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Editorial: A New Beginning

Welcome to a bit of everything. An intersection if you will. This is the 4th issue of Mobile Ministry Magazine, and befitting things, also the 1000th post for MMM. If you have been here for a short time or since the beginning, then you know that Mobile Ministry Magazine has been quite the labor of my heart and abilities since October 2004. It started as something that would tide me over until I found work. Ironically, at the time of this writing, I am entering the end of a contracted position, but not really wondering what it is that I will do, but how will faith intersect with the rest of my life. I'm personally moving to a new location, as well as updating my personal views on many things. But one of the many things that will remain consistent - or at least consistently growing - is my attention to Mobile Ministry Magazine.

It's been my heart that this magazine and website would serve as a reference point for how you can best go mobile, and still walk in earnest faithfulness towards Christ. There have been many aspects of this covered throughout the life of MMM, but there is one consistent mantra - at the intersection of faith and technology, how are you glorifying God with what is in your hands. Whether that is reaching people who are bed-ridden, or making more time for your family, or pushing the Gospel to people in places the Gospel never was heard before; where are you making that connection that this technology can and does meet at your faith?

It is not my hope that MMM would convince you that Jesus’ heart for you is the most important thing. Chances are if you are reading this that you already have that mindset. My hope is that you understand that Christ can and does penetrate into every area of our lives. So whether this is something old to you or something new; count MMM Issue 4 as a new beginning for how you perceive the effect and the cause of your faith with technology.

I would like to thank you for taking the time to come this far with us. It's truly been up and down for the entire MMM team. But do know that if we were not passionate about meeting God with tech, we'd be passionate about something else.

Enjoy issue 4, 1000 posts from now; there will be something even better to talk about.
~ Antoine RJ Wright, Founder and Chief Editor of Mobile Ministry Magazine

What is the Place of Mobile Tech in Ministry Settings?

Image: church pulpit, via photo gallery

by Antoine RJ Wright

Or more specifically, does mobile technology even have a place in ministry?

Depending on your culture, like or dislike of computing trends, or even your specific orientation concerning operating systems, this answer can vary considerably. And because this is the case, making a case for or against mobile technology in ministry settings can seemingly difficult. However, when we take away preferences, trends, and prose, and then get down to what it means to minister, we come away with a place for mobile tech, but not always the prominent one.

First, the argument for mobile technology: it makes one more accessible, and more connected to people, places and information.

Second, the argument against mobile technology: it relies on too many systems that if not properly planned for will fail to achieve any positive impact on community and culture.

Yes, this discussion can really be broken down into those two kernel arguments. But in simplifying it so, we do come across the major factor in considering mobile tech in a ministerial capacity: planning and purpose.

As with anything one wants to use, if you do not have a plan and purpose behind it, its usefulness will be severely limited. One has to take the approach that for any new or modified tool to be effective, the correct training and knowledge building needs to happen. Also, one has to be humble enough to consider both the positive and negative aspects and weight them rightly before coming to any conclusion. It is not the tool that is the issue that really has to be addressed; it is the person(s) using the tool and whether they are equipped to do so.

And so we come back to the initial question: what is the place of mobile technology in ministry settings? This can only be determined by through prayer and planning, and then the requisite training and application of mobile technology can be an avenue of clear and God-breathed ministry.

Content with Technology

by Demetri Polous

To be content with technology almost seems like a silly statement. defines the word technology as, “The scientific method and material used to achieve a commercial or industrial objective”. Scientist are constantly researching new methods and materials, so it only makes sense that the use of that scientific knowledge would fuel a constant growth in technological advances. While that is not a bad concept, like everything else in life, if it becomes our focus then we are in trouble. Jesus speaks to us in Matthew 6:33, “ But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all theses things will be added to you.” God knows we require certain things to live, food water, etc. I would dare to say that God even is happy for us when we discover and develop new technology. My point is that we must make God the first priority in our lives, by seeking His council in prayer, reading His holy word and being in community with other followers of Christ. God does provide in His perfect plan.

Only after we set or reset our focus on God and make our relationship with Him the first priority in our lives, can we begin to be content. I personally have experienced this in my life. Those times when I have not been in prayer and quite time with Him I begin to seek other things on my own to fill that God shaped hole. The good news is that God does not abandon us. He is closer than you think and is waiting for you to turn around from your own ways and walk with Him.

Paul clearly understood this concept of being content in the Lord. He writes in his letter to the church at Philippi, “ Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” [Philippians 4:11-12] Here Paul speaks of a contentment that is experienced not only when we have but even better when we have not. On the surface that seems ridiculous, but Paul was putting his relationship with God the Father and Jesus first. He understood that when he was seeking God first, his life became a divine appointment and not just a wandering trip. He based is sense of contentment on something far greater than the simple things of this world. God further reinforces this in Hebrews 13:5, “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ’I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,’”

I present all of that to give a foundation for being content with the mobile technology you have. It is something I struggle with periodically. I get that itch for the latest device or accessory. I have found that if I share that desire with others, they help me keep it in check. Do I really need it? Could I be using the money on something better? Does what I have still meet the need for which it was purchased? If I am honest about those things, and seek God’s council, it makes being content more of a reality and not just a nice concept.

