Where Are The Good Followers? #SocialMedia #Christian

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According to “Cairnway,” 1,246 paperback books with leadership in the title were published in 2017. “Counting all formats, Amazon offers 57,136 books with the word leadership in the title.” In a Google search, I found only a few articles or books on being good followers. Most of the time, leadership takes precedent. It’s what you hear in church. Based on a 4-day devotional from the Youversion app on Francis Chan’s “Letters to The Church,” I bought the book, hungry for being in awe of my position as a member of the Body of Christ. And this chapter set me down on my knees.

In fact, I posted on my Facebook, “I love this book, but I am not reading it from a spirit of trying to find someone else to blame; I am learning to be in awe of being a member of the body of Christ and to help bring about a spirit of unity by supporting, leading, and doing away with my own sense of ego, pride, and competition.” Too often, we hit the share button because we want someone else to see it. The lesson is for them, not for us. I want to learn Jesus’ version of leadership. (John 13:1-17).

Francis Chan says,

“Imagine how difficult it would be to coach a team where each player refuses to follow because he or she has a better plan than the coach. Welcome to the American Church in the twenty-first century. Let’s exercise some humility.”

My biggest struggle is getting rid of my sense of competition, especially when you are raising support to only have to work one full-time job. I’ve encountered people who believe they are the only ones doing it right. That attitude is in the name of their ministries, their words, and even in their defensiveness. To maintain a sense of unity, I seek to work with what is established and help others succeed in their ministry goals. In some situations, I become a leader; in others, I become a follower. Once upon a time, I hated how teachers would force me into group work. Now, I see value in collaboration, but don’t hold too tightly to your ideas as a leader. God is such a creative God. He dreams bigger than we do.

A good follower of Christ and a good leader is aware that people are always watching. With social media, this is acutely true. The more notoriety you get (like Francis Chan), the more critical and the more encouraging the comments. Chan struggled with so much criticism and flattery. As a Digital Engagement and Disciple-Making Coordinator with WorldVenture, I can understand that pressure, but not to his level. On an individual level, a person must show their faith and life online and treat their social media as an extension of their face-to-face life. They should be one and the same. You can, with social media, be both a leader and a follower. The church needs good followers.

It became quickly clear to me in 2014 how social media will play a big role in missions, but only if we can mobilize the congregation to follow. Francis Chan pastored a megachurch before God took him out of the country. In this first chapter, he talked about wanting people to live holy lives. Too many people had no interest in applying the Bible to their lives at his megachurch. They would come to church every week and go home without appearing to show the fruit of belief in their lives. He wanted his church to become groups of people who challenged each other to action (and they did!).

In 2014, I saw more than half of the church on social media platforms like Facebook, and I asked God, “What if we trained those people to reach unbelievers, the unreached, and to learn another culture, even a language, to become digital workers? What if each church had a digital team that grew every year that supported the mission and vision of their church and likewise, supported missionary organizations? Missionary organizations that also help to provide training material to support a church’s mission goals and their own?” I also saw over-worked pastors and missionaries and communications staff that didn’t just do communications, but a hundred other jobs. Most churches and missionary organizations do not have the budget to support someone trained in communications. Sometimes, churches and missionary organizations only see their social media as a marketing tool, rather than a tool that can be used for digital discipleship. Francis Chan said, “Another issue we saw was how everything had grown to be very dependent on one person.”

Right now, I am training a non-profit on social media and digital discipleship. A ministry is only as good as the heart and drive of its people. If all leadership has to do is provide relevant content and lead, the digital teams become a powerful tool to saturate the world with the Gospel. This alleviates the pressure of having to do everything. Lastly, Francis Chan says this,

“After giving a very strong rebuke to the church of Laodicea for being lukewarm, Jesus simply asked them to open the door. Before you get overwhelmed by all tht is wrong with the Church, rememeber that He is not placing an insurmountable burden on your shoulders. He is asking you to fellowship with Him and join Him in what He is doing. We should be filled with faith and anticipation…”

You are the church.

You are also online.

Creatives and The Church #SocialMedia

 Called to Create: A Biblical Invitation to Create, Innovate, and Risk by Jordan Raynor is a new book on my Kindle reading list. Inspired by Roots Writers and Social Media Critique Group’s leader, Sherry Rossman, I bought it. In my field, creatives are necessary.

“God created us to be co-creators with him, to do ‘the things that God has done in creation–bringing order out of chaos.’ to create new things for the good of others. God is calling us to be entrepreneurial.” 

Social Media is a field for creatives by creatives. The church can’t expect that new communication methods will conform to traditional ways of evangelism or missions. It is the vision of this ministry to help the church gather its most creative and solid Christians to help them reach out into their communities through art, photography, story telling, and visual outreach. In doing so, the church will grow if leadership inspires this new movement among their congregations. An accidental extension of this movement means, crossing the generational gap by partnering your youth group with your older congregant members so both learn something.

Your older members learn technology so they can serve online. Your youth learn the stories of the older person’s past and forms a bond through mentoring.

On January 9, 2018 at Desert Springs Community Church in Goodyear, Arizona, Southwest Church Connection is hosting a workshop for pastors in the Phoenix area. You can RSVP here. Come, even if you think you understand social media, and perhaps I can refresh your creativity online. Come, even if you aren’t online and your congregation is older. Coaching is available.

RSVP here. 

You Just Need One #Shaken

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People say this a lot to especially caution pastors: “Don’t worry about the numbers.”

I’m reading Tim Tebow’s new book, Shaken. In it, he wrote about how one preacher did this fantastic preaching to a group of people in India. After the preaching, he was disappointed to find that only one person came forward during the alter call to accept Christ.

This person was Ravi ZachariasOne person who is now known by millions.

His impact on the world for the Gospel…unbelievable.

If I only touch one person in my life, I would hope that one person is a future Ravi Zacharias, Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, etc.

That’s why I no longer worry about numbers on my online platform. Yes, I want to build my online networks, but every profile is a person that I want to pour my energy, love, and compassion on to grow disciples, not fans. We can get so caught up in marketing, we take the humanity out of it.