Archives For technology

Sometimes I post philosophically challenging rants about theology and church methodology.  Sometimes I write about my personal growth as a father and husband.  And sometimes, I just want to get down with my bad self.  Enjoy…

Mmmmm…  As a drummer, I’m awed by the tightness of the groove.  Like a machine, but not machine-like.  Wowza.  I don’t hate that at all.

Thanks much to Kyle Reed, a 20-something church/media up-and-comer I follow and appreciate.  I found this clip on his blog today > here.  Kyle  just hooked up with the 8Bit network (ChurchCrunch, ChurchIT, ChurchCreate, ChurchDrop), a nuclear blast of awesome resources and information about the convergence of Church and Tech.  Click the links and LEARN STUFF.

NEW Apple iPad unveiled today.  Here’s the promotional video from Apple:

Gadgets are a great distraction for the securely planted and the financially well-endowed.  As I am deeply happy but do not fit either of the above criteria, I’m just going to say this out loud…

I don’t want an iPad.

Now, just a minute.  Let’s say you had some inside hook-up with a guy at Apple, and you were currently in the middle of wrapping up a new iPad with my name on it, and you felt like a sandwich, so you turned to go toward the fridge when you saw your laptop and decided to check your email, only to be distracted by your RSS reader, in which you saw my blog had been updated, and you are just now reading this and are planning to return said iPad with my name on it… Don’t.  It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.  Right up there with the birth of my children and the Hubble Telescope.

But lack of money realigns a person’s priorities.  Sure, receiving a free iPad in the mail would make me either blink repeatedly and vibrate in place or squeal like a third grade girl.  But God is allowing a season of stretched finances and refocused attention on what matters.  Family.  Time together.  Faith.  Purpose.  Having less in the bank means more dependence on God, and more contentment with less of the frivolous.

Even as I type, I recognize the “Americanization” of my viewpoint.  I’m wildly, abundantly, unbelievably rich by much the world’s standards.  Roof?  Check.  Meals?  Check.  Clean water?  Check.  Kids have a Wii?  Check.  Even though we stopped trying to keep up with the Jones family a long time ago, I’m grateful.  Just short on disposable income in this season.

So, Apple, here’s what I think about your latest iDoo-Haw…  I think it’s genius, beautiful, and truly revolutionary.  I think you will succeed in pioneering a whole new tier of gadgetry – filling the void between laptops and smart phones.  I believe everyone in America will soon see the “need” for (at least) one of these.  I believe they will fill school classrooms in the not-so-distant future.  I believe that I can hear the whoosh of intellectual energy being sucked further into the digital hinterland.

Because the iPad is perfect for individual entertainment.  Nice big screen – for one person.  Great for reading books, playing games, surfing the web, managing email – by yourself.  All beautiful, smooth, intuitive, and accommodating the individual.  It’s like a perfectly designed “leave me alone” machine.

Honestly, it’s more than the cold, hard fact that we can’t afford a new gadget right now that is making me eschew my normal Pavlovian response to cool techno-gadgetry.  It’s the fact that living tight on funds has changed my priorities.  I’ve enjoyed coffee more lately.  Savored it.  I like simple, real moments.  I enjoy wrestling my boys more.  Being home.  As I spend more time on side jobs to pay the bills, my “off” time is more precious.  I’m watching fewer movies.  I’ve given up novels (except on vacation… gotta have a book by the pool!).  And although the iPad legitimately may be the coolest advance in gadgetry in my lifetime thus far, I just don’t think there’s any way I can justify lusting over one.

Deep down, I’m hoping my dear readers come up with several reasons why owning an iPad would deeply enrich our lives, strengthen our family bonds, further the Kingdom of God, and cure cancer.  Because it looks ridiculously off-the-charts awesome.  But, somehow, I think I’ll manage to resist the great societal sucking sound coming from all those little glowing screens, and choose contentment instead.

Unless, like I said, you have an inside hook-up with a guy at Apple?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Creative Commons License
“what iWant :: the apple iPad video, gadgetry, and that distant sucking sound” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Christian hair has taken on new meaning. What follows is an honest, amused ramble through a minefield of questions I have about the current state of worship leading and those who lead worship in our contemporary Christian churches in America.  For full disclosure:  I am one.

I actually grew up using the term “Christian hair” as a somewhat deragatory, yet playful descriptive term for the over-eager bouffant coiffure of the professionally religious.  Think Benny Hinn meets Roy Orbison meets an oscilating fan and a gallon of Aqua Net.  On steroids.  Bingo!  Christian hair.

