Showing posts with label Youth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Youth. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Social Media as a tool in Ministry - Facebook "pages"

So the concept of using a social media platform to distribute information to people is not a new concept. However people are discovering new and better ways to use the tools that are currently available. 

Most Recently I have personally started what Facebook calls a "public figure" page. The effort is to maximize utility of Facebook as a communication tool, specifically for me in ministry. Not many church workers are doing this yet but I think it is something that we all should do. So I want to discuss the reasons behind using Social Media as a tool and how that can impact both good and bad in our lives and ministry.

Why a "public figure" page?

quite simply here because there is not specification for Church Worker, Pastor, or any other religiously affiliated title that is specific. Other professionals get to use pages specifically titled for their line of work like "politician" "teacher" "artist" "writer" and many others, the title that most appropriately fits a person in local church ministry is "public figure." We have chosen to live our lives as an example to others and therefore become a figure for the public to look to, we should hide nothing of ourselves it is our witness. If we are afraid for others to see an aspect of our lives then we should rethink our position or involvement in those activities.

The next question that comes naturally is:

If you say you should hide nothing of yourself then why should you have a separate "public figure" page instead of doing all your communication through your personal profile?

Here the reasoning gets a little more logistical. The algorithms that Facebook uses to decide who sees what posts are very specific, they have to do with the number of "friends" you have, how many of them are online, who have you "recently" interacted with via Facebook. Is is a picture? is it a link? or is it just words? Is it a poll question? if so who has responded to it? The developers at Facebook know that we all get online to see something, however if they showed us everything then we would see less of what we "like" so their algorithm factors all these things in with all your friends and then decides when and where it should show up on people's news feed. So consequently the time of day that you post something could be the difference between it being seen by 3 people or 300 people. (if you have enough friends that it could be seen by 3,000 people then Facebook has likely already talked to you about changing your page format because posts are rarely seen by more than 2/3rds of your friends and there is a 5,000 friend limit)  When you use Facebook as a ministry tool, you should make sure you are maximizing its utility. A "page" that someone has to actively click like for the item to show up in their news feed, is more likely to be content that the algorithm will push to the people connected to your page. Additionally, it allows you to view insights into who sees which posts. Allowing you even further to make the most out of the ministry tool, in this case a Facebook "public figure" page.

The point is not to hide posts from people, and it is not to hijack people's news-feed but instead to get messages of value to the people who find value in what you have to say. 

Who decides what message is valuable, significant, or relevant, to the people on Facebook? 

In a personal profile, you do. In a "page" they do. They have to click the like button on the page to even begin seeing posts from it in their news feed. Where as through the personal profile algorithm it factors in interactions that you have made and your posts could start showing up on the news-feed of someone whose photos you browsed but otherwise have little or no interaction aside from sitting next to each other in the 6th grade and not wanting to hurt the other persons feelings when a friend request showed up in your inbox.

What this does not mean is that you should show less about your faith or make less ministry related posts on a personal page because we are not hiding ourselves from people in our past nor should we be. However, we should be paying attention to see if someone has clicked a link to an important article we posted. When we have a word we hope will inspire a specific group of people we should be intentional enough to let them hear it.

We should make the most out of the Social Media Tools that we have before us doing everything we can to communicate with people whose lives our touched by our ministry.

As Always thanks for your time and giving this a read. If you enjoyed it share it with friends, you can do so easily with one of the buttons below. I pray that you will embrace life in the Love and Grace offered to you through Jesus Christ, and that you will always remember Jeremiah 29:11.  – For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, Plans to Proper You and not for harm, Plans with Hope for the Future.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Perceptions Matter?

Proverbs 22:1 says "A good name is more desirable than riches, Favor better than silver and Gold"

That is an easy one to memorize friends, you never know when having a scripture in memory will help in difficult situations.

But what is it saying? we are often taught not to care what others think, to live our life and shout things like "YOLO!!!" when we do something questionable. There are so many people that are so hard to please that we should just not even worry about it. Because if someone doesn't like something I do then I can just accuse them of being judgmental  and then they are the ones who are guilty in Gods eyes... Right? Isn't that the way it works?

Lets look a little closer at what this passage says. A good name is more desirable than riches. Most of us work our entire lives to get bigger and better stuff, to build a more "secure" life and we do that by trading time for money as often as possible and for as much as possible. Some choose to invest or own their own business. Either way though we spend a considerable amount of our lives working toward attaining those little pieces of silver and gold. So if we spend that much time and energy on working for money, can we stand to spend a little effort on our perception?

