Twitter church

Here’s a question for you.

Would the church function better as a community if everyone used Twitter?

I think it would. It’s turned into a great way to keep track of people in the church and how their days and weeks are going. Good, bad or ugly it allows us to know what’s happening and hopefully feel like we know people beyond the standard Sunday morning “how are you doing?” conversations.

You can read my “how-to” for Twitter here. And you can follow me on Twitter here.

So what do you think. Could it improve your community?

Quick Notes 7-30-08

  • I woke up this morning to zero e-mails. Usually I have at least 15 from overnight. I just assumed the world ended and I missed the whole party.
  • The next three days will be consumed with a magazine deadline (in which I will hate everyone involved only to remember how much I love them when the final pages ship out) and finishing a big branding pitch for Friday.
  • The branding pitch involves lots of research into 50s and 60s era advertising. I love it. I’ll probably post some examples later. Ahh the days of long copy. I think I would have been creatively happier in the 60s.
  • Three weddings in August. All three are out-of-town. I like traveling but this may be too much.
  • So many marketing ideas for both sides of the studio, I’m just too busy doing client work to worry about my own stuff.
  • We’re already starting prep for the bridal show in September. Praying it will be huge.
  • I’m behind, as usual, for this time of month.
  • I seem to be spending more time than usual thinking about the future of the business.
  • Things seem to be coming together at church. We are still having the usual small church struggles, but things are moving.
  • Attendance is down slightly this summer, but we seem to be getting a lot of visitors really interested in staying and serving.

    More

    We don’t use any pre-made curriculum for the kid’s ministry. I prefer to instead keep a finger on the pulse of the kids and see what they need spiritually. The last two weeks we’ve been talking about how God changes hearts. Last week we got into how having more of God changes us even more.

    I posed the question, “do you honestly want more of God?” After a lot of work I’ve finally brought these kids to the point where they can be honest with me and not give the “church” answer. After a few confused looks they more or less agreed they didn’t want more of God because they didn’t really know what that meant.

    So that’s what we’re diving into next. What does it mean to have “more of God?” What can you do to have more? How does that change lives and hearts? How do you get the desire for more of God and keep it going?

    Ironically these are things I struggle with all the time and I think I’m not alone. I look at teenagers and see kids that need more of God but just don’t understand how it can alter their lives. I look at adults who need more of God but make no room for him in their life.

    I was going to kick this off next week, but I think I’ll put if off for a couple of weeks to really dive into this question. There are so many angles to take I really want to get to the meat of it and teach what will help these kids the most.

    So help me. What does it mean to have more of God? What do you do to have more of God? How does that effect your life? When I ask that question, what parts of the Bible does it bring to mind?

    I’ve got a few ideas on where I ‘m going with it, but I’d like this to be a group experiment.

    The hidden gem of accountability

    As the staff of Legacy, we’re required to fill our weekly accountability reports. They are a mix of questions about our week, our relationships and things along that line. I’m not going to lie, sometimes it gets tedious.

    But, even in the tedium I still love them. They provide an opportunity to look back on my week and see all the great things right beside all the mistakes.

    And often times, God is able to show me things I didn’t notice at the time because I was still in the middle of it all.

    UPDATE: See the comments below for the list of questions I answer every week.
    If you don’t already, find someone to be accountable to. There’s a lot of value in it.

    Knowing why you’re there

    Through our marriage we’ve had a few hospital visits between having kids and surgeries. Never have we had a completely great set of nurses to take care of us until this weekend. I wrote about them here.

    I’ve been thinking of why this experience was so great and I think it boils down to the fact that our nurses this weekend knew why we where there and what that was like. They knew we were scared. They knew we didn’t want to be there. They knew one of us would be in pain.

    They knew all that and reacted accordingly. They were always there to comfort us. They never let there personal lives intrude. You wouldn’t have known if they were having a bad day because they always had a smile and a comforting word for us.

    Have you ever had that waitress that clearly hated her job. It never leads to good service. We’ve had nurses that were the same way and it showed. This was entirely different.

