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6 Ways to Keep Social Media Simple

6 Ways to Keep Social Media Simple

6 Ways to Keep Social Media Simple

The way to keep social media simple is to be selective. (You can honestly stop reading here unless you’d like some specific ideas and examples on how do to this, friends.)

By the end of 2012 I was overwhelmed by social media. (Don’t get me wrong: I love social media.) I believe social media exists for three core reasons:

  1. to connect with people
  2. to share with others
  3. to learn from others

These are three of my favorite things to do, so social media is a natural fit for me! But I’d begun noticing that I felt I had to check social media messages in case I missed getting back to someone who had a question or wanted help. The feeling of obligation took some of the wind out of my social media sails, and I decided to take a month to assess what I could change to remain active without feeling overwhelmed.

Note: I didn’t stop engaging in social media during this month, but I did remove all social media apps from my smart phone. Any interaction I had on social media the past month has been on a laptop in between projects and meetings or at home in the evenings or on the weekend. This created an environment where I was able to notice how many time a day I’d go to my phone in between tasks to check in on the latest. This observation period revealed to me that in many cases I’d open an app out of boredom then suddenly lose time doing something I don’t want to invest too much time doing.

I asked myself these questions throughout the month:

  1. Why do I want to go to this social media site?
  2. Is this site more conducive to broadcasting or engaging in a network of people?
  3. What’s the benefit of this social media site to me?
  4. Now that I’ve identified I’m looking to pass the time using a social media app, how will I use this time instead?

After a month of targeted observation, here are the solutions I came up with:

1. Goodbye, Instagram. I won’t be putting this app back on my phone but will click on a friend’s link to see their Instagram photo if I’m so inclined. I love this app but believe I was getting caught in the net of checking it for updates without really building any type of community.

2. I use Buffer App to schedule the sharing of things I think are important during those times I’m unable to change focus from reading to getting on social media and responding to waiting @’s or DMs. (Most often I schedule buffered tweets and Facebook updates while going through my Read & Review folder. Details here.)

3. We put out a phone bowl at home. This has helped us make eye contact more at home. The true beauty of this new habit is that once I’ve put the phone down, I rarely return to it until I go to charge it at bedtime.

4. I used the free manageflitter service to unfollow some people on Twitter whom I had no idea why I was following. I don’t auto follow back so I was truly surprised by some of the people on the list! A cleaner twitter stream means I’m less likely to miss out on what my friends have to say when I log in to join the conversation.

5. I enjoy being involved in chats, and answering and asking questions online.  I respond to nearly everything…just not necessarily the very second you contact me. My goal is to check in on Twitter and Facebook at least twice a day to keep the conversation going. Even after this experiment, Hootsuite remains my favorite way to connect with friends online.

6. I’ve never liked talking on the phone much. My experiment revealed to me that this strong preference of mine means I’ve naturally created a habit of using DM’s, Facebook messages, email, and Twitter @’s to ask questions or get information. Seeing the app-free screen on my iPhone when I needed help this past month meant I learned to lean more into making a call…and more often than not this made for a quicker result and a more enjoyable interaction overall.

I’ve never allowed email or social media notifications on my phone, and now having these social media apps off my iPhone means I’m fully present locally but able to connect without distraction online when I do log in each day.

Tell me…How do you keep social media simple?

What I Belive is Next for Online Churches (3 of 3)

Today I want church online leaders and volunteers to discuss what could be the most important question for us at this point in time. I’m in prayer and discussion with other church online leaders to seek good solutions regarding this opportunity at hand.

There are pockets of people who are in close proximity to each other choosing to gather and attend church online in homes, share meals, and have informal small group discussions around messages. This is how our family operated when we lived in Europe, and it was one of the best community and church experiences I had.

Years ago Craig Groeschel told me I’m a minister.  I believed him, and my perspective on life has never been the same.  Your church online attendees are waiting to hear they are ministers.  They must know they have permission to use the creative ideas God gives them to change the world.  They need to know that it’s encouraged to invite people over to attend church online with them and discuss the message afterwards.  They need to hear that churches can be planted in their local city using the experiences you’re providing every week.  Church online attendees need to see examples of people scheduling local coffee meetups in our chat rooms regularly.  We must be casting the vision every week in our online experiences and on our Facebook pages to use church online as a means of local outreach. Your attendees will grow (and give) exponentially more if they’re involved.

After reading today’s question, feel free to reply here, on my Facebook page, or via Twitter.

3) We need church online attendees to take up the cause of reaching out locally using the online ministry resources we’re providing. How can we share the vision of church planting potential with our online attendees?

I believe our response and approach to this opportunity is a key element of the future success of online church, and I’m dreaming of the day church online attendees plant thousands upon thousands of churches worldwide.



What I Belive is Next for Online Churches (2 of 3)

Since last year’s release of my ebook “The Art of Online Ministry“, I’ve connected with countless church leaders and volunteers.  You’re all very passionate about connecting with people who are unwilling or unable to attend a local church, and it’s fun hashing out plans to try to make our approaches even more effective for God’s glory. Every good leader has blind spots, though, and I think it would be wise for us to lift our heads from our work at this time and look around to gain perspective.

After reading today’s question, feel free to reply here, on my Facebook page, or via Twitter.

Today we’ll discuss Question 2:

2) Are there trends as to what is NOT working in our online churches?

I’d wager that if you see an issue in your online church there are many other church leaders sensing the same.  It’s time to face these sticky situations head-on so we can all get unstuck.

