Social Media World: How to be Teachable

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The post was up to several likes on my social media. I smiled in the semi-darkness of the living room. My statistics on TRC Magazine were really doing well, too, with people coming from all over the world. Compared to other much bigger and well-known people, it’s barely a blip on the radar, but satisfying. Without my belief in God, memories of being humbled, and knowing that, if I don’t keep my intentions in check, I could end up like other leaders in the online world who built their own kingdom rather than God’s; a kingdom scattered now like broken porcelain around their feet. So what does it look like to be teachable?

Intercultural Communication for Christian Ministry by Frank Tucker said:

“House plans are drawn from various perspectives, they are not complete; all perspectives are needed to contribute to the whole. When we apply this concept to an intercultural situation, the people of each culture have a unique perspective on life. We may learn from one-another, but each is only a partial perception of reality and each needs to be subject to modification in openness to the Spirits’ revelation of reality as God sees it. (Location 1090-1091; emphasis mine).”

  • Listen first. It is only our arrogance that keeps us from hearing what the others are saying. Even if we disagree with them, we don’t have a whole picture. Practice listening on social media.
  • Ask questions. I find that, when I don’t have the answer or a complete picture, I ask questions. A teacher once said there are no stupid questions. Asking questions is especially handy when trying to open up a discussion. A person doesn’t want to be told what to think. It is the right question that makes them think further on the subject.
  • Admit what you don’t know. Christians don’t have all the answers. We can learn better together; Leaning on each other, helping each other, and working together is wise.

In A Teachable Spirit by Justin Taylor, he describes Philip and the Eunuch in Acts 8:

“Acts 8 describes a story that might help us think through this. An Ethiopian eunuch — a God-fearing Gentile who served as treasurer to the Ethiopian queen — had made a five-month journey by chariot to Jerusalem in order to worship God. During his return trip he was puzzling out loud over the Isaiah scroll that he held in his hands. And the Holy Spirit appointed Philip to help him understand the meaning of the Bible.” 

The eunuch understood his own insufficiency. A Teachable Spirit urges us to be quick to hear and slow to speak. The article reminds us to be doers of the Word, to wrestle with the Word within ourselves, asking God for meaning, and going to others when we need help understanding it. I’m new to the mission field.

The help of others experienced in the field, rich with Biblical education, and well-versed in more complex issues help me. I am grateful for them. Their encouragement reminds me that what I am building is not my own kingdom. A good strategy is bringing in people from many different backgrounds and experiences to participate in God’s Kingdom so we can be better in the field than the evil out there.

Who are your social media accountability partners? Who are your mentors?

Update on Solid Rock Christian Fellowship Blog Project…

Last year, as a first church project as an appointee with WorldVenture, I collaborated with Solid Rock Christian Fellowship (SRCF) and Christian Academy of Prescott (CAP) to create a multi-author blog. It went live on December 1, 2015 with good responses.

The project leader, Jodi, needs fresh posts. On top of reviewing books and movies, she needs writers who now attend or used to attend SRCF or CAP to consider the following:

  • Review books. The library gets free books from publishers that are hot off the press for blogging about the books. This means that the library can obtain new books without it costing the church or school anything. The catch to this is: We need people to read them and review them. 
  • Did you like the sermon? Consider submitting, as an infrequent writer, a devotional based on what you learned from the sermon. We will add to your post what books people can check out to go deeper into the subject as well as encourage them to pick up CD copies or click on the video link to listen in.
  • Review movies. Christian movies get a lot of criticism from both the secular and Christian crowd. Consider checking out a movie at the Media Center and reviewing it. Make it personal.
  • Interviews. If you liked a book the library has, consider interviewing the author via email. We welcome interviews on the site.
  • What about that wonderful Sunday School video? If you are videoing your Sunday School teachings, consider writing about what you are learning in Sunday School and recommend some books from the Media Center for people to go deeper into that study. In fact, I can help you set up a system where your Sunday School can take turns writing, while one or two people have access to uploading posts. This way, your Sunday School is represented to the community online as one group. We have a ministry already setting up to do this on the blog, and it’s less time consuming for people.
  • Create a Team of Writers: Why not help a home bound person review a book or movie by being their hands and feet and posting for them?

