DIGITAL STRATEGY FOR CHURCHES // FREE E-BOOK BY JORDAN GILLMAN @JORDESIGN

digital-strategy-churches

Jordan Gillman, from churchsites.co and author of this guest post, has released his e-book for free. Digital Strategy for Churches is a 48-page e-book designed to help churches think strategically about the way they use their website and social media presence. Jordan’s material is accessible for churches of all sizes with specific action steps at the end of each chapter. Definitely worth checking out.

DOWNLOAD ‘DIGITAL STRATEGY FOR CHURCHES’

I’ve written some content that might also be useful:

 

DO YOU NEED HELP TO PRAY MORE?

prayer-mate

Do you struggle to pray? Most Christians most of the time are discontent with their prayer life. I am. I have great habits of regular time reading God’s word each day, but have never been as consistent with the frequency and fervency of my prayers. I have learnt from the wisdom of people like D.A. Carson with his 7 Lessons from the School of Prayer, but the best tool to improve my prayer life was downloaded onto my phone at the start of this year.

PrayerMate is an App that featured on my READ + REMEMBER + PRAY resource post in January this year. It’s fantastic! I have 4 push notifications that remind me across the day to take time out to pray. The App is brilliant in the way that you can organise different prayer lists and as well as subscribing to external prayer lists.

I recently asked Andy Geers some questions about his app. See below to hear his responses.
[Read more…]

WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND? // MY LIFE SUCKS COMPARED TO EVERYONE ELSE ONLINE

‘Facebook can be depressing because everyone else’s lives are better than yours… But are they really?’

This short film by Shaun Higton is excellent in revealing one of the problems with social media and living life online. We are comparing our mundane, ordinary and dissatisfying lives with what we perceive to be amazing, extraordinary and fulfilling lives of those we are connected to online. As I quoted in my post on selfies:

“One reason we struggle w/ insecurity: we’re comparing our behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.”

Higton’s film goes further to suggest that the highlight reel portrayed online, may not even be that accurate.

What’s on your mind?

What’s on your mind? How should we answer this question? Better yet, where should we answer this question?

Online community is not enough. It’s probably unwise to share all your deepest secrets and struggles via your social network accounts. Hashtagging your life is not the answer. I think the answer is offline.

It’s more than just looking up. All people need to be part of an offline community where you have permission to be broken, to share your struggles, to be real, and where you don’t feel the need to photoshop your life. These offline communities also need to be a place where you can be loved, accepted, and find healing.

Does your offline Christian community allow the authenticity that online communities fail to provide?

5 APPS TO HELP YOU SHARE JESUS

SHARE JESUS

The gospel of Jesus is unchanging. People throughout all cultures and all times need to hear that Jesus is the King of the Universe, who came to deal with their sin at the cross and calls all to follow him. However, while the message is unchanging, with every technological advancement there are new opportunities to share this message in different ways. Printing press. Microphones. Radio. Television. The Internet. Mobile Apps.

Mobile technology and web/app enabled phones mean that it’s possible to always be equipped with tools that will help you to share the good news of Jesus. There are at least 3 ways that apps can help you in this task.

>> Equipping and teaching you to understand the good news of Jesus for yourself
>> Use the app on your device with someone as you explain the message of Jesus
>> Share links to the app via social media, a footer in your email signature, or gift the app via iTunes to friends so they can investigate Jesus for themselves on their device.

Here are 5 excellent apps to help you share Jesus:

[Read more…]

#HASHTAGS, SELFIES & BEING A CHRISTIAN ONLINE // #KYCK14 RESOURCES

#HASHTAGS

Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are part of everyday life for teenagers. Are they harmful or harmless? This seminar will help you to think about how belonging to Jesus will impact the way that you connect online.

I recently gave a seminar across three weekend at KYCK 2014 (a Christian convention for youth) seeking to help young people consider how to think about how they behave and relate online.

This post is jam-packed with resources useful for youth, youth leaders, parents, pastors and echidnas.

[Read more…]

LOOK UP // A MUST-SEE SPOKEN WORD FILM FOR AN ONLINE GENERATION

Look Up is a lesson taught to us through a love story, in a world where we continue to find ways to make it easier for us to connect with one another, but always results in us spending more time alone.”

What a challenging video from Gary Turk! I argue in Bread & Circuses that we can so easily become enslaved to food and entertainment that we become distracted from reality. The answer to the problem raised in the video is more than put down your phone and look up. The ultimate answer is to see what truly satisfies and to see things from an eternal perspective.

LEVEL-UP // #ESCAPETOREALITY

LEVEL-UP

Movies, entertainment, celebrity culture, video games, digital media and social networks are often used to escape from reality. The goal of this 4-part series is to consider how to escape to the reality that comes in knowing Jesus.

