Archives For Technology


Starting June 1st I decided that I would take a break from Facebook until August 1st so that I could devote more time to the ministry, to my family and to my God. I must say that I still have not done very well at all three but not checking Facebook all the time has helped. I will make a confession that I got on Facebook a couple of times because I had to send someone a Camp Staff Packet who does not check their email. But I did not browse nor check updates or messages. Just sent a message. Whew…I feel better after that!

When I first started with my Facebooklessness there were some mental challenges, nay devilish temptations, that I had to overcome:

  • What if I missed a ministry opportunity?
  • What if I missed some important information that came on?
  • What if a door was opened on Facebook and I miss it because of this “fast”?

On and on came the temptations and pretty soon I came to the conclusion that if something were important enough to occur on Facebook two things were bound to happen:

  1. Either God was going to reveal this door to me some other way (he can do that you know?) or,
  2. God was going to put someone else there instead of me to help that situation.

Either way I felt as if God was in control and that he either uses me or does not use me but either way he gets the glory.

As I am halfway through my journey I wanted to give you some lessons I have learned (am learning) about my facebooklessness:

  1. You don’t know how dependent you can be on something until it is taken away from you. Learning to do without is a lot harder and takes more self-control than having it all.
  2. I never realized how much Facebook was about gossip. In the conversations I have had with people I noticed there is the “Did you see what they had on Facebook?” It has been a real joy to be able to say, “No.”
  3. The world still goes on without my participation. I used to think I had to contribute to Facebook so that people who are (supposedly) interested in me could stay aware of my whereabouts, studies, pictures, etc. The fact is that out of my 1000+ friends only 10-15% probably look at my statuses. Score a 10-15% on a test and the teacher might consider you completely useless.
  4. I am not tempted as much. Please don’t read into this much but I am a male and part of my struggle is the opposite sex. Most guys appreciate the female anatomy and most (if they are honest) struggle when women wear revealing clothes or, as is the case with Facebook, little-to-no clothes. I don’t have to look at girls (sisters-in-Christ?) and their proud pictures of bikini’s as they pop-up on my news feed. I don’t have to get frustrated by that because I don’t see it at all.  It has been a blessing.
  5. Time has been diverted to what’s most important. I will say that I have spent hours more this month than last month with my kids. Why? Simple…time. I don’t look at my phone for updates, or messages or anything because it does not matter.

Facebook is not intrinsically evil but like many things can be used for both good and bad. Fasting may not be for you but I have really grown from it. I look forward to another Facebookless month. Try it.


While running this afternoon in the YMCA I was watching highlights from President Obama where he made some statement about firms insourcing in regards to creating jobs (I think) and I started thinking about youth ministry.  Before we begin I want to define the terms of insourcing and outsourcing.

Insource: the practice of subcontracting work to another company that is under the same general ownership (Dictionary.com).  

Outsource: (of a company or organization) to purchase (goods) or subcontract (services) from an outside supplier or source (Dictionary.com)

A lot of times we talk about empowering other people in our church to help (volunteer) with our ministries and to serve in areas of leadership where they are most gifted.  This is an example of insourcing where we use the talents and abilities that are present in our local church.  Scripture supports insourcing as 1 Corinthians 12 uses a body metaphor to talk about different types of people in the local church.  Yet, there are times when we must call on people who are not in our local church to help with our ministries.  At Main Street we outsource our T-Shirts to UthStuph and sometimes we use a company called Sasquatch Design Company.  Other ministries outsource all types of things like web design, app design, organization, PowerPoint backgrounds, media presentations.

I wonder when should we insource and when should we outsource?  Also what are some guidelines you would use when using someone outside of the local church?

Give me some feedback and tomorrow I will give some of my suggestions.


