photo by Scott Fillmer
Many of the people in my group said the most impactful session at Catalyst for them was the one by Steven Furtick, lead pastor of Elevation Church. Regardless of what you may think about Steven’s leadership style or church philosophy, there’s no denying that God’s hand is on him in a powerful way.
In the very last session Andy Stanley shared some thoughts on a handful of quotes that have helped shape his ministry. One of those quotes was from Joel Barker from his book Future Edge,
“What do I believe is impossible to do in my field, but if it could be done would fundamentally change my business?”
There are paradigm shifts taking place every day as companies, organizations, and churches are having to re-adjust their definition for what is and isn’t possible. Just because we think something is impossible or highly unlikely doesn’t necessarily mean it’s impossible. It could just mean that we haven’t discovered the way to get around that obstacle.
Andy’s takeaway from that quote was this:
Pay attention to people who are breaking the rules!
I think of people like Steven Furtick when I hear quotes like that. I just recently read about the Dream Sex series that Elevation is doing. They’re not only encouraging healthy relationships from the stage on Sunday, they’re actually providing an opportunity to kick-start it by giving out $30 gift-cards to local restaurants and 3 hours of childcare!
There is a new generation of churches and church leaders that are fundamentally redefining how church is done and people are reached.
Allow Room for Changing Paradigms
We’re used to the idea of an Internet Campus like LifeChurch and Seacoast are doing but it was only within the last 5 years that those models were pioneered. What new ideas and tools will be available to us in 5 years that haven’t even been thought of yet?
Let’s take that question off the whiteboard and bring it home.
Perhaps you’ve had to adjust your ministry model to incorporate social media. Maybe you’re figuring out ways to utilize current technology tools like text messaging to make your service interactive (check out Jarbyco). Or maybe you’re letting God stretch you in the area of music or methods.
What are the paradigm shifts you’re dealing with in your ministry or organization right now?…
I’m so excited about meeting so many of you at the Atlanta Bloggers Meetup next week! Between going to Catalyst and hanging out with other bloggers, it’s going to be like my birthday and Christmas all rolled into one.
I also found out earlier this week that the Dealy Viper Shin-Dig will be taking place later that evening at the same location as the Blogger Meetup so if you hang around you’ll get a chance to meet Mike Foster, Jud Wilhite and the rest of the Deadly Viper crew. The one-and-only Anne Jackson will also be on hand capturing all the juicy details for CatalystBackstage and I’ll finally get to meet one of my favorite bloggers, Jon Acuff (StuffChristiansLike). We may even have a surprise visitor stop by!
Many of you have been asking who all is going to be at the meetup. Here’s the list of everyone who has registered so far. If you have some time before the conference check out some of these amazing bloggers:
- Jonathan Herron
- Josh Allen
- Matt Simon
- Russ Hutto
- Pat Rowland
- Pete Wilson
- Jenni Catron
- Ryan Bult
- Chad Roberts
- Dave Senes
- Anne Jackson
- Shawn Elledge
- Shannon White
- Adam Miller
- Stuart Delony
- Kevin Twombly
- Jon Acuff
- Mark Acuff
- Bennett Acuff
- Cherith Carpenter
- Brett Carpenter
- Shaun King
- Dawn Nicole Baldwin
- Keith Baldwin
- Michael Harrison
- Crystal Renaud
- Lynse Leanne
- Mark LeHew
- Terrace Crawford
- Dave Daniels
- Kim Daniels
- Aaron Dininny
- Katie Dininny
- Tim Liu
- Zak White
- Nic Burleson
- Cole Phillips
- Adam Black
- Bryan McGee
- Jennifer McGee
- Mike Paschal
- Ryan Detzel
- Nick Carnes
- Brad Ruggles
- Lisa Ruggles
- Aaron Foster
- Jason Ruggles
- Tom Hinton
- Corbin Prows
- Jake Miller
- Adam Flynt
- Travis Thompson
Remember, Twitter will be abuzz with activity during the conference as well (#catalyst08 is the hash tag to use and follow). I’m looking forward to meeting and hanging with all of you! See you next week in Atlanta!…
The Internet is changing daily. In the last few years we’ve seen the rise of sites like Facebook and Twitter as millions have joined the social networking trend. But social networking isn’t just for business professionals trying to find new sales leads or socially inept computer nerds trying to retreat from the real world.
No matter what your level of experience is with blogging or social media you can expand your circle of friends and meet some amazing new people.
