Opportunity to Partner with Resurrection

I am on a strategic project team at Resurrection that is looking for three small churches, currently led by lay speakers, local pastors, or student local pastors, who would be interested in testing a new model for ministry – these churches would, for one year, become a part of a multi-point circuit with Resurrection. The aim is to see what we might do together to strengthen small churches. Resurrection would provide 36 weeks of sermons via video, coaching, and other resources.

I am excited to see what fruit may be born with this model of ministry. What would you see as some of the greatest benefits and biggest challenges to exploring ministry in this way?

Mission and Vision: Local Church (1 of 3)

A local church with a mission (Why do we exist?) and a vision (Where are we going?) is more likely to be a vital congregation. The clarity of purpose and direction helps shape the life of the congregation in both subtle and significant ways. With the lack of a clear statement that people can remember and understand the leadership may go from one “next best thing” to another in ministry and never realize their full potential as a congregation.

The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection where I am currently serving has as a mission (or purpose) statement: Building a Christian community where non-religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians.

Scripture Monday – Luke 10:17

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“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. … The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name” (Luke 10:1, 17).

The seventy-two returned to Jesus with joy. Their task was one that led to joy. I appreciate this perspective, as there are times that the work of ministry does not feel like joy. Maybe it is a change in perspective, change in task or change in remembering who is responsible and in charge. Whatever the shift may be, these followers of Jesus encourage me to approach God‘s work with joy.

Can I become a member of Resurrection if I worship online?

Another question that I receive as Pastor of Resurrection Online is this:

Can I become a member of Resurrection if I worship online?

My hope is that Resurrection Online will be a tool for people to become more engaged in their faith and not less engaged. If someone is connected with a local church I hope that she or he will continue to stay connected there. The way that you join Resurrection is through Coffee with the Pastors. You can find more information about Coffee with the Pastors at http://cor.org/coffee.

Currently we are not offering Coffee with the Pastors online, however I hope to be able to offer that possibility in the next few years. Being a member offers no benefits at Resurrection and only expectations. You can participate in nearly everything at Resurrection as a member or a visitor. Our membership expectations are to:

  • Be in worship every weekend
  • Be actively growing in your faith outside of worship
  • Serve God both inside and outside the congregation
  • Give in proportion to your income with a tithe (10%) being the goal.

I want to make sure that people who join online would have the opportunity to live out their membership expectations online. We are not there yet.

For those that worship regularly at Resurrection Online and are interested in becoming a member, I suggest two possibilities: Seek to live out Resurrection‘s membership expectations where you are. If you want to travel to be a part of a Coffee with the Pastors in person, you could become a member of Resurrection in that way.

Will you please share your thoughts, feelings or opinions about all this?

Resurrection Online: Extension or Campus?

One of the questions that people ask about Resurrection Online is this:

Is Resurrection Online one of the regional campuses of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection or is it an online extension of Resurrection?

In some ways it is both. There are people who are primarily connected at one of Resurrection‘s physical locations that worship online each week. These are people that are sick, out of town, recovering from surgery, have a sick child and any number of other situations that leads them to worship online that week. There are people who are not at all connected with one of Resurrection‘s physical locations who worship online most weekends during the year. For the former group of people, Resurrection Online is an online extension of Resurrection. For the latter, Resurrection Online is one of Resurrection‘s campuses and this is the way that these individuals connect with our purpose of building a Christian community where non religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians.

While Resurrection Online may be experienced in different ways for different people, it makes sense to focus on one vision for the ministry and continue to move forward in that way. That vision is that Resurrection Online is one of Resurrection‘s campuses. Our goal is to move toward offering the opportunity to live out all the membership expectations of the church online and encourage people to get connected in person, when possible. I hope that Resurrection Online will be a tool for people to be more engaged in their faith and not less engaged. Developing the opportunity to grow in your faith outside of worship and serve God inside and outside the church are key areas that Resurrection Online are key areas ahead for this ministry area.

