12 June, 2011 14:49

•June 12, 2011 • Leave a Comment



You can’t fight the network- Jump Point

•August 19, 2009 • Leave a Comment

In follow-up to my last post about the book “Jump Point” by Tom Hayes, he predicts the explosion of nodes within networks with a reproducible velocity that will create a point in time in the next few years(2011) that will be a very recognizable leap or “Jump Point” to a whole new way of global existence.

One of the driving issues that he challenges us with is that we “can’t fight the network”. Here is my favorite quote in that section…”a customer is the shortest line between two other customers”. The network is based on a myriad of technological connections all over the globe, but ultimately it is a seemless relationship from person to person. You and the people you work with and the people that attend your church and the people you are trying to reach will be connected.

I remember the early days of small home type groups in the church. One of the big concerns was control. In a Sunday School environment you could carefully manage content and physical presence of all who participated, but small groups introduced a whole new element of “outside the walls” decentralization that was more difficult to monitor. After all, what if they taught heresy? What if they got upset with the church and were leading people to other churches? And that does happen, but we have all discovered that the benefits of a decentralized home small group system far outweighs the handful of problems that surface.

So now we are talking about a decentralized structure that connects people in your city, your state, the US and around the globe. How are we going to “control the network”? The answer is we can’t.

We will not control the network. The technology that leads us to the Jump Point will be freewheeling and abundantly flowing with masses of people and masses of information.

The network will be viral. The network will be people driven. The network will be populated by communities. It will be self organizing and will leverage affinities to create a universe of “small worlds”. The networked world is constantly getting bigger and smaller at the same time. While scale makes the network more valuable, the value of the individual grows in the affinity based communities that will form.

It’s not about control, it’s about leveraging.

With the same simplicity of an over the fence conversation in our backyards, we will be able to have a video chat with a friend in Afghanistan or China or Africa…from our phone.

That will change everything. Better be thinking about what you will say.

We better not fight it. How will you leverage the network?

The Jump point

•August 18, 2009 • 1 Comment

I’m reading “Jump Point” by Tom Hayes as he predicts the explosion of nodes within networks with a reproducible velocity that will create a point in time in the next few years(2011) that will be a very recognizable leap or “Jump Point” to a whole new way of global existence. A “Jump Point” is the moment when an emerging culture becomes the dominant culture.

I am fascinated at how he moves from a technical infrastructure to an incredible explosion of a social or people structure based on massive networks of affinity. In other words, when technology found purpose it became the platform for viral, relational connectivity. All of this is evidenced in a radical decentralization of technology and relationships though scores of Facebook, Twitter and My space type formats. But as he points out, we are in for a new normal.

My favorite quote in the whole book is “the edge dissolves the center”.

I will elaborate in future blog posts, but here are ten truths about the “Jump Point”…
1. You can’t fight the network
2. Social communities are the new marketplace
3. Use the “Free” word
4. Reward attention
5. Break the time barrier
6. Make everything “mashable”
7. Think abundantly
8. Compete on trust
9 . Become contagious
10. Pandenomics-the network favors blockbusters.

There are truck loads of potential applications to unwrap in ministry at the “jump point”. And while solid biblical theology never changes, we will see shifts in methodology so subtle that our existing institutional formats will dissolve almost without notice.

Stay tuned. Let’s unwrap this stuff.

Cultural Bankruptcy

•May 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I rarely post things because I’ve figured them out, but I do post out of experience.

It seems to me there is a thread of perspective in every organization that shapes the personality, culture and ultimately the success of their impact. The office talk can take several paths, but I think you can often chart the course by listening to what they talk about.

Over 20 years ago I was privileged to be part of a large $240 million dollar manufacturer that was experiencing rapid growth and serious market penetration in every brand they tackled. The culture was electric with market share talk and strategic thinking about “what’s next” in our pursuit to take new mountains in our industry. We were all about sacrifice for the greater goal of owning the markets we engaged in.

In that pursuit, we bought a competitor that had filed bankruptcy and I was part of the team sent in to analyze the current operations, clean some things up and then ultimately consolidate their brand with ours.

So we arrived at the offices of this once powerful, but now bankrupt company and you could sense the culture from the parking lot. The office dialogue was… -we don’t get what we want…we can’t compete in todays markets..customers are unreasonable…we need more…we are under resourced…we are deprived, short changed and we cannot be effective in these conditions..times are tough…etc, etc, etc…They had a warehouse full of product, hundreds of orders for things that didn’t match their inventory and they were unable to purchase parts for new production because of bankruptcy. Nothing had shipped in weeks. It was the most depressing place I had ever been.

Within 48 hours our team that had been shaped in a take the mountain, no excuse environment had reorganized the existing staff, deployed phone banks to contact customers and we were starting to ship product out of the warehouse at a record pace. In 2 weeks we shipped more product than that company had shipped in the previous 12 months. The interesting thing that hit me in this 2 week flurry of activity was that nobody had time to take stock of their problems because every moment was captivated by getting product to customers. Frankly we were having a blast and the employees of this floundering entity were enjoying a new day and almost giddy at the change in perspective. Customers were delighted, employees were engaged and we left that plant with a tremendous sense of accomplishment in both our logistical progress and the opportunity to take discouraged, but talented people and reenergize them for a greater purpose beyond themselves.