Part 4 of #EscapeToReality

THE GAMIFICATION OF LIFE

I recently learnt about an emerging trend called the gamification of life. It’s basically turning life into a game complete with points, incentives and levels. 1 point for cleaning your teeth. 5 points for taking rubbish out. 10 points for inbox zero. 20 points for doing your most dreaded tasks. After a certain number of points, you can reward yourself or somehow move onto the next level.

From the examples I’ve read online, it looks like a useful way to get things done!

Using little incentives is not just for those “gamifying” their life, we use all sorts of little incentives in different ways. Maybe if you complete a certain amount of study you’ll get to go for a surf. Or if you achieve this goal, you’ll treat yourself to something special.

When it comes to the Christian life, followers of Jesus don’t need to create little incentives and rewards. There is a bigger incentive and motivation.

DO NOT LOSE HEART

In 2 Corinthians 4 the big goal of the Christian life is to “not lose heart”. It’s the idea of preserving until the end in the Christian life. Like a runner lasting to the end of the race, the Christian is to keep going and keep trusting Jesus.

In this series ‘Escape to reality’ I have argued that movies, entertainment, celebrity culture, video games, digital media and social networks are often used to escape from reality.

My biggest goal has been to show that we all need to escape to the reality that comes in knowing Jesus.

This passage one of best “escape to reality” passages in bible. It will help us to see the forest from the trees.

It’s easy to get caught up on the here and now. We are so easily distracted by the things in front of us: the smartphone, gaming console, the guy or girl you’re interested in. But we fail to see the bigger picture of eternity.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 will help us to see the big picture and give us the ultimate level-up.

There are three things that we see will give us the persecutive so that we will not lose heart.
[Read more…]

PARENTING IN THE DIGITAL AGE // #SYDNEY EVENT WITH TIM @CHALLIES

TIM CHALLIES PARENTS SYDNEY

Well-known Christian blogger, speaker, author and pastor Tim Challies will be in Sydney during May 2014. You can click the above image for more details.

Tim will be speaking at a Parent’s event on Thursday 15th May presented by Youth SurgeToongabbie Anglican Church and Matthias Media.

I know many parents who are desperate to learn how to care for their kids in the digital age. So pass this on to as many parents as you can!

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE PASTOR’S EVENT THE NIGHT BEFORE.

#SNIPPETY // #ANZAC #EASTER #NIGERIA #KIDNAPPING #RETWEETS #PARENTING #SNAPCHAT #KILLCLIPART

#SNIPPETY

A mix of articles and resources in this latest #Snippety. I’m not quite sure how to title these posts. The last one received lots of hits because of (inadvertently) leading with homosexuality. This post is all hashtags. If you have an opinion on #Snippety titles, let me know.

Retweeting compliments is one of the most annoying things from friends and acquaintances on twitter! So if that’s you, read the 3rd article! Also – if you see me do it, you have permission to call me out on it!! Peace.

Anzac And Easter 2014 – Phillip Jensen

Christians, together with all sane people, find no joy in war. Peace, not war, must always be our goal. Yet when war is necessary those who take up arms on our behalf must be supported and respected. When they are injured in the course of such action they should be confident of our nation’s assistance. When they are killed, we should give thanks to God for their sacrifice, and maintain fitting memorials to remind us, and future generations, of the cost of our freedom.

234 girls were abducted last week. Why aren’t we talking about them?

Stolen from their boarding school by gunmen in the middle of the night. Packed into the back of open lorries as the buildings around them were burned to the ground… A handful of the teenage girls escaped by hiding in a dangerous nearby forest; others jumped from the lorries in their desperation to escape.

TO RETWEET OR NOT TO RETWEET: THE QUESTION OF RETWEETING COMPLIMENTS

I propose we stop the bad habit of retweeting compliments, and then perhaps move the conversation forward as we spill some ink (pixels?) on more edifying subjects like dealing with the underlying sin in our hearts that rises up whenever we read (let alone retweet) such compliments.

Cyber Parenting on snapchat

It’s the app where every message is meant to self-destruct. But is snapchat a suitable program for your children?

Lightstock – Say Goodbye to Clipart

Faith-Focused, Cheesy-Free Stock Photos & Footage

Peace.

THE PASTOR IN THE DIGITAL AGE // #SYDNEY EVENT WITH TIM @CHALLIES

tim-challies-sydney

Well-known Christian blogger, speaker, author and pastor Tim Challies will be in Sydney during May 2014. You can click the above image for more details.

Tim will be speaking at a Pastor’s event on Wednesday 14th May presented by Youth SurgeToongabbie Anglican Church and Matthias Media.

I am looking forward to hosting the night. Having done a bit of thinking and presenting on digital media, I hope I can help to draw out some ministry gold from Challies for our context in Australia.

