What is Coordinating?

Managing or coordinating someone else’s brand on social media is time-consuming, especially when your intention with its social media is ultimately digital discipleship. Recently, I posted a comic by Calvin and Hobbes. It went like this:

Hobbes: “Do you have an idea for your project yet?” 

Calvin: “No, I’m waiting for inspiration. You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.” 

Hobbes: “What mood is that?” 

Calvin: “Last minute panic.” 

Interpretation is up to the reader.

For me, it verbalized what coordinating social media is like when your posts are dependent upon content from people all over the world. My goal is to post twice a day each week. This requires being on social media to scavenge for stories that reflect the WorldVenture story and appeals to the reader. Social media is a tool in the belt of any worker for discipleship, influence, mentoring, etc. My efforts follow daily prayer.

This week, I focused on Venezuela. Because it has been in the news, getting our workers’ stories in front of it means the story has the potential to trend without paying for advertising dollars. Case in point: When a church posted the word Starbucks on their social media, their organic reach was higher than just talking about coffee. WorldVenture is a non-profit. If we can save ad dollars by sharing our workers’ stories around trending topics online, we can help our country and our world understand missions, be more attune to more biased news stories, and grow a compassionate heart. Because WorldVenture is a non-profit, I am considered a supported staffer.

A supported staffer is the same as a worker who must raise the monthly support to do the work needed for a nonprofit like WorldVenture. We aren’t going anywhere outside the country unless for specific assignments, and our work is now, rather than later. This means I am both appointee and worker; unfunded and still serving in some capacity in the job description while working a full-time day job.

I am also a pioneer that believes digital discipleship is the way to go and train nonprofits and churches in Christian ministry to utilize their volunteers and congregations to serve online rather than do what they’ve done historically–leave it to the pastors and missionaries to do the outreach and the 20% who do 80% of the work in church. In serving with WorldVenture, I am also revamping their social media usage little by little to use it as digital discipleship among other things.

“Last minute panic” is a constant state for me. Maybe it’s not really panic as it is a tension to work with the varied schedules across the globe, sensitive areas, and coordinating blogs, social media, and digital discipleship on a weekly basis.

Meanwhile, after my overnight trip to Indiana, I have time freed up to focus again. If you would like to have me fly out or video conference in to talk about what I do, please email me: nikolehahn (at) thehahnhuntinglodge.com. Help me get exposure or even consider support. Help me mobilize the churches to serve online. Go here to learn more: www.worldventure.com/nhahn or here to give monthly www.worldventure.com/give.

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.

At Glacial Speed

Seth Godin inspires me. In his post on July 6, Glaciers Get a Bad Rap, he reminded me that the best plans are focused and driven, going at glacial speed.

“But the speed isn’t the point. The fjord near my house, surrounded by huge cliffs, was formed by a glacier. Not because it was slow, but because it was large, clearly directed and relentless.” 

Social media is a new field. It requires a relentless and clearly directed focus and a lot of patience. Since I started raising support in March 2016, I’ve only managed to get to 37% support (give or take–waiting for a support to come through). I’ve developed great relationships with people and others have expressed to me how they see social media differently now.

If you want to learn more, email me. I would love to talk about it in the face-to-face. Projects are being developed as we speak, but like the glacier, slow and steady will get results. Meanwhile, I work a full-time job while I raise support, and God is doing so much with the little time I have between that and family.

 

**To learn more, click here**

How to Make Conversations #SocialMedia #Christian

In the face-to-face, our conversations are often about the food we eat, the places we went, and our health issues. Or, it’s about the vacations we experienced. Social media has the same conversations; we’ve forgotten how to contribute and make those conversations count like in the face-to-face world.

You can start with, “How are you?” But, “good” or “fine” is all you’ll get for minimal effort. Sharing memes can be good conversation starters if they are true and if you create a lead in the status update to push for a long conversation. It’s often best to observe what others post and jump into that conversation. The point is to build on what we have in common and commit to long-term trust building.

