The Church: A Mega Social-Networking Utility

We all need to socialize.

Have you realised how pointless Facebook is becoming to some? Is it becoming boring to you? Just Google ‘Facebook boring’ and you will get a hundred results and more telling you why Facebook is dying. One theory I like is the one in which the more friends you have the more secretive you become about the information you share. Well, true to an extent. But the way I see it is the more friends you have, the more information you’d want to share! Albeit a bit carefully. Read More »

Advertisements

Confessions of the Church PA Guy : Part 1

Church Sound Desk example
Our church Sound-Desk is way smaller.

This post is a break from previous write-ups as I put the ‘personal’ back into this personal blog of mine. I hope you enjoy reading. Just a head’s up – it’s written in PA system lingo. ( FYI:  PA system is the Public Address System)

Part 1

It’s pretty hot outside, and I’m pretty glad I’m sitting in the service all morning. There are cartoons, special Sunday morning movies on TV, a nice Sunday Special newspaper to read all of which I’d love to do. But sitting in the AC and waiting for the meeting to start is an experience in itself.

Read More »

My church, facebooked.

It’s been up for a while now, but this is my church’s official page on Facebook. Tree of Life Church (TLC) Mumbai

My Church, on FB
My Church, on FB

The page brings in all the posts from our blog, has a lot of photo albums going up and even has updates on our new schedules and meetings. I created the page with a view of having authenticity for our church website. After all, you can’t trust every website that is put up on the net. When you have an FB page and a twitter page with people interacting, you know it exists at least. I’ve added a button to the FB page on our church website so people can easily link there.

So the fans haven’t grown much. It’s still stuck at 90. But I’m optimistic about it. There are a lot of people who interact and read the posts, who wouldn’t have bothered to read it if I had just left the posts on our TLC blog. So, not only do I get newcomer’s to judge us, but I also keep our own members updated. If you have a church, I’d suggest you make a page for it. And avoid making groups. Pages are better

Here are few reasons why you should make a page :

  1. Pages are indexed by search engines. Which means that if you have a page, that along with your website has better chances of getting noticed and ranked higher.
  2. Pages can have applications added. Although still in the nascent stage, there are applications being developed that can stream audio files right into the page. You can have your twitter account updated with it. And they are a quite flexible in terms of putting up ads if you ever have to.
  3. Pages import blog posts very well. There are applications like Social RSS and others to help with that too. They put a link to your note along with a picture. It looks pretty neat.
  4. Updates are sent in your followers new streams and their inbox. Don’t need to elaborate that. It works like status updates
  5. And finally, major brands use pages, why shouldn’t you? Brands like Coca-cola (just to name one) effectively make use of FB pages. You can too. This is a good church page for you to check out: CCK (UK) . I take most of my church-tech inspiration from them.  Marshill

If that doesn’t impress you, this should. If it doesn’t I don’t know what to say. 😛

A man from Canada, landed up in our church because he searched facebook for a church in Mumbai. Facebook, I repeat, not Google. He came over, and even had meals with us and other members of our church.

Technology is available and God works in countless ways. Pages are one of them. Will you open it up to him?

P.S. My church tweets too @tlcmumbai

Church Tech: Brighton church ‘first in UK’ to develop iPhone app

Brighton church ‘first in UK’ to develop iPhone app « Brighton and Hove News.

A bunch of guys at the Church of Christ the King (CCK) are in the process of submitting their iphone app which is believed to be the first church in UK to ever do so. The guys haven’t created an app before but are planning on getting into the trade and so have made it for free for the church. Amazing! I just wonder if they like Google, are creating an environment for youngsters with gifts to exhibit themselves for God’s glory.

I couldn’t believe that a CHURCH was making an Iphone app. That is some serious stuff!

The CCK Brighton Church is one huge church whose every meeting is recorded on Video. Not only that, but its even streamed online! You may consider their online audio recordings as passe.