Now the scene has changed.  And while the aforementioned variety of Christian hair can still be spotted occasionally in the seventy+ crowd at Denny’s and on TBN, there’s a new ‘do taking the hip church scene by storm.  It’s equal parts, “heck yeah!” and “did you mean to do that?”  I affectionately call it “The Pete Wilson.  For full disclosure:  I totally love Pete Wilson.  His blog is fantastic.  His ministry is biblical, powerful, and Spirit-led.  And his hair does things my thinning mane of glory dreams about as I sleep.  Further, he’s a Senior Pastor – not a worship leader – so he’s out of bounds for this discussion.  And yet…

Fellow Lead Worshippers, help me understand…  What’s with the hair? I’m not talking about simple personal style choices here.  You can effectively lead worship with almost any kind of hair… spanning the panoply of the style choice rainbow.  From the sleek simplicity of  Carlos Whittaker to the crazed fro-tee combo of David Crowder.  And yet…

I’m in a minefield here.  I can feel it.  I’m asking deeper questions about heart conditions and motivations which are not so deftly disguised as style questions.  Skipping stones off the surface to see what lies beneath.  Fellow Lead Worshippers, help me understand…  Without an accusing tone – without any self-righteous pride – and without a sense of smug superiority masquerading as humble opinion – some of what’s happening in our contemporary churches makes me go, “hmmm.”

Several years ago I was asked to be the Worship Coordinator for the national youth convention of a conservative church association.  As our Board discussed some of the feedback that had come back from the previous convention, we were literally asked to consider hiding the worship team behind a screen, so the focus could remain on the Lord during worship.  We politely declined the request – but the fact that it was suggested I think establishes a POINT A for the extreme conservative position when it comes to contemporary worship leading:  We would prefer no contemporary leader at all (“After all, there’s no ‘Worship Leader’ position in the New Testament…”), but if you must be up there, please lead quietly… and off to the side.

POINT Z on the style scale is usually found in the “Seeker Sensitive-ist” of contemporary churches.  And I don’t use that term with even a hint of negativity.  Rather, as a means of identification.  These are churches who have invested a healthy sum of resources into a projection system and theater lighting that rivals even the hippest of pop-culture bands touring today.  Here’s an excercise for you.  Look at the picture at the top of this post for 10 seconds and see if you can positively ID the scene as a Country Music concert or a high-tech contemporary worship setting.  Go!

It wasn’t until I spotted the bouncers in the front of the stage that I was sure this was an entertainment venue and not a contemporary worship setting.  Although, if Tomlin was leading, the bouncers MIGHT be necessary, so…  Well, point made.

On the style scale between the ultra-conservative POINT A and the hippest of techno-pop POINT Z churches, our church is probably at about the QRS level.  A mix of hymns and choruses and creeds and prayers, both loud and quiet, both tender and rocked out.  No suit coats.  No designer jeans.  No Christian hair… and no Christian hair.  We sometimes wear Levi’s.  We like to dim the lights when we use video clips.  But no lasers.  No fog machines.  No flashpots or strobes.  We are trying to be authentic in our worship, honest and complete in our presentation of Biblical truth, and welcoming to both the seasoned church attender and the non-church types who are simply curious about Jesus.  We think this neighborhood will connect best to about a QRS on the hipness scale.

And I guess there’s my question for those of you farther down the alphabet.  For you XYZ types.  Are we trying to inspire the Church to focus their attention on the Lord?  And if we are, how exactly does the hip hair and the designer jeans and the breathtaking lightshow NOT distract the worshippers?  It’s an honest question.

Before I became a worship leader by occupation, I attended an amazing church – a large church with several thousand attending each weekend.  Their ministry had a HUGE impact on me as a worship leader, not because it was flashy, but specifically because it was not.  It was authentic.  It was excellent musically.  And it was SIMPLE in it’s presentation.  Lights down before the service.  Lights fade up as the service begins.  Simple wash of the platform.  And then worship happened with deep reverence and genuine humility.  And just regular guy hair.

I don’t claim to have a corner on the market of what is the BEST way to lead worship.  I’m just a dude leading a group of Jesus-loving artists who lead a Jesus-loving congregation.  And I always watch what other leaders are up to.  I learn from you.  Constantly.  But I wonder sometimes why you do the things you do.  If you saw me, you’d have a pile of questions, too, I’m sure.  So from one brother to another – from one Levite to the rest a y’all with a ton of grace- help me understand the grandiosity and the flash.

