boyradd

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Archive for the tag “Twitter”

End of Year Summary

Mark 16:15 – He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Every year I am amazed by the statistic of this blog. Thousands of people each year visit here and it makes its way into so many different countries. This year alone my blog has been to 72 different countries, over 36% of the world! Since I started writing this about 5 years ago, it has been read in over 107 countries, 55% of the world!

I am absolutely amazed that anyone would want to read this site.

Galatians 6:9 – And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

When I started 5 years ago, I really thought that only a handful of people would want to read this, and for a while I was right. I had just started getting involved in social media and had a few people following across all social media sites.

Since then, I’ve learned from my beautiful wife, Mimi, how to manage my social media presence. I keep my Facebook more private at only 323 followers. Twitter has just shy of 2,000. With LinkedIn I am pushing 4,100.

Bottom line, I live in the public eye. And I like it. Just ask Mimi, she would say that I feed off of it.

I don’t bring this all up to show how great my numbers are. Am I proud of them? Of course. But I realize that they can go away just as quickly as they came.

I bring this up because it teaches me two very important things:

  • People are hungry to find the Word of God.

Next to those who subscribe to the site, the top way that people come to this blog is through online searches. Even after almost 5 years, my number one searched post is “Spiritual Farting.” Almost every day someone searches for that on Google or Yahoo and finds this site.

But regardless of how people are finding this site, it has become an important part in many peoples’ weekly reading.

Colossians 2:2-3 – My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

  • This has shows amazing opportunity for the church!

There are thousands of pastors who blog. Many of them post very rarely while others post frequently. I try to post weekly. The more a pastor posts, the more followers they will most likely have. With only 45 posts this year I have reached thousands of people.

Granted, not all pastors are good at writing. And many pastors simply don’t have the time to write one.  But I believe that if a church enlists one of their members or staff to write a blog for the church, it will help to build up that church.

As the church turns more and more away from bricks and mortar and into a clicks and engagement strategy, online posting will be very important.

Most churches use Facebook. Some utilize Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. In the grand scheme of things, very few blog or post snippets of their sermons on any sites where people could read them.

I believe that if we started to incorporate more of a teaching mentality to our social media as the church, then we would start to see people get more involved in understanding the Christian faith.

Many churches use social media to put memes of platitudes, announcements of weddings or funerals, and the occasional prayer request.

But there is very little teaching going on.

If we could take this opportunity to teach rather than tickle the ears of people, we might see a lot more growth and discipleship going on.

So, tell me, what are YOU going to post about?

If you would like to guest post on this site, leave a comment with your email address and I will reach out to you and see if our beliefs would be compatible for doing a guest post.

I look forward to hearing from you all!

Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Getting Back on Facebook

2 John 1:12 – Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

A few days ago I got back on Facebook.

To most people, that would be a non-event.

Not so for me.

I got off Facebook a few years ago. It was one of the accessories to the downfall of my marriage.

That isn’t to say I was Mr. Perfect on Facebook during this time. I wasn’t. Once my relationship started to go south, I spent some time trying to fix it, but once I realized that it was too far gone, I became very disrespectful. I was disrespectful of my now ex-wife and I became disrespectful of women in general.

I removed myself from Facebook to seek the Lord’s face and get back into the relationship with my First Love, Christ.

As time went by, I dated a couple women, finished seminary, started a company, and started ministries. Throughout all of it, everyone was telling me I should connect with them on Facebook or that I should promote it on Facebook or that I should simply “be” on Facebook.

I’m no stranger to social media. My Twitter account has 1,500 followers (@boyradd). My Instagram has become the way I take pictures and video now (@boyradd). And my blog is sent out to over 2,400 people weekly (Boyradd.wordpress.com). But Facebook always bugged me.

If you run a Google search of “Facebook destroying marriage relationships,” you get 6,240,000 hits. Every publication from Women’s Day to The Examiner, every online news source from ABC to FOX, and even people on Facebook have posted articles about how social media, and particularly Facebook, destroys marriages.

