March 31, 2015

Metro Chr Convention “Going Beyond the Walls”

Posted in culture, NYC, tech tagged at 5:36 PM by alexlozada

Going-Beyond-the-WallsEarlier this month, I enjoyed participating in the annual Metro Christian Convention of NYC area Restoration Movement churches. My family actively supported the Metro when we served at East Northport Christian Church, and I’ve continued to make the drive from Maryland for as many of them as possible.

This year’s theme was “Going Beyond the Walls”, and my workshop combined the concepts of using social media for outreach and neighborhood (small) groups for discipleship. Here are the notes from my session.

January 5, 2014

Communication and learning styles

Posted in culture, servant-leader, tech at 9:53 AM by alexlozada

This IBM report is a long, sometimes dense report, but potentially useful for church small group and ministry team leaders. Page 16’s table on Generations (Traditionalists, Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials) and preferred communications styles can help small group leaders know how to make better (more likely to be read and responded) contact between meeting times. Our church staff is often frustrated by the lack of read-and-respond to our emails, and recognizing that Traditionalists and Millennials are less likely to use email might help us use multiple means to contact them.  Communication, especially when not in-person, has long been a struggle in the church, as the Apostle Paul can attest 🙂

October 27, 2012

Network – new and old

Posted in tech at 11:52 PM by alexlozada

As I transition to a new role @ MCC, I keep in mind the similarities between Adult Small groups (old) and Network (new) pastor. Both involve connecting people, though my former role emphasized the direct person-to-person connection between small group leader and small group member, plus small group coaches (and staff team) and small group leaders. One of my key responsibilities as Network pastor is helping our staff and members make effective use of technology to shepherd our numerically growing congregation, including software tools from the Elexio company. Something that remains the same in both roles is the importance of relationships, including communicating among MCC’s I.T. savvy people and those whose gifts are in other areas of ministry 🙂

Along the way, I also refresh old relationships (like my long-ago CCU dorm neighbor Mark Kitts) and make new ones – like Elexio tech guru Darren H, who made the drive down from E Penn (amidst massive MCC’s Trunk or Treat crowd!) to help us improve the performance of our church database and family ministry check-in products. After Darren’s help, I’m more eager than ever for the roll-out of more tools to that put the ‘Net to work for God’s kingdom 😉

April 2, 2011

Going Beyond in NYC – Metro Chr Convention 2011

Posted in better disciples, NACC, NYC, tech at 11:57 PM by alexlozada

I presented 2 workshops last Saturday at an annual Saturday gathering of Restoration Movement Christians in the NYC region. My family & I have been participating in the Metro for years, way back to its early days when we would make the long drive from Ohio to participate. My two topics this year grew from the Convention theme of “Going Beyond in NYC” – itself an adaption from last year‘s  North American Chr Convention. You can download notes from the “Going Beyond in Discipleship” session (answer key at bottom of sheet). The “Going Beyond in Technology” was deliberately more free form, because I guessed that the participants would come w/ different levels of tech interest for themselves and their congregations. The discussion focused on:

  • using YouVersion (my specific user account including my notes) for an online Bible resource, including reading plans;
  • Twitter to communicate by texting, especially for congregations whose members used text more than email or web;
  • blogs for posting lessons and news 🙂

As readers of this blog can guess, we barely scratched the surface of using tech for ministry: databases, Facebook, security, etc. – but if anyone has thoughts, feel free comment on this post 🙂

October 18, 2010

Cannonball resources

Posted in better disciples, Cannonball, tech at 12:49 PM by alexlozada

First day personal reflection time from the Cannonball booklet asks what I do in “jump in or watch from the edge” situations? Why? Which response comes more easily to you?

I’m a “watch from the edge, analyze others, then jump” person. Thinking back on some life change situations (switching from Columbia U to Cincinnati Chr U; moving from OH to NY for ministry; leaving E Northport Chr Ch to move to MD + MCC) – in each case, someone else went first (did something similar), I observed, then acted.

I’ll try to add a youversion.com contribution for each day’s Cannonball Bible reading. You don’t need to sign up for this on-line Bible resource to read my commentary snippets, but if you do, let me know because I’m interested in using the social networking aspect youversion.

If you’re an MCC small group leader, you might have already noticed that Title Menu labels the video clip you use for small group session week 1 as “Welcome Video.” Its both Ben’s overall introduction to the Cannonball initiative and the jumping off point for the “Toes Over the Edge” discussion. Remember leaders, let the Spirit guide your discussion time, do NOT feel like you have to answer each question – you know your group and what they need to talk about.

October 14, 2010

Catalyst 2010 takeaways: Seth Godin, Francis Chan, Andy Stanley

Posted in culture, servant-leader, tech at 11:46 PM by alexlozada

Schedule too hectic during the Catalyst leadership event last week for me to blog live, but I know if I don’t post at least a rough draft of my reactions from Catalyst (pun intended), I might never post anything 🙂

First time I heard Seth Godin live, and is sometimes the case, I get more from his written words than his spoken words. Fortunately, Catalyst provided a booklet version of his presentation, with highlights from his recent bestseller Linchpin. The personal takeaway for me was envisioning myself as an “artist” in his definition, but not w/ paint or music, instead as an innovator-champion in my workplace in using tech for Christian discipleship.