What’s the climate in your ministry? Is that talk at your church about what songs they didn’t like last Sunday or about the how the church is delivering the gospel in new and fresh ways to people in your community and around the world. I’m convinced that the difference in a growing ministry and a stagnate one is when there is so much outward focus that there is no time for inward debate. We are known in Christian circles for what we are against, but we often lose velocity in declaring what we are for.

Reorganize your committees into teams that tackle unreached people groups, community restoration projects and have them address major issues in third world environments. Stop the inward debate and take the mountain.

I am convinced we can turn around some culturally bankrupt churches and ministries.

Cultural Engagement-The new normal?

•May 29, 2009 • 1 Comment

Phil Cooke is a deeply respected ministry media consultant and I read some materials from him yesterday that addressed trends in ministry that effect all of us. He framed them as things that are open and things that are closed. This one caught my attention…
Closed: Political power was the method of choice for impacting culture
Open: Cultural engagement is the way to impact the culture

I address this issue of cultural engagement a little in my post called Engage: the future of missions, but Phil has me thinking about this whole thing from several angles.

One of the angles that has profoundly challenged me in the context of cultural engagement and technology is a ministry that just came onto my radar in the last 6 months. Kiva.org is this amazing combination of third world impact, donor relationships and responsible economic development, all threaded together through technology to help people engage.

Here is the offcial statement from their web site….Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.

Leveraging technology, Kiva has figured out how to connect people with resources directly to people in areas of poverty and to “responsibly” provide assistance for a more productive future. What an example of cultural engagement using technology and eliminating distance and travel barriers.

By the way, the Kiva people will be sharing this year at the WCA Leadership Summit on August 6 and 7th which can be experienced all over the US in local church host sites.

How could you connect people to the need? How could you create “cultural engagement”?

Semantic Technology-Web 3.0

•May 28, 2009 • 2 Comments

Every once in awhile when I am surfing though some site, I find myself asking “How did it know that? Amazon has done a version of it all for years by telling me what I should purchase based on what I looked at or just recently purchased.

Semantic technology is a the foundation of what will become web 3.0. “The Semantic Web, in which elements of Web pages are labeled with computer-readable coding to help computers better understand the meaning of the content, has been around for years. It’s only now beginning to gain adoption as a real-world technology because of two big reasons, though: Yahoo and Google.”

Understanding who we are everytime we approach the web and intuitively interacting with our interests is going to open a whole new way of building web sites and driving content. It is going to allow us to engage with people in an online world just by virtue of their clicks.

It seems to me that ministry in a semantic driven world will allow us to answer questions before they are asked. It will allow us to deliver content with multiple paths of interactivity. It will allow us to understand the people that we minister to and connect them in new and innovative ways to materials and forums and communities that are very uniquely designed to meet their needs.

The most advantageous characteristic of the semantic, web 3.0 environment is that it will allow us to “study” our people and respond in very rapid strokes.

The day of pouring content out of a firehose via mailings and classes and web sites and hoping something sticks is nearing an end. In the days to come, people will only want to get what they want and need. They will rely on filters to sort it all out before it even shows up on their radar.

The days of being generic are going away. But the opportunities for effectiveness will grow to whole new levels.

What will you do with that?

Web 1.0, 2.0 and ultimately 3.0

•May 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Web 1.0 was a one-way flow of information, through websites which contained ‘read-only’ material. Widespread computer illiteracy and slow internet connections added to the restrictions of the internet, which characterized web 1.0. Web 2.0 is the decentralization of website content, which is now generated from the ‘bottom-up’, with many users being contributors and producers of information, as well as the traditional consumers.

Web 1.0 was dial-up, 50K average bandwidth, Web 2.0 is an average 1 megabit of bandwidth and Web 3.0 will be 10 megabits of bandwidth all the time, which will be the full video Web(Source: Wikipedia)

To feed my Web 2.0 habits I use a browser called Flock(www.flock.com). It brings into one page my Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Youtube, RSS feeds, Flickr and about any other Web 2.0 tools you can think of. One of many tools that makes it all manageable.

Web 3.0 with it’s supersized bandwidth will possess lots of video options, but often called the “semantic” web. There will also be the presence of “smart agents” that will search and compile information for the user based on habits, trends and stored meta data that will genuinely take some of the pressure off of having to think of what to search for in google. In a summary, it will learn your patterns and apply them to future activities on the web.

But my question is always “so what?” The massive accessibilty and intuitive nature of the future web will change the way we work in the church and in missions around the world. The web is no longer a optional hobby for those with technical leanings. It is rapidly becoming a core resource to accomplish the Great Commission with efficiency and effectiveness in places that are hostile to a physical presence. People all over the world will be able to watch and interact with content.

How are you developing future content? Talking head or interactive? Are you 1.0 with a firehose of data or 2.0 with learning in the context of community? I wonder if we could ever get to intuitive communications in the church with a 3.0 model where we learned so much about the person on the other end that we could efficiently deliver exactly what they need for their current stage of spirtual growth?

Better hurry before they come up with 4.0.