Palm OS and PPC - A Device Comparison

Image: Palm Treo 750 running Windows Mobile and Palm Treo 680 running Palm OS Garnet, via Brighthand

by Andrew Sutton

There are many things that must be taken into consideration in a comparison between Palm OS devices and Pocket PCs. One of the most important needs to be what the device is going to be used for. There are strengths and weaknesses of each of these devices that lend them each to different functions.

Generally speaking, I’ve found the PPC devices are considerably more complicated than the Palm OS devices and therefore generally more difficult to learn and get used to. Palm’s interface is remarkably simple and very intuitive. Typically, it can be learned much more quickly and users who are not familiar with either platform will become more comfortable more quickly with a Palm OS device than they will with a Pocket PC

When it comes to connectivity to wireless networks and the Internet PPC is much more robust than current offerings from Palm and the default web browser offers much more usability on the PPC.

Battery life on the PPCs is generally nowhere near as long lasting as it is on the Palms, however the batteries tend to be user replaceable so it is possible to travel with two or three batteries if you’re not going to be near a charging source.

Creation of Word and Excel documents seems a bit simpler on the PPC platform as those apps are native to the PPC and third part apps (like Docs-to-Go from Data Viz or Quick Office from Cutting Edge Software) are not required as they are for the Palm.

So there are advantages and disadvantages to each device.

Generally I believe that Palm devices are easier to use, and I would recommend them for people who aren't used to using PDA's. For technical people or heavy Outlook users, for people who need (or want) something a little bit more than contact management, a calendar, and to do lists, PPC may be a better choice as long as they don't stray too far from the office.

I believe that each platform has its place and there are practical reasons for using either of these devices. And while they are beneficial, I don’t believe that they are yet ready to replace our desktop (or even laptop) computers. I see them more as a conduit really, a way to facilitate working when we’re not near our desktop computers.

These devices have come a long way in recent years, and as things go, our lives become more and more mobile and the need to be connected increases. These devices certainly fill a niche. With tools like Bibles and Power Point presentations of the Gospel available in mobile formats, these are tools that can enable us to share the Gospel in ways we couldn’t before.

An Excerpt from Exploring the Training of the Mobile Minister within Mobile Technology: Mobility, Ministry, Missions

Mobility is Then and Now

This is an exceprt from part two of a continuing work. This is included to give some relevance to the global effect of mobile technology, and to also highlight its increasing importance in the developing world. ~ Antoine RJ Wright

Humans have been a mobile group ever since Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. And to that end, we have always found a way to communicate, produce, and prosper no matter where or what the conditions are. Even now with the rise of the mobile phone as the primary world computing device, we find more innovative and peculiar (as compared to other technologies over other time periods) ways to move our personality around a world's stage.

This is not at all a bad thing. We are created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27) and tend to want to be like our Dad – everywhere and doing everything. While we will never reach His abilities; this has not stopped man from inventing different ways to be in touch with as many things as possible from any one specific area. It is this need to be omnipresent that makes the subject of mobility now a more pressing issue than it was then.

So what has changed to make now more important than then in terms of mobility? The simple answer is that we have the ability to do more. But, looking beyond what we can do is the aspect of looking at how we are doing more beyond our abilities because of what technologies have enabled. For example, voice mail allows us to be away from home longer because now a person calling can leave a message, rather than speaking to an operator that might/might not notify you of the last phone call. Mobility has become a movement we do as a response to situations that we want to respond towards. We engage or do not engage those situations not because we are incapable to, but because mobility allows us to meet it on our terms.

After man settled enough of the earth, mobility became an issue of vocation, not so much survival. You could farm, shop, and raise a family without moving across long distances. Road trips became an event, rather than a means to survive. And yet, the exploratory nature of man did not allow him to stay put very long. Water and land technologies developed so that man could easier get to the most remote places. And as the technology to move advanced, so did the ability to stay in contact. Mobility then becomes that tether to our home/family lives. It is a means to reassure oneself that they have not gone too far. And at the same time, this kind of mobility changes the relational nature of communication for all parties.

About Mobile Ministry Magazine

Mobile Ministry Magazine (MMM) is the product of a vision given to one person, but shared by believers who use mobile technology and the Internet and want to see it better used by the Body of Christ to share Jesus with the world and minister more effectively inside and outside of the church building. It is one part informing about the abilties of current techology. And it is another part teaching responsiblity about mobile technology to those who may need correction in that area. It is one part an infomational resource to those seeking what is happening within the area of technology as it relates to Christians; and another part connecting people with others who wish to use technology in similar ways to better communicate. Mobile Ministry Magazine is not an Internet church, but it is being placed as a reference to churches and other groups who wish to be effective online and off.

Started in October 2004 as a magazine to just reach out to the church community to better educate on the merits of mobile technology, Mobile Ministry Magazine has expanded to include a daily web blog, user forum, and devotionals. Future happenings include monthly meetups in various cities, workshops and sermonettes, and a non-profit organization that would teach, as well as equip with mobile technology tools.

Read more about Mobile Ministry Magazine.