This comes from http://mashable.com/2011/10/21/facebook-infographic/ 


Here’s a chance for you to win the VIVID curriculum.  Simply watch the movie and give me your feedback in the comments below.  No need to subscribe to my blog (I would love for you to but know you get tons of emails anyway) but just leave a comment below.  Tomorrow I will select a random person from the comment section (using Random.com) and then mail you the curriculum.  It is that easy!  Be sure to post your comment with your name and not anonymous otherwise I can’t use you.

So let the fun begin…


The Marvels of Music: How Rock ‘n’ Roll Propelled the Teenager

By Joe Wells

Rock and Roll, in all its forms, gives us a microphone to communicate with the world. It has the power to bring nationalities and generations together, to elect world leaders, and to move people.  No other art form has the social significance of Rock and Roll. You simply cannot understand Western Culture without taking a serious look at this music.[1]

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, OH, is set to capture in time the people and events that have contributed to this genre of music. In it’s 150,000 square-feet , there are thousands of pieces of musical and cultural history on display. However, as the above statement claims, rock and roll is more than simply the music. It represents a morph that captured the American society as rhythm and blues combined with folk music, gospel hymns, blues, country, and bluegrass to ignite a fire throughout the younger generation following the second World War.

With America being deeply segregated, the early pioneers of rock and roll didn’t always get their due. Individuals such as Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton, black musicians who played jazz music, were just as talented as some of their white counter-parts such as Glenn Miller; however, America was not ready to accept on equal grounds the black-musician nor the strong, pulsing rhythms, designed to stir a dancing crowd, often associated with rhythm and blues. Songs such as “Don’t Want No Skinny Woman,” “Gotta Give Me What-cha Got,” and “I Want a Bowlegged Woman” made it very clear that the message of this brand of music was highly sexual and nothing that a respectable teenager would dare hear coming out of the family radio, at least not when parents were around to listen.

Even with the adults pushing against it, “race music” as some called it, began to pick up steam through the airwaves as more and more radio stations begana girl hiking devoting programming time to it. Disk jockeys became a more powerful influence, as teen audiences would form relationships with their favorite, generating a loyalty and a following that would set the scene for the rock ‘n’ roll explosion.

In 1951, out of Cleveland, OH, a radio disk jockey named Alan Freed launched the “Moondog Show” on WJW radio. It was designed to be a show that would attract teenagers from all walks of life and from every race, capitalizing on the huge market. While there were beautiful songs atop the charts, songs like the Weavers’ “Good Night Irene” (1950) and “Tennessee Waltz” (1951) by Patti Page, none would cause the dancing stir that could be found playing in the “Moondog House”, a term used to denote Freed’s show. As the music played, and with the microphone turned on, Freed would drum along on a telephone book and shout with the music, encouraging the teen listeners to dance along. [2]

With his popularity and following growing amongst the teenagers across racial lines, Freed launched out into the area of hosting live concerts, most notably “The Moondog Coronation Ball”, held on March 21, 1952.  A crowd of over 9,000, most of them teenagers, poured into the Cleveland Arena for a night of music and dancing. While the music played inside, there were twice as many outside that didn’t want to be left out, so they stormed the gates and crashed the concert. Billboard and Cashbox magazines covered the story, generating national publicity for Freed and this brand of rock’n’roll, a term he started using to describe the music he was promoting.[3]

Enter “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll”!

Born in 1935, Elvis Presley taught himself how to play the guitar. He would frequent Gospel singings, where he would soak in the styles and abilities of those who sang the spirituals as well as listen in on the radio to various blues artists such as Big Bill Broonzy and Arthur Crudup, much to his parents disapproval. In 1955, Elvis entered into a contract with RCA Victor that would forever change his life, the scene of rock ‘n’ roll, and the teenagers who would flock to see “The Pelvis” perform, a name given to him because of the provocative movements Elvis would make while performing. Even with this seemingly good fit for the time and the music, Elvis was labeled a rebellious individual in the way he dressed and the music he would sing. It wasn’t until 1956, with Ed Sullivan’s compliment that Elvis was a “real decent fine boy”, that both he and rock ‘n’ roll were propelled into the popular market overnight. [4] Aided by Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, with it’s whole-some image of teenage life, what was once considered rebellious teenage music, quickly became a mass money-making machine that steam rolled its way into mainstream America, forever changing the teenage culture.