Where does your ministry fall on the style alphabet?  And more importantly… WHY?

 

Creative Commons License
“leading worship with awesome hair :: God, humility… and lasers” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

This past week I received baked goods in the mail.  Need I say more?

Twitter and Facebook have changed the way I live.  Before Christmas I sent out the following tweet/status update:

Eggnog is just liquid fruitcake. It’s only around during the holidays. And I’d rather get kicked in the knee than consume either one.

So began a heated and entertaining debate on the merits of eggnog.  And fruitcake.  Passions rose.  Lines were drawn.  And then… a challenge from my Cincinnati Twitter friend @utech…

@jskogerboe you need to send me your address so I can send you one of my Christmas Spice Cakes (aka fruitcake)…

So, I did…

@utech OK, you Packer-loving baking machine. Make me a believer. 4401 Adair Avenue North, Crystal, MN 55422

Smashcut to me cutting open a toaster sized cardboard box last week.  Looking at the return address. UTECH.  A)  He baked.  B)  He took the time to package it up like a nuclear weapon in multiple layers of foil, plastic wrap, and those awesome biodegradable packing foam peanuts.  C)  He paid to ship it.  To my house.  In Minnesota.

I don’t care WHAT you think about the delectable or unsavory nature of fruitcake.  There is NOTHING BETTER than receiving baked goods in the mail.  Except maybe for a huge check.  Or a letter from a long lost brother you thought never made it back from the war.  But still… baked goods are right up there.  Top five.

When Social Media connection spills over into real-life interactions, life is better for it.  When Social Media takes the place of real-life interactions, life is robbed by it.  But I submit this hypothesis for the skeptics…  I think that second scenario is rare.  I think that Social Media, like every technological advance in communication, is a very real change in the way our world works – and whose BENEFITS far outweigh its dangers.  I think YouTwitFace has redefined community – and I like what I see.

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, *fill in the blank* are often derided as frivolous by the skeptics.  For those not wired (pardon the ironic use of metaphor) to be interested in technology, Social Media is often written off as a passing fad.  An unnecessary distraction from REAL relationships – and the learning curve is just TOO high to deal with.  Therefore, it must be bad.  Or childish.  Or insignificant.  If this is where you live, it’s time to consider moving…

My network of relationships is spread around the country and around the world.  Today I have laughed, argued, and/or had direct conversations with connections from New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain, Texas, Florida, and Tennessee.  I recruited a bass player for our church this week via Twitter.  I’ve had intensely personal chats online in Facebook this week.  Prayer requests spread through the Social network like a wave.  Life can be lived transparently now – tweets and status updates sharing information, thoughts, concerns, ideas.  Social Media provides real time connection between the face to face interactions of life.

I have never been very good at staying in touch with family and friends.  But now, I can easily pop in and out of conversations.  Share pictures and video clips.  Articles and blog posts.  Little touch points with people that matter.  I thank God for YouTwitFace.

It took a long time for my good wife to jump into the Facebook pool.  But she tried it…  Dipping her toes in at first.  Now she’s a regular Michael Phelps.  (But way more attractive, and unencumbered by dodgy illegal drug use photos.)  She loves watching relational connections multiply.  Earlier this winter she used Facebook to arrange for an out-of-state childhood friend to join her for a Women’s Ministry event at Living Hope Church here in the Twin Cities.  Now she is watching her friends from her work life, from her church, from her childhood all connect and stay in contact and interact by way of YouTwitFace.  It’s awesome.  And I mean that with some gravitas.  It is *awesome* to see how technology can fuel relationships.

The local church – your church – needs to embrace YouTwitFace.  Social Media is more than “Just had a sandwich. Changing my shirt. LOL.”  We used the printing press to make Bibles available to the masses.  Social Media can deepen relational connections.  The technological change is as big now as it was then.  The world is different now.  It’s time to get in the pool.  It’s time for the church to do life together.

I can’t guarantee that Twitter will lead to baked goods for you.  But it might.  How has YouTwitFace made your life better?  Post a comment below.  The world has changed.  Get in the pool.  Oh, and I prefer my chocolate chip cookies with no nuts… just a note for whomever might be so inclined.  My address is clearly and intentionally listed above.  Good times.

