Nov 012011
 
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Thanks to Stew, I’m happy to be a part of the social media convo’s around Verge 2012, the ultimate missional church conference on February 28 – March 2, 2012 @ Austin Texas. Group registration discounts end on November 30th, rates are awesome for groups of 6 or more, even more awesome for groups of 30 or more. Bring the whole missional community before seats sell out.

So refreshing to see fresh faces and compelling voices on the platform– Rudy Carrasco, Tom Lin, Felicity Dale, Leonce Crump, Kim Hammond. Names that are more recognized will be there too: Dave Ferguson, Alan Hirsch, Dave Gibbons, Matt Carter, Darrin PatrickDavid Platt, Hugh Halter, Neil Cole, John Perkinsstay tuned for more here and at Verge Network – where they’re doing a tremendous job with new content daily.

Mar 182011
 

Adding to the discussion about leadership development, DJ Chuang Ed Choyin this episode of the Multi-Asian Church Podcast Series, Ed Choy and I talk about owning the vision of an multi-Asian/multi-ethnic churches.
Episode #6: Owning the Vision
(18:44; mp3 download link 8.9mb)

Show notes:

And here’s the video that Ed Choy mentioned of Alan Hirsch talking about the dangers of a risk-averse culture:

Subscribe to this iTunes podcast feed and get all future episodes automatically.

Nov 142009
 

Missional communities are the conversations du jour among church leaders, escalating during the past few years. Now there are gatherings (conferences) that revolve around how we can be more missional. (Several local and regional gatherings have already happened, though I haven’t been counting.)
Verge-LA
A regional (free) unconference about missional churches is happening this weekend called Verge LA. I’ll be there most of today. Definitely want to hear Kevin Doi, currently scheduled at 1:45pm, and you can watch via livestream at ecclesianet.com. And, I’ll get to meet in person, JR Woodward, host of the unconference. (cf. my interview with Kevin Doi)

But wait, there’s more!

A national gathering is ramping up in Austin, called VERGE: Missional Community Conference.

Listen to my interview with Michael Stewart (one of the Verge organizers at the Austin Stone Community Church) about this national Verge.

I’m putting together a social media team for the Verge in Austin, those who will host online conversations around becoming & being missional communities, both before and during the Verge conference. Start those conversations via blog, Twitter, Facebook, podcast, Youtube, etc. Verge wants to empower and release conversations both online and on-site. Undoubtedly, (our hope is) the convos will continue even after the Austin gathering. Want to be a part of this social media team? Add a comment, especially if you’d like to win a free registration. One spot left.

And one more thing. I’ll be there, at both Verge‘s — would love to meetup with you on-site there!

Mar 262009
 

pic_qja_mWhile in Austin last week for SXSW 2009, I enjoyed great food and good conversations at Galaxy Cafe. All 4 of us happened to order French Toast, unbeknownst to each other; Gideon Tsang, Paul Wang, Sam Lee, and me. The 3 of them are connected to Vox Veniae, an incarnational missional community in East Austin.

One of the conversations that came up was the health of the American church. Gideon asked if it was healthy or unhealthy, referring to large “big box” churches in the United States. In retrospect, I thought that was an unfair dichotomy, and I emailed back this addendum:

djchuang >> To elaborate on the question re: large churches being healthy or unhealthy– I’d add that size is not a determinent of whether an organized church is healthy or not.

Part of the social dynamics in the real world we live in, is power dynamics, personal and institutional. Given that there is power to be stewarded, would it not be better that followers of Christ steward that power than unfollowers? It can certainly be stewarded differently than how some of the spotlight churches are doing it, and that also be a good thing to explore– how can a large big box church be an advocate and champion for the marginalized, the orphans, the widows, the poor, the hungry.

pic of Gid and SamThen, Gideon Tsang replied back (note: these are just initial reactions, not well-formulated thoughts) :

I agree that size is not a determinant to health. I also agree that when power is given it needs to be stewarded with shrewdness.

However, what I disagree with is American Christianity’s addiction to, longing for and blatant uplifting (through conferences and growth organizations) of power and size. In American Christian culture there’s a trickle down paradigm (similar to right wing financial politics) that’s being sold to church leaders where if we can rise to the top as Christians and influence at places of power, then we’ll impact more people and in the end change the entire culture.

This in itself, is not logically flawed, but problematic for several reasons: (1.) money and power are not neutral. (2.) the paradox of the gospel.

The Kingdom of God is different than the Kingdom of America where we are called to be the last and the least. These should be our goals, not power and influence. Humility and grace, are the paradoxical forces that change human hearts. Centuries after Christ, the American church is still asking to sit at the right hand of the father. Those are the wrong questions and the wrong goals.

If the American church could detox from power and influence (and the toxic christian sub-culture we’ve created) and develop local, indigenous and sustainable communities, gracefully, humbly loving our neighbors and neighborhoods in the name of Christ, the power of the church will be subtly unleashed.

