The Cost of Movement

Survival is one thing, but reaching a city is quite another. When it comes to missional effectiveness, our model is just too expensive. The math is there for any who would have the courage to push the buttons on the calculator.

I repeat often: We must lower the bar of how we do church and raise the bar of what it means to be a disciple if we want to reach this world with the good news. We need to be about the reproduction of healthy disciples, leaders, churches and movements––in that order. I am not suggesting we shut down churches or sell off all our property. I am suggesting we invest more energy and attention to simpler and more profound opportunities all around us. We cannot focus on complex and expensive systems and try and reproduce them if we do not first reproduce the simple and more basic entities first. If reproducing disciples is too much to ask, then certainly reproducing churches full of them is impossible, right? Don’t start churches to make disciples. Make disciples…and churches will start far more easily. It doesn’t cost a dime to make a disciple; it only costs your life.

I was infected with this idea 6 or 7 years ago when I first read Neil Cole’s book, Organic Church. I’ve done the math as he suggests and it is shocking. It is also hard to square it with the New Testament. Let’s do the hard thing and wrestle with this reality. It’s too important to let it slip by and just keep working on reinforcing the familiar.

Via: Neil Cole on 100 Movements

Our Tools (Tech) Use Us

We’ve gotten to the point where the tools use us as much as we use them. This new reality means we need to re-examine our relationship with our New Tools.

The tools we’re now addicted to have been engineered for a simple purpose: To keep us addicted to them. The service they provide is secondary to the addiction.

The first step towards a solution must be to understand the reality of this new ecosystem.

I’ve been reading and thinking a lot more about the tools I use and the effects they have on me. The fact that I can publish this so simply is incredible. But I am more aware than ever that our tools shape us as much as we shape our world with them. Give it some thought.

Via: Don’t Let Your Tools (Technology) Use You

Reclaiming Attention

It was immediately clear that vigilance was required, some set of rules. And so here are mine:

The internet goes off before bed.

The internet doesn’t return until after lunch.

That’s it. Reasonable rules. I’m too weak to handle the unreasonable.

What would it take to reclaim our own attention? It is so easy to be always-on. It might be a good idea to give some consideration to how and when we use our devices and what healthy parameters would look like.

(via Backchannel)

Memorizing Extended Scripture

First Corinthians takes about 60 minutes to read aloud. It took me about 14 months to memorize the whole letter, and I’ve been spending the last several months reciting the entire letter each morning to lock it in.

Andy Naselli shares some wisdom on how to memorize an entire book of the Bible. I’m not undertaking 16 chapters, but I am starting the process of memorizing Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 13-14; Galatians). Just in the first couple of weeks of memorizing the opening verses, I’m starting to see things I’ve never noticed before.

(via The Gospel Coalition)

Bullet Journal

I enjoy using technology – especially when it helps me work more efficiently and effectively. I have noticed that I have the tendency to jump from one task manager app to the next. The grass is always greener, apparently. As I jump back and forth, I tend to dump anything and everything into the task manager, and when I eventually make it back around to the app, it is filled with the fires of overdue tasks and projects. It’s not that I’ve forgotten to do everything – I just have a big mess of cluttered and unmanaged digital work to deal with. The set it and forget it nature of these apps can get the better of me more than I’d like to admit. Sometimes (maybe a lot of the time) I am more interested in working on the task manager than I am working on the tasks themselves.

For the last month I’ve been trying out the Bullet Journal as a way of staying a little more connected to my work. It is forcing me to be more in tune with everything and it is easier to see when I am allowing too much onto my plate at one time.

The official Bullet Journal website has some basic instructions.

This video offers a simple presentation of how to get started. It’s surprisingly fun to set up. It is simple and effective.

Smart Phones – Pavlov’s Little Box

The smart phone (so called in honor of the profit-seeking companies who were smart enough to make them) is an optimized, tested and polished call-and-response machine.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I use my devices with screens, especially my phone. I’m not always pleased with when and how and how often I use them, either.

(via Seth’s Blog)

Next Steps for the Open Web

I believe the next step for the open web and Twitter-like services is indie microblogging.

I am super interested in where the open web is headed in light of tools like these. This trajectory is one of the reasons I am putting more focus on my personal blog than on proprietary services. Note his linked Kickstarter for Indie Microblogging.

(via Manton)

Humanity & Digital Life

In an lengthy article for NYMag, Andrew Sullivan speaks to some of the dangers of the technology we hold so closely:

Information soon penetrated every waking moment of our lives. And it did so with staggering swiftness. We almost forget that ten years ago, there were no smartphones, and as recently as 2011, only a third of Americans owned one. Now nearly two-thirds do. That figure reaches 85 percent when you’re only counting young adults. And 46 percent of Americans told Pew surveyors last year a simple but remarkable thing: They could not live without one. The device went from unknown to indispensable in less than a decade. The handful of spaces where it was once impossible to be connected — the airplane, the subway, the wilderness — are dwindling fast. Even hiker backpacks now come fitted with battery power for smartphones. Perhaps the only “safe space” that still exists is the shower.

Note a key point he makes deep in the article:

If the churches came to understand that the greatest threat to faith today is not hedonism but distraction, perhaps they might begin to appeal anew to a frazzled digital generation.

I’ve been reading a lot about the precarious or even dangerous position we are in with our screen-filled digital-first lives. I see it every single day on the college campus – flocks of students who are linked at the palm to their devices. I don’t question the incredible value we get from modern technology, but there are costs associated with it too.

(via NYMag)

Five Big Benefits of Blogging

Most new bloggers don’t realize the demands a blog can place on time and creativity. However, once the discipline of blogging is developed, it can benefit you in other aspects of life. Maintaining a blog practically forces you to develop routines and content plans. These routines can be mimicked in your dietary planning, workout regimens, personal discipleship, and relationships. A successful blog may not always mean more page views. Personal growth through the discipline of blogging can be success in and of itself.

In 2016 there were 4 months when I didn’t publish a single blog post. There were 2 months where I only posted one single blog post during the entire month. I published 24 posts from January-October. I published 16 posts in December and 1 post per day in January so far.

Over the course of most of 2016, I lacked discipline with my blog. It simply wasn’t a high value for me. Looking back, I can see missed opportunities personally (growing myself) and professionally (helping others grow), but I’m OK with how the year went. I am discovering the truth of the quote above. As I have shown greater discipline over the last month to publish something more regularly (at this point, daily), I’m finding it more natural to be disciplined in other areas of my life too. The final sentence is correct – page views are not my greatest measure of success – my own personal growth through the process of publishing regularly is my measure of success. I hope you’ll find what I write to be helpful. It is helpful to me just to write and publish in the first place.

(via Auxano)