Having returned late last night from the National Religious Broadcasters conference (NRB), I am still processing this quick trip to Orlando. I was there speaking on a panel in one of the REACH sessions about the use of internet content in ministries. Regarding the conference, I can’t say I learned a lot of unknown information, new technology, or that my attitudes about broadcast ministries changed, but here are some initial take-aways:
A) With regard to the web and ministry, I am smarter than I think I am. I mean this humbly as a recognition of how God has gifted me. As I spoke with ministry leaders and visited the various vendor booths, it hit me that I am one of the forward-thinkers in web ministry. Not to say others don’t get it, but it is to say many still struggle with the basic questions of technology and its opportunity for ministry that I have long since worked through. So in a sense, this trip reassured me that I do know what I am doing and I have a responsibility to share with other ministries what works. I think this is more a recognition of the sad state of affairs within Web Ministry than it is that I am really all that.
B) There are exceptional people who “get it” who are sharing their knowledge freely about ministry. Perhaps the most impressive was Erwin McManus. He gave the REACH Keynote speech at NRB and focused in the need for ministry to communicate stories. One of the biggest impacts of his talk on me were his thoughts on doing ministry with excellence. His comments poked fun at the irony of our unwillingness to accept imperfect people into our ministry, even though we are all still very depraved.
It was also great to finally meet Brad Abare in person. We had faint memories of sharing some email and blog comment conversations about Church Marketing Sucks, but this was the first time to get to know each other. Mr. Brad Hill over at SiteOrganic was the one who brought us all together for dinner at Maggianos (Thanks SiteOrganic). Brad Abare’s NRB session had miserable low attendance because of when it was scheduled, but people clearly didn’t know who or what they were missing. Part of his talk focused in on the story of David and Goliath. The three questions Brad asked about our ministry: 1. What is your giant? 2. Who is ready to fight [alongside you]? 3. What are your five stones [you can use to overcome the huge obstacle]? Then Mr. Abare offers that like David we must be responsible (as David was by still taking care of his flock), we must be ready (David went to the fight with what he needed), and we must be willing (David ran toward Goliath to fight) to do interesting things in ministry with the internet. While digging up the links for this post, I just noticed Brad made mention of me over on his blog. Thanks Brad for reaffirming a) above… it is great to hear someone else say what God seemed to be confirming all weekend.
Another nice surprise was Rex Miller, the author of Millenium Matrix. His talk’s focus was on helping us to understand the thinking of Millennials, who tend to be less trusting of authority, more prone to pass on stories through any number of mediums, and tend to deconstruct everything from videos to devices and remake/mashup the components into something new and interesting. Rex asked me to lunch and I am very excited about connecting with him soon.
Besides the Mohawk adorned internet marketing wiz I met on the shuttle to the airport (not an NRB attendee), there was Dr. Mike Miller. This is a church Executive Pastor who understands technology and is not scared to incorporate it into the vision of the church. He is helping to take the vision of a church member and birth GodTube.com, which is an up and coming YouTube clone that is focused specifically on ministries. I hope to cover this and other ministry video options in a later post. I met Mike at the GodTube booth along with his wife, and they were both so inviting and gracious. Mike offered to have me down to First Dallas to connect with them and what they are doing with the internet.
C) Ministries are still clueless about how to dream about, plan, fund, and deploy web technologies to the significant benefit of their mission and vision. I will write a later post on dealing with ministry leaders who aren’t willing to let go of the reins and let the horses run. I understand their fears, but I disagree about who is really in control any way. Also, people in ministry still seem to be clueless about what people really want. They need to jump on the Cluetrain and realize they don’t control the conversation.
D) I need to blog more. I have more to say that is of value than I realize.
So these are initial thoughts on my trip to Orlando for NRB 2007. Will post more as other things strike me.