Matthew 26:41 – Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

I was a statistic of that.

As a Christian and graduate of seminary in church planting, we make our lives on statistics. How many people are coming to church? How many people are getting baptized, converted, marrying within the church, outside the church, how are tithes, and is the mortgage getting paid down adequately.   Those are all the kinds of numbers pastors and church leaders can expect to read. Just look at the Acts 2 church! Imagine the church office manager having a line of 5,000 new members to add to the scroll!

But I hate being a statistic. And I hate that social media was a player in that.

Now, before I continue, I want to say that what both my ex-wife and myself did on and with social media was completely of our own doing. Satan simply placed the apple in front of us and we bit. For myself, that apple was in the form of disrespecting both her and God through the words I shared.

With the ministries that God has provided me recently, I needed to be on Facebook for mere communication purposes. So Monday night, after much prayer and through eyes filled with tears, I reinstated my account.

When I did that, I saw that everything from the past years all the way back to 2009, when I got on Facebook, was STILL THERE! Oh boy, what could I have posted back in 2009, 2010, and 2011? I am sure it was not all good.

And I was right.

Mimi helped me to go through my timeline back to 2009 and clean it up. There was one post in there where someone I know very well responded to one of my posts with something like, “You are a child of God, Fred, so you should act like it.”

She was right (thank you Ms. V! You are a beautiful, strong woman of God!)

Unfortunately, at that time, I just did not see that or understand that.

I was a Christian. But I was about as blind as one could be.

Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

I posted Bible verses, Christian music lyrics, and some of my own theological views. But I also posted coarse language, disrespectful words, and outright anger on my feed.

So Monday and Tuesday nights, I stayed up until 3AM reading every post and praying to God after most of them to forgive me for the words I had said. After asking forgiveness, I deleted what I found as a negative influence to the world and how it sees Christ.

But beyond that, I needed to apologize to one particular person.

My ex-wife.

No, I don’t have any hopes or desires to get back together with her. But I did need to apologize to her for some of the words I had posted on my Facebook at that time about what we were going through. Not the easiest thing I ever did, but necessary.

Now I am sure that I missed cleaning up some stuff. I really tried to catch everything I could, but with as much as I posted back then, I most likely missed a post or two.

Moving forward, my prayer is that everything that comes out of my mouth, my heart, my brain, and my from my hands will be edifying to the people of God and will be seen as light to lead those who don’t know Him to find Him.

And I am going to ask for your help. If you follow me on Facebook, please if you see something on there that does not glorify God, I pray that you will bring it to me privately so we can discuss it.

Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

My intention is that everything on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and my blog will bring glory and honor to my Lord and Savior.

On a final note, there will be a couple open pages set up for the ministries that God has laid on my heart. The first will be called CCF United and is geared toward young adults, 18-30. I’ve been leading our young adult ministry at church for a couple months now and we are just starting to break into the social media aspects as most everyone at their age has some form of social media.

The second page will be called Mission: Evangelism and is also going to be an open page. This page will be dedicated to the newly created CCF mission board. We will be looking to put together a catalog of amazing trips, fundraising ideas, and events. Our first event coming up will be a public showing of the God’s Not Dead movie on August 8th at 7 PM at Chesapeake Christian Fellowship. We will be asking a $5 donation to those who attend. We should be able to seat about 650 which means we should hopefully be able to, after paying for the license to show the movie and snacks, raise about $2,500 for missions around the world.

So Facebook to me is now a tool to move ministry forward. Similar to how I’ve been using this blog and my Twitter account. Just like LinkedIn is a tool to move my company forward. Facebook will be a ministry tool.

Nothing beats face to face interaction. And this tool will hopefully reach thousands so that face to face interaction and discussion about Christ can happen.

And my prayer is that God will use it to speak His awesomeness in your life.

Ephesians 5:8-12 – For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.

