The Wilderness of Church 2.0

Thursday, January 29, 2009
Nick Charalambous is the web campus pastor for NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC. Well, I guess if you’re a web campus pastor you’re not technically located in a specific location, but he lives in SC.

As I’ve started to develop what the web campus for
The Ridge will look like, I have been learning from some amazing people who believe that the Internet can be used as a powerful tool to take Jesus to people who need Him. Leaders like Nick C & Tony Morgan from NewSpring and Tony Steward from Lifechurch have provided some great insight. Church online is relatively new and is changing frequently with the culture. I’m thankful that I have leaders like these guys holding the torch as we venture down an unpaved path called Church 2.0.

Nick recently posted a blog entry about preparing the way in the wilderness with church online. Since the web church concept differs greatly from the traditional physical church model, we really have no specific guide about the most effective way to reach as many people as possible online. Here is a conversation between Nick(ipiphanist) and I about grassroots advertising strategy for church online.

Chris Hill says:
January 22, 2009 at 7:22 am
Since web church is the wilderness that we’re walking through, there is no known good-better-best way to get people to show up. What has been NewSpring’s strategy for inviting people to the web campus in a couple weeks?

ipiphanist says:
January 22, 2009 at 10:43 am
Good question, Chris. So far, we’ve just been relying on the organic buzz that we can generate through NewSpring’s social network presence through staff like me, Tony Morgan, and the volunteers we are depending on at launch. That’s mostly intentional since we want to iron out any issues in the way we manage the services before drive people to the web campus with full force.
I haven’t discussed this without communications director exhaustively, but I would assume that we will communicate with our physical attenders to point friends and family to the web campus if they don’t live near physical campuses. We’ll explore some keyword advertising, too, very possibly. Do you have any ideas?

Chris Hill says:
January 23, 2009 at 10:52 am
Social media networks are definitely the best means. If we want to reach people through the web, we’ll have to find them there. Personally, I’m more likely to visit a website if provided a link through email, facebook, twitter, etc..more so than if I’m given a web address through traditional means of advertising.
I guess social media is the new “word of mouth” advertising.
Maybe we can discuss this topic more at Unleash.
I’m excited for this ministry and the unknown possibilities that web church has to offer.

The Ridge Needs Your Help

Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The Ridge Community Church exists to awaken people to life in Christ and serve our community by helping others as much as we can. Now we need your help. We need someone to open their heart and open their doors so we can have a place to meet on Sunday mornings.

Starting tonight after dinner we are fasting and focusing our attention to prayer for this movement of God.

Right now, will you pray that we will find the right path to follow in starting this church? Will you pray that our doors of opportunity burst open and defy all odds? Will you pray that God does something so amazing through The Ridge that no one will be able to deny His work?

Thank you.

Church Diversity

Friday, January 23, 2009
How diverse is your church? When you walk in on a Sunday morning and look around, does everyone look similar to you? Do you feel comfortable inviting someone of a different background or race than you to your church? Would your church make them feel comfortable?

These questions need to be asked. The message of Jesus is for the entire world. You don’t have to travel out of the country in order to spread the word of God to multiple races. Chances are, you can do that in your own community. If diversity is important to your church body, you may have to strategically and intentionally reach out to another race of people in your community. The method of delivering the message has got to adapt to our changing country.

Let’s embrace other cultures and not let our own ignorance hinder the message of Jesus. God’s love is all-inclusive when it comes to people types.

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (English Standard Version)
19For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews………. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

How can our church be a servant to all and not just some?

What do you really love?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009
You can tell a lot about a person by what they talk (or blog) about. That’s cause people talk/type about what they love. The conversations I’ve had this week reflect this. Ben told me that if the Arizona Cardinals go up early on the Steelers, they’d probably win the Super Bowl. He also told me about how much money he’s spent on his dog’s medical bills and about funneling three beers at once in college. Ben loves football, his dogs, and beer. I know this because he talks about all three subjects a lot.

Christy told me how much she missed her daughter who’s in Utah for school. She also told me about her new cat and how white cats with blue eyes are usually hearing impaired. I think I’ve actually heard about her new cat everyday of this week. It’s pretty clear that she loves her family and also considers her pets a part of it.