The library seeks to use its blogging ministry to enhance and help grow the current ministries at CAP and SRCF through movies and good literature. To become a regular writer, contact Jodi at mediacenter@fbcprescott.org. Regular writers need to attend one writers class and one wordpress user class. This can be arranged on your time.

Feel free to comment with questions and let me help you think creatively on what your posts could look like and how to save time while serving our community and our ministries via online journaling.

The Art of Great Presentations

3427627Required reading doesn’t have to be all work and no joy. As in the case of The Sower, Slide:ology I greatly enjoyed. Nancy Duarte gave me insight in how I can use Power Point to tell story, show data, and make impact. The case could have been made that reading this was unnecessary since I have been doing Power Point presentations for about eight years at my day job, but new techniques sharpen the mind.

So my top five takeaways?

  1. Pictures evoke emotion and tell a story. More pictures, less words was what she recommended.
  2. The presentation supports the person. The person doesn’t support the presentation.
  3. Font is important. Take the time to seriously consider the kind of font to use in a presentation.
  4. Data doesn’t all have to go on the one slide. Make the data easily manageable using simple graphs or simply a picture with a percentage.
  5. Mini-presentation. The one thing I plan on doing is creating a small presentation to keep on my phone and tablet so when people ask me questions on the spot, I can whip out my tablet or phone to show them pictures during the natural conversation. She relayed a story of someone wishing to raise money for building fresh water wells in Africa who had a short presentation ready on his phone to support his conversations.

The mistakes people make are too much text on a slide, the slide having too much information too quickly so the audience reads ahead of the presenter, and how people make the information hard to digest. Like writing a story, moving a paragraph makes all the difference sometimes, and in presentations, filing the information down to key words and pictures make a more emotionally appealing presentation.

During the reading of this book, I have folded corners, circled key things, and generally made notes on the pages. It will be in my reference library for future presentations.

Studying: Steps @Indigitous

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“Indigitous STEPS is an eight-week, virtual program designed to provide pathways and community to the digital specialist who desires to use his/her unique digital skills (code, craft, design, draw, strategize) for the Great Commission.”

I love learning from others already in the field. Education is important in what I do. Learn techniques on a foundation of Bible truth and put them to work. So I am in week one in an eight-week program. I’ll be blogging about it as I learn.

Meanwhile, please enjoy a bit of humor from Francis Chan. I have to agree with him: We like to talk about discipleship, but do we actually do it? How can you make your social media more about engagement and discipleship?

How to Have Quality Time With God

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Aside from the fact that what I posted online was bordering on a vent, that thought soon attached itself to another thought: What does quality time with God look like?

Is it opening my Bible on the hour of six a.m. every morning, reading a few lines of scripture, saying some prayers, and going on with the day? What does it matter if you spend seven days every morning reading the Bible or three, if seven days becomes a rut where you forget what God was teaching you in those moments?

People feel shamed and humbled when they encounter one of those deep prayer warriors. They are wonderful people whose seven day a week prayers are truly the quiet, deep waters of thought that we all seek. They are different than most people. They make you want to be different.

So rather than stress over not delving into the Bible seven days a week like them, why not just spend a deep hour studying the Word on your schedule? With your phone Bible app, you can snack on the Bible verses throughout the day.

It’s about quality, not quantity.

Socks For Christmas

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My mother-in-law asked over the phone, “What do you want for Christmas?”

“Socks.” My husband replied.

How can we get excited about socks?

If we don’t have to buy socks during the year, we can go on adventures or pay for extra expenses in ministry.

That’s why we love socks for Christmas, and that’ s what we received–great big boxes of socks. 

Webinar Date Change: April 22

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How do we utilize our youth and adults, especially Senior Adults, to use social media and technology for online missions? How do we get people who speak other languages to use the internet in Christ-redeeming ways to speak across cultural boundaries in a person’s own heart language? Don’t let a lack of knowledge of technology or prejudices about technology keep you from sharing God’s stories through online engagement.

This webinar will focus on the topic of social media, creative ways of using social media, and what mobile technology is doing across the globe. The goal will be to inspire the church body to act through social media in more mission-minded ways. It is about utilizing the least-used resource in missions—the church congregation.