CCK Website
CCK Website: Videos on the Home Page

Their website stands out because it is 60% flash. The content is so brilliantly managed that a member can log in with his profile and be notified of events and responsibilities that are meant only for him. i.e. if I am in the choir, I get to know exactly when the choir practices are taking place and on which dates I need to attend.

Recently they began a new preaching series called ‘Alternative City’. To advertise for this on their website, they put up the cut outs of this word in different places in brighton and have even created a video to promote the same!

Custom Ads for Their series of preachings
Custom Ads for Their series of preachings

Where do they get the manpower, the intelligence and the time to do all this? One guess is that they are a well to do church with plenty of full time members. But still! Amazing stuff. Small contributions like that have helped put their church on the global map.

It’d be great to have minds like that in my humble 200 member congregation @ Tree of Life Church. But on a smaller level, I am praying “God at least, at least…. send a person familiar with Publishing and Copywriting to TLC this year”.

In what way do you intend to serve your church in 2010?

With great power comes great…

I am always grateful for the time and place of my salvation – when I was 7 and in Tree of Life Church. At that young age, you tend to just go with the flow and I decided I’d follow Jesus because that’s what my parents told me was the right thing to do. My church was a non-whimsical, non-legalistic church which dwelt wholly on the word of God and had it as the foundation. I was raised not being forced to do anything because I had to, but because it would be for my own good. Newfrontiers was indeed a large family of churches put together and it felt great to be able to have an avenue to make more and more friends, meet people from other cultures and know that we are the lone Christians in Mumbai.

My church had just been planted out at that time. We were low on members and funds and we’d meet in a small hall at the bottom of a public school. A small team had to put together what was required for a meeting – the PA system, musician’s instruments, Overhead Projector (OHP) and the bread and wine. Since dad was one of the leaders of the serving team, I would go along with him early in the mornings to help. Gradually I began to go there by myself in my dad’s stead. I took on the task of the OHP that was rather cumbersome. The Serving team and OHP were two things I was very much responsible for you can say. I began to grow in responsibility.

Today I’m still part of the same church which has 200 members, 2 services and meets in a hotel. My responsibilities include DLP (the modern OHP with a laptop and laser projector), PA system, serving team, newsletters every month & the church website management. Recently I started practicing my guitar and now I’m nearly part of the worship team although I have miles to go. Some time back I realized just how important a person’s role can be in the church. When I set up the hall with chairs and the PA, I have the ability to give people a hassle free environment to connect with the Lord. When I sit on the laptop during worship, I have the power to get people to sing a different verse by changing the screen accordingly. My monthly newsletter events can encourage someone to come for a gospel meeting or a get together in church. I can’t yell out like He-Man that ‘I have the power’, yet I do have a lot that rests on my shoulders.

Now imagine, just imagine, if I kept putting the wrong verses up on screen. People who wouldn’t know the song would be distracted. If the chairs were set up to close to each other, a member might find it uncomfortable. Or if the PA wasn’t tuned, we’d be closing our years when feedback occurred. In India, any unwise remark on a particular community in the newsletters could get the pastor beaten up! Now do you see the “power” I have?

With great power comes great responsibility… to use it wisely and carefully and well. And you have no power except that which comes from above. I’m on course to becoming a musician. Musicians are supposed to be the guys who help people connect with God. How can I connect someone when I myself am not? I want to change that and get my walk with Him back on track. I suddenly feel the urge to really get my life opened up to the Lord and all my elders around. I need his grace and strength to juggle church and work life. My so called powers are nothing to talk about. These are just ordinary responsibilities and they assume importance when you view it from a bigger perspective. I want his influence more than any trial and error experience. I want to be good at it, not for the fame, but the glory… His glory! God help me!

Where has my time gone?

Only 140 days left this year. Wow! I have a faint idea of the day when I was welcoming the New Year in with a bunch of hollow resolutions which have still to be met. Why this takes so much importance today is because of the fact that life is getting busier by the day. And I’m unable to make time for just about anything. Every time I’m free doing nothing the thought always crosses my mind whether I should be doing something or not. Every minute that goes by now has taken a mile-high value. Suddenly I wonder, could I do something that could help me in my career in these few hours? Is there something that needs urgent attention?

