How to Make Healthy Habits Online

Strategy, marketing, and all the ugly words we associate with the secular world make it difficult for the church body to embrace media. How do we turn our online habits into healthy habits and use strategy? Tony Whittaker wrote, Why Bother with Strategies for Lausanne Media Engagement Network, and he says,

“Some people might ask, “Why do we need evangelistic strategies at all? Surely we are just called on to preach the gospel, plain and straight, and leave God to do the rest?” Even the words ‘communication strategies’ may seem to imply worldly marketing methods rather than a dependence on the power of the gospel through the Holy Spirit. There are a number of answers to this very reasonable question. The Word ‘preach’ does not just mean ‘one-way verbal communication’ – as in a sermon or evangelistic address. It has a much broader sense – ‘to effectively communicate’. If the receivers have not understood the message, real communication has probably not occurred. The word ‘communicate’ also has a root meaning that helps us: that of ‘communing’ or interacting over ‘common’ ground.”

This article effectively outlines what that strategy should look like and gives ideas. All strategy employed must begin with prayer. My prayer has always come from Matthew 4:19 of the CEB when Jesus promises to show us how to reach people. Marketing or strategy are simply methods used to get information in front of people in a format they can understand so a conversation can happen. Social Media is built around relationships. How can we build relationships with people if we don’t show them some common ground? People in ministry aren’t the only ones who should pay attention to strategy. Everyone is capable of learning new things and should seek to understand the communication tools marketers and ministry partners use. Because each person has a social media profile, each person can prayerfully determine the audience they wish to reach, but don’t be a preacher.

Communicate. Talk to people. Converse. 

An article about Google search terms years ago reminds me daily that God is asking us to serve outside the walls of the church. In that article, the writer said suicide was a term searched from midnight on. Maybe some of us ought to take the night shift on social media and learn to listen, armed with resources to give when the moment calls for it?

Sometimes, I think the church needs to re-learn how to make a conversation. Like in church when someone asks in passing, “How are you?” to which “fine” is the expected answer, a reaction or like shouldn’t be the only responses online. How you converse or respond to someone is up to you, but social media allows us to have conversations at any time of day or night.

In either case, you are online whether by boredom or just to see the grandkids’ photo. You’ve developed a habit with your phone. Let’s make your online habits healthy:

  • Are you talking or preaching? Are you listening?
  • Are you preaching to the choir or are you making a difference?
  • Is your social media a pulpit for your favorite political party?
  • Are you aware of trigger words with people you are friends with? How are you using your words online? Do you know the people you friend?
  • Do you pray for a people group? Is your social media friendly to that people group or religion? Your social media can connect with them personally.

If communication shuts down because of a disagreement, your opportunity is lost. Do everything possible to keep that line open. How you post online is really determined by who you have friended, where they are from, and what they believe. Social Media is known for its dark side. Ask the Lord to show you HOW to follow Him and HOW to build good friendships online so we allow God to shine a light through it.

Like Owning a Truck…

An old saying goes like this, “When you own a truck, you always have friends” (or something like that). Meaning, everyone knows the truck owners in the neighborhood. They are called when a need arises to transport furniture. Bumper stickers on trucks protest: “Yes, this is my truck; No, I won’t help you move.” As a technologist with WorldVenture, I often get asked for help with online marketing. The line between ministry and being helpful is often blurred.

Helping businesses with marketing is a great service, especially if that business is Christian-owned. But this calling is more than about helping a business succeed. With limited time on my hands, I have to make choices. As my schedule becomes tighter, I have less time open to meeting with Christian business owners seeking to learn only marketing, not ministry. With working a 40-hour a week day job and managing various projects and websites, I barely have time to take care of my marriage and myself.

I’m not complaining. I love that I can help another, but now I have to watch the time I use every week. If the business is open to partnering with their church in their church’s mission and vision in connecting with their local and global community, I am eager to help. I am eager to share that vision and help them reach their business and ministry goals.  But like the truck owners, someone has to pay for the gas. 

2018 is going to see some changes in that I must focus on my various projects and websites, helping missionaries, churches, and missionary organizations, and only those who are doing business as missions. For now, I must guard my time to ensure that I am doing what God has called me to do, continue to raise 100% support as I am accountable to WorldVenture, take care of my spiritual and physical self, and take care of my marriage. I can recommend a person who teaches social media for business owners. I have made arrangements to refer people I cannot help to this person.

Thank you for your overall support and understanding of this issue. I’m on Day 4 of 30 days of prayer on my Facebook page. Will you consider partnering with me on a monthly basis as a church, individual, or business? Go here to learn more:

Why Firsts Change People’s Lives

He made me feel empowered when he brought me into his office. I sat down across from him, a nervous twenty-something year old, with the thought in my mind of, ‘What did I do?’ 

My boss ran the whole floor at Bank of America. As I sat down, he looked me straight in the eye and asked, “What can we do to improve things around here?” He held a pen and a pad of paper.

For the first time in my life, someone took me seriously. For the first time, someone believed in me. Someone thought I had value to contribute to a larger than life organization. That’s powerful. For the first time, I wasn’t Nikki who barely got by in High School and laughed at college. That was just the beginning of many firsts in my life that God would show me as He led me to Him. I was reminded of this recently after an extended video conference call. It caused me to think about the path I took since then, and the many mistakes I made getting here.