Now fast forward to today – the success of marketing to teens in the area of music has propelled the American teenager in the area of technology. The ear buds found in every teens ear and the iTunes accounts overflowing with music and videos are all a result of a purposed and focused effort. When you consider where most teens are first introduced into technology on a major way – music is usually what attracts.

So why look into the history of music as it pertains to the teenagers of today? The answer is simply, because it’s a lesson of how money talks in a culture and how many will conform to what the culture pushes. That push has not stopped to this day. It’s just intensified as the rock ‘n’ roll of the 1950s has become pure in the shadow of the rock ‘n’ roll music of today. Regardless, the message is the same, we must not allow culture to set the bar! Paul wrote in Romans 12: 2, “And do not be conformed to this world…” (NASB).

Joe Wells has a passion for spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a heart for sharing that Truth with teenagers. He has worked with young people as a youth minister and has spoken at various youth events. Joe has traveled extensively on mission trips and has also served as a pulpit minister and education minister. He holds a BS from Middle Tennessee State University and has done Master level work at Bear Valley Bible Institute and holds a Masters of New Testament from Freed Hardeman University. Joe and his wife Erin reside in Spring Hill, Tennessee and are the proud parents of two children. He works full time for FOCUS Press and is the editor of Kaio Magazine which is a publication geared towards teenagers.


[2] Palladino, Grace. “Great Balls of Fire.” Teenagers an American History. New York: Basic, 1996. 121. Print.

[3] Jackson, John A. Big Beat Heat: Alan Freed and the Early Years of Rock & Roll. New York: Schirmer, 1991. 3-5. Print.

[4] The Ed Sullivan Show, January 6, 1957.

 


Like any tool, Facebook should be used in an appropriate manner.  There are correct ways to use certain tools and, obviously, there are incorrect ways to use them.  Of course, from a Christian worldview, the purpose of Facebook may be completely different from someone who is not a Christian.  Since this is my blog and the lens at which I approach the world (or at least try to) is through Jesus Christ that is the way I want to approach Facebook.  I have compiled some general observations that range from Facebook annoyance to serious theological concern.  In no particular order here is my list to help you avoid being THAT girl or THAT guy.  Some of this is a bit sarcastic so please take my humor where it applies and do not be so full of yourself. 

  • The “comment-on-everything” person – There you are with your mobile device or at your laptop with WiFi commenting on this picture, on that statement, or this status.  When I look at your profile and see you have made 35 comments in one day I start to wonder if you are ever going to get out of the house and see the sun.  You know who you are…sitting there commenting on a photo 12 times so that when I get to my computer I have 65 notifications and it is ______________ commented on your photo…12 times!!!  Keep your comments to a minimum. 
  • The “hidden-message-status” person – This person tries to be all sneaky with their statuses as if what they are saying could only be decoded by special operatives in the CIA.  They make inferences, implications and try to be sneaky with their statuses like, “_________ is thinking of him” or, “___________ wonders what may come of this” and, “______________wishes that just did not happen.”  Look, if you want us to ask what happened, who you are thinking about and what may come of whatever it is that you are hiding than tell us otherwise do not make us go through FBI training to decode your weird status update.  If you want us to know then tell us!  But that leaves me to the next person…
  • The “my-life-is-going-to-end-status” person – This is one of the most annoying people out there because they pour out their raw, uncensored (I would add uneducated) emotions into a status update so that everyone can see.  Examples are “___________ is thinking that her life is ruined and there is no help in sight” and, “_____________ has been crying all night over her,” and my personal favorite, “_______________is in so much pain and does not know what to do.”  Look, I get it….you are struggling and you want some help but we do not want to see that.  Get the help you need from a counselor, a minister, a close friend but people on Facebook do not care that your life is ruined.  Most of the time your status the next day is “_____________ is on cloud-9 about him.” 
  • The “deep-quote-status” person – I am guilty of this but cut and pasting from a quote page and putting it on your status does not make you smarter.  Anyone can press CTRL+C and then CTRL+V.  I learned that in 9th grade typing class.  Be original people.  Also don’t plagiarise quotes…tell who and where it is from if you put it on there instead of  passing it off as if you are smart. 