Ron made a point to show me his membership confirmation email to a private golf course from his new Blackberry and his computer. He also told me he broke his five iron and he thinks a defective shaft is to blame because the wall is thinner on one side of the hosel. Ron loves golf.

I can go through the list of people I talk to or people whose blog I read on a daily basis and name a handful of things they love. Some people have no idea how revealing that is. Based on what you talk/type about, what are you revealing about yourself?

If you had to make a top ten list of the things you love, would it match up with the things you discuss and share with others?

when is your acceptance speech?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Today's inauguration of President Barack Obama is a historic event in the life of our young country. Hopefully it will turn out to be a giant step forward for humanity. However, let's not forget to let God control our hearts and direct our paths because there is a greater good. That is the hope of heaven and eternity with our Creator. No flag, country, or man can offer that kind of hope.

A King & A Kingdom by Derek Webb

Who's your brother, who's your sister?
You just walked passed him
i think you missed her.
As we're all migrating to the place where our father lives
'cause we married in to a family of immigrants.

My first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
My first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
It's to a King & a Kingdom

There are two great lies that i’ve heard:
“The day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die”
and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class Republican
and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him

My first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
My first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
It's to a King & a Kingdom

But nothing unifies like a common enemy
and we’ve got one, sure as hell
but he may be living in your house
he may be raising up your kids
he may be sleeping with your wife
oh no, he may not look like you think

The reason for beta testing or learning from mistakes

Monday, January 19, 2009
For the past month at The Ridge Community Church, we’ve been testing out the technology required to broadcast our worship experience live online. Because we are attempting the unconventional task of simultaneously launching a physical and web campus on March 1st, our resources are limited. Our philosophy is always to jump when God says “jump”, even if we are uncertain of the outcome or feel humanly ill-prepared. We also believe that a lack of money or volunteers is an invalid excuse to pass up on delivering the message of Jesus to someone who needs it. Therefore, we are doing our best with very little equipment or funding.

We’ve been using
Mogulus for our live broadcast and chat and their free program has worked great for us so far. I run the video feed from our drummer’s Panasonic DVX and the audio from a condenser mic from the middle of the room above the congregation. Because of a lack of microphones, we are getting kind of a live sound, which isn’t half bad…..when it’s working properly….Here’s where I get embarrassed:

Last night, a few people that showed up were commenting on how fuzzy the audio sounded. They were saying that it was almost inaudible. This was really frustrating for me at the time because everything was connected exactly like it was the week before and I got really great comments on the sound quality. I couldn’t figure it out until someone asked me if I was typing a novel because all they heard was “clickety, clickety, click”

Right then I realized that I had the audio assignment in Mogulus crossed so that instead of having the mic in the house cued up online, I was feeding my on-board mic on the Macbook Pro to all viewers. So for the first ten minutes, all viewers heard was me typing, sniffing, clearing my throat, eating a pack of crackers, telling our camera guy to stop shaking, and saying things like “what is wrong with this stupid machine!”.

This will never happen again……Painful….. Then again, it was a learning experience.


Sunday, January 18, 2009
Tonight, Jan 18th at 6pm eastern, join The Ridge Community Church live online at  Watch our live worship band and hear an motivating message from Pastor Bobby Williams. You can even chat with other viewers during the experience. I hope to see you there!

Reminder: We are still in the world

Thursday, January 15, 2009
As Christians, do we surround ourselves with so much “Christian” stuff that we choke out our influence on the world? Are we so obsessed with “Christian” labeled media, culture, environments and networks that we lose our cultural relevance? It is true that the Bible tells us we are not of this world, but sometimes I think we forget the next part of the passage that reminds us that we are in it.

How can we influence the world when we physically remove ourselves from it? One example of this may be your church’s sports program. Many of our cities offer great recreational sports leagues for our children. Why would it be a good idea for a church to start their own and pluck Christian families out of the city’s rec league?

Another example is the “Christian” cafĂ©. Maybe your church spent a ton of money actually hosting one of these onsite. What’s the purpose? Most will say, “…to offer a safe comfortable place for Christians to get together and fellowship with one another.” What’s wrong with your local Starbucks? Can fellowship not be accomplished in public? And face it….you’re not going to offer better coffee or atmosphere.

These kinds of things may have been implemented with the best of intentions…but let’s get real…all it does is separate the believers from non-believers and removes us from our greater purpose.

