Mobile Ministry Forum (Recap 1)

Kent Shaffer —  December 11, 2013

At the Mobile Ministry Forum, over 100 leaders gathered to discuss what is next in mobile ministry. Here are highlights from the first 2 days.

Ken Cochrum // Indigitous & Cru

Indigitous is an initiative of Cru that seeks to create digital tools, resources, and strategies tailored to local cultures and languages.

There is a credibility aspect in being able to speak someone’s cultural language. For some, they speak mobile technology. What have you done with your mobile phone over the last 12 hours?

Through a new medium, the stories of the Word of God can captivate us in new ways.

The whole notion that there is “virtual ministry” and then there is “real ministry” no longer exists. It is one and the same. Virtual ministry is very real ministry.

We don’t need to create something and then translate it. We just need to go indigenous from the beginning.

We start with God – His heart, His glory, His promises. We don’t have to build the roads of the internet. We just need to learn how to drive on the roads that others are creating.

One approach doesn’t fit all cultures. Missionaries go where the people are.

 Gary Nelson // Every Tribe Every Nation (ETEN)

Every Tribe Every Nation (ETEN) is an alliance of ministries – the United Bible Societies, Biblica, and Wycliffe – that works together for a common goal.

What does it mean to eradicate Bible poverty?

  1. We must eradicate poverty of access. Many still do not have a Bible in their language.
  2. We must eradicate poverty of engagement. Many have Bibles but do not read them.

What is needed to accelerate Bible translation has always had barriers of people and finances, but today’s technology is enabling us to do new things.

The digital Bible library began as an expression to recognize a fundamental problem. Let’s get people a Bible in the language they know best to help them intimately know God. The digital Bible library digitizes the translations, standardizes their formats, centralizes access to the latest versions, and approves ministries to use these translations.

Heidi Campbell // Texas A&M University

People are using digital media to experiment with their religious identity.

4 Trends of Digital Religious Practice

  1. There is a strong move towards image-based media for devotional work and expression of religious identity. Anyone through Instagram can become a “professional” photographer and express their religious identity.
  2. Social media is an outlet for issue-oriented activism. Community happens when people find others online who share their beliefs and passions.
  3. There is a rise of remixing religion and mashing-up theology online. However, often problematic ideas rise to the top.
  4. An increasing number of ministries are using mobile technology for faith and liturgy.

To date there have only been several studies on ministry via apps. Insights include:

  • Religious texts are most engaging when wrapped in an audio-visual format. Also apps are most meaningful when they offer features allowing touch interaction with the content.
  • College students are motivated to use religious apps by the app’s spiritual impact, encouragement, and use as a “spiritual toolbox.”(Bellar 2012)
  • Use of varieties of religious apps may reflect a pluralism of religious identity. (Wagner 2012)

Kent Shaffer

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I live in an RV with my wife and 2 kids and work with OpenChurch.com to help Christians collaborate and build a global Church library of free, open content.