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Increase Community Engagement Beyond Events

You prepare.  You plan.  And you do a ministry event.  Repeat.

Somewhere in there, we measure the effectiveness of our ministry events, whether they are recurring events like Sunday morning worship, or a one-off event, like a small group leader training.

What happens at the event is awesome, but we really want to know what happens after the event.

  • What changes?
  • What needs more attention and more care?
  • What is lasting?
  • What didn’t stick?

So when I discover a tool that helps me do ministry after the event, I get excited.

When they tell me that it’s free, I get more excited.

When I realize that it comes with an amazing experience, I pick my jaw up off the ground, create an account, and jump in with both feet.

In case you haven’t already met, I’d like to introduce you to your new friend, Journey Maker.


I’m working really hard on a life-shifting sermon called The Empty Grave for the Wednesday after Easter. I’ll be preaching to a group of 60-70 high school and middle school students. The basic idea is that the empty grave speaks hope into every slice of life.

We are going to launch our first Journey to our students that night. What we’ve done is created 7 devotionals that touch on 7 slices of life.

Students sign up by texting in a code to a certain number or submitting an email address. Then, they receive the devotionals on their phones or in their email inboxes every day, once a day, for the next 7 days. But journeys can be any number of days (from 7-365).

It’s easy to set up. It’s free. It can include scripture, commentary, images, video, and/or audio.

And once they sign up, it will send it every day. You don’t have to remember to send anything. Just set it up ahead of time and once they subscribe, it’s automatic. Even if they sign up later, it will just start them at the beginning, and go until the journey completes. In your reports, you can see active and completed subscriber counts.

Journey Maker is just one way to create ministry experiences beyond centralized events. My suspicion is that it will increase community engagement for our congregation and will foster connection and fellowship by engaging our community beyond central gathering points.

So jump in, visit JourneyMaker.org, set up an account, create a journey, and engage your community beyond your gathering points.

(I’m also thinking about creating journeys for Your First Week As A Christian and Summer Camp Hangover.)

Share it. Pin it. Tweet it. Etc.

If this post was helpful >> Share it. Pin it. Tweet it. Etc.

And please, leave a comment if you jump in so we can share our journeys and help each other out.

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Fav Tweet Tuesday

Over the past few months I have encountered this reoccurring theme that just won’t go away.  It is the idea that when we talk about things, that we are really doing something.  We actually experience a physical sense of relief (as if we had truly made progress) when we share an idea with someone else.

Talking about the work is not the same as doing the work.

My friend Sean does a lot of incredible stuff.  He blogs. He makes videos. He does local missions work. He is funny. He is creative. He is inspiring. He tweets.

And last October he found out that he had lung cancer.

Throughout his treatment, he has been inspiring to follow.  As horrible as chemo-therapy is, his resilience and joy in Jesus is like fresh air.

Check out his tweet this week:

The truth is that there are moments in my life when I really hate cancer.  Those moments are when someone I care about has cancer.  Then, there are other moments when I don’t really think about cancer.

I think Sean is right.  We have got to care about people.  Not just when they have a life threatening disease.  But really care about people.

If our care for humanity increases, we will live less for ourselves, and more for the sake of others.

Somebody with a lot more wisdom than me once said that no one has greater love than when they lay down their life for the sake of another.

How Flickr Replaced Dropbox On My iPhone

Your best camera is the one you have with you. In the moment, it doesn’t matter how many megapixels or what kind of zoom is on your DSLR. All that matters is that you capture it because it’s almost gone.

Most of us capture all of our moments on our phones. Over the last couple of years, more than a few apps have emerged for backing those up and making sure you will never lose those the next time you accidentally run your pants through the wash without checking your pockets.


My utility of choice has been Dropbox. I have the iCloud Photo Stream set up, but it doesn’t back up the photos at the full resolution. Even though I have more than 10gb of space in my Dropbox account, I keep bumping up against my limit as more and more pictures upload.

But all that has changed.

Flickr solved a problem that I barely knew I had.

As of the writing of this post, Flickr is offering 1 Terabyte of free storage for everyone to upload their photos.

That’s almost half a million photos taken with the 8mp camera on the iPhone 5s.

It’s free and it’s simple.

Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Download the app.
  2. Create an account or login with that old yahoo.com account that’s been collecting dust.
  3. Tap the lower right icon.
  4. Tap on Auto Upload.
  5. Toggle it on.