Enough with the statuses…

  • The Farmville/Quiz Takers/Application Person – You annoy me more than anybody.  You sit there and play a weird game on Facebook that really does not matter and invite me and other people to play all the while taking up space on my news feed.  Shame on you…commmunicate with people instead of answering quizzes, building crops and other silly stuff. 
  • The “I-love-Jesus-religion-but-I-am-in-a-picture-at-a-party-with-alcohol” Person – You are the ones who say, “Jesus is my savior” yet you have pictures on your profile of you and others getting your drink on at a college party…not to mention you are underage and I can report you to the authorities if I wanted (I don’t but I could).  Look if Jesus was really your Savior you would not have pictures like that up there nor would you be touting movies like Mean Girls, Sex in the City, The Hangover and Scary Movie as some of your favorites.  Quit being hypocrite…maybe for your religion you should put: “Putting Jesus in the backseat for now,” or, “Sowing my wild oats,” or, “Apathetic at this point,” or, “Maybe later.”  I would believe that and actually think better of you.  Speaking of pictures…
  • The “revealing-but-not-really-picture” person – Facebook does not allow nudity on people’s pictures but there sure are many who are proud of their bodies.  Whether it is girls and their skimpy bathing suits showing everything but or guys taking pictures of themselves of their ripped abs in the mirror it is really annoying.  Really, why did you put that picture on your profile?  Because you are proud of your bod and want everybody to know it.  First of all, your body is not yours to begin with…it’s the Lord’s.  You are living in his temple so treat it as such.  Secondly, as a dad, I do not want people looking at my girls and as a husband I do not want people looking at my wife.  So…cover it up, hide it, tuck it in and be respectful 🙂

Hope you enjoyed this series and have learned how to use Facebook responsibly.  Love you all.


We should not think that Facebook is an evil, diabolical vehicle maintained and operated by Satan himself.  Like most technology, it is not evil in-and-of itself but it always contains the potential to become evil when used for the wrong reasons.  Having said that, Facebook can be used for so much good that many churches, organizations, and individuals have been able to give God glory because of Facebook. 

On an individual level we can encourage people on Facebook. 

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up.”  (1 Thess. 5:11)

We have a group on Facebook  called MAIN STREET MINISTRY and when people join this group I can send every member an e-mail about a person who recently passed away or a person who is having surgery.  When they receive that e-mail (message) they can either write on the person’s wall or send them a message that offers words of comfort or let’s the person know that prayers are offered on their behalf. 

Also events can be created for important congregational days.  Say your church is having a Family and Friends Day and you want to invite people to this then you can send invitations to all of your friends and your friends can send invitations and so on and so forth.  Here’s another evangelistic tool…you can also purchase FACEBOOK ADS  which target people in your area and a certain age bracket.  The ads appear on the right hand screen and when people click them it will send them to your event page.  You can do it for a few days or a whole month depending on your budget. 

Facebook can also be good to help reunite those who we thought were long gone.  I have rekindled old friendships and made contact with people who I never thought I would if it were not for Facebook.  Nostalgia can be harmful in some ways as some want to relive the glory days but it is great for people who want to let others know that they are praying for them.  I have been able to minister to old friends because of Facebook where as I would not have been able to do so.  Facebook is good because it allows us to be accountable to each other in a public manner.  If someone is clearly struggling then we have an opportunity to “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2) in a quick and accessible way.  When we see people who are clearly doing things they should not we have a way to reprove those who need correction.   