Too often we use social media to post our opinions, but not our questions. Social media has a lot of opinions and too little room for questions. Social Media and face-to-face can be used in collaboration for meaningful friendships that can lead to Gospel conversations (if only we make the effort).

**Support me monthly so social media becomes meaningful again. Click here**

5 Ways to Train Your Teen on Social Media

NEW RESEARCH: 5 Stats on How Teens Use Technology by Lifeways’ Chris Martin says,

“We misunderstand teens constantly being on their phones as vain, self-interested, or as a sign of their unwillingness to have real social interaction with people in real life.”

Depending on the generation of the people I speak to, it is common to find memes or other statuses that claim this about teens. Social media is just another tool for communication, like the telephone before it became a smartphone. Several personal stories back this article up, but instead of relaying anecdotal stories, I encourage you to read the above article. After reading the article, think about how you can encourage your teen to more intentional online discipleship of others in their peer group.

Here are five Ideas on how to train your teen on social media:

  • When a teenager gets his first job, he undergoes job training. In the same way, create a training process that is fun with some accountability to teach them how to post and interact intentionally. Have weekly discussions with him about the effectiveness of his postings.
  • Be the example as a parent. In the above article, it states, “…an unrealistic view of others’ lives as the biggest issues with social media.” A person’s public life must be the same as their private life. One person said to me how some people post online as if they are better than others. Their photos and statuses paint a picture of, “Look at us. Look at what you are missing out on.” Reflect your faith well.
  • Reduce bullying. Bullying is a problem made even more painful by the reach of social media. However, reducing bullying begins with parents and role models. How do we react or respond to people who disagree with us politically or morally? Teens see this.
  • Disciple your Teen. What are they learning in Bible Study? How can they learn to express this with their peers online? Tap into their artistic abilities with Instagram. Let them visually express what they are learning.
  • Marketers and Teens have much in common. “About 45% of teens cycle through this process constantly throughout the day. They can’t get off their phones because if they do they will fall behind, miss out in inside jokes, the latest gossip, and other meaningful social interactions that, if missed, could ostracize them.” The article talks about being online as work for the author. I feel the same way. Every marketer takes breaks. Teens should, too. They can adopt some of the same tools as marketers to save time.

Meanwhile, using social media can be a way for your teen to understand other cultures. Encourage them to learn a second or third language. Teach them online safety as well. While teens can connect with their peers in ways adults can’t, they are also vulnerable. I pray for parents and role models of teens because our fast growing technological world means exposing them to online dangers.

3 Ways to Cope with Online Negativity #Christian

As we walked the lakeside path, she said, “Maybe I’ll get off of Facebook after all this is over.”

This comment followed my own on the political climate online.

“Don’t get off Facebook.” And I shared some ideas of how to shine a light as a Christian. We can provide better ways for discussion, like not name-calling, making issues black and white without considering someone’s background or story, and doing our own research online, looking at both sides and verifying facts from opinions. Nonetheless, the negativity is a problem online. Here are three ways to cope with it all:

  • Take breaks from it. Balance your online time and your face-to-face time. Take walks. Get coffee with friends.
  • What is your friends’ or followers’ stumbling blocks? Posting something that may end up cutting off communication is not productive. How important is that topic? Can it be re-worded? At WorldVenture, we encourage online discipleship. Will that topic impede this goal? Coping with the negativity means not taking part in it. With a nation divided, we must think like missionaries online.
  • Don’t neglect prayer and your morning Bible readings. No online discipleship effort can be done without serious prayer. Keep up on understanding who God is by reading His Bible.  His Word in our hearts will keep us strong through any Facebook or social media storm.

