Experiment: Facebook Live Book Study

I am running an experiment this fall in the local church with the purpose of engaging people in discipleship. The experiment is a Facebook Live Book Study. Some of the observations that lead to this experiment:

  • High engagement of video on the church’s Facebook page
  • Congregants sharing the value of study’s led by the preacher
  • Desire for discipleship opportunities outside of Sunday morning

We will be reading Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World by Shelly Miller (Amazon.com) using a reading plan that you can find at the church’s website. My plan is to go on Live on the church’s Facebook page each week to share some highlights from the reading and invite responses. I hope to be able to engage with people who are able to join online at the time, however the content will also be available to engage with through questions I will post in the comments.

I hope that we will be able to connect with new people who would not otherwise be able to fit a discipleship opportunity like this into their schedule. No matter how it goes, there will be valuable learning.

Let’s do this.

Transition Time

So, once again it is time for me to start up my blog. It has, for the most part, languished for several years. The impetus to begin again is that it is transition time. I have been appointed to serve as the preacher at Berryton United Methodist Church beginning July 1. I will officially depart my role as preacher at First UMC El Dorado the day before, though we will have moved to Topeka several weeks before that. It has been a long road to this point and there is a long road ahead. All is well, though. God walks with our family and with the people Butler and Shawnee counties each day and will continue in the days ahead. If you would like to get or stay connected with me, there are a number of ways that I will suggest for you:


You can find my personal website and blog at www.AndrewConard.com. I have written on a wide variety of topics over the years and am going to work to get back in the habit.

Verse Images

This is a side project that I started at the beginning of 2018. It exists to share Bible verse images and videos that are encouraging, inspiring, and challenging. You can connect there in a variety of ways:

Preacher Stories

I have had intentions for some years to start a podcast. The latest iteration is Preacher Stories, which you can find here.

Social Media

Of course, you can connect with me in a variety of ways on social media as well:

  • Facebook Page – Professional stuff, bible verses, articles, and more.
  • Twitter – Professional stuff, bible verses, articles, and more.
  • Instagram – Photos, verse images, and more.

New Appointment: How the News Was Shared

The news of my new appointment was shared in the following way:

  • Tuesday, March 13 – Supervisor and Lead Staff
  • Wednesday, March 14 – Resurrection West Staff
  • Sunday, March 18 – Worship at Resurrection West
  • Monday, March 19 – Resurrection All Staff Email
  • Monday, March 19 – Social Media – Facebook, Twitter and Blog
  • Wednesday, March 21 – Resurrection West Weekly eNote
  • Friday, March 23 – Senior Pastor’s Weekly eNote to entire congregation across campuses.

Leaving WordPress.com for Google+

There have been many opinions shared about how Google+ (a new social network from Google) has had an impact on the online social media scene. People have posited that Google+ will eventually cause people to leave another network. I posted about this possibility myself.


After conversation with a good friend, I realized that there is value to maintaining connections with others in that way. So, I’ll likely be on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for the foreseeable future.

I have been wondering about the possibility of sharing my thoughts on faith, life and ministry at Google+ instead of WordPress.com. Here are some pros and cons of this switch:


  • Google+ is built for sharing in a network, therefore, sharing thoughts, feelings and opinions that I hope might spread on Google+ makes it one step easier for people to share with others (instead of Tweeting a link to a post)
  • Google+ is built to draw people back through integration across Google web properties – this would increase the possibility that people would continue to comment on a post, thus creating a conversation. Personally, I hardly ever revisit a blog post after leaving a comment to see if there are other comments added.
  • Social profile and content creation are simplified for me by being at one location.


  • Google+ is not yet public (yet), thus limiting reach
  • Google+ does not have the ability to schedule posts in advance
  • Google+ does not have analytics available around any particular post

I have reposted the content of several of my blog posts from WordPress over the past week and have received about as many or more comments on Google+ with the addition to a share. Will you please share your thoughts, feelings or opinions?

PS – If you want an invite to Google+ leave a comment using an @gmail.com email address and I will send you an invitation.

Top 10 Ways to Connect

Connecting with people is one of the most important roles of being a pastor. I was inspired by Valeria Maltoni with her list of 100 Ways to Connect. I selected my top 10 from the list at Conversation Agent.

  • Introduce Peers
  • Tell Stories
  • Stay offline when you’re tired or argumentative
  • Brag about your fans’ products and services
  • Become the person you’d like to be
  • Stay soft on people, hard on issues
  • Thank often and liberally
  • Adopt and credit good ideas
  • Appreciate success is several years in the making
  • Set a good example
What do you find to be the most effective ways of connecting with people?

Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age

Pope Benedict XVI during visit to São Paulo, B...
Image via Wikipedia

I have enjoyed Pope Benedict’s message on World Communications Day over the past few years. I wanted to share a small portion with you today from the Message of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for the 45th World Communications Day – Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age:

“The task of witnessing to the Gospel in the digital era calls for everyone to be particularly attentive to the aspects of that message which can challenge some of the ways of thinking typical of the web. First of all, we must be aware that the truth which we long to share does not derive its worth from its “popularity” or from the amount of attention it receives. We must make it known in its integrity, instead of seeking to make it acceptable or diluting it. It must become daily nourishment and not a fleeting attraction. The truth of the Gospel is not something to be consumed or used superficially; rather it is a gift that calls for a free response. Even when it is proclaimed in the virtual space of the web, the Gospel demands to be incarnated in the real world and linked to the real faces of our brothers and sisters, those with whom we share our daily lives. Direct human relations always remain fundamental for the transmission of the faith!”

Here are a few points that I particularly appreciate from this short paragraph:

  • The reminder that the truth of the gospel is not based on how many Likes or Retweets that are received.
  • The good news of Jesus Christ is not something to be consumed, but rather something that calls for a response
  • Meeting people face to face is important.

Will you please share your thoughts, feelings or opinions about this selection? I commend the entire message to you.

My #SXSW Interactive Experience – Day 3

Column at the Austin Convention Center

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 3

  • It makes a difference if you choose a workshop that doesn’t interest you. I am thankful that it is okay to get up and leave as long as you do not disrupt other people. I took advantage of that to get out of a workshop and in to the TED presentation.
  • Free food is good, but not always worth the wait.
  • I have seen or received more randomly free things than I can remember.
  • It was good to worship with Resurrection Online. I happened to find a place outside the Microsoft Interactive Lounge.
  • Sleep is a very good thing.

Radical Openness: Growing TED by Giving it Away

  • TED Talks principals: embrace open models, design for a small screen, start strong, evoke contagious emotions

    Worship with Resurrection Online
  • Only half of what you get from a conference is on the stage – the other part is having the inspired conversations with people around you who have just experienced the same content.
  • We don’t have a monopoly on good ideas.
  • Openness works when you: Put forward a clear goal that inspires; draw a passionate user base; Provide clear guidelines (with rewards + consequences); Allow the community to police itself; Make your contributors rock stars.
  • Openness isn’t easy: It is actually much easier to stay closed than to open up; Openness goes against most of our human tendencies; It can be quite challenging to fight against the fear of letting go; The rewards can truly be extraordinary

Better Crowdsourcing: Lessons Learned From the3six5 Project

  • Setup: Tell the story of a simple idea to get people involved. It is important for something brand new to have an idea that people can wrap their heads around
  • Managing People: Set up the rules and pay attention to the human interaction
  • Rewards and Recognition: Have a clear hierarchy when it comes to user involvement, reward people who are active by allowing them to take the next step and become editors or moderators. People that may not have had a voice before, suddenly have a voice.
  • Ending Gracefully: Set clear guidelines and pay attention to scaling from the beginning
  • Engage with people who you may not recognize as influencers.

Keynote: Christopher Poole – Founder of 4chan/Canvas

  • I did not hear any thing helpful at this presentation

Nonprofits and Free Agents in A Networked World

Nonprofits and Free Agents in A Networked World
  • Introduce people to others to create meaningful relationships
  • A networked non-profit is a simple agile organization that is transparent enough to let insiders out and outsiders in
  • Make connections with people who don’t care about the logo or branding document, but care about your cause.
  • A network weaver introduces people to others to create meaningful relationships.
  • Some non profits are a fortress that has trouble adopting and working with social media

27 (Fun!) Ways to Kill Your Online Community

  • Have a clearly defined audience
  • Have user guidelines
  • Set a good example for everyone on the site
  • Answer repetitive questions in a respectful manner
  • Don’t do everything that you can do

Next Steps for Resurrection Online

  • What if we allowed Resurrection Online to be embeddable on other sites?
  • Explore the possibility of allowing users to tag, rate, connect and organize Resurrection’s sermon archive.
  • Ask for ideas to improve Resurrection Online from regulars.
  • Expand the Resurrection Stories shared via the GPS beyond Lent.
  • Explore open projects for the people of Resurrection Online
  • Engage with people who I may not recognize as being an influencer
  • Set up a crowdsourced project for the people of Resurrection Online about how they became connected with Resurrection Online called Why Resurrection Online?
  • Introduce members of the Resurrection Online community to one another.
  • Pay attention to guidelines for building an online community as development continues with Resurrection Online
  • Visit the communities where I hope to build Resurrection Online frequently

Next Steps for Me

Squarespace Food Truck
  • Be surprised by the communities of which I am a part
  • Remember that losing control is the only way to do some things.
  • Be a network weaver who introduces people to others to create meaningful relationships.

