Mobile Ministry Modeling

Definition, Issues, and Opportunities

Antoine RJ Wright

Founder/Primary Voice, Mobile Ministry Magazine

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Summary of MMM: Mobile Ministry Magazine (MMM) was started in the Fall of 2004 as a response to joblessness, and a heart to do more with my growing knowledge of mobile technology beyond the reviews and editorials that I was writing for BarganPDA (later Brighthand). The first issue was produced for a small audience of 50 persons who agreed to test out the magazine's delivery and format. However, none of the 50 persons read it, nor gave feedback. The project was shelved untli the Spring of April 2005 when in response to repentence, MMM was given a dual home as a downloadable magazine and a (near-daily) website. The magazine would soon morph into a blog-only offering, and successive site changes and downloadable issues later, would become featured around the web for its notable difference in how it presented mobile technology. For a long time, it was one of a few sites that would even broach the topic of faith and technology in a manner which was a bit more enjoyable than traditional publications. Several posts and topics gained attention, including attention from the BBC, Dallas Morning News, National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) and more. MMM's brand has remained a pecular one, even with much of the world now paying more attention to mobile. And indeed, the early question of "what is happening with the church and mobile" is being addressed by several entities. Currently, MMM provides an alternate perspective on matters of mobile/social web technology and faith through its team of writers, and maintains resource listings of software, services, and research articles which point to existing contributions which further the understanding of mobile as a ministry tool. MMM has also expanded ot offer training, speaking, and consulting services to those wishing to engage the practice of mobile ministry, in whatsoever capacity they are looking to be involved.

What is Mobile

Communication and computational events facilitated through the use of handheld devices which expand personal contexts to mediated and shared life experiences.

Handheld devices: Mobile is defined in the marketplace by any devices which have screens of less than 5in in diameter. By physics, however, mobile devices can include any computer which is not dependent on wired (tethered) power for normal operation. This adds tablets, GPS devices, laptops, and even some game systems into the fold for what is considered mobile computing.

Mediated and shared life experiences: This can include some of the obvious items such as talking on the phone, sending text messages, using the mobile Internet, and social networking. But, can and should be expanded to shopping, using professional/government services, and environmental tracking (weather, crops, sex, etc.)

Various Internet and Mobile Statistics

  • Roughly 2 billion persons on the Internet
  • 1.2 billion PCs (non-mobile) in use
  • 5.2 billion active subscribers, 4.25 billion unique subscriptions y.e. 2010
  • 298 million smartphones sold y.e. 2010
  • 4.2 billion active users of SMS at roughly 119 billion dollars of revenue
  • Re Q4 2010: "Kindle books overtaken paperback books as the most popular format on"


8 Unique Mobile Characteristics

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  1. Personal
  2. Permanently carried
  3. Always-On
  4. Built-In Payment Mechanism
  5. Available at Point of Creative Inspiration
  6. Accurate Audience Measurement
  7. Captures the Social Media Consumption
  8. Enables Augmented Reality Experiences

Mobile in Practice


Mobile is thought of as a single thing, but it is really made of up three disparate layers. Depending on the skillsets of the companies and individuals whom are working towards solving a problem (communication or event), they will take on mobile in one, two, or all three of these layers.

Devices specifically refers to all matters of mobile that concern themselves with just the device. This can be accessories for mobile devices, software that targets specific hardware form factors, and to a lesser degree targeting specific hardware platforms.

Services refers to the software and transaction layers of mobile. This also includes communication and event data. Services include practices which run against applications, SMS, media streaming, and the aggregration of information gained from offering these services (re: Facebook, YouVersion, etc.).

Experiences refers to the aspects of mobile which might be defined by intentions/companies, however the end result is graded by the consumer. User experince, development, marketing, and the application of aggregrate data all apply to mobile here.

Every company that is working in mobile at some level deals with all of these layers. But, it may be their specific function or practice that they center on one of these three layers and then create a product from there.


Mobile in Ministry

Identified Applications of Mobile Ministry

  • Mobile in Missions/Evangelism: as those efforts which contextualize Gospel messages on local and global cultural scales.
  • Mobile in Media: creating and distributing visual/audio/text stories; or, building and implementing specifications and best practices around mobile multimedia opportunities.
  • Mobile in Discipleship/Education: those activities which facilitate curriculum development, address targeted and special education needs, and explore new styles of learning made possible by mobile technology.
  • Mobile Marketing/Analytics: the produced product; lso include search engine optimization, security, access, local media channel development, and then the use of mobile applications alongside and independent of broadcast channels.
  • Mobile in Moment: the use of connected services and applications and/or SMS/MMS; the implications towards towards social and linear networks starting from a context of personal use and associated theological constraints/precedents.
  • Spiritual Implications: theological constraints/precedents; psychological/cultural effects of mobile vs. other personal/connected technology media elements.

Areas of Opportunities in Mobile Ministry

  • Education
  • Health
  • Justice/Politics/Cultural Relations

Areas of Challenges in Mobile Ministry

  • Technical
  • Resource/Economic
  • Cross-Functional Skillsets


Trends in Mobile/Mobile in Ministry

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QR Code to 2010 Mobile Ministry Forum's Executive Summary/Report (Google Doc)


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