5 Tips To Becoming A Social Network Butterfly
Let me start by pointing out that the goal isn’t to meet so many new people that you develop a large group of shallow relationships. The key to social networking is meeting enough people so that you can cultivate deeper relationships with those you click with. Here are 5 tips for becoming a social network butterfly everyone wants to meet.
1. Make Yourself Easy To Find
Perhaps the simplest and most obvious way to get connected online is to get yourself out there! There are a host of popular SN sites that make it easy to meet new people. Some of the more popular ones include Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, StubleUpon, YouTube, Vimeo and LinkedIn (we won’t mention MySpace, I’m still trying to pretend it doesn’t exist).
However, one of the biggest mistakes I see people making on their blogs is failing to provide easy links to all their social network profiles. If you’re going to capitalize on networked relationships then make it easy for visitors to your blog to find where else you are online. Popular social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk does a great job of this on his blog. Make the most out of your online presence by making yourself easy to find.
2. Cultivate Shared Interests
As you begin to develop your online relationships you’ll find you related to some people better than others. The beauty of social networking is that it allows you to connect with people that have similar likes and interests as you no matter where in the world they live. There are several new sites and tools that help facilitate meeting people with shared interests.
Meetup is one of the largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group around an interest or activity. More than 2,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.
Roov is a new online community launched earlier this summer that “connects like-minded individuals around their shared experiences and passions within their church and city.” It was designed to help facilitate new relationships and build community within the church.
There are a variety of other social networking tools that allow you meet new people that share your interest, hobby, affinity or passion.
3. Discover New Connections
Just meeting and associating with people online who have the same tastes and style would greatly limit you. There are certain online “circles” you may feel more comfortable hanging in but why not leverage the power of social networking tools to broaden your interests and meet new people.
Most of the people you interact with online probably became your “friend” through another online friend or a link off of their site. The old adage, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is just as true on the web. The most successful social networkers have expanded their social circles to include thousands or tens of thousands.
One good way to make new connections online is to harness the power of Google Alerts. Simply type in the search term of your choice, such as the name of your favorite author or an area of social need you’re passionate about. Select “Blogs” in the search type to limit the alerts to just blogs that mention those keywords you chose. Choose how often you’d like to receive notifications, type in your email address and click the ‘create alert’ button.
You can create as many of these alerts as like and manage them from your Google account. You’ll be amazed as the new connections start showing up in your inbox.
You can also use Twitter’s Search functionality to perform real-time searches of what people are saying on Twitter. This is another great way to meet new people on Twitter who are already talking about the things you’re interested in but may not run in your social networking circles.
4. Go Deeper With Key Relationships
Sure, you may have 535 friends on Facebook and follow 796 people on Twitter but what fun is that? The ultimate goal here isn’t to see how many people you can follow on Twitter (even though some people take that approach) but to find new people that you can get to know better.
Most social network or blogging relationships start with the “comment exchange” – I leave a comment on your blog, you leave a comment on mine. Don’t just limit yourself to “comment relationships” though. If you’re clicking with someone then shoot them an email, forward them a link you think they would enjoy reading. You may even chat with Skype or AIM.
You’re going to develop lots of relationships online but you won’t necessarily get to know everyone on the same level. Take the time to go deeper with people you really like.
5. Meet In Person
The ultimate goal of social networking isn’t to be stuck behind the computer all day hanging out with our “virtual friends.” In spite of all the great networking tools that about on the Internet today, nothing beats good old-fashioned face-to-face.
Be sure to check out local social networking sites in your area to see if there are any opportunities for connecting over shared interests. Meetup.com is a great resource for this but in my area there’s also sites like Smaller Indiana that help facilitate meetups.
I’ve been blogging for 9 months and I already have a network of people that I can hook up with for coffee or lunch in nearly every major metropolitan hub in the country. You just can’t develop a network of relationships like that anywhere else.
Next week I’ll be hooking up with 60+ bloggers at the Bloggers08 Atlanta Meetup, many of whom I’ll be meeting for the first time. I’ve also had the chance to meet some amazing people in person that I would have never been able to meet were it not for my social network.
Good luck on using these 5 tips to expand your online circle of friends. Social Networking isn’t just a trend or buzz-word, its a chance for you to make and develop new relationships with people you would otherwise never had the opportunity to meet. I’d love to hear more ideas and tools you use for your social networking.…
One of my favorite Little Golden Books as a kid was The Monster at the End of this Book. It was a great moment when we received this book as a gift and I was able to read it to my kids.