Also my first time hearing Francis Chan live, and is sometimes the case, his speaking passion reinforced the power of his written words. Strongest takeaway was his repeated use of the phrase “That’s so weird” as a tool to measure myself, and my ministry, by the Bible – what my intellectual reflex calls “weird” might truly be closer to God’s call.

Having heard Andy Stanley before, as has always been the case, he gave some great themes which I’ll continue to use. His memorable phrase was “bowl of stew” from the story of Esau selling his birthright to his scheming younger brother Jacob for a bowl of stew. Most encouraging takeaway was “reframe your appetites in the context what God has
called you to do . . . .  2 yrs from now . . .  10 yrs from now . . . . the clearer, more defined your future, the less grip
appetites have on you.”

September 25, 2010

Another online Bible resource

Posted in small groups, tech at 11:08 PM by alexlozada

I’m using YouVersion.com for MCC’s “Are We There Yet” messages series resources for small groups, and as tool with the sermon I’m preaching Sunday 26 Sep at Creswell Christian Church, a nearby sister congregation. My MCC teammate (and sometime fellow blogger) John Sarno had recommended it back in the spring when our men’s Wed AM small group was talking about Bibles for various phones. I was still clinging to my trusty Palm TX and its (free!) Bible+ and BibleReader (from Olive Tree Software some translations free, others paid). Besides being free (!), I could use those w/o an internet connection – handy in many situations.

My go-to online Bible resources were BibleGateway.com (my usual link for Bible references on my blog or FB) and BlueLetterBible.org (for background info like Greek / Hebrew, Bible dictionaries, public domain older commentaries, etc.) At a recent MCC brainstorming meeting on more effectively using tech in the life of our church, my teammate (and brother-in-law) Patrick Gerber recommended YouVersion again, having seen another church use its online-community / Web 2.0 features. I’m going to give it an extended try, and am curious if there will be enough interest from other MCC people to merit forming our own YouVersion group. As always, post in this blog comments or send me a FB message if you’re interested in an MCC group OR if you already have a YouVersion group for another church / specialty group.

June 11, 2010

church management software = hi-tech shepherding

Posted in tech at 11:23 PM by alexlozada

Lots of on-line meetings last several weeks to evaluate church management software-services packages are part of the reason I’ve been behind on posting message-based study guides. After browsing other products, and web+speakerphone presentations by reps from 5 companies, MCC is looking at two strong packages from People Driven Software (now part of Elexio) and Church Community Builder. Each product has its strengths and weaknesses (I’d rather you email me if you want my off-line, thorough analysis) but both of them would be great tech tools for staying connected with Mountain’s ever-growing congregation.

Even the most adamant tech geek like me must come back to the fact that the most crucial key to the effectiveness of any church software package (or any hi-tech tool) is the end user. Specifically for my ministry:

  • how to equip and inspire small group leaders (and coaches and apprentices or whoever else in each small group will do the data entry) to use the software often enough and thoroughly enough so that the data is usable (garbage-in, garbage-out = if the info is months outdated, not very useful for helping people now or planning for the future)
  • small group leaders and coaches who use the info they learn from the software to shepherd the people in their groups, and invite people who aren’t yet grouped.

No matter the technology (or lack of it) – shepherding is always about how much we who are junior (under / mini) shepherds are following in the footsteps of the Great Shepherd – knowing the people in our flock – whether through software or never-old-fashioned listening 🙂 AND helping them grow.

February 4, 2010

Students (+ Adults) and Tech

Posted in culture, tech at 11:25 AM by alexlozada

MCC teammate Matt Silver passed along an email he titled “Students and Tech” which included this introduction to the PBS series Life on the Virtual Frontier (I confess I’ve not yet watched the video!). Matt makes good use of tech for communication, including YouTube video updates for Student Ministry volunteers. He’s also one of the other MCC staff to use Twitter (@silvertims). Occasionally you’ll see me “ReTweet” (cite his short 140 character quick updates) in my own Twitter feed – the left-hand column of this blog =>

Here’s a Christianity Today “Out of Ur” point-counterpoint on “In Defense of Virtual Church” and Virtual Church is STILL a bad idea.

July 22, 2009

Rest stop needed

Posted in better disciples, tech at 10:13 AM by alexlozada

MCC teammates Rob & Kelly Kastens recently spoke on living in the rhythms of God’s rest for our “We” message series (listen online or download the mp3 here). Kelly’s article “A Place of Quiet Rest” is part of the July 26, 2009 Christian Standard on “Soul Care.”

Have you found any true rest this summer?

Anne Jackson wrote an accompanying Christian Standard article “Mad Church Disease”, as well as this somewhat-related, thought provoking post on the potential idolatry of on-line “ministry” tech.  Ironically, I found Anne Jackson’s post via Catalyst Leader’s Twitter feed @CatalystLeader 🙂 and to double the irony supplement for the day, the Twitter account has been hacked 😦

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