 

Go Into all the Digital Universe: Part 3 – Twitter & Instagram

Acts 17:22-30 – Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.  “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.  ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’  “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill.  In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

The next big site is Twitter.  This is where I spend a majority of my digital life.  There are over 50 million tweets per day going out on Twitter.  I’m not saying to create a Twurch (Twitter church), but there are some very major benefits to Twitter.  First, it gives you an opportunity to reach people who may never be reached with the gospel.  I currently have over 1,270 followers on Twitter.  They come from all across the globe.  Almost everyone who follows my blog found it from Twitter, either following a post of mine or someone reposting my blog on their Twitter site.  Twitter also allows you to see what people are saying about your church.  For example, a few days ago, someone posted a tweet about the church I attend under the heading “Military-Friendly Churches” with a link to the church website.  So now, people in the military will know that they are more than welcome at Chesapeake Christian Fellowship.  Another benefit to Twitter, and this goes for Facebook as well, is that it is a great way to find lost members.  All good shepherds go after the lost sheep, right?  This is a great tool to do so.  Twitter also offers great opportunities to raise funds for ministries or projects.  Money is not a gauge of a successful ministry, but money is necessary for ministry to happen.  It is always nice when we find ways that are user friendly for making that part of our ministry easier.

Twitter does have some pitfalls, however.  Twitter has all of the same dangers as Facebook, but there is one that is specific to Twitter.  In Twitter, you can only type 140 characters per tweet.  With only 140 characters available, it is very easy to over-contextualize the Word of God.  The best thing to do if you are worried that your tweet will not fit is blog what you want to say and use Twitter to link others to your blog.  One other problem with Twitter is that anyone can follow you.  I have almost 1,300 followers, but there are some that I wish were not on my list.  There are two things you can do.  First, don’t follow them back.  I check everyone out before I return a follow.  If their website looks to go against that which I believe, I will not follow them back.  If there are outright racy pictures, crude language, or other major violations to my own personal morality, I block that person, which is the other option you have available.

1 Corinthians 15:33 – Do not be deceived:  “Bad company ruins good morals.”

Another important site for pastors or ministries to be on is Instagram.  Instagram is an online photo and video sharing site.  There are plenty of ways that a church can use Instagram.  Churches should be posting pictures and videos of services, baptisms, concerts, small groups, mission trips, and community events.  You can also take Instagram posts and connect them with Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.  One post fills all sites, so to speak.

A few things to remember with Instagram is that the quality of the photos or videos far outweighs the quantity.  The better the quality of the end result, the more interest you will have on the web.  Next, make sure your photo or video captures the true story of what is happening.  A picture can tell more stories than most people can say with their words.  Making sure the pictures capture the moment correctly is very important with social media.  Third, use hashtags.  You can create themes or tags that other people around the world can find just by searching for the hashtag.  Finally, there are plenty of apps that will help you post the most amazing Instagram photos or videos.  Create collages by using Frametastic or PicFrame.  Add flare to your pictures with Hipstamatic or iPhoto.

But beware of your posts.  Just like Twitter and Facebook, Instagram has its own set of challenges that need to be overcome.  As most of the ministries out there that are using Instagram regularly are youth ministries, I want to take the time to caution all youth ministers, or any minister really.  Do NOT, under any circumstance, take a picture of you hugging one of your female youth group members.  Please keep in mind that 1 Timothy 3:2 says that we must be “above reproach.”  These pictures are being seen by almost all of your teen youth.  Posting a picture of you and your female student leaves a lot of room for speculation and rumor.  If one of your teen students becomes angry with you, they can create a story about you easily with subsequent documentation to back up their story.  I understand that it is the very rare student pastors who are creeps out to cop a feel.  But churches wouldn’t let their male pastors counsel a woman alone.  Churches wouldn’t let their male pastors ride alone in a car with a woman.  Why on earth would churches allow selfies while hugging a member of the opposite sex?

Ephesians 5:3 – But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

Next week I will look into blogging and why I believe it is one of the most important things a pastor can do.

