Required Digital Detox

In the Spring 2014 edition of Facts in Trends Marty Duren, manager of social media strategies for LifeWay, suggests that everyone needs to engage in a digital detox.  According to Duren, a digital detox involves completely abstaining from "everything online for a period of time" (p.45). While stopping short of prescribing the interval at which detoxes are required or the duration he recommends, Duren clearly believes that everyone who participates in the online world needs to take time for Read More …

Online Church Shopping

David Odom, Executive Director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity School, recently blogged about the increasing tendency of shoppers, including church shoppers, to shop online.  When it comes to those who are looking for a church, Odom notes that they "frequently visit the congregation online by watching services, reading about services and asking questions."  This activity is a part of the screening process many now use in making a decision about whether or not to attend services or Read More …

Moving Sunday School Online

For as long as I have been in ministry there has been discussion about how best to reform the Sunday School experience for children.  I spent many months doing research on this topic nearly a decade ago as a part of my doctoral work.  I continue to be intrigued by and appreciative of those who are on the front lines of innovating this important ministry of faith formation. Day Smith Pritchartt's recent blog post is one great example of how a congregation might choose to replace the Read More …

Online Communion?

As online worship grows in popularity, churches are increasingly tasked with struggling with significant theological issues relating to this new way of being present (virtual presence) in worship.  One obvious area in need of consideration is communion.  More specifically, can Holy Communion / Eucharist / Lord's Supper be a part of an online worship experience? While independent congregations are free to decide the matter for themselves, most congregations who are affiliated with a (or with Read More …

A Progressive Seminary First

Recently I wrote about the changes made by the Association of Theological Schools that allows seminaries to offer accredited Master of Divinity degrees comprised of coursework that can be completed 100% online.  Chicago Theological Seminary is now marketing that they are "the only progressive seminary to offer an accredited MDiv completely online." So What? For the future of seminary education to change as a result of going online, such an education must be available for would be students Read More …

Learn Together

Seth Godin is the author of twelve books that have been bestsellers around the world and changed the way people think about marketing, change, and work. He is also the master of saying a great deal using relatively few words on his blog. Recently he wrote about the power of togetherness in learning. Godin affirms that mere access to educational opportunities is not adequate.  Completion rates from MOOCs are among the strongest recent data backing up this argument.  Given this reality, Godin Read More …

Your Church Can’t Ignore

Carey Nieuwhof, lead pastor of Connexus Community Church, recently shared a list of cultural trends of significance to churches.  His list includes: online as the new default, the death of checks, and declining trust in authority and institutions. So What? Churches cannot live in bubbles.  Local congregations must be aware of and adapt to cultural norms insofar as how people live.  If people can't experience your church online, are expected to give financially via check, and are Read More …

Church Marketing Shifts

Lindsay Christian's recent Capital Times article, "Marketing God: Churches Turn to the Web, Social Media to Attract Members," explores how many congregations in her area have shifted their marketing time and monies from print efforts to online endeavors. Christian's piece effectively explores how a significant trend has impacted congregations in her community. To highlight the significantly diminished return on investment and increasing irrelevancy of print advertising (especially with Read More …

The Rise of Online Higher Ed

In the 1970s, 80s, and 90s higher education was largely assumed as an on campus experience.   As technology improved, distance education began evolving from the exchange of documents and media primarily via postal mail to online exchanges. During the 2000s and now in the 10s, the number of students in higher education taking at least one online course grew on an annual basis.  It is reasonable to project that in the not too distant future a majority of students will complete at least part of Read More …

Being Teen Online

Zone Alarm recently posted an important infographic: The Secret Life of the Online Teenager.  While more than 4 in 5 teens use social media and more than 95% of all teens are confident in their ability to stay safe online, the details of their online behavior offer parents, educators and other caring adults reasons to monitor the online actions of teens.  More specifically, 69% openly reveal their physical locations 32% of teen girls and 24% of teen boys chat with strangers 28% download Read More …