 

Creative Commons License
“of twitter and fruitcake :: open letter to social media skeptics who will never read this because they won’t see the tweet…” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

4square_logo_text_blackback

We have a new logo. Again.

Living Hope Church is about seven years old now, give or take, depending on how you do the math. Over the last sevenish years there has been a metamorphosis in our “look and feel” that has been easily tracked in our logo development. This shift in design has been in a constant effort to better communicate who we are and what we are all about.

After this earlier post on excellence in artistic output and design in our churches, I feel like this post needs the following disclaimer: There are MUCH BETTER designers out there than the Living Hope team. MUCH BETTER designers than me, for sure. MUCH BETTER logo designs, etc. Please don’t misread my passion for excellence in the church as a belief that our design work at Living Hope has set new standards of awesomeness. Not at all. I thought a look at our design process might be both interesting and informative, so I’m sharing it for whatever it’s worth. Cool?

Second Disclaimer: The earlier versions of our logo were developed by a dear friend and working graphic designer who does GREAT work. Her design work served us well for years, and we appreciate it much (you know who you are, friend!) This latest iteration of our logo design wad the first one she was NOT an integral part of, so we want to say a huge THANKS for helping shape and steer our look and feel at Living Hope during our critical early years.

Having properly set the stage, we begin…

our very first logo ever

When Living Hope took root, we began as a group of families with a desire to be a part of a new work of God in the NW metro area – a fast growing region, with over 200 families moving into the surrounding area every month. We had everything in common. Passion. Vision. Desperation. No money.

We shared a desire to model ourselves after the very first church recorded in the new testament, in Acts chapter 2. Our dream was to build a biblically functioning community of believers who helped people in our surrounding culture who were far from God grow into mature believers. At first, we stated it this way: “Living Hope. A New Testament Church for Our Generation.” Our first logo looked like this:

Logo Original

We soon learned that there was another church movement known as the “New Testament Church,” so we made our first adjustment. Our goal was the same, but we decided to state it this way: “Living Hope. An ACTS 2 Church for Our Generation.” Our next logo looked like this:

Logo 1

We used this logo for awhile (and it’s actually still on the side of the trailer we use weekly to haul our equipment and gear to the Middle School where we gather), but we realized it had some limitations. First of all, we realized that this logo was not easily scalable. The tag line text was too small in relation to the rest of the logo, AND the tag line text was an integral part of the logo. Take the tag text out, and the logo looks lopsided. It worked fine on top of church letterhead, but it couldn’t be shrunk down easily. And, we found out, it couldn’t be blown up very easily either…

This was a problem when we tried to develop it for use on a highway billboard near our church. In order for the tagline text to be readable by motorists zooming by, our logo would need to fill almost the entire billboard. This was not workable.

Also a problem, our tag line “Living Hope. An ACTS 2 Church for Our Generation” communicated something specific to other Christians who knew what we were referencing in Acts 2 – but it was meaningless to people who had no church background. We realized over time that it actually caused more confusion and raised more questions than it helped communicate our heart as a church. So it was time to change our tag line, as well.

Because of these hurdles we set out to develop a MUCH simpler look… an iconic logo that didn’t HAVE to be married to our church name or our tagline:

Logo 3

The oval logo retained our “new life heartbeat” line from the early days, and it was much more flexible than our early logos. Although, there was still some problems with scalability. The hearbeat line would often almost disappear as the logo was used in smaller applications. You can see this problem, even in large applications. The billboard we first used this logo on looked like this:

REFUEL_Billboard_small

Much prayer and discussion went into changing our tagline – to better communicate what our church was all about. We wanted to reflect our Biblical mandate from Jesus to make disciples, and we wanted to communicate something about the methodology of our church – not only the WHAT of Living Hope, but the HOW, as well. We thought the best way to communicate the GOAL of our church (our measuring stick for effective ministry) in as few words as possible was to ask the question, “Is God changing lives?” In other words, is the Word of God reaching into hearts here and transforming people, or are our methods getting in the way of God’s work? This became our measuring stick in each area of ministry. Further, we realized that God had pulled together at Living Hope a very RELATIONAL group of people. We believed strongly that personal relationships were often the key environment God used to do His work in people. And of course, the most important and life-changing relationship of all is the one we have with Jesus Christ. So our new tag line was born. “Living Hope. Building Relationships that Change Lives.”

