New Ideas Always Inspire

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New running shoes are beautiful. Not a single mud splatter or tear and it even smells like new shoes. The joy in that object fades as the wearer of the shoes have to actually run. Running shoes were meant to be used, like tools of ministry.

People always get excited about starting a new online ministry. Any online ministry can be effective, but it all boils down to the work of volunteers. Without consistency and engagement, an idea will fizzle like yesterday’s opened liter of Pepsi. That’s why I design a church’s online ministry with the volunteers in mind.

For low turn-out, I work at making an online ministry feasible even in a volunteer drought. That’s what I love about social media and technology. The concept is simple, like running shoes.

Just put them on and go. Get online and talk. But like running, getting in shape to run long distances takes time. Ministry cannot be results driven. It’s not the numbers that matter, but how a person can holistically be led to the Lord and discipled. When you read a missionary’s letters, the emphasis is not on how many people came to the know the Lord today (although, that is their goal), but the stories are always around the relationships.

Jesus discipled through relationship. 

We shouldn’t be any different. He even went to where the people were to preach and serve. Just google how many miles Jesus is said to have walked in his life of ministry. You’ll be amazed.

He didn’t even have my beautiful running shoes, just sandals. 

Running and Ministry

Not every run will turn out okay. Running is a metaphor, an adjective, and a goal and discipline-maker. As a high school student, I wasn’t athletic. I hated running. All I wanted to do was sit on the bleachers under the warm California sun and read. Running happened almost three years ago when I so desperately wanted to do something different with my life; break the mundane. Do something crazy.

Running happened because someone believed I could do it (you know who you are!). It became part of my spiritual life, a creative expression, a longing to embrace the outdoors. On Saturday, I ran my peak run a few weeks from the Whiskey Row Marathon (20 miles) and it was the worst run ever.

If a friend had driven by and offered me a ride, I would have taken it that day, and called YMCA to downgrade my run from a full to a half marathon. When the emotions and pain subsided, I realized that I did finish 20 miles. The very act of just finishing a difficult task is worship. Following the Lord in what He has called you to do is like running that 20 miles. It is obedience.

Training requires consistency. You can’t train sometimes and only when you feel like it. For a marathon, you have a regiment of regular running, specified miles, so you are prepared for the real thing. When I think of bad runs, I think how ministry requires consistency and planning.

Many times a ministry will fail, not because the idea was bad or it was against God’s will, but because of lack of preparation, discipline, or consistency. A ministry cannot run on a few volunteers. Volunteers must embrace the vision and mission of the ministry and be “sold” on its message. Like running, ministry requires patience as you train to get there.

I’m praying that my run on May 14 will be good in spite of the struggle to train just like I pray your ministry will succeed with unlimited energy to produce great results, but not be results-driven.

Have a great day, friends!

Links From The Webinar @EthneCity #missions #SocialMedia

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Thank you for attending the webinar today. I will post a link to the video for review or to see it for the first time as soon as it posts. Meanwhile, here are the links where I get all my information. I encourage you to explore and learn more. Think outside the box in how you can use these resources to reach others. God is inviting you to serve in His kingdom.

 

Ministry Websites:

TRC Magazine

Cataclysm Missions Intl LLC

Note on side projects: The Wilderness Trekking Video Series will be coming late May. Due to illness and training, things had to be reshuffled. 

 

History of Cybermissions:

Global Media Outreach

Mobile Ministry Forum

 

The Stats

Internet Stats

More Internet Stats

Facebook Newsroom 

Youtube Newsroom 

Moving Works Copyright Free Videos

Tumblr “Pizza” article

 

Who is Doing it Right?

Mormon Missionaries (2014)

LDS Addiction Video Featured on Fox 

Mormons Hand Out Book of Mormon at Musical 

 

Bringing The Social Into Social Media

Ann Voskamp

Joey and Rory Blog

Filipino Cooking

Four Ways to Deeper Friendships by Intellectual Take Out

 

Stories From The Field

Brian and Kimberly

Nancy Keel (Bible TransMission)

Code for The Kingdom

WorldVenture

J.D. Payne “Saudi Women”

 

Opportunities?

***cannot locate the Business Insider Article***

Nikole Hahn on Personalized Ministry

 

If you would like to join our Technology and Missions Facebook Group, please email me. 

FAQs: Why Do I Have So Many Websites?

 

 

FAQs

In late 2011, I finished my first fiction fantasy novel and had plans to attend the Christian Writer’s Guild, “Writing For The Soul,” event in Denver, Colorado in 2012. I was excited and nervous to pitch my idea to an editor and agent. Like any new writer, I felt like this was it.