If you’re like me and had Dropbox auto upload, you’ll want to go turn that off.

  1. Open your Dropbox app.
  2. Tap on Settings on the lower right.
  3. Tap on Camera Upload.
  4. Toggle it off.

Now our Dropbox space won’t drop off due to camera uploads.

And we can stop worrying about losing precious memories or running out of space.

This is one of those cases of something trying to do everything (Dropbox) and someone else building a specific solution that is much more helpful (Flickr).

Have you found any similar task specific apps or services that change the way you do things?

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Fav Tweet Tuesday

I wasn’t able to attend Catalyst West last week, but the Catalyst conferences have generated some of the greatest amounts of encouragement, clarity, sharpening, and fun that I have had in ministry.  I was following the backstage interviews and tweets throughout the conference.  When Brad posted about Christine speaking in the closing session, I had flashbacks to her prophetic presentation last year.  She is a little fire cracker for Jesus.  Check out this tweet:

I have watched this happen with friends, acquaintances, and even in myself.  The temptation is to ignore the dangers of the spotlight.  We like to celebrate the gifts that land people in the spotlight as fruit.  Gifts are not fruit.  When the spotlight is celebrated more than the intimacy we find in the darkroom, we are in dangerous territory.

Admittedly, the spotlight is a dangerous place.

May we always remember that no matter our calling, the dark room is necessary, the spotlight is not.

Get Brad’s book The Catalyst Leader or Christine’s book Undaunted by clicking on these:

The Catalyst Leader

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Giving Up On Free WordPress Themes

I have created WordPress websites since 2007. For most of those years, I would google all kinds of phrases that would look like “free wordpress themes + simple or sleek or minimalist or beautiful or amazing” or whatever.

After years of using free themes, I’m done.

Now I pay for themes. And I love it.

My favorite theme site (and I’ll probably convince you too) is Elegant Themes.


The reason I’ve made the switch to paying for themes is simple: my time is worth more than what they are charging for themes. Yours is too.

It’s like when you’re with someone that is looking for the best parking spot. They drive around and around and around and you could have been in and out of the store already.

Getting close isn’t important.

Getting going is.

The same idea is true with paid themes.

The amount of time you trade for a free theme, when you take into account the very limited support, isn’t worth it. Themes are dirt cheap if you get them in the right spot: like Elegant Themes.

When you sign up for Elegant, you get support for a year and the themes are $0.79 per theme. Plus, they guarantee 100% satisfaction or you get your money back.  Who doesn’t like a guarantee?  Their themes are amazing, and if you are making WordPress sites, you’d be crazy not to use them.

Check out their price compared to 6 other popular theme sites:

Evernote Camera Roll 20140318 212033

So not only are they cheap, but the support forums have an amazing team that step in to help people. 99% of the time, I can find someone that has already asked the question I have, and I can just use one of their answers.  The search is powerful, and the people are helpful.

What I love about Elegant Themes is that you pay a little bit for premium themes and you get way more than you pay for.  Go on over and check em out.  As of writing this post you get 87 themes for $69.  Yes.  That’s less than $1/theme.  It’s incredible.

What about you? Do you have any theme sites that you love?

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Fav Tweet Tuesday

Apparently Jonathan Merritt (who has a new book that I just got today) spoke at Olivet Nazarene University this week.  He retweeted a tweet from Ryan, a youth pastor at a Presbyterian church in Myrtle Beach, SC.  I have no idea how that all adds up, but I favorited the tweet because the content was gold.

What I love about this thought and this quote is the reality that our faith goes beyond decision making.  We are given faith.  It is spiritual.  I don’t know how it all works, but I know that it does.

Sometimes, God just gives people faith.  Even in the middle of unbelief, God might give faith.

God does stuff like that.

While we can choose to put our faith in certain things, the certainty is that God gives it.

Faith is not just thinking and choosing.

Faith is also given and received.

And that matters.

Don’t try to talk someone into faith.  They might as well just be talked out of it.

Thanks to Jonathan and Ryan for this week’s Fav Tweet Tuesday.

Click here to get Jonathan’s new book Jesus is Better Than You Imagined.

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About Me

footerpic I am the student ministries pastor at OroNaz, the author of Live New, and the operational director of The Axiom. I live in California with my beautiful wife and two children, Bella and Jace. Learn more about me. >>

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