HERE IS AN EVENT FOR PARENTS HE’S DOING THE FOLLOWING NIGHT

WALK IN HIM // @LOGOS VERSE OF THE DAY

Col2.6

Logos Bible Software is increasingly becoming part of my daily work flow. I like being greeted on the home screen each day with a new ‘Verse of the day’ design. Today’s is from Colossians 2:6. Great verse, good design!

I have been slowly growing my library through commentary and book packages (and free book of the month!) over the last 7 years and last year I bought a Bronze base package. If you’re keen to get a base package you can get a 15% discount by clicking here.

Do you use Bible Software? What do you use? How do you use it?

THE FIGHT // #ESCAPETOREALITY

THE FIGHT

Movies, entertainment, celebrity culture, video games, digital media and social networks are often used to escape from reality. The goal of this 4-part series is to consider how to escape to the reality that comes in knowing Jesus.

Part 3 of #EscapeToReality

EVERYONE FIGHTS FOR SOMETHING

Without wanting to unhelpfully stereotype, there are substitute battles that many dudes are commonly fighting; there are substitute battles that many ladies are commonly fighting.

Dudes fight in fantasy world adventures. First-person shooter games like WOW and COD. Guys will devote hours and hours to this fight. Some will become guild masters and clan leaders devoting a lifetime to digital fighting.

Ladies fight to be unique, recognised and accepted. This will often involve a significant focus on external beauty, appearance, self-image and relationships status.

“…everyone fights for something. The desire to fight isn’t masculine or feminine; it is human. Deep down we all want to be noticed, for our lives to count for something. We want to be beautiful or noble. The problem is that we direct our fighting desires toward the wrong things. We work hard at being noticed of entertained. We fall short of beauty and nobility. What would happen if, instead of spending hours in front of the video screen or mirror, we spent hours in front of the gospel? What if we fought for a more noble cause, a more beautiful image?” (JONATHAN DODSON)

WHAT WILL YOU FIGHT FOR?

[Read more…]

FIGHT 4 PURITY IN A PORN-SOAKED WORLD

31-DAYS-OF-PURITY

Gentlemen… Do you struggle with porn? Then you should join in Tim Challies’ 31 Days of Purity. I know many young Christian guys who know that this behaviour is destructive and yet feel like they are losing the battle to fight against it.

Have you overcome a prior addiction to porn? You should still consider joining Tim Challies’ 31 Days of Purity. I have some software on my computer called Covenant Eyes. When I was studying at Moore College, the lovingly College paid for all students to have this accountability software. When I finished college I decided that, even though porn wasn’t a present struggle, it was worth keeping the software to help remain pure.

Just this last week I thought it might be time to get rid of Covenant Eyes as it sometimes takes a little bit to log on. But I’m convicted of the wisdom in leaving it on my computer. Tim Challies recent article When you’re at your best plan for your worst was a great word to not let my guard down:

There is a kind of weakness, a kind of vulnerability, that may come when we are convinced of our strength. It is when we are not being tempted, it is when we are standing strong in the Lord’s grace, that we ought to consider the times we will be weak and tempted and eager to sin. We need to assume such times will come and we need to use the moments of strength to put measures in place that will protect us when we are weak.

Sounds wise, right?

31 Days of Purity will be taking place throughout March 2014. Here is Day 1. My tip for Australian readers is to stay a day behind because of the posting time.

Here’s the invite from Challies:

Men, I want to offer you a challenge. You too, women, but allow me speak to the men first. Beginning on March 1, I am going to begin a program I’m calling 31 Days of Purity. This is for all of us—for those who are young and those who are old, for those who are married and those who are single, for those who struggle mightily in the area of sexual sin and for those who may barely struggle at all. I would love it if you would commit with me to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of considering what God’s Word says about sexual purity and thirty-one days of praying that God would help us fight sin and pursue holiness in this area.

As well as following along at challies.com you can join a Facebook group with (at the moment) almost 2000 other dudes wanting to fight to be holy.

Who’s keen?

#SELFIES // #ESCAPETOREALITY

Selfies

Movies, entertainment, celebrity culture, video games, digital media and social networks are often used to escape from reality. The goal of this 4-part series is to consider how to escape to the reality that comes in knowing Jesus.

Part 1 of #EscapeToReality

#YOU + #SELFIE

In 2006 Time Magazine declared “You.” to be the ‘Person of the Year’. This annual award that normally belongs to World Leaders and other notable figures was given to YOU… “Yes, you. You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world.”

It’s easy to think that I am at the centre of the universe when Time Magazine and a whole swag of advertising strategies tell me that I am.