Regarding Big Box Churches (Walmart Churches) I could go on a lengthy discussion about how they’re taking other’s wineskins, thus removing life and character from faith (much like big box stores do to cities) how they require and exponentially more resources that are not sustainable (that’s why all these churches leave the city to build their walmart churches on large plots of land in the suburbs, using more energy, requiring people to drive further) and how they’re bad for local churches …

What would you add to this conversation about power and the American church? What kind of “carbon” footprint is the church leaving behind? Should the church be concerned for how it wields and stewards its power?

[The email thread above is posted with permission.]

Feb 012009
 

Drew Goodmanson passed this along to me — you’re invited to participate. Fill out the survey + spread the word!
church-social-community-networks-survey

Are churches using the internet to gather, disciple and build community? In the last couple years a number of new private church community networks have been launched in addition to numerous social networking sites. We are still very early on in understanding what churches are doing effectively online. We invite you to participate in this first survey of several that examine the State of the Church Online. This survey in particular begins by examining what churches are doing with social and community networks. How pervasive are the use of these web applications? Future surveys will expand to examine what Christians are doing with social networks, how churches are using their websites and other online strategies. Our prayer is that these studies help bring clarity and guidance for churches to pursue excellence online to the glory of God.

This survey is being led by Kevin Ring. Kevin brings years of experience from Bainbridge Consulting leading qualitative research projects – designing and executing customer/competitive research and analysis across multiple industries, focused on Fortune 500 companies including Google, Yahoo!, Citibank, Hewitt Associates, Gallup, Bank of America and others.

Click Here to take survey

Direct Link to Survey:
http://surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=bQWu6K2vXJyKE1aGHWr8_2fg_3d_3d

Aug 152007
 

Last year I wrote up my best tips for getting more traffic to your blog, and those tips will get you to a certain level of readership. The rest of the way is going to be more about your own street cred (and web buzz), promotional efforts, and personal popularity from other sources like speaking gigs, published books, conferences, newspaper and radio interviews, webinars, etc.

That doesn’t mean you should stop blogging if you don’t reach a certain audience size. Brian Bailey, author of The Blogging Church, exhorts that blogging has to be done well and intentionally: “Blogging isn’t worth doing poorly or for the wrong reasons. It’s too demanding and too distracting. In God’s economy, we don’t have the luxury of pouring ourselves into good things when he has so many great things for us. There is simply too much at stake.”

Well, audience size mostly means that there’s a lot of people who want to keep on reading what you’re blogging. But what the public deems popular and interesting changes quickly: 80% of the top 100 Technorati blogs changed from last year’s rankings. You don’t have to blog for them. You can blog for yourself or for an audience of One.

Guy Kawasaki is one of those consummate marketing genius, adding blogging to his repertoire in December 2005 and skyrocketed to the Technorati top 100 in less than 4 months, noted Observations after 100 days of blogging + A Review of My First Year of Blogging, and shares great tips like How to Evangelize a Blog and How I write my blog entries.

The co-founder of Netscape has finally started blogging — see what he’s learned already — Marc Andersson’s blogging lessons learned in 5 weeks [ht: plaid blog]:

  1. First, it’s hard to believe it’s only been five weeks. “Internet time” lives, I can tell you that.
  2. Second, I’d like to truly thank everyone who has read this blog, linked to this blog, sent this blog to your friends, or come up to me at various parties and events to say that you’ve been reading it …
  3. Third, I should have started doing this years and years ago.
  4. Fourth, one of the best things about blogs is how they enable a conversation among people with shared interests.
  5. Fifth, writing a blog is way easier than writing a magazine article, a published paper, or a book — but provides many of the same benefits.
  6. Sixth, blogging tolerates and even encourages stylistic idiosyncracies that traditional publishing would not accommodate.
  7. Seventh, it is totally clear that original content is what generates readership, at least for most bloggers.
  8. Eighth, I am convinced there is a whole world of optimization to be done based on detailed stats and studying what works and what doesn’t on one’s blog.
  9. Ninth, we are definitely entering a world in which bloggers are taken super-seriously by political candidates, company PR departments, government officials, and book editors, among many others.
  10. Tenth, it’s been fun to see the traffic to my blog generated by services such as Digg, Reddit, Techmeme, and the like, but the big surprise to me has been the amount of traffic that I get from StumbleUpon.
  11. Eleventh and last, the most common reaction that I got from starting my blog that I didn’t expect was, “finally he’s blogging”.

I grabbed the bullet points for a quicker read. Click over to read the full context with Marc’s commentary about his lessons learned.

Then again, there’s other good reasons for blogging. Tara Hunt went to BlogHer for the first time this year, and noted these difference in the rules for blogging, perhaps suggesting a gender difference — excerpted bullet points from Getting back to what matters:

… here is a snapshot of the rules I was getting well versed in [referring to the male world]:

1. Numbers matter.
2. It’s about the rockstars.
3. Link link link link link link link
4. Coalitions, coopetition, collaboration… we gather to win.
5. Meritocracy is the way to go.

… But to put it all into context… to weigh in with the overall paradigm of this group, I would say the new rules I was getting versed in were [referring to BlogHer, a female world]:

1. Stories matter.
2. It’s about kindness.
3. Share share share share share share share …
4. Community, cooperation, collaboration… we gather to make things happen.
5. Mentorship is the way to go.

Again, click thru to read the full context with Tara’s commentary on BlogHer.