From the Toilet to the Pulpit

The Movement of Mobile from Personal to Faith Interactions

Antoine RJ Wright

Founder/Primary Voice, Mobile Ministry Magazine

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Taken from the Mobile Ministry Magazine website:

Mobile Ministry Magazine (MMM) is online magazine asking questions, presenting approaches, and experimenting around stories related to the implications of faith and mobile technologies.

Began in October 2004 as a PDF-based magazine to pastors, MMM has expanded to become a web blog which utilizes associate writers, technology reviews, devotionals, and editorials to create the unique content which assists individuals, organizations, and movements to better understand the implications of faith and mobile technologies.

Today, MMM serves to send and receive information around the use and discussion of the implications of mobile technology within faith-based communities. This is done in one respect by the magazine and its collection of mobile applications and resources. In addition, MMM shares knowledge, resources, and understanding through the use of workshops, training sessions, and speaking engagements.


This movie trailer comes from Connected the Movie.

Have you ever faked a restroom trip to check your email? Slept with your laptop? Or become so overwhelmed that you just unplugged from it all? In this funny, eye-opening, and inspiring film, director Tiffany Shlain takes audiences on an exhilarating rollercoaster ride to discover what it means to be connected in the 21st century. From founding The Webby Awards to being a passionate advocate for The National Day of Unplugging, Shlain's love/hate relationship with technology serves as the springboard for a thrilling exploration of modern life...and our interconnected future. Equal partsdocumentary and memoir, the film unfolds during a year in which technology and science literally become a matter of life and death for the director. As Shlain's father battles brain cancer and she confronts a high-risk pregnancy, her very understanding of connection is challenged. Using a brilliant mix of animation, archival footage, and home movies, Shlain reveals the surprisingties that link us not only to the people we love but also to the world at large. A personal film with universal relevance, Connected explores how, after centuries of declaring ourindependence, it may be time for us to declare our interdependence instead.

Characteristics of Mobile

QR Code Link to Tomi Ahonen's free Insider Guide to Mobile, via QR Code

There are discussions underway where it might have been noted that there is a 9th unique characteristic to mobile. These discussions continue at venues such as Forum Oxford (registration required) and Communities Dominate Bands, however, there has not yet been anything conclusive towards this respect.


Statistics About Mobile

QR Code to ITU 2011 Facts and Figures PDF

What is Mobile (in) Ministry

The skillful use and application of computer technology classified as mobile for the context of fulfilling the religious practices which forward the proclamation of the key ideals and history of the faith, following form to and innovating on top of cultural and faith traditions within modern contexts.

In December of 2010, a group of 13 men representing various missional, evangelitical, journalistic, and educational ministries came together for the first Mobile Ministry Forum (MMF). It was at this forum that a definition for mobile (in) ministry was proposed. MMM has taken that initial definition and continued to poke and prod at it, utilizing an approach of looking for those areas where ministry has occurred and mobile technology was a primary driver towards the experience of indenting the Gospel, faith traditions, or faith-actions towards an intended community. This definition presented here seeks to establish mobile (in) ministry not just as a construct therefore for the evangelical or missional Christian space, but for the entertity of faith traditions which might be looking towards better understanding the context of mobile as it relates to their specific faith practices.

6 Areas within Mobile Ministry

Mobile Ministry Sketchnote Mindmap - Share on Ovi

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.

Notable Efforts

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

Some Current Projects::

Opportunities in Mobile

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In keeping with the bathroom/toilet analogy, here's a lens of looking at how to figure our what opportunities look like within the mobile space:

Opportunities to work in the bathroom
Many of the first opportunities for mobile come from what's in your hands. This can be as simple as developing your own communication strategies, creating and marking mobile applications you produce, or contributing to communities where the use of mobile might be transformative.

Opportiunities to work plumbing
Some might be better utilized by taking their skills in development and analytics to create or mine data produced by mobile activities. This can be something like working for a carrier in a division that creates better methods to utilize bandwidth, or even configuring and maintaining cell towers, microwave emitters, and battery technologies for mobile devices.

Opportunities to work on fixtures and towels
People who might be tuned to working with marketing messages or graphics might find some of the visual and other sensory aspects of mobile areas to concetrate in. Subjects from building the latest screens, to creating input/access technologies which go beyondd literacy are options in mobile.

Opportunities for mobile beyond the bathroom
There are those aspects of mobile which reach a bit further out there. Areas of study such as human interface design, mobility and urbanism, materials and processing for example. And then there are those expereinces in AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality), and cybernetics which take lesosns in mobile and move them to more spatially and temporal-oriented aspects.

The ability to move beyond personal technologies with mobile is present by simply noting the capacities, issues, and challenges we have not just with the technology, but its implications noted to date.



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