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My 300 words for why you need to engage on twitter + even the pope is doing it.

An interesting shift took place in the western church this past century. It is the same shift that pushed churches to the sidelines of culture and conversation in the west. We, as the leaders of the church, began to see our role more as protecting the flock than engaging the broader community (which is what I saw Jesus do in the scriptures).

With a few decades our institutions began to reflect this belief. Churches became elaborate campuses to serve ourselves from cradle to grave. This removed and disconnected us from the pulse of culture, and from the life of our neighborhoods and cities. Increasingly the church is seen as a relic of a bygone era – I believe because of this very shift.

I get it, the secularization of our communities is terrifying because of the spiritual implications for those around us. But our withdrawal says that we passively accept that God has nothing to offer modern society and culture. Jesus has a lot to offer, and longs to see the whole world transformed and reborn.

Jump into the Stream

Now the Pope has joined twitter (Pontifex though at writing has not yet tweeted). This is important because it is a visible and symbolic step back into the stream that defines and makes our culture. Social media is the new town square – both global and local. You might not be participating, but they are choosing the YouTube videos you watch, the next big musician, and are even defining how the news you hear is told.

You may have your reasons for abstaining from social media, but it is the conversation of our day. Think twice before you write it off.

Oh, and incase the pope is reading this – “Hi there Benny 16!! Pray you’re doing well today”

TL;DR

The most influential conversations happen socially online. To abstain is to forgo any opportunity to inspire the transformation of creation.

Photo Credit: Charly Morlock

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Much of what we attempt to do as ministers can be boiled down into the word ‘Compel’. To compel people to love, serve, embrace, and to act. Often ministry initiatives struggle to gain momentum because we fail to compel people to move. Bringing tech to church is no different.

Without a unity, clarity, and driving passion for our role in God’s kingdom we will continually fail to compel those following us. As we tighten our focus upon the in-breaking kingdom everything is re-prioritized, and initiatives catch. We it comes time to bring in new tools, structures, and tech for our church it will be seen as the required next step.

Photo Credit: Robert S. Donovan

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Excellent List App to Get Things Done

Trello iOS Check-ListOne of the biggest challenges in ministry is keeping track of everything that is on our plates as ministers. Very few of us are fortunate enough to be able to focus exclusively on preaching, or pastoral care. Most of us have to wear dozens of different hats a week. To-Do applications are the perfect solution to improve your focus and productivity. Trello will really shines for your ministry.

I loved my old To-Do application – The Hit List – as I went through seminary, worked at a church, and launched my start-up. There were to many moving pieces to keep track of, and thanks to that app I never missed a due date at school over the 4 years. Having a list I could easily add tasks too, and use to allocate my time meant I didn’t have to mentally keep everything in the air. I could relax as soon as I placed it on a list. As great as Hit List was, it’s not web-based, and does not have any collaboration tools.

This spring I fell in love with Trello

Since I started casually using it they have come out with iOS and Android apps. I believe that if your church starts using Trello you’ll communicate better, and be able to stay on top of your projects better.

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Collaboration by Organization

This is so cool. Not only can you assign specific tasks to individuals (one or many), but you can actually set up your boards for your whole organization. Each board then can have as many lists on it. I use 4 lists called: Icebox, Queued Up, In Progress, and Completed.

Cards are a Brilliant Idea

Trello is not simply a list of check boxes. Instead they use cards. A card can have multiple check-lists, attached files, due date, an activity log, and more. This makes it really easy to manage projects since you can have the whole project setup on one card. Once you’re ready to start the project you drag the card onto your In Progress list. You can also archive cards that are old to clean up your screen.

Trello iOS appThe mobile apps are powerful

The apps have every bit of functionality from the website while I’m on the go. I love being able to add items to a check list, or create a new card in the Icebox when the idea strikes me. Since my moments of inspiration come when I’m away from my desk these apps are a life saver. I actively use the Android app on my phone and tablet, and the iOS application looks equally powerful.

Best of all Trello is Free!

I paid for the app I used through school, and it was not as powerful as Trello is. Try it out for a project and see how it goes. It might be a tool you use to track the progress of projects, or it could become a platform for collaboration utilizing the organization functionality. Learn more about Trello and get started!

Are you using Trello or something like it? Do you have any advice for people starting?