Into All the Digital Universe – Part 1: The Need

Ephesians 4:29 – Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

It is not easy to look in the Bible and find discussions about social media.  The world during their time took days and weeks to go from place to place.  Today, a single click of a button and I’m in Africa or Japan or Australia.  And if this week is any indication, social media can significantly affect how we operate our lives.

This week my phone died.  In the “old days” (a mere 5 years ago) a phone was just a phone.  I could only talk on it.  Texting was a pain.  I had to press each key up to three times to get the letter of my choice.  Then I got my first smartphone.  And the world opened up to me!  Without my phone this past weekend and much of the week, I felt like I lost a friend, or 1,264 of them!!

I started a Facebook account several years ago and found myself having to check my phone and computer regularly.  Because of personal reasons, I removed myself from the Facebook world.  But since then many other options have come about and I believe that we as Christians need to be on social media.  And I don’t just mean once in a while.  I mean regularly, perhaps even daily. 

But we need to be careful when we engage in social media.  There are some big wins that can happen from using social media but there can be some significant problems that, if not understood, we could potentially lose our ministries, our families, and worse.  Ephesians 4:29 above, needs to be on our minds as we engage in social media.

Acts 17:17 – So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.

The Pew Research Center put out data to show the importance of social media in the lives of people today.  72% of all people they surveyed used social media to some degree.  The largest ethnicity to use social media is Hispanic.  The age groups that most used social media were 18-29 (89%) followed by 30-49 (78%). 

The church is constantly looking for ways to reach young adults.  This is it.  And many populations, at least near where I live, are very high Hispanic populations, one of the fastest growing populations in America.  Social media could be a significant win for these aging churches looking to bring in the next generation!  If churches can mobilize the young, Hispanic population, then can you imagine the potential for the growth of the church in America?

Every church needs to be on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Facebook is a complete social site that can be very beneficial among the members and regular attenders of church.  It can help keep your church connected easily to events and messages you want put out there.  Facebook can be dangerous, and we will talk about that later.  To this day, I believe it was a big reason my marriage ended.

Twitter opens your church up to the rest of the world that Facebook does not.  Anyone can follow you at any time.  My personal Twitter account I had to laugh about.  When I started it, I expected to have maybe 10 or 20 people finding and following me.  But combining my blog with Twitter, I not only have grown to almost 1,300 followers, I regularly interact with people on Twitter (and I even met my girlfriend, Mimi, on Twitter!).  Twitter can be just as dangerous as Facebook on relationships, but it also holds a secondary danger, over-contextualizing Scripture.  Twitter only allows you to type in 140 characters at a time.  With that small of space, you need to choose what you will and will not say.  But there is no doubt that it can be a great tool to reach every nation in the world.  Just recently, my blog was retweeted by someone in Brazil, sharing with that person’s over 200 followers.

Instagram is a great tool, similar to Twitter, that can be seen by anyone at any time (unless you are set to private viewing only) that lets others see your pictures and videos.  This is a great opportunity to show off that great worship team or your community outreach events.

Matthew 5:16 – …let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven

Finally, every pastor should blog.  A blog allows you to expand on ideas.  I know people who blog daily.  Yea, that is not me.  I post weekly, usually on the weekends.  This is a great outlet to place a shortened version of your sermon.  It is also a great way to connect with your congregation.  But what is amazing is that your congregation now becomes the world!  Just today my blog was read by people in the USA, Australia, and Austria.  Since I started blogging, people in over 58 countries around the world (30% of all of the countries in the world!) have read my blog, it has been quoted in seminary papers of at least 4 seminary students (they probably failed after citing me!), and has been placed on links websites of Christian organizations.  The message that God is giving me to speak is getting out there.  Imagine if pastors did this regularly! 

1 Corinthians 10:31 – So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

That said, there are many definite reasons to get involved in social media.  There are also major problems that need to be addressed when dealing with social media.  In next week’s blog I will discuss the benefits and the problems that can come through social media.

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