Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pastor 2.0 Recommendations for ACW

This week I spent a couple of days with about 25 amazing pastors from the North Carolina Conference. During my presentation I mentioned some technology that has me fascinated and some books that I recommended would be worth their time investing in. Below are links to the books and a brief reason why I recommended it during my presentation:

  • Lost and Found: Ed Setzer and the research crew at Lifeway prove again why they are on the cutting edge of church planting and culture research. This book is the result of an amazing study of unchurched young adults and the churches that are making connections with them. Through careful research, countless (well they actually did count them) interviews and insightful evaluation they extrapolate "four pillars of young adult ministry and nine trends in churches that are reaching young adults."
  • Communicating for a Change: In survey after survey, one of the most often heard complaints from church attenders and those who have left church is that the messages they hear do not connect with real life. Andy Stanley and Lane Jones do a good job at explaining not only where we as speakers are missing the boat, but how to speak to the postmodern listener so that they can hear. As one who is often guilty of preaching sermons loaded with too much content and not enough connection, this book really convicted me to begin asking two important questions during my preparation--"So What?" does what I'm saying really matter? And "What Now?" what does the listener need to do to apply this scripture to their life.
  • Big Questions/Worth Dreams: Focusing on intensive research, Sharon Daloz Parkes calls for the formation of three environments to best connect with young adults: Commons; Hearth; & Table. This text is an excellent combination of careful academic research and practical application for congregations that want to dig deeper into doing faithful and theologically sound young adult ministry.
  • Strengths Finder: While discussing helping people discover their divine calling, I mentioned that we must discover our strengths and play to them. Coming up next week is a workshop in our conference based upon the Strength Finder assessment. This tool has helped me embrace who I am and what motivates me. The best part is that the book comes with a code for a great online assessment that helps you discover your top five strengths.
  • Me 2.0-Building a Personal Brand: Its rare that I find a business/career book that I wish I had written, but this is one of those. Dan Schawbel writes Me 2.0 as a guide to using social media and the internet to develop a personal brand. In a world where we are all "googled" by people who know us, may want to hire us, or have an interest in our ministry, this book is manual for how to take control of that online presence. Since everything we put on the web is public, present, permanent, and has potential to re-surface, I think every pastor should take the time to understand and take control of their personal brand.
  • The Kindle: I love to read. Several people were fascinated with my new Kindle 2.0. I read between 50 to 100 books a year. Recently my chiropractor said that my shoulder was always out of sorts because my bookbag was too heavy, probably because I'm usually reading four or five books at a time and want to carry them all with me. This device from Amazon lets me carry my entire library with me so I can always have plenty of reading options at a moments notice. If you read like crazy, this is a must have!
  • Flip Mino HD: Okay, I must confess that I don't have one of these YET! But, the availability and technology of quick, downloadable and easily formated video is definately the wave of the future. This will be a great camera for webinars and video blogs (vlogs), as well as family videos. Lets face it, for our family videos of theme parks and the kids playing in the pool, we really don't need an expensive video camera. The other great thing is that the video is stored on flash memory, so you never need tapes, when it gets full you just pop out the USB plug, attach to your computer and download the video onto your hard drive or to YouTube. This will be my next tech purchase!
Thanks to the pastors and to Carol Dean, Tim Reaves and the Commission on Evangelism members from the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church for the invitation to share at the Academy of Christian Witness. I hope I get to come back next year. To any of the pastors there do not hesistate to call or email me if I can be of any help helping your or your church live into their divine calling! I remain:

Consumed by the Call,
Marty Cauley
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