    I think we need to remember that as people who work in a church. We need to acknowledge the circumstances people are in when they walk through the doors. We need to understand that they are nervous and if they’re new may not know exactly “how things are done.” We need to acknowledge that they are all looking for something and do our absolute best to help meet those needs.

    My life versus her’s

    Meet Annette. I discovered her through Anne’s blog when she went to Uganda. According to Anne, Annette only makes a profit of $1 a day from her business as a cook.

    I’m currently teaching the Legacy Kids about money. The biggest part of the lessons is looking beyond themselves and helping those in need. As an exercise to illustrate it for them I decided to compare my life to Annette’s. I took my hourly rate and compared it with her daily wages to show how long it would take her to pay for things I have versus how long it takes me.

    It really is eye opening.

    A cup of Starbucks coffee
    Me: About 3 minutes
    Her: 4 days

    Becca’s monthly Tahoe payment
    Me: About 6 hours
    Her: 14 months

    My office TV
    Me: 6 and a 1/2 hours
    Her: 16 months

    The computer I’m writing this on
    Me: 3 and a 1/2 days
    Her: 6 years

    My camera and one lens
    Me: 6 days
    Her: 10 years

    The cost of sponsoring one child each month
    Me: 26 minutes
    Her: 32 days

    This was incredibly odd for me to look at. It also shocked my class as I showed them the difference in how we live versus how others around the world live. So this Sunday our class is picking a child to sponsor through Compassion International. The cost is $32 per month and I’m putting it on the kids to cover as much of that as they can. I want to keep them focused on helping someone else for once.

    You can read about Anne’s trip to Uganda here. There is story after story about how that money really does change someone’s life for the better. Or we can go to Chili’s and have lunch. Whatever works.

    You can learn more about sponsoring a child here.

    Teaching love, not money

    In my years at church I’ve heard money taught on mostly as a mathematical formula.

    God gives you X. Multiply X times .1 and that’s how much you give to the church.

    Does that seem cold to anyone else?

    I’ve been going through a series on money for the Legacy Kids. Instead of starting with formulas or even verses on finances, I started with John 3:16. We spent an entire class dissecting every aspect of that verse.

    Why?

    Because love is the key to being successful in God’s eyes when it comes to money. Our giving of money to the church and to others should start and end with our love of God.

    I emphasized to the kids that God wants our heart. He doesn’t need our money but he also knows it’s a sign of what’s important to us.

    It shows our love. Love is the only thing I’ve found that will overpower greed. I want a new car right now. But I love not having a car payment. I also love being far enough out of debt that I can help others. That love overcomes my greedy nature that would rather spend $500 on a new car.

    I think the church as a whole doesn’t talk enough about money because they are scared to come across wrong. This time I really felt like God was showing me a way to approach money that had very little to do with money.

    Money is a touchy thing to teach in church. How do you approach it?

    Happy divorce day

    So today sucked.

    I was generally minding my own business and letting the universe spin as it normally does.

    Then I got word that an old friend of mine has pretty much done everything he can to screw his life up. Specifically he and his wife are about to be divorced. This is a guy who I’ve counseled a few times and prayed for constantly. I’ve prayed that God would change hearts in their marriage and renew it. That didn’t happen and now, short of a miracle, four lives are being turned completely on end.

    This really bothered me all day. It’s still bothering me. Then I queued up one of the sermons I’ve been behind on. What do they preach on? The complete depravity of man and the fact that as a general rule we’re idiots when it comes to marriage.

    Thanks. That’s what I needed.

    Then I call a client. The receptionist proceeds to tell me about her divorce ruining her day. I didn’t mind and I hope she felt better after venting, but man, it just wasn’t what I wanted to hear today.

    I’ve got some more thoughts on things like this, but I’m too irritated right now to work it all out.

    So I’ll leave the conversation to you.

    What are you doing to divorce-proof your marriage?