I worked so hard to build my online platform. I visited blogs. I built my own website using Homestead (my first company). I had a blog on WordPress where I had published interviews and book reviews. Writing is a small community, and God connected me with some great new friends. I had been online since 2006. My publishing list was a long one–a lifelong desire that started when I was a teenager. But reality hits every new writer.

Some truths I learned were…

Traditional publishing is hard.

Independent publishing (or self-publishing) is just as hard and more expensive.

While an agent asked for a partial manuscript in 2012 (the closest I had ever gotten to traditional publishing), it was later rejected because fantasy fiction in the Christian market was hard to sell. I continued writing more novels, and a strange restlessness began to seep into soul.

If I got a novel published, name on the cover, what then? So what? What was I going to do in between writing and publishing? What matters most to God? My name on the cover? Or the words and actions in between?

TRC Magazine began in 2012 (published in 2013). God had so many stories in the world that I wanted to give a place where people could share them. As a writer sending to big magazine conglomerates, it was discouraging to not get through the front door. Mainly, the people who got through the door were people with larger online platforms that could bring in new readers to these magazines. I wasn’t jealous. It takes a lot of work to get where they were, and I was happy for people who get that far in their life. They’ve earned it. God took my dream of writing and changed it. TRC Magazine became a place to be a megaphone for stories from anyone who wanted to tell it. If they couldn’t write, we help them. That wasn’t enough after a while. I was restless again.

We live in an economically hard area. I started a new business of Social Media Consulting as a ministry to help struggling writers and others get help with their marketing that would be within their budget and teach them to be independent. I was still sending in manuscripts and short stories, but I started to see the cutthroat side of Christian book reviewing. I didn’t like what I saw or how Christians online were mean to each other, or on their own agenda. Aesthetically, we weren’t cohesive, working towards the united goal of the Great Commission.

That’s where WorldVenture and Cataclysm Missions Intl LLC came in. I became a Social Media Missionary with WorldVenture and started Cataclysm Missions Intl LLC (CMI).

Why reinvent the wheel when other online cybermission organizations were doing a great job for the Great Commission? The problem was in how to bring them all together in one place so the pulpit becomes aware of online missions work. How do we also inspire people to join CMI or other cybermissions organizations if they couldn’t serve a traditional missionary organization? How do we educate and equip regular Christians who just want to go to church on Sunday to use their one social media well? How do we change Christian culture in how they react to things online?

The goal of Cataclysm Missions Intl LLC is to bring people from online into a fellowship of faith and the people in the pews to online in order to reach a hurting and lost world. How do we get Christians excited for what God is doing through technology?

I run so many websites so the current volunteers at TRC Magazine and CMI do not have to run a website. I take away the barrier of marketing, maintenance, and cost so God can use our volunteers through our different brands to reach this world. We are showing symbolically that, though we are different, we can work together with a single purpose. It’s been a struggle to bear the yearly costs of running three websites, but God is a generous God. He is the God of the impossible. On a church secretary’s salary, He has made all things possible. His example of generosity has led me to trust Him for all future things.

So pray for me as I continue to run these sites. Pray we can begin to engage, not just share things.

See You April 1

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Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them,“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31

I am going on a blogging sabbatical the next three weeks (four weeks on my other sites). During that time, please pray as I am using this time to:

  • Catch up on some administrator duties.
  • Catch up on studying and start my coding lessons.
  • Focus on PDX training March 20-25 in Littleton, Colorado.
  • Prepare for full support raising on April 1.
  • Refill my creative tank through rest.

On my other site, I will have scheduled reposts of the great content that you might have missed by our volunteers. On this site, graphics will post of prayer reminders and needs.

I’ll still be on social media. With a full time job, things are organized chaos. Blogging, even finding content for another site, is time consuming to get useful posts to help people use social media for cybermissions. While most people get to enjoy a weekend, I dig into missions work on Friday mornings as soon as the day job ends on Thursdays.

This won’t be forever. I have every confidence that God will give what is needed for these ministries. He’s already proven that He will knock down walls, break out windows, and blow open the doors wide to have His will be done. This whole journey from perspective to appointment to support raising is an amazing journey. Flights, travel, material needs, and time have all been provided for by Him; sometimes even through you.

The next digest newsletter will go out on April 1. If you are on this list and would like to submit prayer requests, please submit all prayer requests to me by the last day of March. This is a service I provide to the people on my newsletter list. You can sign up to receive my newsletters by going to the menu at the top of this page.

God considered rest important. So, meanwhile, I am going to make another pot of coffee. The faster I get the work done today, the faster I can start my sabbatical and enjoy my Sabbath on Sunday with a ten mile run.

Nikki

P.S. I know some of you are thinking, “THAT’S a sabbatical?” To me, that is a sabbatical as blogging/writing and finding content are very time consuming for all of my websites. Releasing me from this enables me to work on things I have recently shelved due to lack of time.

