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Biola Digital Ministry Conference

One of the conferences I enjoy the most is the Biola Digital Ministry Conference. Over the years it’s gone by many different names, such as the Christian Web Conference but this year there is more clarity around the conference than ever before. If you are in the digital ministry space this is a must attend event. Plus, this year we are launching an amazing event, the Hack-a-thon Competition.

Digital Ministry Hack-a-thon

The Digital Ministry Hack-a-thon is a two-day team competition designed to deepen your faith and give you an opportunity to use your skills for the kingdom of God. The competition will take place as part of the Biola Digital Ministry Conference on the campus of Biola University in Southern California from June 4 to June 7, 2012. Do you think you have what it takes? Are you ready to put your skills to the test?

I will be co-presenting the Keynote Session:

The State of Digital Ministry
Drew Goodmanson and David Bourgeois

In this session, Drew and Dave will examine the way ministries are using the Internet and other digital technologies. Using their own unique perspectives, they will start by talking about where we are today: what technologies we are using, how is technology being integrated into ministry, and offer opinions about its effectiveness. Then, they will review the trends in technology and make some predictions about the future. What will be doing in five years? What technologies should your ministry be investing in right now? This session will help your ministry understand where you fit today and how to plan for the future.

CLA Ministry Internet & Technology Summit 2012

Join MonkDev this April at the CLA Ministry Internet & Technology Summit 2012 where we will lead the following sessions:

Build the Right Social Media Strategy for Your Ministry (ITI Full Day Intensive)

This session offers unprecedented access to social media experts that will help you determine how to craft a social media strategy for your organization. The session will include creating a one-page ministry strategic plan and learning from the best practices from 100+ ministries in the Excellence in Online Ministry research. After attending this session you will be able to: 1) Implement best practices to strengthen your ministry’s social media initiatives, 2) Craft an effective social media strategy for your target audience, and 3) Integrate innovative thinking into all the communications strategies for your ministry.

Drew Goodmanson, CEO, Monk Development; Brian Barela, Director of New Media, Campus Crusade for Christ; Chris Giovagnoni, Social Media Manager, Compassion International; and Justin Wise, Social Media Director, Monk Development<

CIO & IT Roundtable: Today’s Top Technology Topics!

You won’t want to miss this groundbreaking CIO & IT Roundtable community building session. During this session you will hear from innovative Internet and Technology experts, ministry Chief Information Officers, and other ministry leaders who will discuss today’s most critical online and tech ministry topics. This session provides ministry IT leaders a place to network with peers, learn about new technologies, find out about new solutions, and get advice from others. After completing this course you will be able to: 1) Discern the most pressing Internet and technology issues facing your ministry, 2) Draw upon the expertise of a network of outstanding ministry CIO’s, and 3) Develop strategies that put your ministry ahead of the exponential technological change curve.

Moderators: Jim Finwick, CIO, Compassion International and Drew Goodmanson, CEO, Monk Development

Your Ministry Needs Web and Mobile apps

Web and Mobile apps are your biggest cheerleaders in a world that is moving online in unprecedented numbers. This talk will cover the process of developing, building or buying your way into the online population with the best quality apps. When you leave this talk, you’ll know where and how to start your Web and Mobile app strategy. Topics will cover: “What is a Web app?”, “Do I build or buy?”, “Where do I find qualified people?”, “If I have a Web app, do I need a mobile app?” After attending this session you will be able to: 1) Decide whether it is better to build or buy a Web app, 2) Recognize where to find great developers, and 3) Understand how a Web and mobile app works.

Etienne de Bruin, CTO, Monk Development

Build the Right Ministry Web Strategy

How do you identify and execute Web strategies that are appropriate for your ministry? As a leader learn how to rally your team and Web engagement around a clear vision. Gain insights on building an online strategy for your ministry that you can execute and experience positive results to impact your ministry. Hear from other organizations successes and the challenges they faced in building a Web strategy. After completing this course you will be able to: 1) Build an effective and an appropriate online ministry plan, 2) Lead your team through building a Web strategy, and 3) Better steward your resources online.

Drew Goodmanson, CEO, Monk Development

How to Stop Wasting Your Time with Social Media

Go beyond what people are doing to what is driving real ministry impact for churches and ministries in their use of Facebook, Twitter and other social Web tactics and strategies. You will be presented with a follow-up research project to last year’s Excellence in Online Ministry research gathered from over 100 ministries. This year the research focuses specifically on ministry effectiveness in social media. After attending this session you will be able to: 1) Effectively engage your community online in practical, real-world ways, 2) Create a social media content calendar, and 3) Build a lasting and effective online community.

