Thursday, May 18, 2006

My Personal Addiction

I have an addiction. I didn't realize it until I went without it. I'm serious. It affected my sleep, how I interacted with those around me, even how productive I was in the office. What is my addiction? It's my "personal digital assistant (PDA)."

It's a tool and a curse wrapped into one. It's a tool because I keep all my contacts, notes, task list, pictures, recording ability, email all in the palm of my hand. Add to it that it's my cell phone too. Handy But, it's a curse too. A curse, because I became so dependent on it that when I had problems with it this past week - I became an irritable mess. I was crippled without it. I didn't know who I was meeting with, when, where. I didn't know what my priorities were. I didn't get important messages that were sitting on my phone/email.

Had this material possession become my idol? What I giving it more worth than the One that I should have relied on? I could debate all day on whether this object that started as a tool had become a crutch for me to function. In the end, I was dependent on it to continue productivity at the same level.

What frustrated me the most was how much of my own ego was wrapped into my productivity. I was concerned about what people thought of me when I didn't return emails or phone calls, dropped balls, or didn't have the information at hand that I was used to. My reputation was on the line. Who cares about my reputation? Was my entire reputation wrapped up in a small gizmo that seemingly controlled my productivity?

Now that it's fixed - life has been more "normal" (or at least what I perceived as normal). But I did enjoy spending more time at home without being 'connected.' Maybe I should take a 'fast' from my PDA more often…

God, help me to rely soley on You and not the 'things' of this world. When I get to the end of my life, it won't matter how productive I was…but my relationship with You and those around me will matter most. Help me be more vertical in focus instead of horizontal.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Dad Unable to Pray

Mealtime can come to be a ritual...but having our 17 month old Joshua has changed things up a bit at mealtime. My son usually grabs both of our hands to pray. We'll ask, "Do you want to pray?" Because he doesn't talk much (at all), he simply smiles and gives one hand to Lisa and the other to me. Then one of us prays. We end with, "amen" and Joshua somehow knows it's done and retracts his hand. It's cute.

Recently I wasn't there for the meal something odd happened. Lisa told me about it later. Joshua grabbed Lisa's hand and then turned to grab mine. When Joshua discovered no one sitting in my chair, he turned to Lisa with a puzzled look and said, "Da da?"

It disturbed me. When I was single - I cared mostly for myself. When I got married - another adult was in the picture. Now with Joshua on the scene - it's a different ball game. Time is spread thin and I see the selfishness come out of me. While I was gone for a "good" reason - it caused me to realize something more deeply.

God is using me as an example for everyone around me - especially my kids. Joshua will want to know how often his daddy reads the Bible, prays, talks to others about God, worships Him, goes off alone to listen to Him - or if God is simply an afterthought. He will know if I talk more about the latest gadget than I talk about God.

Bottom line, we are examples to others whether we like it or not. People watch us and evaluate if what we believe is real. My son will look to me as his biggest example of how he should act when it comes to his relationship with God. Even though I'm merely a manager of my kids (God owns them), I am more aware now than before of my presence and the example I set.

God help me to be a positive influence in my son's life. And help me to manage my time wisely so that I'm not abscent in those most important times in his life. It will be difficult to let go of myself and put my kids' needs before mine. Help me to be the best example they will ever meet.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Lunch on the Church (Podcast)

Ever want to sit down over lunch and get into the minds of Andy Brightbill and Bryan Nelson? Scary, huh?! Well, here's your chance. Each week Andy and I sit down and record audio from our lunch at McDonald's. We select a topic and then go. The audio is then uploaded to the internet and you can listen to it by either 'streaming' it or 'downloading' it on any computer. It's called "Podcasting"...but you don't need Apple's iPod to listen to it.

Click on this link to go to "Lunch on the Church" or on the picture of the iPod below to take you to "Lunch on the Church." It's updated each week (on Thursday's mostly). And for those of you who are really concerned - no, the church does NOT pay for our lunch. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Changing Stations in Outreach

Attracting the right kind of people. The big question is how do you get an unchurched person to attend an outreach event? While we think there are gimmiks and tricks to get people there (and there are), it's still true that most people come to an outreach event because they were invited by someone. It isn't the fancy flyer, the radio ad, the mailer, or billboard. Those are simply reinforcements for the churched person to use as references when inviting their friends. But that begs a good question...

When it comes to radio...on which station(s) do you promote an outreach event - Christian or secular? Christian radio? Secular radio? We need a base audience of churched people to know about the event - so Christian radio would do that. But churched people will need a tool to invite their unchurched friends - so secular radio would do that.

The answer is BOTH Christian and secular radio. You cannot have success without promotion on both Christian and secular fronts. Allow me to explain...

We actually need LESS believers to attend our outreach event (The Crosswalk Show). What do I mean? I'm actually talking about a specific KIND of believer. We need less believers who come to the show by themselves. This will, in turn, free up seats for both unbelievers and the believers who actually will invite and bring unbelieving friends. You see, we can pack the house with beleivers...but they aren't our target. Unbelievers are our target.

From the surveys at the shows, less than 3 percent of our audience said they did not have a church home. That's 30 people out of 1,000. Not a good showing for the resources dumped into the show. We'd rather have 500 people show up and 100 of them are our target audience. This would mean we are being more effective with the 500 crowd than the 1,000 crowd. Promoted soley on Christian radio wasn't helping our cause - it was helping pack the house with believers...and only believers. We also were promoting through mailers to an in-house mailing list that was generated from those who previously attended events.

Now that we have our Christian base...we make a shift in how we promote this outreach event. Our next show will be promoted on both Christian and secular radio. Our Christian radio ads will be 1/2 of the volume we ran before. Also, our mailing will be to 10,000 homes in a radius around the church to those 50 years and younger (the show's target audience). We will not promote this year to our in-house event list (generated from previous event).

Will these efforts help? We hope so. There's a lot at stake. We have THE greatest message for the world. It's one of love and hope that people need. We are hoping that we will attract the right crowd so they can hear about the relationship God wants to have with them. Reaching our target audience for The Crosswalk Show has been difficult...but the only alternative is to change our tactics or quit our effort to reach unbelievers.

Here were the results of a recent survey of local public high school students. We recently survied local public high school students as to their top two most listened to radio stations. (By the way, it's interesting that our local contemporary Christian radio station wound up on only 2 surveys...yet THIS is the generation we are attempting to reach.) Only four cards DID NOT have WLAN listed. WLAN is where we put our chips.

High school students were asked to list the top two radio stations they listen to most frequently.

96.9 - 16 votes
105.1 - 13 votes
105.7 - 3 votes
99.3 - 2 votes
90.3 (Christian) - 2 votes
101.3 - 1 vote
92.1 - 1 vote
98.5 - 1 vote
94.9 - 1 vote
96.5 - 1 vote
96.1 - 1 vote

God, use us to reach a world that is lost and hurting for truth. You bring the opportunities. You give the resources. You've given the command to reach as many people as possible and make disciples. Help us, now, to do what You've called us to do no matter the personal cost in change or risk we take on. If You have asked us, we will follow Your lead. May our feable efforts be used to expand Your kingdom. While You don't need, You've asked to work through us we are Yours.