internet

3 Questions with DJ Chuang

djchuang I am so excited to share this interview with my friend, DJ Chuang.  He is honestly the first person I wanted to interview as he has been a long time student of the church and technology.  I have learned so much from him and am excited for you to pick up a few things as well!  DJ is a freelance strategy consultant, having worked with Worship Leader Magazine, Leadership Network, L2 Foundation, and other churches, ministries, and non-profits. He's also the host of Social Media Church, a weekly podcast for conversations with church leaders about social media.  I was honored to be one of his guest on the podcast several months back.  Here are my 3 questions with DJ Chuang:

 

1) As you have watched the trends of churches embracing technology and the internet, what do you think that continues to keep the church a step behind and do you see this trend changing?

DJ: Firstly I confess that I'm one of those bleeding edge guys, an experimenter who loves to try new innovations even before they're proven, so my own thinking patterns may differ from the mainstream conventional wisdom. I don't think churches by necessity have to be a step behind with how the rest of society uses technology, though a majority of churches do seem to fit that description. 4 common reasons for why churches are lagging in technology use --

[i]: Churches aren't in the business of using the latest technologies, their purpose is making disciples. I think that means the church would use the tools that most of their people would use, and if the people attending the church aren't techies, neither would the church as a whole. I'd like to think that means churches located in a high-tech area like Silicon Valley would be more in-step with using the latest technologies.

[ii]: Churches are typically organized as non-profit organizations, so those tend to be organizations that run with leaner budgets than its for-profit counterparts, and couldn't afford to buy and use the latest technologies.

[iii]: Church leaders, like most institutional leaders, tend to be risk-averse and prefer to use proven technologies rather than experiment with new technologies.

[iv]: There's no time for the steep learning curve associated with new technologies. Learning to use new technologies can take considerable time and effort when the tutorials haven't been published yet.

While the tendency will remain for a majority of churches to be slower in using new technologies, I think a growing number of churches will actually stay in step with using new technologies. This new kind of tech-savvy church are motivated by some, or all, of these 4 reasons for why the church could and should be on the leading edge of technology use:

[i]: Using new technologies can reach new people in new ways. The pastor of an often-recognized innovative church, Lifechurch.tv, Craig Groeschel, has said: "To reach people no one is reaching, we have to do things no one is doing." And that church actively uses new technologies as well as builds from scratch new technologies in order to reach more people.

[ii]: The people of God are created in the image of the Creator, and therefore, the church should be the place that fosters the most creativity. That would include both the arts and technology.

[iii]: The American church on the whole is in decline, so churches need to be developing new ways of doing ministry. That will require more research and development, trial and error, especially using new technologies in a technological age.

[iv]: Christ-followers are to be culture-makers that shape and influence culture, rather than merely reacting to what comes our way. The church can be the shining example for how new technologies ought to be used.

 

2)  As you look at all of the new churches embracing social media and Online Church, what trends really get you excited about the future of the Church Online?

DJ: I'll mention 3 things that could be trending and would be most exciting to me --

[i]: people can be the church wherever they are because they're constantly connected. The physical gathering of people attending a church service still holds meaning for a majority of church-goers, and that shared experience prompts people to stay connected on social media throughout the week. Relationships now can stay connected both online and offline, and that increased interaction can result in both deeper spiritual formation and mobilizing people to serve real needs in their community.

[ii]: The development of online education has grown fast and furious in the educational sector of colleges and universities. Even my teenage son in freshman year of high school has already taken 2 online classes. I'm starting to hear of churches developing online classes and courses for Christian education and leadership development. At the heart of the church is an educational component, and the Internet enables and empowers the maturing of Christ-followers through low-cost content distribution.

[iii]: The church has a story to tell the nations. A typical church has an amazing amount of capacity that's dormant among the many people that are gathered in the weekly attendance. Many of these people have a voice (or artistry) to communicate valuable content to the whole wide world though the world wide web. In other words, churches have more than sermons and worship songs to share with the world. Churches are beginning to share real-life stories as an integral part of their church communications, as I'd mentioned 4 examples on Social Media Church podcast episode 21.

 

3) Other than the Bible, what 1 book has most shaped your ministry leadership and why?

