-time thinkers and they simply don’t have the time to give to a full-time job of running the church. As a result decision making and implementation slow down because the staff are constantly catching the Board or the church up on the past instead of leading the church into the future. I know this isn’t always an easy transition for churches to make. I’d suggest you pick up a copy of High Impact Church Boards to read through with the Board at your church and get the conversation started.

2. Intentionally Develop Leaders

Growing churches develop leaders at an exponential rate compared to most churches in America. They do this intentionally, not just “organically,” (which is code for we don’t have a plan and we hope it somehow magically happens). They don’t just use people to fill volunteer roles, they see volunteering as an essential part of the discipleship process. They delegate responsibility and empower volunteers with real ministry decision-making power. They develop some kind of formal content that is specific to the culture of their church and train up and coming leaders in that content. This allows them to hire from within instead of hiring from outside and jeopardizing their culture.

3. Embrace Technology

Growing churches embrace technology. This may simply be evidence that they are more likely to change methodology based on effectiveness more readily than other churches and that they are open to new ideas. But whatever the case they are embracing the use of technology through social media engagement, online marketing, big data, video teaching, and use of technology in weekend worship services. This isn’t new. I don’t think it’s a mere coincidence that the protestant reformation took place during a similar time period to the printing press and the Bible being translated, printed in the hands of the everyday guy. With advancements in technology come opportunities for advancements in the Gospel for churches that embrace them.

4. Clear Strategy

Growing churches don’t just hope and pray for growth, they plan for it and build a clear actionable strategy to grow. Hoping your church will grow won’t make your church grow and growing churches understand this. They develop clear strategies (strategy answers the question “How are we going to do this?”), to help them get to their vision (vision answers the question “Where are we going?”). This informs all of their decision-making and allows them to align resources (people, time, money, facilities, etc.) to get them where they believe Jesus has called them to go. They’re also fanatical about clarity, because they understand the clearer they can make things, the faster they can go and the more effective they can be.

Interested in getting your church unstuck and growing again? I’d encourage you to reach out to the Unstuck Group. We’ve built a trusted track record and have a proven process to help your church get unstuck!


Posted in Leadership

2

Video Teaching Versus Live Teaching in a Multisite Church

When the multisite movement really began gaining public traction 10 years ago the predominate models that were held up were using video to deliver teaching across their campuses. Since those early days the multisite movement has begun to grow up a bit and today about 50% of the 8,000 (ballpark) multisite churches are delivering teaching via video while the other 50% are using live teaching in their locations. But what are the pros and cons? Which model is best for your church?

Video Teaching:

  • Simply put the biggest “win,” when it comes to delivering teaching via video is consistency. Consistency in vision, language, culture, and leadership coming through one clear consistent voice simply cannot be overstated in its value.
  • Leveraging the gift of a great communicator at every location instead of good communicators at every location.
  • Embracing the technology of video teaching provides a certain nimbleness and flexibility for the church to respond to opportunity and expand the reach of the Gospel.

Live Teaching:

  • Some people simply will never accept teaching delivered over a screen.
  • Less financial investment in the technology needed to support video capture, delivery, and playback.
  • There are actually few communicators gifted enough to transfer effectively across video (they’re not growing on trees).
  • Natural succession planning allows each campus to become it’s own independent church in the future more easily.

Don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not making a case for either option. I don’t believe one is better than the other. I believe better communication is better communication period. Whether it’s delivered via video or live. But I do believe there is a right decision for each multisite church based on the factors listed above among other things.

So what’s missing? What would you add to the conversation?

Photo Credit: kevin dooley via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership
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