Logo 2

This latest iteration of our logo and new tag line were unveiled at our first ALL-LEADERSHIP RETREAT in January of 2008. For two days, 60 of our core leaders prayed together, played together, had meals together, and sought God for a clear path forward in ministry. We wanted to get beyond just “doing church” the best we knew how, and develop a clear plan to help structure environments where God could help actual growth – “life-change” – happen… to determine whether Living Hope was actually helping people grow into mature disciples of Jesus.

We started the process by examining scripture – trying to identify what a mature disciple of Jesus looks like in the Bible. After much prayer, study, and discussion, we began to write our bullet points out on a huge white board. A pattern began to develop. We realized that we could categorize our bullet points into four key growth areas. In other words, we believed that EVERY mature disciple of Jesus Christ ought to be CONTINUALLY GROWING in ALL FOUR of these areas:

(1) A growing love for people not connected to God. (A growing interest in building relationships with lost people and introducing them to Jesus.)

(2) A growing love for other believers. (Sharing resources, pray concerns, and meals together – “doing life together” with a groups of friends you can be honest with and grow in faith and love with.)

(3) A growing love for serving together. (Serving the needy in our community and our world, as Jesus taught us to, and doing that together with other believers, the way the Bible models over and over for us.)

(4) A growing love for God Himself. (The greatest commandment, and our greatest joy, is to love God in ever-increasing measure, as a response to who He is, what He has said, what He has done, and what He has promised to do.)

For each of these growth areas, we have developed one primary environment. Each environment is branded with a specific color and logo. While God deepens and grows the hearts of disciples at Living Hope in multiple areas in each environment, we believe it is important to invest time, energy, and resources wisely – to make sure we promote growth in each of these key biblical areas by assigning each one a primary environment – so that Living Hope can help to develop not just baby Christians, but deeply rooted, mature disciples. And because God does all the work, and He gets all the credit.

our latest logo design, just launched this fall, 2009

In the end, our newest logo, unveiled this fall, reflects our new tag line, and it also reflects our four key growth areas (and their corresponding environments, by color). It also reflects our understanding that JESUS CHRIST is in the CENTER of all that we do. Notice the four color blocks and the cross formed by the empty space between them in our new logo:

new logo white back

Watching the changes happen in our logo design reflects significant points in our church history. I remember the “Holy Spirit” moments, when an idea broke through, and God led with clarity. I remember each change along the way, and what drove them. And I learned a lot about design as we moved ahead. For my next post in the “Designing Ministry” series, I’ll lay out some key take-aways from our logo development process, and some guide points in developing your next ministry logo.

>> If you haven’t been with us from the beginning, check out “Designing Ministry” part ONE HERE, and part TWO HERE.

Creative Commons License
“designing ministry, part three :: rebrand 2009 :: logo development” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

multicolored-eye-macro

“RE-DEEM”:  to restore the honor, worth, or reputation of…

As an artist, and as a Levite, I have clarified my mission at the intersection of church life and art.  Our God is a Redeemer, and He uses His people – sometimes His artists – to bring about the work of redemption.

My mission:  to REDEEM the phrase “good enough for church.”

I used to cringe every time I heard that phrase…  “Well, I know she’s not that great a singer.  But she loves Jesus, and she wants to sing.  I mean, it’s good enough for church.”  Ouch.  “We’re not a publishing company.  We have limited resources.  Our newsletter can’t look like a magazine, or what does that say about our priorities?  This is good enough for church.”  Whack!  “Bobby’s just learning the guitar and he wants to be on the Worship Team.  He’ll make some mistakes, but he’ll learn as he goes.  I’m sure he’s good enough for church…”  *sigh*

Seems like the only time I heard that phrase, for many years, it was being used as an excuse for mediocrity.  That somehow, because the local church is a family, full of grace with each other, half-baked (or downright bad) art is not only acceptable, in some cases it is seen as a more humble and, therefore, better offering than truly excellent art.  The excellent offering of an artist who has invested heart and soul into creating something deeply beautiful has been written off as prideful indulgence.  After all, art that is “too good” glorifies the artist.  It smacks of pride.  It is distracting.  It is idolatrous.  All we really need art to be is… right.  “Good enough for church.”