DJ: The book that I often reference when I get into those ministry leadership conversations is Andy Crouch's book, "Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling", and, for me, leadership is about defining and creating culture for a people in a particular context. The book itself is a call for Christians to engage and shape the culture of the society we live in, and yet I find the perspectives the book offers is very applicable in the church. There are a great number of books about the strategies and tactics for leading people in an organizational fashion. The a-ha moment with this book for me was: you change culture by creating new culture. And in established churches, there are times when change is necessary and quite challenging to make. The call of leadership at that moment is, thus, to create new culture.

New role as Social Media Pastor

I'm excited to announce that I am beginning a new journey tomorrow as the Social Media Pastor at Community Bible Church!  Katie and I are both incredibly excited about this opportunity and cannot wait to see how God moves through this new ministry role online.  CBC is an incredible church and we feel so blessed and honored to be a part of what God is doing through this congregation.  I recently read on ChurchRelevance.com that CBC is one of the top 10 churches in America to learn from in 2010.  I look forward to the opportunity of learning from the great leaders at Community Bible as well as being a part of leading this church in reaching, teaching, and helping people in Jesus name both in San Antonio and throughout the world!

About 6 months ago I made a HUGE ministry transition at Trinity Baptist Church out of Youth Ministry and into a role as College and Community Online Pastor.  After 10+ years in Youth Ministry it was a difficult transition to make emotionally, but exciting to be a part of developing this new aspect of the church.  It was an incredible experience highlighted by both the Baptist Standard and San Antonio Express News.  I will always be grateful to TBC for giving me such a wonderful ministry opportunity and will miss so many of the incredible people that I had the privilege of serving alongside.

As grateful as we are for the experiences behind us, it is the opportunity in front of us that we are so excited about.  I am so honored to be able to partner with incredible preachers and leaders in Chris Emmitt, John Valenzuela, and Robert Emmitt.  God has moved in powerful ways to impact so many lives in San Antonio through the ministry of Community Bible Church in their 20 year history reaching thousands every weekend.  I am excited to partner with the ministry team at CBC in breaking down the barriers of geography in launching Community Bible Church Online.  This past Monday in the first experimental service online there were hundreds who joined in on the the experience.  In the coming months and years it is our hope to impact thousands and potentially millions online from anywhere in the world thanks to the incredibly powerful resource of the internet.

If you have read this blog before you know how passionate I am about technology and the internet.  I have been especially drawn to Social Media and the powerful resource that we have in Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. in reaching people and building community.  If you don't read any other posts on this blog, I encourage to click here to read this post and watch the video.  Social Media is changing EVERYTHING and it's not going away anytime soon!  Social Media is quickly shrinking the globe and opening up incredible ministry opportunities that have never been possible before.

As I begin this new journey, I ask that you pray for God's blessing on this new ministry.  I also ask that you participate and partner with me by being a part of developing CBC Online.  We will be offering online worship experiences at various times every day of the week in the coming months.  I encourage you to find a time or times that work for you and experience worship online and share it with all of your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.  How about you try it tonight as we will be worshipping live online tonight at 7,8, and 9PM CST right here.

Google TV looks Rad!

I've been hearing a lot about Google TV and just saw this promo video.  It makes a lot of sense and seems like it's been a long time coming.   About 6 months ago I just bought a VGA cable to connect my laptop to my TV because I was watching too many shows on my 17' screen in the same room as my 42" tv.  I've always been interested in  Apple TV (I almost bought one but figured I could do the same thing by connecting my computer to my TV) which seems to be nothing like Google TV and while they seem nothing alike, they are both movements away from traditional cable tv.  It seems that with the speed of the internet now and livestreaming video everywhere, that it's only a matter of time before cable no longer exists.  I'm sure there will be some slow adapters, but I'm pretty pumped about this option and eager to watch it develop.  What I'm curious to see is how it will work with live shows/videos. I'm a sports fan and still enjoy watching many sporting events live (although watching commercials drives me crazy).  This platform makes a lot of sense for the tv shows that I can watch in an On Demand format, but I'm curious how it will work with live broadcasts online.  It will be interesting to see and looks like this will be a pretty sweet technology addition to the home!