3 Things to Consider When Posting on Social Media @WorldVenture #SMtips

This week, I began to serve at least a small portion of my new job description as a Digital Engagement and Disciple-Making Coordinator with WorldVenture. Crafting social media posts are a time-consuming and thoughtful endeavor. Here are 3 things to consider when posting for an organization such as WorldVenture:

  • Disciple-making doesn’t just happen in the face-to-face world. The definition of discipleship is a Christian who teaches and trains. I like to use the word mentoring, too. When you disciple someone, you are mentoring them. Creating posts for social media means understanding the influence of social media and using that post for more than marketing a missionary organization. A post can influence someone to serve, to change, to read the Bible more, or even to become a believer. Follow that up with immediate communication on a post, and you start to build relationships online.
  • Don’t narrow your vision. A lack of vision at your church and organization can truly limit your scope of reach. Even people who are techies like me can become too focused on just the technology. Face-to-face must accompany online efforts. Teamwork and unity among believers are important. Speaking of teamwork…
  • Christian business and Christian ministry need to work together, not in competition. Some competition in business is healthy, but without angel investors and mentors, a Christian business person will struggle. Christian ministry should never have competition. Churches should help someone find a fellowship of faith even if it is another church. A ministry should name their organizations to encourage working together, not an attitude of, “We are doing it better than anyone else.” God is a creative God. We feel like we are dreaming big, but God’s plans are bigger than anything we can imagine.

Bottom line: If churches partner with their missionary organization for training and missions and evangelism, imagine the reach of the Gospel then? That’s what I’m working on with WorldVenture–a way for churches (small and big, house or regular church) to get help in training their congregations and staff in cross-cultural ministry. The world is already here. Immigration, refugees, and international students have flooded the American landscape. With just 7-20% of the 70% measurably practicing their Christian faith in America, we are in desperate need of God. We are also in desperate need of people willing to think outside the box when it comes to missions. Of course, the question becomes, do we even need to use the word, Evangelism anymore? So many people are from other cultures, and with access to other cultures online, it feels that everything is missions.

Thoughts? 

**Support for this supported staff position with WorldVenture: 34%/100% funded. Go here to begin a monthly, quarterly, or annual financial commitment (tax-deductible). 

Hashtag Trends on Twitter 6-9-2018

I picked out Saturday’s trending hashtags to help you find the conversations that may help with fostering online friendships. A hashtag is like a keyword to group all the conversations around that hashtag in one place on Twitter. It’s handy. Email me for more ideas about hashtags and conversations.

#BestThingAboutThe70s

Build a relationship online by starting a conversation using this Twitter handle.

#SaturdayMorning

A variety of Saturday morning thoughts on Twitter. Scroll down and find someone to have a conversation with.

#AMJoy

AM Joy with Joy Reid. Conversations pop up on various topics.

#NationalRoseDay

A clever use of a hashtag to promote a wine. Still, you could jump in on these conversations.

#SatChat

Conversations on Saturday. Join one.

Church Planting and Discipleship @jd_payne

My mentor introduced me to J.D. Payne’s blog, Missiologically Thinking: Equipping the Church for the Multiplication of Disciples, Leaders, and Churches.  JD Payne’s latest blog made me click. It’s not often you see a statement like this: Church Planting is not the Single-Most Effective Methodology.

You must read it. Click on the link above and read the whole thing.

But this! This is where you need to pay attention:

“And someone somewhere is going to say, “The single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is planting new churches.” And everyone is going to assume that because all of these churches were started, we are making wise contributions to the Great Commission. When you hear these things, be a wise Kingdom steward and remember the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) and how churches were planted in the New Testament (Acts 11:20-26; 13-14; 1 Thes 1:2-10). Then ask, “How many people came to faith and how many sheep were shuffled around in the Kingdom to plant all these churches?” (emphasis mine)”

Thom Rainer said the same thing in 7 Reasons Why Evangelism Should be a Priority in Your Church:

“Look at the data. Measure almost any group of churches today versus thirty years ago. You’ll likely find that only one person is being reached with the gospel for every forty to sixty church members. You will find that conversions have declined precipitously. And where you find numerical growth, you are more likely to find that the growth is transfer of Christians from one church to another. That’s not evangelism. That’s sheep shuffling. (emphasis mine)”

Social Media is as polarizing in the church as alcohol. I’ve heard all the objections (I think) and the ones who are for social media only think of it in church-only terms, like marketing or denominational discipleship. The most common objection is lack of vision. As you can see in the above quotes, two totally separate experts agree church growth in most cases is due to sheep shuffling. People move. People hate the church they attend and leave it for another. At a church communications conference, I sat at different tables and learned about different communications people on church staff who had trouble getting leadership and/or congregations involved in social media. Some said their church was dying.