I got hours of enjoyment sitting down with Emily and pleading with her in my best Grover voice,
PLEASE DON’T TURN THE PAGE!!
She would of course. With each new page turned poor Grover would beg and plead to stop turning pages for fear of finding the monster at the end of the book.
Until we turned the last page and found that the monster at the end of the book? Yup, turns out it was lovable, furry old Grover the whole time.
Anger & Disappointment
This past week the church world was rocked with another disappointment. I don’t need to add any additional commentary to what has already been said by other bloggers I respect. I want to talk instead about how we as Christians are supposed to react to this kind of news. Because if the scandals of the last 24 months serve as an indication of future failures, we have many more of these stories yet to be uncovered.
I’ll be honest with you. My first reaction to these kind of stories is a mix of disappointment and anger. Disappointment, because yet another person I admired let me down. And anger, because I know that once again, the name of Christ will get drug through the mud because of another person who thought they could live a double-life and get away with it.
Looking For Monsters
Why do we find it so easy to point our fingers at the “monsters” we see in the church today? Sure we’re upset about it but can we so arrogantly cast blame when it could have just as easily been you or me?
Far too often I’m so busy trying to remove the splinter from my neighbor’s eye that I’m tripping over the plank in my own.
Don’t get me wrong – I am in no way excusing deceit and hypocrisy in the church. What Michael did was wrong. Nor am I condoning sweeping stories like this under the rug. However, let’s remember that we’re really not that different.
The moment that we begin to think of ourselves as immune to these kind of shortcomings it the moment we’re most in danger of falling. As Paul warned, If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin. (1 Corinthians 10:12)
Like Grover, we may find that if we keep turning the pages, WE are in fact the monster at the end of the story. We’re all capable of lust, greed, hypocrisy and deception in the worst way.
There, but for the grace of God, go I.…
Since I’ve been blogging there have been several people whose story Lisa and I have really connected with.
CJ & Andrea Mills
The first was CJ and Andrea Mills. CJ is a special blog buddy because he happened to be my 100th blog subscriber. Back in May while on vacation in South Carolina Andrea went into labor two months early and had little baby Asher who only weighed 4 pounds 9.7 ounces.
Our family checked their blog daily and prayed for Asher who struggled with health problems associated with being born so soon. My daughters knew CJ, Andrea, Jadyn and Asher all on a first-name basis as they were all in our prayers so often
I’m excited to say that God did an amazing miracle in Asher and he is now healthy, strong and growing. Our family still looks forward to the first time we get to meet this little guy we spent so much time praying for.
Adam & Karen Owens
The second family Lisa and I have spent a lot of time praying for is Adam & Karen Owens. Their little boy Gavin was born with a host of health problems including Mitochondrial disease and is TPN dependent which means he receives all his nutrition intravenously via a feeding tube.
Adam and Karen live a life that I can’t even begin to imagine. It’s not unusual for Lisa and I to wake up in the morning and read Adam or Karen’s post and find that Gavin spiked a fever overnight and had to be taken to the hospital which means living in the Ronald McDonald house for several days or longer.
Just yesterday Karen took Gavin at 12:30 am and didn’t get checked into their room until 4 am. Karen wrote on her blog, “I didn’t even bother going to sleep, instead I’ve been sitting here just wondering how much longer we can do this. I try to stay positive but on a day like today I just have to question…What in the heck is He trying to do to us?”
Honestly, I don’t even know what to say to someone who is going through something like that. The most I can do is continue to pray for them and encourage you to do the same. Add them to your blog reader, leave a comment and let them know you’re praying for them.
Matt, Liz & Madeline
Matt’s blog is one that Lisa really connected with. He shares the story of Madeline’s birth in March of this year. Shortly after her birth his wife Liz was getting up from her bed to hold their daughter for the first time when she passed out. A pulmonary embolism took her life leaving Matt to raise their first and only daughter on his own.
It’s a girtty, honest, painful look at the struggles of day-to-day life raising a child on your own while trying to make sense of the tragedy of losing the love of your life. I’ve seen Lisa read his blog many times with tears running down her cheek.
I try to put myself in his shoes but I can’t even imagine going through what he’s been through. To experience the happiest and most hearbreaking moments in your life, all within 24 hours?
