The Church Should Be More Like @Gowalla

One of the latest waves in social media is location based services like Gowalla and Foursquare. The concept is to use your mobile device to “Check In” to locations that you visit and use it as a tool to connect with people and places. Gowalla recently released an application programming interface (API) to allow other applications to be developed that link to data from Gowalla. The guidelines for using the API, from the website, are:

  • Check in where the user actually is
  • Don’t encourage checking in where the user isn’t
  • Never check in without permission from the user
  • Encourage social behavior, discourage bot-like behavior
  • Rapid, repeated checkins are not tolerated
  • Use the API responsibly

These were first brought to my attention from ¬†this article on TechCrunch, which summarizes the API Guidelines in this way, “Or to put it more succinctly: authenticity.” You have to actually be at a location to check in. I can’t check in to a location in St. Louis if I am in Kansas City.


This is why the church should be more like Gowalla – connect real people in real places with a real God.

Keys to the Kingdom (or the church office)

One part of my apparel every day to church is a security badge which primarily unlock the door to the Congregational Care offices, but can also be used for several other doors, including the outside doors.

One of the great things about this is that I can use the badge to get in to the outside doors, but I am still limited by the hours of the security system. I don’t have to worry about setting an alarm off because when the alarm is set, my badge won’t work. I can’t get in. Neither do I have access to every location in the church – either by badge or by key.

I am okay being  a pastor that does not have access to every area of the church.

It helps me be clear that some things are the job of someone else and it also helps me keep boundaries.

What do you think? Should a pastor have access to all parts of the church building at any time?