This is a lie, and it has been bought and propagated by many well-meaning Christ followers.  Art, after all, falls into the “whatever you do” category…

“Whatever you do, work at it WITH ALL YOUR HEART, as working for the Lord and not for men.”  (Colossians 3:23)

God made artists.  Kingdom artists reflect HIS creativity, and they point people God-ward.  Let them make great art for Him.  Let artists serve with excellence.  And let them set the bar HIGH.  I honestly believe that CHURCHES ought to be the pace-setters in the art world.  If ever there was a place for deep expression, purpose-driven creation, and joyful play, the CHURCH ought to be a support community for art like no other.  And the church should expect the BEST possible work from their artists.

The Old Testament affirms this value.  Read Moses’ account of the building of the tabernacle in Exodus 26-40 with a highlighter in hand.  Notice how many times the phrases “skilled craftsmen” or “skillfully made” or “finely woven” are used.  Similar adulatory commendations are used throughout the book to command creation of the accoutrements of worship for the tabernacle – always with the highest regard for artistic excellence.  It’s in there.  God wrote it.

And who does God pick to lead the artistic design ministry for the tabernacle?  See Chapter 35, starting in verse 30…

“See the Lord has chosen Bezalel… and He has filled Him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability, and knowledge in all kinds of crafts… in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship.  And He has given both him and Oholiab… the ability to teach others.  He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers… all of them master craftsmen and designers.”

And, by the way, this God-infused passion for excellence and beauty and “master-craftsmanship” doesn’t just apply to visual arts.  Look at the account of the Levite musicians who were set apart by God for the “church music” of the day.  Who was chosen to be the head of the tabernacle choir?

“Kenaniah the head Levite was in charge of the singing;  that was His responsibility because he was skillful at it.”  (I Chronicles 15:22)

I love that God wrote that little sidebar after the semicolon.  Do you suppose He foresaw some of our churches filling the choir director slot with the pastor’s wife because, well, that’s how we’ve always done it… and she can play the piano a little bit… and it’ll be good enough for church.

God is worthy of excellent art.  Nothing less.  Can you see the obvious connection with design?

The DESIGN elements used in your church most often provide the “first impression” of the heart of your church to the surrounding community.  They are a tool that can either further your goal or hinder your ministry.  So we take design seriously at Living Hope Church.

And the REASON that we care how things look and feel is NOT that we prioritize style over content.  On the contrary.  The CONTENT of our vision and values DRIVES style, determines visual direction, and (we hope) reflects our belief that excellence honors God and inspires people.  We have the greatest and most important message to share in all of recorded history.  Shouldn’t that inspire our deepest creative efforts?  The best possible art?  Inspiring,  excellent, high-quality design work?

Recalibrating your excellence meter is a long, slow process.  It takes grace, patience, humility – but it also takes conviction and intentional direction setting.  The next time you produce a bulletin or newspaper ad or banner for your ministry, think twice before tagging on that circa 1978 clip art cross or cartoon easter lily with a bow on it.  And no doves, please.  Take a look around at the stores, the advertising, the well-crafted marketing campaigns that vie for the attention of every soul that lives within driving distance of your church.

Then ask yourself, “what would it take to get MY attention – to make me look twice.”  Work hard.  Find a team of artists who love God and are skilled in their field.  Design with the understanding that eternal souls are on the line – as working for the Lord and not for men.  And then with fear and trembling, ask yourself again…  “Is THIS good enough for church?”

How can your church take one step forward in making your design work reflect God-honoring, attention grabbing excellence?

>> Note:  read “designing ministry, part one” HERE.

Creative Commons License
“designing ministry, part two :: good enough for church” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

 

Another reminder that right now, normative = change. It will take some time and some effort to stay ahead of this technological wave, because it’s big. Really, really big. And if you choose to tread water, you will get wet.  I’m a missionary from Minnesota, and my mission field is full of surfers.

As a church leader – actually, just as a Christ follower– I don’t want to see local churches choosing to let culture pass us by. Too often the church looks at our changing world with a cautious eye, afraid of becoming “of the world” we are in, and excusing our lack of engagement with the culture by saying that we are called to live differently, and this world is not our home.

Yes, we must live differently. Yes, this world and all of the technological advancements of humanity will be gone in a blink. Yes, we need to be alert when engaging the enemy’s territory, because he prowls around like a roaring lion, and he’s hungry.

But don’t concede ground!  Don’t fear cultural change!  Read the book – God wins.  And greater is He who is in us than He who is in the world.  God did not give us a spirit of timidity, after all, but a Spirit of POWER and of LOVE and of SELF-DISCIPLINE.  No more wimping out, church!  No more “keeping the world at arm’s length” out of fear of being tainted.  Where’s our backbone?  Engage!