These are just a few of the stories that have touched my heart and driven me to my knees in prayer.…
Well, actually it is.
I’ve gotten quite a few new subscribers in recent weeks which is awesome but I’m starting to feel lost. So many awesome people I haven’t met yet! If I could, I’d slap a name tag on you to help me remember who you are. Hey, that’s not a bad idea!
Please take a minute to fill out your name tag (even if you’re a long-time subscriber) and let me know…
- YOUR NAME
- WHERE YOU LIVE
Any additional information about yourself that would help me get to know you better is definitely welcome but not required.
Go ahead, here’s your sharpie.…
Those of you who follow my blog know that we’ve been living in a hotel since the deal on the house we were going to purchase fell through (read more here and here). Pete jokingly asked me on Sunday what I’m going to blog about once we’re actually living in our own house.
Sunday evening we got back from our vacation with friends in North Carolina. We checked into the Extended Stay Deluxe (Chloe always reminds me that there is a “Deluxe” at the end). This will be our home for at least the next three or four weeks while we get try to close on another condo we have an agreement on.
Chloe & Emily were so funny when we walked into our room.
“Look Dad, we have our own plates and silverware! We even have a stove!”
They ran into the bedroom and came running back out to drag us in by the hand to show us how HUGE the bedroom and bathroom were. Keep in mind, the whole 1-bedroom suite with pullout couch and kitchenette is probably less than 350 square feet but to them we had just checked into the Presidential Suite at the Hilton.
Normally Lisa and I are the ones trying to teach the kids to be thankful for what they’ve got but for once they were the teachers. I’ll admit it, last night I wasn’t feeling very thankful. In fact, it took everything I had to keep him from coming back.
I’m thankful that each new day gives me a new opportunity to count my blessings. Right now I don’t even want to think about how long it’s been since I’ve slept in my own bed or worn something that hasn’t come out of the same suitcase we left Fort Wayne with. I’m tired of walking into living rooms that require a keycard.
But for now, I’m learning to enjoy the journey. If that means jumping up and down on the bed because we have our own plates and silverware, then I’m going to jump away.…
Here’s a original desktop wallpaper I created to remind us that the change we want to see in the world starts with us.…
I am trying to keep a good attitude but I’m not doing so good. I’m so pissed off right now!
Remember that condo we’ve been trying to close on? Back in the beginning of April we had an approved offer for a condo that was a really good deal. Then we’re heading back from Florida for the closing when jerk-face mortgage guy (that’s what I’ve been calling him lately) called us up to tell us that we weren’t going to be able to close because he couldn’t get us approved. He tells us this the day before we were supposed to close! Which leaves us scrambling to find a place to live in the meantime while we explore other mortgage options. We’re going on our third week of living in a hotel which gets pretty old!
Lisa has been doing an amazing job of checking out other banks that will work with us. Our challenge has been because I’m self-employed and don’t have two years of tax returns as a self-employed contractor. That combined with the current mortgage issues that the market is facing makes getting a loan quite fun!
So Lisa finally found a local bank that would work with us and we get our pre-approval letter together and call back on the condo. They sold it on Tuesday for $20k more than our offer! Not only did we lose the condo but we lost a chance to get a great deal and have instant equity! Do you see why I need to vent?
I know that God must have something better (you do God, right?) but that doesn’t make this any easier! I’m just so ready to be over this mountain and get settled in a house.
Keep praying – for Lisa, the kids, our house (and my attitude). And thanks for listening to me vent.…
Allow me to introduce you to an acquaintance of mine. You probably don’t hear me talk about him often because most of the time it’s easier to pretend he doesn’t exist.
His name is Jackass Brad.
This the is the part of me that comes out when I’m stressed or things don’t go my way. He’s not a pleasant person to be around as he tends to think mostly about himself. He’s short with his kids and cranky with his wife. If you’ve known me long enough I’m sure you’ve met him.
Lately, I’ve seen a lot more of Jackass Brad than I care to admit. He blames his visits on stress – as if that’s an acceptable excuse to barge in and complain. Just last night he showed up in the car with Lisa and the kids and proceeded all evening to do what he does best – be a jackass.
The good news is that I’m working more on recognizing him when he shows up. With prayer and conscious choice I can give him the boot before he even gets his foot in the door.
So there you go. I’ve introduced you to someone I don’t like to talk about. If you happen to see him, can you give him a message from me?
“I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.” (Romans 7:18-25)