The Near Future of the Bible: Collide Magazine Article

Recently I had the chance to write an article for Collide Magazine that is the sum of my thoughts in the year 2008: The Near-Future of the Bible.  Through conversations with friends, attending and speaking at conferences, and spending time working on a yet-to-be-finished sci-fi novel, I began to craft a vision in my head of what the future of the Bible might look like.  Amazingly enough, Scott was kind enough to let me put some of those thoughts into a few words... and then thought they were worth printing. Fast forward a few months, and the article is now available online for your reading pleasure by clicking this link. If you've been around me the past few weeks, you know how important I think this kind of work is, and how happy I am to be working at a company who sees value in exploring these ideas and possibilities.  Check out the article and please, let me know your thoughts!
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The Near-Future of the Bible (BibleTech:2009, Collide Magazine, and more)

At the end of March (the 27th and 28th, to be exact), Logos Bible Software will be hosting the BibleTech:2009 Conference. I will be presenting at the conference on a subject that, I feel, is of the utmost importance: the Near-Future of the Bible.  You can check out my workshop's description here. Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking on the impact of the future on the Bible, and how the two will intersect.  As an introduction to my thoughts, I recently wrote an article for an upcoming issue of Collide Magazine.  I was able to interview a number of simply brilliant people for that article, and love the fact that my editor gave me a few (hundred) extra words to hash out my thoughts. I've got a couple of other future-thinking things that I'm working on, but nothing to say about just yet. On a personal note, getting these opportunities is - quite simply - a dream come true.  Anyone who knows me or follows this blog would know that I've taken classes on Futures Studies, that I've written pieces of fiction on the far-off future of the Bible (that I still need to complete...), and that I sometimes struggle with backtracking to the present when I see the implications of the future.  To have the trust of people not only here at LifeWay, but at Collide, Logos and elsewhere that my ideas have worth and merit is a blessing beyond my expectations. The hardest part is moving ideas from percolating in my head to relevant concepts for consumption; please continue to pray for me that my words and energies might be constructive and provoking rather than meaningless dribble. Somedays you just want to cheer and yell and be happy; some days you stand in amazement at the opportunities that lie before you.
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Stop Throwing Sheep: Creating Facebook Applications for Ministries

My second article for Collide Magazine, Stop Throwing Sheep, is now available online at their website.  The article is about the Facebook applicatins that have been created by various churches.  Through the article I got to interview Scott Miller of Watermark Community Church to talk about their JoinTheJourney program and Bobby Gruenewald at LifeChurch.tv about how they utilize Facebook.  Check it out!
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Launching Satellites: Going Multi-Site

Lauching Satellites, my first article for Collide Magazine, is now available on their website. The article features stories of how various churches went multi-site, including North Coast Church in Vista, CA, McLean Bible Church in McLean, VA, and Long Hollow Baptist Church right outside of Nashville.  Check it out!
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The 1,000 Foot View of a Fickle Public? (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blog)

Scott McCellan recently posted a reader's response to the very idea of a magazine like Collide.  To pull from the posted quote:  You don’t seem to be interested in the 1,000-foot view. You take a myopic look at things like Facebook, etc. that will fade away and be replaced by something else in a year or two by a fickle public. In doing so, it seems like you promote the methods over the message. Any church that follows fads like that will always be chasing after the next thing in the never-ending quest to be “relevant.” Christ wasn’t interested in cool. He was interested in loving people, and in doing that, he redefined cool.  I'm posting my response on my blog instead of the Collide blog because I don't want anyone to be confused with my opinion on this matter with any kind of official Collide response (since I've written for them). First, I have to say how awesome it is that Scott would be transparent and post such a quote and response that's diametrically opposed to the very nature of the magazine, and open it up for discussion on his blog.  Second, I think that the respondent who wrote the quote is completely wrong on the idea of culture more-so than any kind of question about Christ being "cool" or about chasing something "relevant." The respondent appears (to me) to be frustrated with methods or the "fickle public"'s desires changing every two years or so.  The problem, to me, is that he thinks that churches interested in things like Facebook or some cutting edge technology or underground cultural shift is an attempt to be somethinig that the church is not. For me, acknowledging that I am, in fact, a part of mass culture and am influencing and partake in it, I see a very different side of this arguement.  It is not that the church is struggling to keep up with culture and "fads" but that the entire concept of "fad" has radically changed in the past few years. A "fad" is no longer a "fad" - it is culture.  Innovation follows innovation in today's world and, as such, the mass media and culture is always shifting and changing.  By the time any cultural shift hits mass/old media, the culture leaders have moved on to something else. The New York times recently produced an article on how the fast-paced world of blogging-for-pay creates additional stress and has negative health effects on the bloggers.  This may be true for most of us.  However, today's young adults have been blogging for years; today's children are used to blogging being a part of their lives.  Blogging wasn't a new thing to many people several years ago, and it's certainly not a "new thing" today.  But people still treat it as a fad. There are still many spiritual leaders who don't understand that blogging or Facebook groups or church web sites aren't some attempt by the church to catch up to culture.  I, instead, proclaim that it is the exact opposite. The freedom that technology brings to broadcasting a message means that, for the first time in church history, lay people can share their faith journey with the church - and world - at large.  No longer must the strongest, most Spirit-driven message come from the pulpit.  Instead it can come from a teenager's blog or a media guy's video cam. Magazines like Collide and sites like digital.leadnet.org exist not so the church can chase after cultural shifts, but so that leadership can understand the changes their membership is goign through.  I fear a pastor who doesn't have a blog because it tells me that he won't be able to connect with where I am in life.  I fear a church that doesn't have a website because it means that they think people will find out their address by looking it up in the phone book (you know, that big yellow thing you throw away when they keep delivering it to you). My biggest fear, however, is that those of us who have embraced the new tools at our disposal won't be mentored and loved by our forefathers who have not embraced the technology.  That they will think it's all a fad and that we don't understand the 1,000 foot view and, as such, aren't worth investing in.  And all their knowledge and passion that could be broadcast to the world will simply die with them. So please, don't judge me and my kind as being fickle or not understanding of Christ's love just because we have the ability to flow with the changes in culture and understand that "fads" are either dead or the norm, depending on your point of view.  I'd rather learn from you.  I'd rather sit at your feet and discover what your heart is about and how your passions can still impact humanity on a person-by-person basis.  I want to know what has you so caught up that you want things to stay the way they always were... because I've never lived in a slow-enough-paced world to even know what that means. And, in truth, I can't wait to see what replaces blogs and what's after social networks and how videos change our worship services.  I can't wait until music ministers can embrace the internet and use tools like LifeWay Worship to gain access to hundreds of songs to find the right one to compliment the worship experience.  I can't wait until the seminaries provide completely online degrees so the pastors who can't take the time to leave their congregration can be better educated.  I can't wait until we get past this bubble of growth in the digital world and have a new common denominator where people are connected all the time and have been used to it so that it isn't so stressful on our bodies. And maybe then I can feel loved by the people who judge me and my tools of communication as worthless. 
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Magazines!