Waiting In This In-Between Season

courage, waiting, patience

I am in between where I started and where I want to go. The days are growing warmer, and I wonder where winter has hidden himself. Even the trees are confused. They bloom pink and white now, but a freeze is coming. It always comes before actual spring. Arizona weather is weird that way. It’s ironic that God is teaching me lessons in the waiting, in this in between season, when He knows I hate to wait.

 We all have to wait for something…

  • The grocery store line behind the woman and the cashier who are catching up on each others lives.
  • Results that are slow, because forming online communities are a slow process, much like making a roast where all the flavors have to have time to marry and soak into the meat.
  • Training will be life long for me as I learn from others who have gone before me.
  • Raising support so I can work full time in ministry.
  • Having to stop at every red light when you need to be somewhere. I think someone who controls them must intuitively know when a person is in a hurry and takes sadistic delight in making them stop at every red light.
One of the authors I am reading says not everyone will “get” our ministry. It takes time to help them understand the vision. If you give them too much, like a fine art painting of a bowl of fruit, they think it is impossible to accomplish. If you give them too little like an abstract painting with its lines and squiggles, they get a bad impression of the vision. The answer lies in Monet.

From a distance, you can see the whole picture, but up close the picture is created by a bunch of paint sploches. I need to be Monet when showing my vision to potential supporters. The author is correct though when he says it is an art form.

How many times have I written and rewritten my letters? How many different ways have I explained what I do?

I am grateful for the people coming alongside in this in between season of life as I look beyond the freeze of winter to the colors of spring and the heat of summer.

Reading: Developing a Strategy For Missions – 70% done

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.

Respect Tradition and Explore Change

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Our God is a creative God. If He created this world in all its wonderful strangeness, why wouldn’t He, for instance, create different kinds of ministries that use different, but not unbiblical methods, for reaching people for Christ?

It really depends on the culture of people you are trying to reach to decide which method to employ. You must, “respect tradition, explore change,” and allow for a ministry to grow, adopting different methods, but staying on the Biblical narrow path in your theology. Adjust to the people you are trying to reach and influence.

The words, “Respect tradition; explore change,” came from an old Nora Roberts murder mystery on a night when distraction became my solace. Like a pastor said at a church I worship at, I also look for good theology in things I enjoy.

In the novel, the character was talking about the wine business. This sentence applies also to ministry work. Social media and mobile technology, while not brand new, thinking of it as a missionary tool is new to the church. People take an “either/or” approach to ministry, and that’s extreme.

I don’t read Nora Roberts at all, except for this one novel. She’s too racy. I like good writing and good story. A couple of cuss words don’t bother me if it goes along with character. This particular novel gets the creative juices going when my writing feels dry. It helps to read almost every genre in order to understand how to tell story, especially to share the Gospel with unbelievers in a language they understand.

What is Diaspora?

“The world has increasingly become ‘borderless’ due to globalization, technological communication, and accelerated migration or diaspora (ie scattering or dispersion of people from their homeland), towards the end of the second millennium. These diasporas have created tremendous opportunities and challenges to evangelize and disciple millions of people who, just a century ago, were living in isolated countries and regions of the world described by missiologists as ‘closed’ and ‘restricted’ to Christian missions. Thus, the 21st century reality of mass movements of people requires the global church, here after referred to as the ‘whole church’, to respond.”

– Lausanne Movement 

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Diaspora is an integral part of my ministry as a missionary. It is a field that I am learning about so I can do online missionary work better as I understand how to build bridges to other cultures. As I learn about it, I will post about it here, too. It is my hope to help you understand how our world is growing smaller and the unreached is quickly becoming more accessible thanks to technology. 

Articles to Read: 

  • Around the globe, 232 million people live as immigrants. The United States alone hosts the largest amount of immigrants compared to other countries, with 45.8 million migrants living here.VIEW FROM THE TOP: REFLECTIONS FROM MISSIO NEXUS
  • The United States has an estimated 360 unreached people groups, making it the country with the third largest number of unreached peoples. Canada has an estimated 180 unreached people groups, making it the country with the fifth largest number of unreached peoples. Given these present realities–in light of Acts 17:26-27–how should we now live? In this episode, I discuss the movement of the peoples and how reaching them in North America can also open doors to reach them in other countries. READ MORE
  • Saudi Arabia women had their first video gaming convention. This is a great opportunity to teach our youth and those who love video games to interact with these women through sharing the Gospel via avatars and chat rooms. READ MORE.
  • Mobile Ministry Forum reported how a private website is offering discipleship materials in Arabic to arabic countries via SD cards or mobile phones. READ MORE.

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