If only one person is being reached with the Gospel for every forty to sixty church members, why aren’t we teaching our church members how to use social media in more authentically strategic ways? And who are those people we haven’t reached yet? The International Student population is at an all-time high. Refugees live in our country. People migrate here all the time. The harvest is not lacking. This is where WorldVenture comes in.

I partnered with WorldVenture to become a supported staffer with them so we can work with our partners, allies, and church partners to understand other cultures, use social media in ways that bring a full harvest, empower our workers in the field with knowledge, and help partners, allies, church partners, and workers use their own social networks to be part of Social Media as global outreach.  If more than half of our church population is online, why aren’t we training them?

Let’s ponder that a while.

The supported staffer position is not filled yet because I am not at 100% funding. Will you consider supporting and partnering with me in this pioneer movement? 

In Light of Two Deaths

Anthony Bordain’s suicide came as a shock to me. My blogging friend, Lori expressed her dismay over Kate Spade’s death. Suicide appears to offer itself as the only solution. Both deaths reminded me of Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham struggled over the God question. In two books, Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief by James McPherson and Lincoln’s Battle With God by Stephen Mansfield, you get a picture of Abraham’s life. Abraham was put on suicide watch a few times. His childhood wasn’t a picture of Sunday dinner on Blue Bloods. His father viewed his reading habits as lazy and was a harsh man. Lincoln struggled all his life. During the Civil War, he dealt with dysfunctional generals. His wife was into the occult.

I could meander further, but I encourage you to read both books. Here’s where my heart rests…

Posting the suicide phone numbers for various countries on social media are wonderful. Let’s take it a step further.

Get to know your followers.

  • Who are your friends or followers online?
  • What do they struggle with?
  • Are you weighing your words before you speak online?
  • Are you speaking truth compassionately in their lives, or have you earned that right yet?
  • How are you fostering good relationships online?

It’s not about being a “nice Christian” as some accuse. A person must trust us before we can speak frankly into their lives; before we can hold them accountable, to love and empower them to live their lives fully, even if some of them struggle with mental illness. You can’t take back saying the wrong words, and even saying the right words aren’t always welcome. Conflict is inevitable even in the best of relationships. To foster good relationships online, changing how we use social media is important.

Someone once said that Facebook is like a person’s own paparazzi. People honestly do act like that as if we are individual celebrities in our own lives. What if we put others as more important? What if we changed the inner narrative from playing online to serving online? When that inner narrative changes, our heart changes and pursues more godly desires. We begin to hold ourselves accountable to better standards. Because if the change doesn’t happen in our own hearts first, we cannot serve the world. Social media is a tool, but not the answer.

For some, social media doesn’t offer a relief to the loneliness they feel. For the majority of the time, it feels like Christians are really good at sharing things from other sites without adding a personal touch. It’s generational or fear-based. Maybe they are thinking, “If I keep them at a distance, they can’t hurt or disappoint me.”

In today’s culture, people need to hear our stories. Even the dirty laundry can be helpful if it is God’s lessons being applied and not with the intent to discredit, slander, or put down another person in a passive-aggressive way.  My home church has a mission: #TransformChino. You can’t transform Chino if you aren’t risking disappointment, hurt, or even your life. People are messy, even dangerous. But back to Abraham Lincoln…

Abraham Lincoln struggled with mental illness, was on suicide watch, and did not give up on the God question. Because he didn’t choose to end his life, he was part of changing our nation. Anthony Bordain and Kate Spade were famous, influential people. Each of us who have a social media presence is also influential. We can be a positive change in a person’s life if we focus on our own relationship with God first.

Today, risk a new friendship. Risk sharing your heart online. Let others walk with you through your difficulties. God will put together your shattered heart time and time again if you get hurt. Tears will flow, but you are not alone. Have faith in the Unseen.

And don’t forget to read your Bible this morning.