We could have the deepest content of character. But in a moment of silliness or weakness, we could change the way we are perceived by others, and no longer will our words carry the respect they might deserve. It would be great if the world did not operate on perceptions or judgments. But perceptions do matter, and scripture give very clear instruction that we should not run from this fact but embrace it.

In 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 Paul talks about using his freedom in Christ to become "like" others that he may save them. So be careful with who you are and how you are perceived. Be aware that our goal as Christians is to spread the love and grace of Jesus Christ but that no one will believe the message if they view us as judgmental liars.

Everything we do reflects on who we are. So, be careful with what you reflect because it projects to all you associate with. Your friends, family, your race, your gender, your church, your Jesus are all represented by you. Are you adding to your good name? Are you at least trying?

We all mess up and that is OK. The trick is to know that we all do and continue trying to live a consistent life showing love and mercy to all and doing your absolute best to live up to who you say you are.

As Always thanks for your time and giving this a read. If you enjoyed it share it with friends, you can do so easily with one of the buttons below. I pray that you will embrace life in the Love and Grace offered to you through Jesus Christ, and that you will always remember Jeremiah 29:11.  – For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, Plans to Proper You and not for harm, Plans with Hope for the Future.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Back In Moscow

We have survived two 18 hour train rides and two 8 hour train rides and one 12 hour flight. That means all we have left is another 12 hour flight and a 4 hour car ride and we will be home. It surely has been an amazing experience. We have just arrived back at the Hotel Bega in Moscow and we are showering and eating then we will head to the Ismaliva Flea Market. The kids are very excited and tonight when we get back to the hotel we will post the story of some of our adventures. Val greeted us at the train station. It is very odd to see her in her natural setting, she is trying to act like she doesn't speak Russian.

As Always thanks for your time and giving this a read. If you enjoyed it share it with friends, you can do so easily with one of the buttons below. I pray that you will embrace life in the Love and Grace offered to you through Jesus Christ, and that you will always remember Jeremiah 29:11.  – For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, Plans to Proper You and not for harm, Plans with Hope for the Future.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 19 - Honorable Breakfast

So today was a very special day. Bradley and I were served a breakfast of kings. Apparently we are considered very special guests. Unfortunately not everything that is considered an honor to be served tastes very good. We had crepes with apple jelly that was made by our host Margarita from apples that grow in her garden, the crepes were fantastic. The special treat was what we were unsure about. It was a small pastry that kind of looked like a miniature basket of apples, but the texture looked a little off. Our host did not eat with us so Bradley and I flipped a coin to see who would take the first bite. I lost. I took a very small bite and it tasted like I bit into a cup of ammonia. Our pallets just were not ready for it. So Bradley grabbed a small piece off the top of his and decided against a bigger bite. Turns out this special treat was caviar, and it costs a lot of money here. So later in the day when we showed our translator the picture and she informed us of this honor. We asked that she would explain how much we appreciate the gesture to Margarita and that we were sorry we could not eat it.

As Always thanks for your time and giving this a read. If you enjoyed it share it with friends, you can do so easily with one of the buttons below. I pray that you will embrace life in the Love and Grace offered to you through Jesus Christ, and that you will always remember Jeremiah 29:11.  – For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, Plans to Proper You and not for harm, Plans with Hope for the Future.

June 17 - The Great Novgorod

Today we arrived in Novgorod really early in the morning. We began the day with breakfast in our family homes then met back together and took a tour of a Russian Orthodox Monastery,  Alex  is getting a new appreciation for the United States and the Methodist Church because of how differently women are treated and viewed. After touring the Monastery we toured a wooden history museum that showed life in the 1880s in Russia. We then had lunch in park at a very nice little restaurant. Things in Novgorod are much cheaper than in Moscow, for example a taxi in Moscow could cost 10x what a taxi cost in Novgorod. Once we had finished lunch we toured the Kremlin which we figured out basically means fort or castle and we led on the tour by a native who teaches English and History, she was full of wonderful information. Novgorod is the oldest city in Russia and was very important in the history or Russia itself, so the 1000 year monument to celebrate Russia's 1000th birthday was built here. It is a bell shaped piece with all the influential figures in Russian history. We learned many legends about Russian and specifically Novgorod history. After the tour we headed back to our host family homes and ate dinner. After eating we all met back at Natalia's flat (the pastor of the church here) and hung out with two Russian college students and played games, charades was interesting playing with different languages. Lots of fun was had by all of us.