Justin Wise, Social Media Director, Monk Development

Communications 3.0 Trends that will impact your ministry.

Read the Communication 3.0 article at Outcomes

With the growth of the web, new forms of communication are becoming dominant. Old methods of communication are impacted by this change. For example, the U.S. Postal Service is considering the elimination of Saturday delivery because mail is down 26 percent in 5 years. Or look at the newspaper industry. We are seeing not only new ways to read the news, but a whole transformation of the industry. Technology’s growth creates behavioral and organizational change in deep ways. These changes require your organization to communicate and interact with people in new and different ways.

Let us look at a few trends that will change how you engage your audience:
(1) The impact of the Internet is more than technological; it is about worldviews
As the web catches more of our lives in its grip, it becomes a layer through how we view the world. We are becoming more dependent on it. Behavior changes, such as forgetting people’s phone numbers as we keep them on our cell phone, continues with each new technology we adopt. Think about this: one-third of women aged 18 to 34 first check Facebook when they wake up, according to a 2010 study by Oxygen Media & Lightspeed Research of 1,605 young adults. Twenty-one percent of these women check Facebook in the middle of the night, and 57 percent of young women say they talk to more people online than face to face. Facebook is just one site that is changing the rules of how we behave.

Organizations need to see that the impact from the web is larger than the technology itself because it reflects a new worldview. There has been a change in how new generations see the world. In his 1993 book, Post-Capitalist Society, the late Peter Drucker worded it this way:

“Every few hundred years in Western history, there occurs a sharp transformation . . . within a few short decades, society rearranges itself – its worldview; its basic values; its social and political structure; its arts; its key institutions . . . Fifty years later, there is a new world and the people born then cannot even imagine the world in which their grandparents lived and into which their own parents were born. We are currently living through just such a transformation.”

Technology is accelerating this process of change. For example, do you think social media would have taken off as it has if it were around in the 1950s? Or was there a different view of authority that would have discouraged people from posting their opinion online? Part of the explosion of social media is that it aligns with a postmodern worldview. It is important for organizations to see what is underway as more than just technological; it is about a worldview change that is reshaping industries and organizations. The next generation of digital natives is being made in the image of the web.

(2) Mobile requires your attention
According to Google, by 2013 the desktop computer will be irrelevant. The mobile device, be it an iPhone, an Android phone, an iPad, or something we have not even seen yet, will be the primary way that we do computing and interact online.

Mobile is different; unlike a desktop computer, it is always with us and available. This leads to different habits for its use. Google now estimates that 20 percent of its searches are for things that are nearby, and that percentage is even higher for searches conducted on mobile phones. According to Facebook, over 250 million users access its site via mobile device. And those that do are more active than those who access it via desktop. So what should ministries do? As a ministry, imagine that the entire world has a smart phone (like an iPhone), and will want to access information about you using it. Then plan accordingly.

(3) The “appification” revolution is underway
The number of apps available in Apple’s application (app) store now exceeds 500,000 and these apps have been downloaded over 15 billion times. According to Flurry Analytics, in June 2011, mobile users spent more time on apps than they spent online.ÊAs these apps embed themselves into our daily life, they bring changes to our behaviors. The drive to build web and mobile apps will increase as organizations seek to engage users.

The next frontier for organizations is to build mission-focused web apps. Already these apps are being developed for the church (e.g., YouVersion). As you consider an app, think about going beyond presenting information. Use apps to engage users in ways that matter to your ministry, whether it is discipleship, volunteering, or other valuable activities.

(4) We are in a post-website world
We live in a “post-website” world. The advent of social media, including the massive popularity of social networking, has changed the game. The power of social media is clearly seen in Twitter. Founded only a few short years ago in 2006, Twitter became a critical social media tool to the regime changes that recently swept the Middle East.

The primary use of the web is about becoming more relational, not informational. Our focus should be to go where the people are, not to expect that they will come to us. The question you need to answer is, How do we become integrated into the online habits of our audience? Websites are still valuable to accomplish the goals of your organization, but a website is meaningless if no one visits it.