There is plenty of good and righteous aspects in Facebook that could (and should) be used for the glory of God. What ideas have you had?  Share those in the comments section.


In this post we will briefly look at some remaining major components of Facebook and then tomorrow we will look at some practical applications concerning Facebook.  These first few posts are probably dull to many of you as you already know how Facebook works but the purpose is for parents to have information who would not otherwise know.

MESSAGING – (See picture to the right) This function allows you to send and receive messages much like e-mail.  It almost appears like a thread of conversations (which Hotmail has coincidently started doing) when you send e-mails to the same person.  You can send a message to yourself or up to 20 people.  This function cannot be seen by the public since it only works in a person’s “inbox.” 

NEWS FEED – This is a function that simply displays news as soon as a person sign’s on to Facebook.  It displays news of people you are in most contact with or it can display news for particular groups of interest. 

CHAT – (See Picture to the left) This function works much like instant messaging does.  If a person is online (the picture to the left shows online friends and they online if a green dot is to the right of their name) then you can click on their name and chat with them (picture to the left and box to the left).  This function is not seen by the public either as it is live chat between you and another person.  Sometimes you may chat with numerous people at one time.  I am not aware of a chat room function for Facebook where you and a group of people can talk at one time like the old AOL had. 

GROUPS – This is simply a group that is started for a particular organization.  For example, Main Street Church of Christ has a group called Main Street Ministry.  You can have discussions on the group page, post videos, pictures and even send out mass messages to everyone in the group. 

CAUSES AND EVENTS – Often there is a particular cause that comes up like “Support AIDS Awareness” in which people join.  Some are serious and others are, well, inappropriate.  For example, I saw a cause that said, “If you hope Obama is assassinated” cause.  Technically that is a capital offence but there are other inappropriate causes.  Events are specific opportunities for parties, campaigns, retreats, or anything a person sets up for an event.  For example, I set up an event for Parent’s night Out where people could join and find out specifics on time, place and activities.   

Those are just a few functions and this is the basics of Facebook.  Tomorrow I want to discuss the need for privacy settings and what parents, youth ministers and teenagers can do to remain safe from danger.


In 2005 a study indicated that 85% of all college students had a Facebook account (Source).   That study is now 5 years old so I would estimate that over 90% of college students use Facebook.  People in our congregation use Facebook as I see comments left and right about this event in their life and that event in their life.  Our teenagers talk now more on the internet and cell phone than they do face-to-face.  I often am asked, “Did you hear about so-and-so?”  To which I respond, “No I didn’t.”  Then the conversation usually begins with, “Well I heard on Facebook….”  Facebook has become part of our lives in a way in which everyday conversation hedges on Facebook.  “Did you hear that….” or, “You know what I saw yesterday on Facebook?”  It is all a mess if you ask me!  Facebook, in my opinion, has become an issue for three important reasons.  First, I believe Facebook has created a false way in which humans interact with each other.  Teenagers text, instant message (IM) and chat and there is no interpersonal communication.  I hear of people quitting jobs via Facebook, getting together and breaking up via Facebook and the ever reliable announcement of an engagement, a pregnancy or the fact you got a C+ instead of a C- on a Chemistry final!  Secondly, Facebook induces what I call cyber gossip.  you may have heard this as “Facebook stalking.”  This is what gets on my last nerve is when people look at a person’s profile and sees information then checks the other person’s profile to confirm it then sends a comment (FOR EVERYONE TO SEE) telling them about the juicy news.  Admit it…deep down inside you spend hours looking at photos, status updates and comments because you like to know juicy information.  Someone once came up to me and said, “Hey, I am worried about ___________ because I saw him in a picture with a beer in his hand!”  A) This person should not have put the picture for everyone to see and B) Did you call this person to let THEM know of your concern and C) why are you meddling in people’s business anyways (I don’t care if it is public information).  Finally, Facebook has become nothing more, at least to me, than idolatry.  I hear of some of my teenagers spending hours a day looking at Facebook.  HOURS!!!  With technology you can receive updates via text or send updates via text.  If you have an internet plan on your phone you can check people’s profiles (i.e. stalk people) all day long.  The opportunities are endless.  Anything that takes your time away that much from what is important is idolatry. 