    Magenta Squirrel update

    I’ve officially completed the design for Magenta Squirrel and sent it off to the code monkeys to work their magic. I’ve set up a Twitter page for it. The site even has a teaser on it (at least it should soon). But I’m not telling where it is yet.

    I’m going to send an early look at it to a small group of people next week. Leave a comment if you’d like to find out what it is early and help spread the word on your site. And thanks to Clayton Bell for the MS image above.

    Side note: By spreading the word you won’t in any way be lining my pockets. This is a not-for-profit venture to help the ministry world.

    Magenta Squirrel is a go

    I’ve been praying about an idea for a new site for a couple of weeks. As with most things the initial idea gets me excited, then it kicks around in my head for a while as I mull through all the options and possibilities.

    With the help of Scott, I think one of those ideas is about to come to life. It’s code name is Magenta Squirrel (thanks to Clayton Bell for that one). The reality of it is the site will contain neither magenta, nor squirrels, but I still think it has the potential to impact the online ministry community.

    It should be up relatively soon (as in a few weeks, not months). I’ll start promoting here on the blog very quickly to get the word out. Like all things I do, it’ll either be very cool or do the online version of a face plant.

    Please pray for it’s potential impact, though. I really feel like God could use it.

    From the top down

    Today I had a great lunch with Tony.

    He got me really pumped up for the next three weeks at Legacy. I think this will be one of those game changing series at Legacy. This series is designed to very clearly lay out the future of Legacy and push you to make a choice about your role in it.

    Churches should provide a place for people to serve others. The problem is most churches forget to actually call people to serve others. This series will do exactly that.

    I was also reminded about how we all need regular doses of vision and how those doses come from the top. I value what little time Tony and I get to spend together. It feeds and fuels me until our next opportunity to dream about what Legacy can be. We don’t get to do it too often since none of us work on staff full time, but it has so much value. It’s very easy to focus on our individual areas and ignore everything else going on.

    This post pairs well with “The joys of bi-vocational ministry” and an order of chips and queso from Chili’s. 

    Quick Notes 3-30-08

    • After last week and this weekend, I’m tired. Hopefully I’ll get some rest this week.
    • In between getting rest, I’m also hoping to get completely caught up before the next big project hits.
    • The latest issue of The Business Journal comes out next week.
    • Pastoring at a small church is exhilarating, frustrating and challenging all at the same time.
    • I’m strongly considering changing my current client roster. A few small tweaks would alleviate a lot of stress and allow me to focus on new ideas.
    • A big part of my focus in the future will be ideas I own a part of instead of straight client work.
    • Tomorrow is picture posting day. I’ve got three different shoots that will go online.
    • Worship today was amazing. Great job Josh, Shana and the whole crew.
    • Lots of good writing coming up this week.
    • I’m shocked at the number of people searching for the Burger King Steakhouse Burger. The review I wrote yesterday is one of the first things to pop up. Probably not what Burger King would like out there.
    • If you aren’t using Twitter, you’re missing out on something great. You can follow my Twitter feed here.

    Outside the doors

    I’ve been reminded this last week that so much of ministry happens outside the church. That’s the important part. Church is just there to bring the family together to connect. You can’t have deep relationships with people if you see them for an hour on Sunday’s. It takes an investment of time to get to know people. It truly is a family.

    I’m also reminded at the same time that it’s not the church staff’s job to do all the outside ministry. I’m not saying we don’t do any, just that’s it’s not our primary responsibility. Our job is to make church work so that people can connect with each other and then minister to each other.

    The hard part is getting people to see church as a place of service instead of a place to be served.  Either way we have to get people looking beyond that one hour a week we’re together.

    This post pairs well with “Consumers” and a church cook-out. Mmmm…hamburgers.

    Easter Sunday

    Today turned out to be a really great day. We broke a Legacy attendance record and it’s fun to see that many people fill up the building. It’s also great to see a few people stepping up and serving in various areas. It feels like things are really starting to come together.

    So today was huge. What will Easter 2009 look like?