Monday, March 15, 2010

To boldly go where no man has gone before...and probably for a reason.

I broke new ground yesterday where I attend church...and I have to admit I'm feeling pretty good about it today.

It's no secret to my blog readers how I feel about Christians being on social networking websites. The internet as a whole is an excellent place to evangelize for Jesus. Sure there's a lot of nasty stuff out there...but how well do you really know your neighbors? Just what are those strange smells coming from their back yard?

Okay, I'm joking (I hope), but if followers of Christ don't put Jesus out there...who will? So Sunday, I decided to put my muses to practice and tweet the sermon as it happened. I'm not going to lie to you...this was new territory for our church. We're talking about moving past sermons on DVD that can be edited. This was live thumbing that couldn't be retracted once it was out there.

Too dramatic? Hey, it's my story.

I had the perfect situation taking shape. Mrs. Tony C wasn't at church, so I had open Blackberry access. She won't let me play with my phone in church even to use the, ahem, Bible application I downloaded...That's why the Good Lord had people write it down for you, so use your Bible and not your phone! People think you are playing games and not paying attention! Okay, she's probably right about that...but I don't have to like it.

With no Blackberry block, I could tweet the sermon on Twitter which would then post to my Facebook status. Sweet! Of course it's a closed network unless my friends retweeted or shared, but hey...a work in progress. The excitement was building. Please God, is this a ministry you approve of me conducting? Can you give me a sign!?

Pastor Derek began to speak, my thumbs were at the ready...'Today, I'm going to be talking mainly to the women on what Proverbs tells us about the Virtuous Woman.'

(To myself) Yes! Thank you Lord...I know you want Mrs. Tony C to hear this sermon! If I tweet this message, it will be as if she were actually here! This must be what You want!

Now, I may be teetering on the boundaries of sacrilege here, and I hope you don't think so. I also hope God nor Mrs. Tony C think so either because they're numbers One and two on the Big List of Importance (BLI). I will continue while treading ever so lightly...

So, I begin by tweeting the scripture to be used in the sermon and the title presented by Pastor Derek. By the way, my pastor is a very Godly man and fabulous speaker. He uses the gifted talent he has in service to God. So if I, on the other hand, using my talent...okay useless social media sites can assist in getting his wonderful sermons to a broader audience, isn't that furthering his service to the Lord too? (Okay, maybe I'm still trying to sell you guys on this idea).

As the sermon progressed, I tweeted the outline bullet-style to the cyber-audience. There were a few 'hitches in the get-along' I must admit. Yours truly is sporting some pretty chunky digits, so I had to carefully edit as I typed making sure I didn't fat-finger a whole new meaning to a point I was sending out. That meant I was in a 'head-down' position most of the service, and since I was seated in row two, I'm sure noticed by many. Note to self- when tweeting sermon so from the back row.

Then there was the typical...excuse me, occasional...mind wondering moment when I mentally substituted the word voluptuous for virtuous into the ongoing sermon and chuckled to myself (yes, as accused, I sometimes crack myself up). This wouldn't have been a real problem except for the brief moment I thought I had inadvertently tweeted the wrong word and was in a temporary panic until the tweet actually posted, and I could see the word virtuous. I started paying closer attention at that point. I would have been at a loss trying to explain that one to Mrs. Tony C.

Overall, things went rather smooth though. Several of my Facebook friends in the service asked afterwards what I was doing because their phones vibrated every time I updated. Most of them know better than leave their ringer on in church because I've been know to play Dave Tvedt's game of 'gotcha ringer on?' If you're listed in my Contact're fair game any given Sunday I can catch Mrs. Tony C not watching.

Pastor Derek's a pretty forward looking guy, so when I caught up to him later before the evening service, I told him that I had made church history and how:

Pastor Derek: So you tweeted the service? Who did you tweet too?

Tony C: Well, it went to everyone who follows me on Twitter, and each tweet also updated on my Facebook status.

Pastor Derek: Alright. And what does that mean exactly?

Tony C: As you made points from your outline, I sent those bullet points out as tweets. I know you're not big on Twitter (see his Heavy D Blog post).

Pastor Derek: No, that's cool.

As you can see from the lack of activity on the blog I encouraged him to start, he's a forward thinker alright...he's just still living in the Reagan Administration. Did I mention he's a fabulous speaker and trendy dresser?


David said...

What kind of Blackberry do you have?

jasonS said...

Glad to know you made some history. I used my phone for Bible passages recently during a conference I attended, but I don't know if I could tweet fast enough to follow everything. And if I tweeted my own sermon as it happened, we might be there all day. :)

David S Johndrow said...

Oh, and regarding the blog. ;o)

I Facebooked the events.

- "Let Your Kingdom Come" is a great song!

- I just shouted "yes Lord" and the girl in front of me spilled her coffee.

- I saw that pastor making his way to the front with markers and paper and asked him if we were going to have arts and crafts instead of a sermon.

- I left early after seeing your Tweets on Proverbs 31 though - it was better than our sermon on Joseph in Egypt.

Thanks for sharing.

photogr said...

Another first.

ReadingRosie said...

Personally, I think that is a good idea especially if you have a pastor that outlines.

Tracy said...

Can't help but think that not only did you share the sermon with others; I bet you remember it much more clearly than you would have otherwise.

Anonymous said...

You are a funny, funny guy Tony C!

I'm glad you don't go to church where I do because you'd bust me with my phone on one Sunday morning and embarrass me to death.

Keep the stories coming!

Beth B.

Z said...

this just cracked me UP! You are such a good writer..thanks!

keep tweeting...
um..what IS that? :-)
Your electronically challenged blogger buddy!

katdish said...

I'm not allowed to use my phone during church, even if I am using a bible app...which is probably a good thing knowing my tendancy to be distracted.

L said...

i pulled out my bb instead of my Bible a few weeks ago at church...surprisingly I haven't been asked to put it away yet!!!

God created technology to use for His kingdom! :-)

Matt @ The Church of No People said...

Tony, I think that's awesome! You don't have to convince me it's a good idea. Keep up the good work of trying to put Jesus out there.