(5) Focus on the fringe that is central to your success
Traditionally, the basic organizing principle of communications has been the pyramid, but that is changing. For example, according to Altimeter Group research, most novice organizations engage social media through a centralized person or a department. However, today, those who have the most advanced and effective strategies are more decentralized. The web allows you to flatten your organization and reduce the friction to communicate and engage people. An example of this is Compassion International, which does its best to get out of the way and connect the sponsor with children around the world. Or, which launched a peer network called Chatter to connect peers within an organization in a real time environment, removing unneeded bureaucracy to achieve results. How are you using web technology to connect and empower people at the far reaches of your organization?

(6) Research needs to drive your online strategy
Your decisions about online tools should be driven by strategy. And strategy should be driven by research. Use research to understand how your target audience uses the Internet. Do they use mobile devices? Do they prefer e-mail or a Facebook message? Forrester Research has developed Social Technographics, a way to classify people according to how they use social technologies. This helps you to determine if your customers are creators, joiners, critics, spectators, collectors, or inactive. This type of research can help you determine if your ministry should invest in certain social media sites and how to best engage your audience.

If you design your research well, you will probably find some new insights that will surprise you. For example, when David T. Bourgeois, associate professor of information systems at Biola University, worked on a project to determine the best way to reach staff members in their early- to mid-20s, his assumption was that a Facebook page and wall posts were the best solution. However, research showed that they preferred e-mail and actually did not want the organization to use wall posts.

There are several methods of research available to you. If possible, directly surveying your target group is probably the best way to understand them. Creating a well-thought out survey is not simple; if possible, I would suggest that you find a survey used by a reputable research organization and modify it as opposed to creating one yourself. Using third-party data (such as that from the Pew Internet Project or the U.S. Census) will also give you some ideas of how to reach your group. I would also recommend working with someone who has experience doing research in this area.

How can your organization prepare for the communication changes ahead? A friend of mine, ministry online technology consultant Cynthia Ware, often quotes 1 Chronicles 12:32, where “from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” As leaders we need to learn about the shift in worldview and in the technological landscape.
The first act in the story of the Internet has been the vast availability of information. We are just beginning the second half of the story – the pervasiveness of the web in every aspect of our life. This pervasiveness includes but goes beyond our mobile phones to all the things in our life, such as our cars, our living room, and even the appliances in our house. All of our life will become increasingly brought online.

These trends can be positive even though they often require changes in how your organization operates. To succeed, ministries must adjust and adapt to this new environment. For example, an increasing number of churches are exploring online worship services and are hiring digital pastors to interact with their congregation online. One large ministry built a private community site to engage users to learn, serve, donate, and increase participation, but they had to shut it down after a year because it required more community management than their staff could handle. This organization did not want to change and thus closed down the online community website. In most of our strategy work with organizations, there are changes people must consider to implement effective web strategies. Often these include making new hires, retraining staff, and letting people go as the organization’s needs change.

For many organizations, particularly established ones, there is a significant tension between maintaining the current technology and the need to innovate. But with change occurring so quickly, there is a vital need for ministries to innovate and to be willing to fail. Who is leading your organization to translate your mission, strategies, and goals into the web environment?

At Monk Development (an organization that does this for many ministries and churches), we understand this is full-time work. Most ministries have been on their own in navigating their web strategy. Our desire is to see this change. We lead the Ministry Internet and Technology Summit at the CLA National Conference, which brings together experts in technology and social media from across the ministry world. I invite you to send your teams to participate in this conference in Orlando, Florida, April 10-12, 2012 ( The summit will offer sessions on building the right social media strategy, how to increase online donations, best practices of mobile or application development, and other topics presented by thought leaders in the ministry space. In addition, each year research is conducted and presented at this summit that will enhance your ministry’s online engagement. Please plan to join us.

Second, in partnership with CLA we will launch a new CIO Forum. These forums will include peer-learning to share best practices and discuss the challenges we all face. At stake is the ministry impact we make and how we steward our limited time and resources toward things that will deliver the most value.

We as leaders need to think deeply about the transformation that technology is enabling. We should embrace change, but remember the good news that we do not have to put our hope in keeping up with the changes around us. Our hope is in Christ alone and that Jesus promised that he would build his church. Christ will guide us through, even as the transformation of communication and technology continues at an exponential pace.

WFX 2011 Develop a Powerful Church Web Strategy

“Develop a Powerful Church Web Strategy” WFX 2011 Session Now Available.

Thank you for attending our sessions at WFX 2011. Below is a link to the PDF of the presentation “Develop a Powerful Church Web Strategy” session. I pray the content helps you spread the gospel where you live and to the ends of the earth.

Our passion is helping ministries further the gospel by building appropriate web strategies for their calling.  