My old friend, Fear, likes to poke his head out from the shadows and say, “You are stupid. You are foolish.” He represents a very old enemy that, at one time, held power over me. Fear made me spend money I didn’t have, choose friends who weren’t healthy, and date people I knew would leave me anyway. Why should I be courageous when no one would help me if I fail? I was alone.

Yet, God would bring people in my life to prove He had never left my side. From the time Gwen Beatty saw me enter FBC Prescott (now Solid Rock Christian Fellowship) to when God brought a man who would become my husband that would start an unstoppable awakening in my soul. It is because of the people God brought in my life that I changed. Fear is everyone’s enemy.

What stops you from reaching out to people who make you uncomfortable? When I think of the American church, I share with others grave concerns about its ability to be like the courage of the persecuted church. Those concerns made me take a hard look at myself.

  • Am I friends with people who disagree with me?
  • Can I put a name to a different religion? Or in other words, have I ever had dinner with someone from a different religion, even country?
  • Is my Facebook “preaching to the choir,” or am I allowing God to use me on social media to do the hard work in building relationships with people who are different than me?

A verse caught my eye the other day from Ephesians 3:14-21:

This is why I kneel before the Father. Every ethnic group in heaven or on earth is recognized by him. I ask that he will strengthen you in your inner selves from the riches of his glory through the Spirit. I ask that Christ will live in your hearts through faith. As a result of having strong roots in love, I ask that you’ll have the power to grasp love’s width and length, height and depth, together with all believers. I ask that you’ll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God.

Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us; glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus for all generations, forever and always. Amen.

Firsts in life are important and life changing. You play a part in other people’s “firsts” whether you serve the homeless, internationals, or just go to church. Mentoring is important.

The above verse is my prayer for you and your church.

Can I pray further with you about something?

Christmas Eve and Day: I Am Available

I didn’t send Christmas cards this year. With all the communications I do with WorldVenture, the Christmas card becomes meaningless. Social Media makes the Christmas letter unimportant and even extraneous because we’ve already read everything you’ve done this year on your Facebook. What is important, however, is being available for conversations.

If you are having a hard time this Christmas, please know that I am available for private chats, email, or on social media. My phone will be with me.

Christmas Day or Christmas Eve…talk to me. I’m here.

Merry Christmas, Friends!

Now on WhatsApp!


Joseph: A Shepherd or Livestock Tending? #Missions #bgbg2

Reading the Bible Like a Love Letter: Genesis 46-47

Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “Let me go up and inform Pharaoh and tell him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household who were in the land of Canaan have arrived. The men are shepherds, because they own livestock. They’ve brought with them their flocks and herds and everything they own.’ When Pharaoh summons you and says, ‘What do you do?’ say, ‘Your servants have owned livestock since we were young, both we and our ancestors,’ so that you will be able to settle in the land of Goshen, since Egyptians think all shepherds are beneath their dignity.” Genesis 46:31-34

This passage reminds me that, in order to blend with another culture, you have to use different words to describe what you do. Joseph asked his brothers and fathers household to say they tend livestock rather than explain their job title as shepherds.

Genesis 47 shows how Joseph’s brothers and their household didn’t listen. God prepared the way anyway, opening doors that would have otherwise shut, so Joseph and his family could settle in Goshen and be shepherds.

This passage speaks to me. Though my online presence is overtly Christian, God will open doors where He sends me. I have chosen to use different words to describe what I do while maintaining truthful relationships. It’s only practical. Saying I am a mentor is more welcoming than saying I am a missionary. Both words mean the same thing, but are looked at differently according to a person’s worldview.

I’m not in a habit to Bible thump my way into a relationship. A good cup of tea isn’t drunk the moment the tea bag sits in the hot water. It is allowed to steep. Friendships require work and time. Like I said in Friday’s post, Americans aren’t good at this. We want everything fast and distant. Mentoring takes time and requires effort, even pursuit. I’ve had the privilege of mentoring college kids and teens over the years. It is very rewarding, but like everything, it had its end. They moved on, but we remain friends.

My “Office” Explained


I work here when I am not behind my desk at Solid Rock Christian Fellowship in Prescott, Arizona working 36-hours a week. Behind me is a coffee pot and to my right is a sliding glass door to my backyard. On Fridays, it’s quiet in the neighborhood. I love Fridays. I get to start my online work that I lightly do Monday through Thursday.

Why do I love this work online?

I get to minister to people within and outside of my community all over the globe at the tap of a few keys. It’s not light work. No way would I ever call it, “playing.” Social media is ministry and missions. It is investing in people’s lives and helping them through practical and spiritual means. That means, helping them find a church home, be that person to talk to when they feel isolated, and praying for them. It also takes on many different forms.

It’s using every form of communication, like pictures, to make long-term connections with someone online. A conversation you experience in face-to-face happens online, too. It’s a community. It’s not just mentoring, but managing three websites, many social media profiles, and the volunteers associated with each website. It’s heightened creativity. There is no end to the possibilities on how something you create can be used in God’s Kingdom.

Now back to work…