Sites to Investigate

Top Posts from 2010

Go 10
Image via Wikipedia

Here are the top posts for the past 365 days that were written in 2010:

  1. Church Growth = Increased Pastor Salary?
  2. Top 8 Reasons to end Guaranteed Appointments in the UMC
  3. Ordination Paperwork in the UMC: A Provocative Proposal
  4. Do I have to believe all the beliefs in Methodism to be a Methodist?
  5. What to Do with Ineffective United Methodist Clergy
  6. Ordination in the UMC: Doctrinal Papers
  7. 2010 Twitter Hashtags for #UMC Annual Conferences
  8. #smckc + #smcjoco = 7
  9. What is a guaranteed appointment in the UMC?
  10. What to Do with Unhealthy United Methodist Congregations





Online Memory of Life at 1000 Memories

Image representing 1000Memories as depicted in...
Image via CrunchBase

What is an appropriate way to remember someone online after they have died?

You find http://1000memories.com to be a useful tool to recommend to others. Here is a bit from their website:

1000Memories is a new way to remember the life of someone you love. We help you build a space to share photos, record stories, and memories with family and friends. Everyone knows a person in a different way and together, we can create a truly special place to remember a life. It’s absolutely 100% free to use and your memories will be stored here forever.

How do you feel about this?

National UnFriend Day 2010

I care about community and hope to be part of building a Christian community online where non religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians through Resurrection Online. As a pastor, should I accept every friend request that I receive? Does it matter of the individual is part of the congregation that I currently serve? served in the past?

Alerted by this post, Jimmy Kimmel Calls for National UnFriend Day, I am going to take part. Will you?

10-11-15 Resurrection Online Update

This week, I put together some roles for serving with Resurrection Online. I am excited about the potential here. Find out more at Resurrection Online Mission + Service. Here is the text from the site:

Resurrection Online is looking for people to be part of building a Christian community online where non religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians. Here are some ways that you can get involved…


If you are in the Kansas City area, you can connect with missions opportunities at www.cor.org/missions. If you are outside the Kansas City area or unable to participate in those opportunities, will you please consider one of the following opportunities to serve?

  • Facebook Moderator: As a Facebook Moderator, you will read and respond, in a loving way to Facebook messages and ensure all comments are responded to quickly.
  • Facebook Prayer Partner: As a Prayer Partner you will pray for services while they are live and send daily prayer messages to those connected with the Resurrection Online Facebook page.
  • Social Media Editor: As a Social Media Editor you will modify eNote and notes from worship to compose social media posts. You will design social media posts to be conversational and include links in posts that allow further exploration on posted content.
  • Tech Admin: As a Tech Admin, you will upload posts from the Social Media Editors into HootSuite and schedule them for publication.

Sign up for these opportunities at http://goo.gl/MpR0g.

In Person

If you are in the Kansas City area, you can get connected with opportunities to serve by visiting www.cor.org/missions. If you are living outside the Kansas City area, you may consider serving in person in one of the following ways:

  • Baking cookies for your neighbors
  • Donating canned goods to a local food bank
  • Helping an elderly person with work around their yard or home.

Will you consider ways to bless your neighbors or serve others in your local community? If you are serving God in your community through Resurrection Online will you please mail Pastor Andrew Conard to share your story?

Sparked: Micro Volunteer Opportunities

I am looking for ways to develop serving opportunities for those who worship with Resurrection Online. An intriguing model that may be helpful in this effort is from Sparked. I cannot do a better job of explaining the concept than their About Page, so here is an excerpt from their website. What are your thoughts, feelings or opinions about this possibility?

Sparked is the world’s first micro-volunteering network.

Most of us live incredibly busy lives. With 60 hour work-weeks, kids, running errands, and the stress of everything else, it’s difficult to take an entire day off to volunteer. But, we do have spare time. Every single day, we spend nearly 400 million hours on Facebook and we watch over two billion Youtube videos. What if we could complete a useful volunteer activity in that same time?

Busy people use Sparked to give back when it’s convenient.

Sparked makes it easy for people with busy lives to help nonprofits get valuable work done when it’s convenient. We call it micro-volunteering. Through the convenience of the Internet, and with the collaboration of others, micro-volunteers use their professional skills to help causes they care about. Get started!

Nonprofits use Sparked to get work done for free.

Sometimes the best way to fundraise is simply to save money. Sparked helps nonprofits increase their capacity by giving them a low-maintenance way to get free work done from a huge pool of talented professionals; including creative design, job description review, new product brainstorms, new website focus-grouping, media relations strategies, and so more. No hoops, no handholding, no interviews, no overhead.Start getting work done!

How it works.

Nonprofits post challenges to the network. Volunteers post one or more answers to each challenge. A challenge could be anything from, “Can you critique these logo designs?” to “How can we raise funds to drill a well in Kenya?” When volunteers have a free moment, they find a challenge that’s interesting to them and that matches their skills. When they’ve found a challenge that suits them, they post an answer.

The innovation.

Sparked brings crowdsourcing technology home to everyday nonprofits. Successful crowdsourcing examples such as Wikipedia, 99-Designs, Galaxy Zoo, The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office‘s Peer to Patent, and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, have proven that with the right technology, millions of people can come together online to share their skills and complete complex tasks.