Magazines!

That's right!  This past week, Aaron became an officially publisher writer!  The first magazine that came was Deacon (which you can purchase a copy of here) featuring my article on Blogging, Pornography and your Church's Website.  It took almost a year to get here (I wrote it in June of 07!), but it's quite the excitement to see my article all dolled up with graphics and real ink.
Deacon Magazine Article
I then recieved my copy of Collide Magazine!  For them I wrote a piece on satellite churches.  I have to say, the design and content of Collide Magazine is really top-notch.  These guys get it.  I'm also proud to mention that I turned in my second article for them today, on churches using Facebook apps.
Collide Magazine Article
One of the great things about writing these articles is that I'm getting to interact with awesome guys who are real pioneers in using media and technology to help build relationships.  It's a bit odd to be "the press," but it's also incredibly fun to get to hear these stories and passions and broadcast their message of quality, relationship and innovation out to a much larger audience. As a follow up to my "Launching Satellites" article for Collide, I also was contacted by Ka You Communications about their installation of the satellite service for McLean Bible Church (one of the churches featured in the article, along with Long Hollow and North Coast Church).  I encourage you to check out these churches to see the ways they are pioneering in mulit-site campus thought, and bridging the gap between church and local communities. Seeing these articles in print really is an awesome feeling.  For anyone who is struggling with writing, let me tell you that it's worth it to keep knocking on doors and trying to put yourself out there to write.  One of the reasons I try to keep this blog rolling is to keep my fingers typing and writing things out.  With both magazines it took a while for the editors and I to connect and find the right topic for my knowledge base and their audience, but in the end it's worked out great and I hope to be a regular contributor to both of them. Now I'm wondering how my short story pitch to Asimov's is doing...
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My First Article going to Print!

Way back in June of 2007, I was contracted to write an article for Deacon Magazine.  LifeWay works on a very far ahead schedule for their magazines and that first article I was contracted for should be out this coming quarter's edition of the magazine. Mid-January I was contracted to write for Collide Magazine.  A couple of days ago, Scott McCellan announced on the Collide blog that the March/April issue of the magazine (with my article on multi-site church technology in it) went to press.  It's exciting to finally know that a piece that I worked on is on it's way in the mail to my hands. Hooray!  You can subscribe to the magazine here. In other freelance news, Deacon Magazine has contracted me for a Futures-related article.  This is incredibly exciting for me as Futures research for the church/technology is where I'm heading a few years down the road.  I'm in the Futures degree program at University of Houston, so it's pretty awesome to be able to write about the topic already.  Not sure how I'll crush my thoughts down to 1200 words... but we'll see how it goes!
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Collide Magazine: Multi-Site Church Technology

I've accepted my first writing assignment for Collide Magazine.  I'll be writing an arctile on multi-site church technology.  Multi-site churches have been a growing movement in the past few years that I think is a very interesting evolution of the business-minded leardership in the American church the past several decades. I like the multi-site idea because it allows for strong central teaching for a large community, but still allows more intimate community to develop through the smaller churches that are formed.  The members of the satellite churches can have a more personal relationship with their local pastor, instead of being a face in the crowd for megachurches. Mosaic is not a multi-site church, but we have recently shifted to two services.  We did this because (1) we wanted to keep the gatherings small and (2) we were out of room at our location.  I imagine that if our evening service expands, we'll have to look into considering a multi-site or multi-community structure.  tomorrow i'll be interviewing Russ Hall of Long Hollow Baptist Church and next week i'll be talking with Dennis Choy from North Coast Church.  If anyone has any suggestions for other churches doing multi-site, please let me know!
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