Password: For those who attended and requested access, your password was included in the email.  You can request access here.

Description: How do you identify and execute a web strategy that is appropriate for your church? Learn how to rally your organization and web engagement around a clear vision. Gain insights on building an online strategy for your ministry that you can execute and experience positive results to impact your ministry. Experience the process some of the largest churches and fastest growing churches in the US have gone through. This session will help you be able to:

– Build an effective and an appropriate online plan
– Lead your team through building a web strategy
– Learn from the best practices from leading churches 
– Better steward your resources online

You may also be interested in:

MonkDev’s Strategy Services for Churches & Ministries

Faith & Technology

I had the opportunity on Easter Sunday to appear on CBS Sunday Morning for a segment on Faith & Technology (link to video). The segment discussed how technology is impacting faith. CBS filmed at the Christian Web Conference, did a day of interviews and then visited Kaleo Church . In the session they filmed, the Future of the Web & Church we had a conversations on several topics related to faith & technology, including:

– Does reading the Bible in a digital format impact our spiritual development? How? Will this change for future generations of ‘digital natives’?
– To what extent can we use online tools in discipleship?
– Would Jesus be on Facebook or other social media? (Note: My position is that he would not.)
– How does our theology of presence impact the future of the church?

Overall, it was a lively conversation and we only got through the above four topics before time ran out (I had a total of 12 I wanted to hit. Ambitious). If you have not attended this conference, I highly recommend it to everyone. I’m amazed at the consistent high quality of thought-provoking conversations.

There are a number of great books now released & coming out addressing faith & tech, that I would encourage you to pick up.

1. The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion – An excellent book on examining how technology impacts our faith & how we as Christians should view it.
Product Description: Even the least technical among us are being pressed from all sides by advances in digital technology. We rely upon computers, cell phones, and the Internet for communication, commerce, and entertainment. Yet even though we live in this ‘instant message’ culture, many of us feel disconnected, and we question if all this technology is really good for our souls. In a manner that’s accessible, thoughtful, and biblical, author Tim Challies addresses questions such as: * How has life—and faith—changed now that everyone is available all the time through mobile phones? * How does our constant connection to these digital devices affect our families and our church communities? * What does it mean that almost two billion humans are connected by the Internet … with hundreds of millions more coming online each year? Providing the reader with a framework they can apply to any technology, Tim Challies explains how and why our society has become reliant on digital technology, what it means for our lives, and how it impacts the Christian faith.

Garden to City2. From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology
– A view of technology from within the Biblical story of redemption.
Product Description: Where does technology belong in the biblical story of redemption? Believers and unbelievers alike are saturated with technology, yet most give it little if any thought. Consumers buy and upgrade as fast as they can, largely unaware of technology’s subtle yet powerful influence. In a world where technology changes almost daily, many are left to wonder: Should Christians embrace all that is happening? Are there some technologies that we need to avoid? Does the Bible give us any guidance on how to use digital tools and social media?

An experienced Web developer and writer on technology and culture, John Dyer answers these questions and more by walking through the story of the Bible and introducing key ideas about how technology and culture interact. Dyer first analyzes the biblical, theological, and philosophical foundations of technology and then studies several examples that show how technology can influence the spiritual life. For youth pastors, college-aged readers, and anyone interested in understanding how technology fits with faith, From the Garden to the City fills a gap for biblically-informed literature in a technological world.

Earthen Vessels3. Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to Our Faith – For the last few years, I’ve been arguing that we need to develop a theology of presence as we become more digital in our encounters and as future generations feel more connected to location & people through technology. Matt hits this topic and others in a timely book
Product Description: Our bodies matter. Christians today sometimes forget this, dangerously ignoring the importance of their physical selves when it comes to technology, sexuality, worship, and even death. Anderson’s book will help readers learn what the Bible says about our bodies and grow to appreciate the importance of embodiment in our spiritual lives. It will also explore generational differences when it comes to how we perceive and use our bodies. Just as Christ’s body was crucial to our salvation, our own bodies are an important part of the complete Christian life.

Ministry CIO & IT Roundtable

Join Jim Finwick Vice President of Information Technology – Compassion Intl. & me as we present the session Ministry CIO & IT Roundtable at CLA Ministry Internet & Tech Summit in Dallas April 26-28

You won’t want to miss this groundbreaking CIO & IT Roundtable community building session. During this session you will hear from innovative Internet and Technology experts, and ministry Chief Information Officer’s and other ministry leaders will discuss today’s most critical online and tech ministry topics. This session provides ministry IT leaders a place to network with peers, learn about new technologies, find out about new solutions, and get advice from others. After completing this session you will be able to: 1) Discern the most pressing Internet and technology issues facing your ministry, 2) Draw upon the expertise of a network of outstanding ministry CIO’s and 3) Develop strategies that put your ministry ahead of the exponential technological change curve.