Why is this happening? Is it because I’m too careless and let time going by unnoticed? No, with confidence I can say that I’m not THAT careless. The fact that I’m thinking about it is proof about the same.

Or is it because that I am taking more responsibilities?

In college, we have a multitude of assignments that keep us occupied all semester-round. These projects include presentations, reports case studies and lots more. What adds to the work is that its team work. And when you work in a team you’d know that you ought to work more than what you need to. College events too take their time. Tutions for college deduct my time as well. I sleep 1/3rd of the day. In the church, there’s a lot to do – web designing, bulletins, digital media etc. At the home front although I haven’t had any change in my tasks, I feel the increasing urge to do more and more housework on my own, chip in with washing the dishes, handle the groceries etc. Travelling to college everyday takes two and a half hours away everyday. College itself takes 4 hours. Then the tutions, group work, studies, tests etc. How does a person manage?

I wish I could, you know, just finish college and just run to the playground and play volleyball. I wish I could not see every approaching Sunday as a deadline for some church-related work. I wish that I’m not looking at my calendar and seeing just test and presentation dates. I wish I wish..

I wish somehow I could just fast forward life to the part where I’m CEO of a Trans-national and on a holiday to my personal island in the Bahamas! 😀

No, wishful thinking is not for the wise. It’s for the ridiculously creative. And like all wise people, I think I should invest, not in stocks, or bonds or tangible stuff, but rather, in time. Utilizing the time wisely now, is the key to having more of it later. Time is more enjoyed when you have more of it available. Study hard now, party harder later! And that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll stop writing here. What will you do?

And I thought Sunday School was child’s play!

T’was a a wonderful sunny day then. The warm sun shining warmly outside. Birds and cars chirping their way around. People working hard to get out of bed. Things really seemed good. However, far, far away, in the bottom of a hotel, a boy sits with pen, papers and activity sheets waiting for their rightful users to arrive. Then, there in the horizon from where the heavens meet the earth (or rather first floor stairs reach ground floor) a cloud of dust arises and a horde of hooligans make their presence felt on his land. 

They push, prod and deface anything they get their hands on. Someone said, the Pen is mightier than the sword. I say the CRAYON is mightier than the pen. Line after line is drawn on all the furniture under his care. 

Finally the dust settles and the lad gets to his feet. He rubs his eyes and lo! Before him stands a mighty army of twwweennnnnnttyyyyyy siiiiiixxxx children between the ages of 5 and 10.

He yells and screams, hands flying in the air giving orders to them. They rebel. They refuse. He says “Woe is me! For I’m the one who volunteered to do Sunday School!!”.

 

This is the army of god! Sons/daughters of abraham....they are a naughty generation
This is the army of god! Sons/daughters of abraham....they are a naughty generation

 

 

If the suspense didn’t get to you even at this point, I suggest you laugh! Now.

Neil’s PJ #214

Getting serious, the kids are not some everyone can handle. It takes someone who is willing to sacrifice his throat , his time, and deal with his ego ’cause many of the questions these kids have, are Humiliating!

My theme for the Sunday School that day was love. Began with telling them how God made earth and why he did it – because he loved man and wanted man to love him too by worshipping him.  After the speech 😉 we (My wonderful friends had volunteered to help me. Thank God for them) gave them their activity sheets which had a crossword to complete, a drawing to colour and a memory verse to study. The little ones took their own sweet time while the slightly older ones finished and began to get restless. They began making a din and I had to send some out for a while as punishment (which wasn’t much since i’d call them back in 3 minutes). 

Just then one of the parents came to take her child away. The meeting was over! And according to my set of ethics – So was this Sunday School!

Haven’t gone into detail but the crux of the matter is, I wouldn’t have been able to do it if my friends- Parveen, Jacob, Christina, Nikita and Nishka hadn’t to help. I thank the Lord the kids went home smiling! 

One thing for sure: for a sunday school teacher, this is no Child’s Play!