Day In Moscow – June 16th

We had a wonderful breakfast in the hotel. We discovered that what they call pancakes us and the French would call crepes. It was buffet style breakfast with plenty to eat including lots of fruit. The front desk of the hotel allowed us to store our luggage with them for the day and we walked about 15 minutes to take the Metro. We got all day passes and headed off to Red Square. The Kremlin building was closed when we arrived because there was going to be a ceremony in front of the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We just happened to be walking by the perfect spot to witness that when we began to notice a crowd start gathering, so we took it all in. After watching the ceremony we visited the underground mall and had lunch at Sbarro. After lunch we continued into the actual square and walked past Lennon’s Tomb, and took many pictures of St. Basil’s Cathedral.  We took a tour of the inside of the cathedral and were amazed by such a wonderful church. We got to see a room of relics including a bible that was printed in 1682, and heard a men’s choir singing in the main worship space. As we were leaving St. Basil’s we noticed there was a movie being filmed right next to us. We guessed it to be an old war movie based on how people were dressed.  There is a very large Russian Orthodox church nearby called Christ Church which is where current Russian leader Vladimir Putin attends worship. We decided to go and check it out, however Alex and Anastasia did not have head covers and Bradley and I were wearing shorts so we were not allowed in. From there we took the metro to the Methodist Theological Seminary of Russia in Moscow. They were very glad to have us visit and showed us around the facility including the office of the Bishop. After the tour they invited us in to the dining room for some tea and cookies. Thanks to our wonderful translator we had some excellent conversations. Before we knew it, it was time for dinner so we went with our new friends to “MY-MY” pronounced Moo Moo. It is a cafeteria style restaurant with a big dairy cow statue out front. It was our first experience with actual Russian food. As soon as we finished dinner  it was time to get back to the hotel quickly to collect our luggage and get to the train station. We finally found a minivan taxi once we had gotten within a block of the hotel, there was plenty of room for all of us and our luggage and we made it to the train station in plenty of time.
The train ride was an adventure itself described best by the pictures that will be uploaded, it was basically a car full of bunk beds. The train itself didn’t go very fast but was surprisingly smooth which for me made it easy to sleep. We arrived in Novgorod at 6AM on the 17th and were greeted by Natalia, Sasha, and Margarita, they would be our hosts for the next several days. We are now in our host homes and getting ready for breakfast.

This is Lenin's Library, we did not go in, it was just there when we came up from the subway.
 The kids are confused again because they don't know where they are, they can't read the signs and are starting to believe the joke they started that we were trying to sell them.

This is the history building that makes up part of Red Square
 This is Lenin's Tomb, Bradley was confused as to why one of the Beatles was so highly honored among the Communist leaders.
 We were there on some sort of military holiday and they had a celebration at the "Eternal Flame" which is essentially the same as the tomb of the unknown soldier.
 St. Basil's Cathedral
 This is a former government building that even housed offices of Communist officials, During the Communist Era the churches were forced to stop preaching the gospel and to take down their crosses, yet if you notice this building this specific entrance which is right across from Lenin's Tomb has an Icon of Christ above the entrance that remained in place the entire time. On another note the building now serves as an upscale shopping mall.
 Is this what the sky looked like when Jesus got Baptized?
 The other side of the History building, could you have guessed that its part of Red Square?
 This is a statue of Alexander the Great right across from the Christ Church.
 This is Christ Church, the Russian Orthodox Church that Vladimir Putin Currently attends
 Another Picture of the church
 And another... I think I just really liked the way the sky looked
 Alex was tired of walking, and was not very happy with the Russian Orthodox Church because they wouldn't let her in without covering her head.
 These two Babushkas were singing about God while begging for money for food, not to far from the Russian United Methodist Seminary. We gave to them, but they touched our hearts.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Russia Update - A night on the town - Moscow

Tonight (Wednesday night for us Wednesday day for y'all) we went around Moscow and had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. Our waitress Olga spoke great English and gave great service, we will be eating more frugally for the duration of the trip but from now on our wonderful youth will be able to tell their friends "I had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe in Moscow." After dinner we walked the city center and were entertained by the various shops we walked by and the street performers. We are back at the hotel now and about to sleep for the night most of us are exhausted. Tomorrow will be more touring of Moscow followed by an overnight train to Novgorod. Our next update will probably be Friday in Novgorod unless we are able to find a hot spot. The weather here is absolutely prefect by the way.


This is a picture of Arbot Street it is the main tourist street in Moscow, only foot traffic and a lot of street performers. This is also the street that the Hard Rock Cafe was on. In case you were wondering, this picture was taken at like 9:45 PM

This is a picture of the view from my window at the Bega Hotel in Moscow, we were on the 11th floor. This building that you can see is one of 7 identical buildings throughout the city that are reffed to7 Sisters (if you Google it search "seven sisters Moscow")

In an effort to try and figure out the Russian Alphabet, I took this picture of a Russian blackberry with a full keyboard. Unfortunately I still haven't figured it out