Hawaiian Islands Ministries Honolulu 2011 Conference

Hawaiian Islands Ministry Honolulu March 24-26, 2011 | Hawaii Convention Center –

Join me, I will be presenting 3 sessions:

A Look into the Near and Distant Future of Online Ministry
In this session leaders will learn how to develop web strategy to address a ministries’ needs. Learn what is on the horizon that will impact your ministry. This session is designed for strategic leaders regardless of their technological level of understanding. In this session participants will 1) learn how to plan for an effective ministry online strategy, 2) explore key emerging technologies that will impact their ministry and 3) hear how cutting edge organizations are implementing revolutionary practices today.

Websites/Social Media and Your Church
In this session you will get behind the scene access to the real world results of several church web strategies. We’ll look at the church website, social media involvement, mobile, content creation and more to see what is really happening. How effective are they? What are the best practices or common mistakes a church makes? This valuable session will equip you with practical insight, best practices & strategies that your church can implement whether you are an online expert or a beginner.

Forming Missional Communities
In this session you will learn how to build “Missional Communities.” We will discuss how churches have planted or transitioned to include living as a community of people who are united around a common, local mission. Also, how these communities are local expressions of Jesus and his church in the world, living out the gospel in all ways. Learn from one of the founders of the GCM Collective (Gospel Community Mission) about how these movements are changing cities and reaching the lost.

Best Practices for Online Ministry

What are the best tools for ministries to create impact online?

What impact does a ministry web site have on online giving?

How do leading ministries manage their web effort?

What emerging technologies are ministry leaders preparing for?

Through conversations with ministry leaders, it is apparent that there are fundamental differences between how parachurch organizations and local churches do ministry online. As part of Monk Development’s continued commitment to help these organizations to achieve excellence online, we have partnered with the Christian Leadership Alliance to address these differences and identify the significant issues that are impacting ministries.

In preparation for the 2010 Ministry Internet & Technology conference in April, we are leading a survey and analytics study that will identify best practices, trends, and case studies that will bring clarity, guidance, and new opportunities for ministries online.

We invite all ministry leaders and staff to participate in the Excellence in Online Ministry Survey. The survey explores best practices for strategy development, managing web efforts, and maximizing the impact of ministries online.

You are also invited to participate in the Ministry Web Site Effectiveness Study. This study will examine 50-100 ministries’ web site analytics to find performance benchmarks and best practices for effective design and usage of ministry web sites.

Would you like your ministry to participate? We ask that participating ministries to send the Excellence in Online Ministry survey to all staff members who contribute to your web efforts. We also ask that you have Google Analytics set-up on your site for at least 3-months, preferably a year. Participating ministries will receive a free, exclusive report of the findings from this research.

Our hope is that this research will help bring ministries together to learn from each other and increase the effectiveness of our online efforts.

Also see: State of Ministry Online


State of Ministry Online

The State of Ministry Online has launched a website. State of Ministry Online is a collection of studies, surveys and research to benefit how ministries do ministry online. These studies involve surveys, interviews, web analytics and other research methods. Learn best practices for ministries online. (Note: This site will be more geared toward ‘ministries’ rather than ‘church web strategies‘. ) Also of note:

  • Gathering of CIO’s & Strategic Web Ministry Leaders – State of Ministry Online is partnering with CIO of Salvation Army and previous CIO of World Vision to engage in a strategic conversation about the future of web and how it will impact ministries. (Limited spots)
  • Releasing Best Practices & Case Studies – Join us at the CLA Ministry Internet & Technology Summit where we will release valuable information help your ministry online. Gather with ministry leaders from around the world.
  • Join us on Facebook – Become a Facebook fan and track news releases, online ministry articles and more.

The Shape of the Future – Online Ministry

Outcomes a quarterly magazine from the Christian Leadership Alliance just released their Fall 2009 issue highlighting Internet Ministry. I wrote an article entitled, The Shape of the Future – A four-part ministry Web strategy. The issue includes several articles you should consider reading by respected thinkers such as:

Most of the above authors will be at the The Ministry Internet & Technology Summit so come and join us in San Diego April 2010!

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