Jesus’ message to us was: “Go and preach the gospel”. Is our message to the world: “Go and find the gospel”?

Upside Down Oak Ridge

Tuesday, January 13, 2009
The Ridge Community Church is gearing up for launch in March. As Pastor Bobby and our core team has been planning this launch, prayer has been at the forefront of every decision we've made. Pastor B has started a prayer journal for our team so we make sure we're on the same page in our prayer lives when it comes to The Ridge and our city. We are urging God to use us to flip our city on it's head. There are way too many people sleepwalking through their lives around here and it's time for them to wake up to abundant life in Christ.

Visit the prayer journal link below if you want to know how you can specifically pray with us.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

LIVE @ THE RIDGE JAN 11TH 6PM EST from Chris Hill on Vimeo.

"proper" development

Thursday, January 8, 2009
Have you ever seen those time lines for "normal" human development? You know, those charts that show you what your child should be learning and doing at certain stages of their lives? Those seem kind of crazy to me. Now, I understand that there are very general signs of healthy development you should recognize while watching your child grow. However, some of these time lines are so specific and cannot possibly be accurate or consistent with every child's growth rate.

Here is an excerpt from a very popular website for parents:

Your 22 month old
How your toddler is growing: By now your child will begin to set goals for himself. He'll have particular ideas about what he wants to get done — like riding his tricycle down the path or fitting all the pieces of a puzzle together. He'll also care about the results — you'll see he's pleased when he's successful and frustrated when he's not. It's all part of his burgeoning independence.

Does this seem ridiculous to anyone else? A paranoid parent may start to freak out because their child hasn't shown an interest in puzzles. I've never had the patience to complete a puzzle in my entire life and I've never been frustrated by that fact. Maybe my child won't like riding tricycles down paths. Is it really that outwardly obvious when your child sets a goal for his or herself? And does every single child have a need for independence that develops specifically at 22 months?

The longest development time line I've seen like this goes till the child reaches about 9 years of age. Sadly though, I believe that many of us use an unwritten comparison chart for our own lives from birth to death. Do you compare your own personal growth and developement with your peers?

More importantly, do you compare your spiritual growth with your peers? I see this happen a lot, especially in the church planting communities. Some leaders get so frustrated and dejected and think that God isn't showing favor on their ministry because they aren't growing like that super popular church they want to be like. I wish I could say the follwing to these leaders:

"Wake up and realize that God didn't call you to plant a church and fail. God is the perfect Father and Husband. He's not really into letting down His children or bride. The ministy into which God appointed you is unique to your individual talents and community. God provided His son with the specific message. He will provide you with the specific method. Apart from God's word, there is no book, blueprint, blogger, or conference that will tell you exactly how to plant a successful church. God has a specific plan for your ministry and it will move at His pace. Do not be discouraged when your plan doesn't work. Keep your head up and know that His plan will."

Just as there is no one specific way for a human to develop, there is no one way for a minitry to develop. Don't you believe that God is more creative than that?

the expectation of change

Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Last week, Tony Steward blogged about the reason behind our need for change. He asked the tough question; Is it because of conviction or guilt? Read it for yourself here.

That got me thinking about what it takes for me to make a change in my own life. I often have a hard time motivating myself to do anything outside my daily routine. Things like working out or eating right require some outside expectations from my family or peers before I'll actually go through with it. If no one expects me to reach a goal, I have a hard time getting there. If people around me (especially ones that I love) see my potential and expect me to meet it, then I'm more likely to do just that.

The same goes for my spiritual life. Galatians chapter 5 serves as God's expectations for me as His child. He expects me to be fruitful in spirit. This expectation convicts me to strive for continual change. Plus, the fact that God knows my potential makes me want to reach it even when I can't see it for myself.

I encourage, no, I expect you to read Galatians Chapter 5 today. It's a quick read and serves as motivation for a fruitful 2009.

The Flip Mino HD

Friday, January 2, 2009
Christmas has passed, Melis and I have had our new baby home for almost a week, and now I have some time to play with my new toy; The Flip Mino HD.

Here is my first HD test footage. It doesn't look bad considering I shot it through my dirty windshield. You can only watch it in HD on Vimeo's site. It will appear in standard def here on my blog.

Flip HD Test from Chris Hill on Vimeo.