REGISTER HERE

Don’t Scoff at What You Don’t Know

A month or two ago, J.D. Payne shared an article from NPR how women in Saudi Arabia had their first gaming convention. He did more than share an opportunity for gamers to befriend and share the Gospel; he taught me that news of missional opportunities don’t just lie in Christian publications, but exist in secular places.

Like this one,

“Many people will probably wonder why I’ve decided to do this,” read the beginning of the suicide note that Eris had scheduled to appear on his Tumblr on 27 April 2015, two days after his death. “I was sexually abused as a child … and have dealt with the consequences of that my entire life. Imagine going through life with an ever-present shadow hanging over you, worrying if you too might be like the people who destroyed your childhood and life.” (READ MORE)

A man on an online game, known for being a horrible person, committed suicide, or appeared to, until you realize he faked the whole thing. A brilliant person who went to great coding lengths to figure out his life. What surprised him was how much people cared about him and tried to follow up on his suicidal attempts and the ones who grieved his, “death.”

The writer ended the article with,

“As for Eris, he is feeling better – a change he credits to a new regime of antidepressants and returning to church. Not so much for the God-worshipping part, but because it’s nice to “sit and listen to a sermon and maybe talk to people afterwards”

The lesson here? Video games are awesome opportunities to reach out. This man was a computer programmer. He could be like the man you work with at your job or the guy that makes your coffee every morning. What if you reached out at work to your troubled co-worker while someone playing video games with him does the same? I think, before we scoff at these opportunities, we ought to really SEE.

READ this great article. 

 

A Caution to Conspiracy Theorists

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Once again, I “unliked” a questionable, conservative publication. I find that conspiracy theories aren’t linked to just one political party. They are like the weeds in our front yard, popping up everywhere in so many different forms. They can also be used to divide and conquer a land, with one half of one political party strongly favoring one side and the other half, like me, saying, what’s the other side of the story? Where’s the proof?

It’s often best to ask yourself:

  • What message do I want to be known for?
  • What message will I die for?

These days I am staying clear of conspiracy theories, rationing politics to controllable amounts so I know what’s going on, and focusing instead on discipleship, learning, and spreading the Gospel as fast as possible.

The New Yorker: I Laughed!

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The Useless Agony of Going Offline humorously talked about a guy and his wife who chose to follow someone’s advice and go offline for a few days. I read about this all the time.

Some people take fasts, lents, or don’t go on at all. We seem to make technology the bad guy when it is a tool; a very effective tool. People often make comments to me about technology.

“I don’t have a smart phone.”

“I don’t use email.”

“I am not on Facebook.”

“I call people.”

The guy said in reference to his experiment, “What I’m learning may not always be of great social value, but I’m at least gaining some new knowledge—by using devices in ways that, sure, also distract me from maintaining a singular focus on any one thing. I still read deeply, and study things closely, and get lost for hours at a time in sprawling, complicated pieces of literature.” 

He also said, “If getting outside and taking walks, or sitting in silence, or walking dogs, or talking with loved ones on the phone got me to that same place, I’d be more than happy to change things up.” In his three days, he discovered that technology didn’t take away from his life; it added to it.

I know people who have text conversations with others about Jesus, people who use email to talk to Muslims, and people who take short term mission trips, bringing SD cards filled with Bible translations, to a people in need of the Word. This is technology, and it comes in all kinds of forms from social media to dumb phones. My husband and I are often on Facebook or youtube at the same time in the same room. Sometimes, we flirt with each other via Facebook even as we sit across from each other. This makes us laugh.

Preference is subjective in how we choose to communicate with each other, and there are negatives to social media, but don’t close the door to the possibilities of technology. People need to hear what God has been doing in your life. They can benefit from your Christian walk.

Being a believer is not a safe calling.

J.D. Payne said,

“VISION FOSTERS RISK TAKING Just because someone postulates a vision to be realized does not mean that success is guaranteed. Mission strategy is often about going against the status quo. Strategy involves change and requires vision to move beyond the comfort zone. A vision requires taking risks, and working toward a vision requires faith.” ― from “Developing a Strategy for Missions (Encountering Mission): A Biblical, Historical, and Cultural Introduction