Fast forward to 2013. The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is… SELFIE. A word that has its roots firmly planted in Australian slang; a selfie is “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”

This makes sense. 7 years of being told that “You” are at the centre of the universe + a rapidly increasing number of camera-enabled smart phones + universal access to social media platforms = #SELFIE

When your school photos are made available or a collection of photos from an event you attended are uploaded to Facebook, who is the first person you look for? Yep, me too.

How do you think about self in a #selfie world? How are we supposed to think about our identity? WHO ARE YOU?

[Read more…]

REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA // #NYMC

REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA

The following is a bunch of resources from my REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA Professional Development Seminar from NYMC 2013. It was a fruitful 3 hours with stimulating discussion and a resolve to think this stuff through theologically. I began the seminar by disagreeing with my underlying premise from a similar workshop at NYMC 2011 (see some of those resources here). Previously my foundational principle was that “all technology is neutral, what matters is that we avoid the harmful and unleash it for good”. I still believe we should avoid the harmful and unleash it for good, however I don’t think all technology is neutral. I shared with people my journey in changed thinking. One of the books mentioned below was pivotal in my thinking shift. Keep reading to find out more!

[Read more…]

REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA // INTERVIEW WITH NATHAN W. BINGHAM @NWBingham

REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA

I will be presenting a 3 hour Professional Development Seminar at National Youth Ministry Convention 2013 on REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA. In the lead up to NYMC I have a series of interviews with Christians using online mediums in a deliberate way for the Gospel. I have asked the same 4 questions to each guest and there are some fantastic posts coming!

The fifth and final guest is Nathan W. Bingham. Nathan is an Aussie now based in the United States working for Ligonier Ministries. I really appreciate the resources that they make available. I’ve also been encouraged by Nathan’s personal blog and the godly wisdom he brings to navigating the digital world. He writes with precision and his response below helps to clarify and extend my own thinking ahead of the seminar I will be running. Make sure you click all the links below, lots of gold to be mined.
—-

1) What church and/or ministries are you part of?

I’m a member of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Florida and serve as Internet Outreach Manager at Ligonier Ministries, a teaching ministry founded by R.C. Sproul in 1971. I’m originally from Melbourne, Australia, growing up with Vegemite and Weet-Bix, but after completing a theology degree moved to Orlando, Florida in 2012 with my wife and three young daughters to assist in managing and expanding Ligonier’s digital outreach and e-communications. I still get Vegemite imported, but now occasionally eat donuts and bagels for breakfast.

2) What ways do you use online mediums in your ministry and witness?

[Read more…]

GROUP GAMES APP 2.0 // #YOUTHMINISTRY GOLD!

GROUP GAMES

Calum Henderson is a saviour (not THE Saviour!) of youth pastors around the world! 18 months ago he launched an iPhone app jam-packed with games suitable for groups. I wrote about it then, and have been using it since! I love the range of activities, the easy navigation and the time that this app saves in programming for our youth community. Calum has just launched version 2.0 of the app. It’s now available with an iPad version; fits in with the iOS 7 look and has a handy new favourites option.

To coincide with two of my presentations for NYMC 2013, Calum is giving away 5 free downloads of this App. To win one of those 5 downloads, simply leave a comment below and I will use random.org to choose 5 winners. If you miss out, not to worry, it only costs $1.99! Find out more on the groups games app website or download it from iTunes. Check out Calum’s intro video:

[Read more…]

REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA // INTERVIEW WITH STU HARRIS FROM @yesHEiscom

REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA

I will be presenting a 3 hour Professional Development Seminar at National Youth Ministry Convention 2013 on REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA. In the lead up to NYMC I have a series of interviews with Christians using online mediums in a deliberate way for the Gospel. I have asked the same 4 questions to each guest and there are some fantastic posts coming!

The fourth guest is Stu Harris. Stu works for yesHEis.com and will be hosting a Panel Chat with Q&A that I will be participating in at NYMC this Saturday. Having interacted with him via email and read his answers below, I’m really looking forward to gleaning more wisdom when we hang out!
—-

1) What church and/or ministries are you part of?

I’m married to Jeanette, and we have 2 handsome boys Samuel (7) and Luke (2), and a little princess on the way :-) We’re originally from the UK, but moved to Sydney 12 years ago. Since then we’ve lived in Tassie and now we’re living in Queensland. We’re part of Good Life Church on the Sunshine Coast. We love their missional heart for the local community.

I work with a great team of young, energetic, passionate folks who love to share their faith in Jesus and encourage others to do likewise. Christian Vision have been involved in evangelism ministry since 1988, and 4 years ago started the transition to developing a focus on online mission introducing yesHEis, a website and app (Apple + Android) that is designed to help Christians share their faith on the various social media platforms. We operate in multiple languages around the world. I lead the International English team which includes creatives, marketing and community specialists who connect with the local church.

2) What ways do you use online mediums in your ministry and witness?

[Read more…]