Sometimes I want to go back in time and simply ask Alexander Graham Bell, “What were you thinking?” I’m sure he could not imagine digital technology. Certainly, he could not have foreseen an entire generation constantly connected to a cell phone. I’m sure he didn’t anticipate the communication tether that would wrap us in email, phones, Twitter, e-books, Facebook, Skype and satellite TV. Whatever Bell’s intentions, faster and more immediate communication can work against personal, spiritual renewal. While I’m certainly not an expert in turning off, tuning out and taking time away, let me suggest a couple of goals that I’m pursuing this fall.
Turn it all off once in a while.
Be sure to turn off all of your devices and electronics and take some time away with your family from time to time. You may need to schedule this time – even if it’s only in your own mind. Find a place or two where you simply won’t take your phone (like the dinner table, or on a walk with your spouse). Maybe you’ll need to designate a day or two per week when you don’t turn on the TV or the car radio. Some of us may even need to participate in a media fast (if that’s frightening, you might want to simply try shutting off Facebook for a day at a time).
Choose your “renewal media”.
Decide to spend some time engaged with media that will help you reach your goals. For instance, this fall would be a great time to develop a book list that you will plan to read in the next several months. You can make a similar plan with podcasts, blogs or audio books. Even if it is only a book a month or a podcast every couple of weeks, you will be amazed at how much material you will access over the course of a year. (The first person to text “renew” with their name and address to 712.251.5072 will get a copy of Road Trip Leadership by George Wood)
Listen in God’s presence.
Often, when I am inundated with media, my prayer time begins to feel rushed and fast-paced, too. Be sure to make time to simply be in God’s presence. It seems that when my heart is quiet, I am most able to hear God’s voice.
In order for our ministry to be most effective, we need times of renewal where we escape the din of constant media, and we need to choose to access the messages that will refresh our spirits and our minds. Healthy, renewed pastors are better able to lead healthy, renewed churches.
You might have noticed things look a little different around the website. (You can read this great post from Pastor Tom to gain some insight into our reasoning for the change.) Since things look a little different, we thought it might be a good idea to give you a quick tour of all the new website has to offer.
Home Page is the first thing you see when you make your way to the website. We have a scrolling banner highlighting upcoming events and important information. Along the side, we have links to our latest videos, the RedCulture portion of the site and a link to Sunstream’s brand new website. Plus, we have a calendar highlighting upcoming events and the latest from our Twitter feed. Along the bottom, you’ll see some links we think you might find helpful. Across the top, you’ll see About Us, Departments, Resources, ISOM, Calendar and Media. These six tabs will help you to navigate the website.
About Us gives a basic overview of our staff, our history, what we believe and our contact information. These pages are intended to help those interested in our network find information quickly and to help those in our network learn more about our staff, history and beliefs.
Departments gives information about the different ministries and supports available to our churches and leaders. This is where you can find information about Children’s Ministries, Girls Ministries, Royal Rangers, Red Culture, Chi Alpha, Women’s Ministries, Men’s Ministries, Discipleship Ministries, US Missions, World Missions, Music and Sunstream. We have resources available for those just starting out in these ministries all the way up to those looking for advanced training with more to come.
Resources gives pastors quick information about credentials and renewals and finance. The downloads tab will be a place to find any downloadable resources we offer on the website.
ISOM gives you opportunity to learn more about the Iowa School of Ministry, download information and (eventually) register online.
Calendar stores all of our information about upcoming events.
Media provides information about or blogs, photos, podcasts and videos. This is a great way to stay connected and interact with what’s happening around IMN.
We are so excited about everything our new website has to offer. If you’re having trouble finding something on the website, please call Ashley at (515)276.5493.
We’d like to thank Disciple Portal for their design and support as we make this transition. For more information about Disciple Portal, click here.
If you’ve ever wondered if Twitter is right for you, this is a great tutorial to help you get started.
If you have any questions about using Twitter and other social networking sites in your ministry, contact Ashley Knepper, IMN Communications Specialist, at (515)276.5493, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by filling out the form below. We will also offer a lab on technology and ministry at e2, which you will not want to miss! You can register for e2 by clicking here.