I’ll get the ball rolling: I’ve heard from a few of you that getting volunteers to commit and small groups to form are two issues.  Is this true for you?


PS – Did you miss yesterday’s discussion on Question 1: How do we gather passionate church online leaders in a global network to learn from each other?

Don’t miss tomorrow’s post!  I’m asking a significant question about the single most important opportunity I believe we all need to maximize.

What I Believe is Next for Online Churches (1 of 3)

It’s been just over a year since I released my ebook “The Art of Online Ministry“.  Thousands of you in many different countries have read it and contacted me with questions or success stories about your online church launches.  This is exciting!  Now it’s time for those of you who are ministering online to move into new phases of development and expansion.

Our family began dreaming about and focusing on expanding church online globally about 5 years ago, and our overseas online church planting adventure launched shortly thereafter.  It’s been thrilling being a thought leader in online ministry, and I remember back when there were only one or two online churches. Today there are hundreds worldwide!

I’d be failing our community of online ministers if I didn’t challenge us all to accelerate our efforts in some key areas.  Let’s discuss them!  After reading today’s question, feel free to reply here, on my Facebook page, or via Twitter.

At this point in time, there are 3 key areas of discussion I believe those of us who are ministering online must process.  Today we’ll discuss Question 1:

1) How do we gather passionate church online leaders in a global network to learn from each other? (Trust me, fellow Americans – some online churches I know overseas are more creative than we’ve had to be due to limitations.  There’s much we can learn from each other!)

There’s currently an active online ministers Facebook group.  If you’d like to join, add me as a friend on Facebook and send me a note asking to join the group.  Give me a little bit of  information about yourself, and I’ll introduce you to the group.

Can you share with us your ideas or what you’re already doing to engage with other online ministers or online church teams?


PS – If you haven’t already, be sure to add your online church’s information to this Google doc list! (Note there are separate pages for international and US online churches.)


One Tweak – Amazing Growth!

My friends in Poland at recently added a Facebook “like” button to their archived messages. When a person likes an archived video, it appears on their Facebook wall. The result? About 500 more attendees to their regular online services!

What tweak can you try that might lead to more opportunities to serve?


Free Download: A Social Media Christmas

Would you like to be social media savvy by Christmas? Download your free guide to using social media during the month of December to engage your network in spiritual conversations. Remember – we’re not out to condemn and rack up conversions. We are relational beings and connecting to our social network is the key to one day having the opportunity to share our hope in Christ with them. So start taking steps towards knowing your online friends better this month!

Use this guide to:

* Create church Facebook page content for Christmas

* Share your faith via social media

* Guide Church Online chat room conversations

* Train your team how to use Twitter and Facebook to be evangelisic

What are you waiting for?  Open up your gift from!

I LOVE helping you be the church, online.



How Are You Perceived Online?

Do your online comments reflect the real you?

Not long ago I reviewed the past 30 tweets and Facebook comments I’d made.  It was like taking a long, hard look in the mirror.  I’d used a lot of exclamation points.  It was funny to discover, but it really got me thinking.

If you’ve met me in person, you know I’m generally  an upbeat person though I wouldn’t say most sentences I speak are exclamations.  There’s an uncertainty about posting any type of comment online and wondering if it’ll be perceived correctly.  We throw our ideas out into the great big open internet and wonder if we’ll be misunderstood.  In an effort to avoid it, I think a lot of us (including me) overcompensate.

Have you ever stopped to think while typing a tweet, Facebook update, or prayer that it’s difficult to know how your comments will be perceived?

  • I wonder what’s thought of us if we use way too many exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Are we rude if we rarely communicate emotion?
  • At what point does using smileys regularly become annoying to our online friends?  ;)

What do you do to be understood when face-to-face interaction isn’t possible…without going overboard on emoticons or using dramatic punctuation?


Spiritual Art – Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

This is a beautiful visual example of what online volunteers like you and me encounter every day on church online, Facebook, Twitter, and in our email inboxes.

What questions or comments not included in this video have you heard from those you’ve ministered to online?


What Happens When Your Dream’s Bigger Than You?

Here’s a true statement that most of us believe:


Here’s a true statement that most of us believe but don’t live out:


This map is a visual example to me of the statement above.


In March of this year I was praying to connect to a few church leaders around the world who are as passionate about global evangelism as I am.  On April 1 I published “The Art of Online Ministry” as a means of helping people who began asking me questions about launching online churches.  Now we’re partnering with one or more teams in each country that has a blue pinpoint on the map above.  Today we have over 200 partners with whom we’re sharing content, resources, and/or equipment.

The funny thing is, my dream keeps growing and changing as I live it out.  No matter where you live, I am eager to help you.  Check out our community page to have questions answered by other online ministers, apply to receive equipment, or download my ebook or some of our partner resources at

Imagine what God will do in your life when you begin living out the dreams He gives you that are greater than your current strength and influence can accomplish! 


PS – Those blue dots on the map above are due to God’s work and the help of some of my great friends.  I’m also part of Dream Year with Ben Arment – check it out!


Resource for Church Online Newbies

New to the concept of Church Online?

Considering launching your own online church?

Confused by handling a quiet chat room, managing volunteers, or all the technology solutions out there dedicated to online ministry?

“LIKE” the Online Ministry Facebook page! We’re creating a community here that will share information, opinions, and experiences with each other so we all grow.  The best way for this to happen is for you to like the page, ask or answer a question, and watch what God does for us all!


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