Resurrection Online is a campus of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. In the months ahead, we will focus our efforts on continuing to develop Resurrection Online to be a place where we more fully live out our purpose to build a Christian community where non religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians.

Leading Ideas:What Does a Pastor Do? (2 of 3)

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I continue to appreciate the work of Lovett Weems and the entire team at the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. The offer a great number of resources for pastors, congregations, students and denominations at http://www.churchleadership.com. I wanted to draw your attention to Leading Ideas – a biweekly newsletter from the Lewis Center. You can find more information here.

One of the recent great articles answers the question, What Does a Pastor Do?

At Resurrection, I do many, but not all, of the things on this list. My experience in serving in this place is that I am responsible for a deep dive into my ministry area and am free to let others be responsible for other areas. What do you do or what does your pastor do?

Words for a Holy Meal

I have heard these words from those who were officiating at Holy Communion, but for some reason had not realized that they were from scripture until recently. They are beautiful and true.

“Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.” 1 Corinthians 10:16-17

What words help make meaning for you?

My #SXSW Interactive Experience – Day 4

I came to SXSW Interactive 2011 to gain perspectives, discover technology and learn practical steps that will help Resurrection Online fulfill our purpose of building a Christian community where non and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians. I hope to share some highlights and next steps from the day for Resurrection Online and myself.

My Experience – Day 4

  • I discovered the Delivering Happiness Bus Tour with Gowalla and picked up a free copy of the book, Delivering Happiness.
  • I stuck around in downtown Austin for John Oliver’s show and enjoyed dinner at Koriente – highly recommended.
  • I cruised through the Trade Show – more updates in a post to follow

Tweeting On Weekends: Are We Becoming Socially Anti-Social?

  • You have to decide where your line for using or not using social media. Consider why you are using social media and make an decision about where your line for using or not using social media will be.
  • People draw the line for social media usage in different places.
  • Be aware of not invading other people’s time with your social media updates.
  • Considering the quality of your update will help you decide whether or not to share an update.
  • The smart person in the future is not the one who has memorized all the information, but the person who is able to sort through all the junk to find the good stuff.

 

How to Personalize Without Being Creepy

How to Personalize Without Being Creepy

  • Personalization helps the organization put something more relevant and likely more delightful in front of you.
  • Transparency is important. There needs to be a clear communication about how data is being used and an easy way for customers to opt out and modify information if necessary.
  • Personalization should be around data users chose to share – not assumptions that are made by the organization
  • Let people know what inferences your site is making about them. Help them understand how it improves their experience.
  • Explain why your user might be interested in something. “Because you liked X, you might like Y”

5 Steps to Bulletproof UX Strategy

  • You need a user experience strategy. If you don’t have one, whatever you are doing is a fun guess.
  • Start designing the user experience from the one thing that you want people to do on the site
  • Steps to a User Design Strategy: Audit, Define the Vision, Plan, Implement, Measure
  • A strong purpose communicated well will result in a successful user experience vision.
  • Strategy session: “Tweak it until it’s perfect. Then leave it alone.” Measure, Iterate, Stop.

Game On: Design Patterns For User Engagement

  • Game mechanics are design patterns that promote play and play-like engagement
  • Game mechanics are powerful, because they connect with some of the most innate systems of reward that we have in our brain.
  • Three primary design aspects involved in the user journey: Come and Try It – intial engagement; Bring Friends and Play Together – social; Come Back – creating repeat engagement
  • Use metrics to determine if you are successful or not and be ready to implement based on learning gained from testing
  • Determine what the metric will be for tracking any particular game mechanic

Comedy Showcase: John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show

John Oliver's New York Stand Up Show

  • I was on the front row for the show and really enjoyed it.
  • There were a series of comedians that will be on the show that will be on Comedy Central.
  • The best part was during the final act, John was sitting just off stage and I could see him laugh and respond to the comedian on stage. It seems rare to see a professional comedian laughing along with the rest of the audience. It was fun!