To be in the world and not of it (John 17:14-16) requires us to actually be IN the world.  How else will we have a platform to spread the news of God’s love and plan for redemption?  Jesus’ prayer in John 17 reveals His heart for us not to be removed from the world, but to protected from the evil one as we navigate through it, and influence it for the Kingdom.

Bottom line: I’m speaking to my fellow believers, now.  I’m begging you not to be ignorant or stubborn about all things technological.  The reality is, a tsunami of information and technological tools for connecting and communicating is roaring through time with ever-increasing speed. If you decide you’re “just not that into” computers/technology/social media, etc. you will miss out on opportunities to influence our culture for the King.

Of course, nothing beats face to face relationships.  Technology can hamper us if it supersedes our face-to-face time.  There is a cost, and there are dangers.  But I’m tired of churches who decide, “we like it here.  Let’s not change too fast.  It feels good right here…”

That’s wimpy, lazy, fearful, ineffective, comfortably stagnant faith inaction.

The truth is, right here is all wet.  The moment we tread water, the wave of change roars onward without us.  Don’t fear the wave.  Learn to surf.  Then we can engage the surfers who need to meet Jesus.

What do you think?  Is technology a dangerous minefield, or is it an important part of reaching our current culture for Jesus?

 
Creative Commons License
surf or get wet :: the information tsunami by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

YouTwitFace

Late night talk show host Conan O’Brien coined a phrase for social media that is sticking with me.  He spoke of the future merging of social media giants YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook into “one giant time-wasting website called… YouTwitFace.”  Well, if “YouTwitFace” = all things Social Media, then I’m a big believer.

I don’t mean so much that I feel the need to be an advocate for YouTwitFace.  It’s just that it seems clear to me that social media is only gaining steam.  YouTwitFace has fundamentally changed our world.  Forever.  From this point in history forward, the world will function differently.  And I just want to figure out how to best communicate truth and live the John 10:10 life abundant in this new reality.

Still think YouTwitFace is mostly a time-waster, a distraction for narcissists, or a fad?  Check this out…

Creative Commons License
“youtwitface fad seems to be catching” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

passion logo stripe

Louie Giglio

Today I briefly break my self-imposed tech hiatus because, frankly, this is worth it. Louie Giglio is one of my heroes. About time he and Twitter kiss and make up.

Go HERE to watch Louie’s contrite recantation of the erroneous ways of his youth. Good times…

boxer stripe

This will be short.  Can’t we all just get along?

Twitter gets hacked this morning.  Out of service for a few hours.  Facebook is acting wonky.  Social media mavens feel their world shake.  Social media opponents rub their hands together and cackle.  Here’s a quick article from CNN about the Twitter outage >> click here.

What’s interesting to me is not that Twitter went down.  The tech savvy know that Twitter is unstable – not secure – barely keeping up with demand – all that stuff.  What’s interesting is watching how people respond when it goes down.  Quotes from tweeple I follow, blog posters, etc. (with varying degrees of irony…)

Twitter broke for a few hours and I had a few panic attacks.

Thank god, I hate twitter. Hopefully a hacker figures out how to bring it down permanantly.

Oh no!! Now people might actually have to call their friends to have a conversation with them! Or worse yet – Talk to them IN PERSON!!! This is the end of civilization as we know it!

Twitter is pretty lame if it can’t defend against a DDOS attack. My morning is ruined.

OK.  *sigh*  I shake my head.  Here’s my take-away…

(1)  Some of y’all out there (in here?) are so connected to your social media that a little part of you seems to die when cyber-wonkiness invades the interwebs.  To you, I say… probably ought to unplug for awhile.  Good times.

(2) Some of y’all out there are developing a visceral distaste for Twitter, Twitter-users, and even Social Media altogether. To you who choose not to use social media, I say… those of us who DO probably don’t need to be reminded to talk to people face to face in a tone that suggests we have never thought of that.  Balance is good, but we’re not idiots.  Good times.

Conclusion:  Life is a dance with all kinds of people on the dance floor – each with their own soundtrack, apparently.  Rather than insisting the DJ play your song for everyone, I suggest huddling with some people who want to listen to the same song you do.  Then take off the boxing gloves and talk to the other dance huddles with respect.  My dance huddle thinks Twitter is fun.  Good grief.

Creative Commons License
“why social media is like boxing, which is like ballet, except the dancers hit each other…” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.