Sunday, January 30, 2005

Power of the (Blog) Pen...

Much is now being written regarding the power of the internet's newest capability... the 'blog'. Even Christians are now beginning to imagine its application in daily life. At our church, we're even starting -- just starting -- to consider that the church web-team may not just be about expediting a web SITE, but rather, a web STRATEGY among all our people.

[Here's a local church -- (Pastor Bill Bean, "The Unnecessary Pastor") -- that's well ahead of the curve... and learning together. Here's an individual thought-provoking post from one of their bloggers... "Meeting Our Neighbors".]

That is, rather than simply having a singular site about our local church, what if it's more impactfully capable of being a whole tapestry of individual sites attempting to help ACCOMPLISH the mission of our church?

Certainly that thought then begs the question: "What is the mission of our church?" And one might hope that such a 'little-c' question begs the bigger question: "What is the mission of the Church?"

Eric Swanson was in Indy this past weekend doing a seminar -- sponsored by the Indianapolis Center for Congregations. [Some of us were able to share an informal breakfast-time with him at the U.B. Cafe.] And this morning, I've now started reading his book... "The Externally-focused Church". Simply the title gives away its message loud and clear: The local church should be internally-strong and externally-focused.... Be salt & light in your community.

How might this new 'power of the blog pen' be put to work in our community?

If a gaping hole in Christ's Church today is its lack of unity/harmony, then perhaps a city-network of Christian blogs -- all reciprocally pointing to each other -- could at least start to look like a model of what the Church could & should be on the ground.

Start a blog for your neighborhood, and link to other Christian-driven neighborhood sites? Here's a neighborhood blog about how to blog, even.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Transformation Includes Saving Lives...

From the beginning, God told Adam & Eve to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth... and Christ redemptively reiterated our command to be spiritually fruitful... "teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you"... which included... "I have come that you may have LIFE and have it to the full". As a result, we easily recognize that true transformation inherently includes the protection of those who can little protect themselves... including the elderly... the disabled... and all children... including unborn children.

My wife & I personally know the pain of losing a full-term yet unborn child -- no amount of 'convenience' could offset that grief. An adult's voice arguing for a pro-choice convenience-centered 'privacy' still pales against the non-voice of an unborn child.

And we grieve not only for the unborn, but for the young mothers (and fathers) that bear this weight for a lifetime. Jesus was ultimate compassion, and we, the Christian community, must be also. Here's a link to my friends at the Central Indiana Crisis Pregnancy Center... who similarly express their faith in love & actions of true compassion.

Community 'transformers' ask... "What would a transformed Indiana look like?" The answer clearly includes an Indiana that honors God-designed families... and protecting the unborn.

Every ounce of my vision for exploiting this new tool we call the internet, to weave the Christian community ever more tightly together in purpose & principle, to promote the (whole) Great Commission, includes supporting the pro-life cause.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Time To Change... For Economic Sake?

Governor Daniels is calling for anecdotal feedback about economic reasoning to support one position or the other, regarding the proposed time-change.

Perhaps it's time for the Church to weigh in. Hmmm. How MIGHT we land on the issue of changing our clocks twice a year?

"No mention of DST in the Bible = No. "

"Que sera, sera. "

"We already have some pastors up on charges of change."

"We referred the matter to our 'No Change' Committee."

"We voted by a show of hands. Both sides won. "

But are there ECONOMIC reasons for taking a position?


Just do the math: 6.2 million residents of Indiana x appx 60% who normally attend church in any given week = 3.72 million people... times the high percentage of those who would use it as an easy "Oh-my-gosh-the-clocks-changed" excuse twice a year to miss church. Now multiply that by how much money such people would have put into the offering plate... and we quickly see that the churches in Indiana would lose a grand total of.... about $2 a year.

Seriously, Governor...

How about the OBVIOUS reasons, economically, to change time?

Whether or not we're personally supportive of changing our clocks or not, is there anyone among us who believes that Indiana will not eventually... maybe not this time but eventually... enact Daylight Savings Time into law? Anyone? Please, step up. Anyone?

Seeing none, we can quickly start projecting the costs involved with state senators & representatives, governors, and all the rest of us who spend time debating it.... times minimum wage $rate... for X number of years (til it finally gets passed anyway) ...

...adds up to a ton of wasted money by a state that can little afford it.

So let's stop wasting precious time and money debating the inevitable, pass it into law, and do what every other state has done... learned to live with it... and get on with our REAL job here.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


[Here's a significant step in the progress of the Christian Scorecard approach to helping ministry leaders accomplish their mission... by measuring their mission... and its prioritized working components.]

As we're preparing for Saturday's "Building Blocks for Church Growth" seminar, we had to finally lock down our 'collaborative identity'... and this is it. What do you think? Still better than "The Three Magi", wouldn't you say? LOL.

The 3 founders of "Changents" are Jim Peters (Peterspective), Jeff Hancock (Affinity Portals) and myself. .. all Christians... all change-agents geared to accelerating ministry.

This first seminar should be fun. Now let's see just how much help the American church believes it needs, when it comes to changing into what Jesus called us to be in our 21st-Century culture.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Click, Clack, Moo... Cows That Type...