Next Steps for Resurrection Online

  • Pay careful attention to the updates that we encourage people to make about Resurrection Online
  • Do not force people to log in or share contact information to worship
  • Clearly communicate what will be done with information that is received in the attendance form
  • Audit the Resurrection Online website
  • Create a vision onesheet for Resurrection Online
  • Intentionally design a user experience strategy for Resurrection Online
  • Design game mechanics for Resurrection Online including: Come and Try It – intial engagement; Bring Friends and Play Together – social; Come Back – creating repeat engagement

Next Steps for Me

6 Themes of the US Religious Environment in 2010

These are straight from the Barna Group and I claim no authorship to these themes. You can find the entire article at http://www.barna.org/culture-articles/462-six-megathemes-emerge-from-201

  1. The Christian Church is becoming less theologically literate.
  2. Christians are becoming more ingrown and less outreach-oriented
  3. Growing numbers of people are less interested in spiritual principles and more desirous of learning pragmatic solutions for life.
  4. Among Christians, interest in participating in community action is escalating.
  5. The postmodern insistence on tolerance is winning over the Christian Church
  6. The influence of Christianity on culture and individual lives is largely invisible.

In my experience, these are right on, except for one of them. What do you find to be the case in your community?

The Difference between Belief and Practice

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Paul is brought before the city leaders in Athens and preaches the good news of Jesus Christ. In response,

“Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.” Acts 17:34

The text clearly states that people “became followers of Paul and believed.” While the example of a deeply committed Christian is worth following, I would have first considered that they became followers of Jesus. Is there a difference between belief and practice? Can you help me make sense of this verse of scripture?

2010 Congregational Survey Results for Resurrection Online

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Each year, Resurrection takes an anonymous survey of the congregation. This year there were 134 people who took part in the survey that indicated they primarily worship with Resurrection Online. I have completed some analysis of the survey. What do you make of these results?

  • More gender balanced than the rest of the church with 56.7% females and 43.8% males
  • Highest % of 18-24 year olds
  • Older than West and Downtown; Younger than Blue Springs
  • Shortest length of involvement at Resurrection
  • Lowest participation in small groups by more than 20%
  • Attend the most infrequently
  • Give least percentage of income across all giving levels with 28.3% giving 0% of their income
  • 52% consider Resurrection to be their church home
  • 58% are involved in another church
  • 38% are leaders in another church
  • 60% live outside the Kansas City metropolitan area
  • Aspects of worship service to change to better experience God, more than the rest of the church: sermons, length of service, interaction with other worshipers
  • 59.8% with few social connections in the church; almost twice as many as any other location
  • The church could help grow toward becoming a deeply committed Christian by: teaching me to pray on my own, hep me increase my financial generosity, improve my experience of God in worship, teach me to study scriptures on my own

Top Responses to “Why do you worship online?”

  1. Distance from Resurrection Leawood
  2. Convenience / work travel
  3. Spiritual meaning / sermon
  4. Health / mobility
  5. Poor local church worship / sermon

Top Responses to “As someone who worships online, what would help you feel more connected with God and other people?

  1. Nothing / not sure
  2. Online small groups
  3. In person / local connection
  4. Online Bible study / classes
  5. Interaction / Chat / Discussion

Top Responses to “Please provide any suggestions that would improve your experience of Resurrection Online.”

  1. Nothing / not sure
  2. More interaction with others
  3. Online Classes
  4. Increased / continued inclusion in worship
  5. New physical locations of Resurrection

Church Conference via Skype

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As Pastor of Resurrection Online, I hope to help build a Christian community online where non religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians. A key to this purpose is building community. There has been a good deal of conversation about whether there can be authentic Christian community online, so how about a bit different question.

The 2008 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church indicates that “The members present and voting at any duly announced meeting shall constitute a quorum.” (¶246.6) If Resurrection live streamed our church conference, had a member login and people could vote, would that count? Is that even the right question?

I go back and forth about my own response to this question. Will you please share your thoughts, feelings or opinions about this topic?