My wife had this children's book out yesterday and it caught my (kindergarten-level, LOL) attention. It'll someday be considered a classic among new-paradigm children... subtly but humorously learning about the power of publishing.

Here's the same theme, "The Blogging Phenomenon: Who? How? Why?"... expressed by the Digital Divide Network. [hat-tip, Bill Bean, "The Unnecessary Pastor"]

And finally, from the monied perspective... here's Fortune magazine's "Why You Can't Ignore Bloggers".

Now, for those of you who might be urban pastors & leaders -- I'm offering private help, over a cup of coffee, to help you start a personal or ministry website such as these articles describe that will be free & easy to post to... without having to rely on your webmaster. The suggested donation of $25 will go toward urban technology. It's win-win. Call 317-490-1255 or email for an appt.

"Click, Clack, Amen -- Pastors That Type".

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Rudy Carrasco, our good friend at (Harambee Center, L.A.) has been pressed into service for Christianity Today magazine, to run their new Tsunami Blog.

[hat-tip to]

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Internet Blog Quiz....

Take this short quiz to help us with the upcoming January 17th "Innovation Forum" on blogging & RSS feeds.

Net proceeds from the special forum on MLK holiday will specially benefit urban technology. What pastors/leaders take home that day may start benefitting their ministry for years to come.

So thank in advance for your help. And if you send other surfers our way, so much the better.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Blogging Bandwagon...

Admittedly because of year-end reflections here and elsewhere around the internet, I've recently devoted an extra (did I admit to excessive?) attention to 'blogging'. So the following may seem like 'piling-on'... but here goes anyway...

Pew Internet & American Life Project reports :
"By the end of 2004 blogs had established themselves as a key part of online culture. Two surveys by the Pew Internet & American Life Project in November established new contours for the blogosphere: 8 million American adults say they have created blogs; blog readership jumped 58% in 2004 and now stands at 27% of internet users; 5% of internet users say they use RSS aggregators or XML readers to get the news and other information delivered from blogs and content-rich Web sites as it is posted online; and 12% of internet users have posted comments or other material on blogs. Still, 62% of internet users do not know what a blog is."

...thus supporting my belief that it's important to hold TWO symposium/training session for pastors, leaders and other 'driven Christians' on coping/excelling in the new paradigm... January 15th, "Change, Risk, Availability: Building Blocks for Growth"... and the January 17, Innovation Forum specifically re: Blogs/RSS

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Websites of Clay...

Paul described us as 'jars of clay'. Perhaps the analogy carries over to our Christian websites as well.

In the new paradigm, our critics now believe they can generalize about our hearts by reviewing our websites:

"Christian right's compassion deficit:
More than 100,000 dead in south Asia,
but it's business as usual at the web sites of America's
Christian right organizations." (Berkowitz)

Obviously Berkowitz has overlooked 'the elephant in the room'. Nonetheless, Christians... after we get done being among the first & most effective on the tsunami scene, and most generous from our pocketbooks, let's learn what we can from his criticism and take another look at our web capabilities... so as to more adequately 'preach what we practice'.

Perhaps we could at least start with a world-wide call to Christian webmasters everywhere to include a simple display-capability into (all?) their webpages -- a clickable dynamic-alert-gif, say like this one...

Normally it would simply be an invisible 'pixel.gif' (coming from a centralized site, say at CEN)... until replaced during an emergency with an informational warning image like the one above.

Or for that matter, perhaps we should implement a thin, standardized (invisible) top-bar as a potential emergency dashboard, complete with clickable Christian & governmental warning lights & RSS-fed announcements, 'soundable' at both national and community levels.

These clickable icons could readily focus our web-attention toward coordinating information and relief efforts.
[Btw, also see related CEN article at]

And let's also continue working together locally -- community by community -- to build-out something like the
localized needs-driven Christian resource network system... with life's most valuable resource always only a click away.

Admittedly, these sites are immature at best, but with the Christian blogosphere growing daily, and with the buzz regarding the coming of a special "Internet Evangelism Day" -- drawing attention to how Christians can and should use this new God-given tool -- the standardized alert-bar concept could easily start asap, and be somewhat perfected by IE Day, April 24, 2005.

Btw, here in Indy on the campus of Crossroads Bible College, a special Innovation Forum on MLK holiday (Jan.17, 2005) will be devoted to helping pastors & leaders cope (and excel) in the new (blog/RSS) communication world we live in. Then, April 1st & 2nd, Liberty University is hosting a special Internet Conference, leading toward IE Day. Any or all of these gatherings could be useful in prospering such a concept.

And as always, remember to pray for your communities regularly. If you're fortunate enough to have the government **smile** sound a 'Community Prayer Siren' each week, so much the better. Btw, this might not be a bad idea for a test mechanism of the system proposed above... And frankly, it may also help many of us remember to pray regularly for our communities, neighbors, leaders & other heroes.

Please leave your thoughts here as comments, or email me.

Tsunami Blog...
As I attempt to journal significant developments of the paradigm-change, surely this may be one such development. Much as the Iraqi war bloggers brought us first-hand compelling updates & stories that moved us, now the tsunami disaster has initiated a number of ground-zero blogs to aid in information exchange to expedite disaster relief, this is a major one.

[See Christian network of distaster-resources listed at]

[hat-tip, Bill Bean Blog: "The Unnecessary Pastor"]