No doubt you are coming up with counter-arguments in your mind about the validity of Facebook and all of the good things that come from it.  Churches have groups, people pray for one another, people get birthday wishes (all be it still impersonal), long-lost friends are reconnected, and so forth. 

I just can’t see myself succumbing to the addiction and calling myself a disciple.  No doubt I will be the last one to find out that so-and-so are no longer together.  I will probably be the last to figure out that a teenager is seriously depressed because the put “seriously depressed” on their status.  I guess I won’t get to join all of those cool groups and ever-important causes.  Perhaps I will just have to spend more time with my family, with my Bible and with my wife in prayer and serving the community.  Wait a minute…isn’t that what I supposed to do anyways?  Maybe this won’t be so bad after all…we will see.


Internet cafe in GuilinI think this is the post many people will read and think to themselves, “What an idiot!  He does not have a clue!”  I am fine with that.  I think this may be the post where many people disagree with me and think that I am some radical theologian who has nothing better to do than to sit at his desk and whine about the nit-picky, inconsequential things that do not pertain to “life and godliness.”  I am fine with that statement also.  But hear me out (or read) with an open heart and a willing mind.  Please understand that this is not a judgment on those who participated and a call for you to repent or you will die!  That is not what this is about at all and if you jump to that conclusion then understand that you do not know me that well if you make that assumption.  Having said that…

So last week I started seeing all of these Facebook statuses come up from girls with simply a color listed.  Some listed “white,” some listed, “pink,” and some listed, “nothing.”  I thought to myself, “That’s odd.  I obviously missed something.”  So I looked at some threads (equivalent to Facebook stalking 😉 ) and quickly I could see the point of the colors as more women started to tell each other about what was occurring and I got a bad feeling.  The point of the colors (so I am told) is that it is to promote breast cancer awareness and so women are to post their current bra color in an effort to promote awareness (Source 1; Source 2; Source 3).  Facebook, Inc. says that it has yet to find the origin of this awareness but some believe it started in the Detroit area but sources differ.  Ok, I will get to the point.  

I have a real problem with this because I believe it is not an effort to promote awareness so much as it is a fun way to show off (see Source 2 above) what color our bra is.  If you disagree with me then answer this, “When you posted your bra color did it immediately spurn you to go to the doctor and get a mammogram?”  Furthermore did you realize that National Breast Cancer Awareness is not in the month of January but rather in the month of October (www.nbcam.org)?  Don’t you have a problem with doing something that you have no clue of where it came from?  As I looked at all of the statuses I was disturbed because it was more about bragging about the color of your bra (or even the material or even the lack of a bra) than it was about promoting “awareness” of the deadly disease of cancer.  

The sad part is that it was an incredibly creative way at spreading news which, perhaps, may have turned out to be effective in the long run.  But, the problem I have is that too many men (and young boys I imagine) look at the colors and perhaps think about a particular woman’s breasts more than they do a particular cause.  Not every man does this but men are wired differently than women and they are programmed to think physically before they think emotionally.  Girls, if this sounds stupid please note that God made you very different from guys.  If we promote colon cancer by talking about our underwear color then you would probably be grossed out and want to vomit. 

As a husband, I don’t want my wife telling other people about the color of her bra because it is nobody’s business but hers and mine.  I think it was a popular thing to do that was “fun” and “exciting” but I don’t think we need to talk about our bra colors to promote awareness but awareness still needs to be promoted.  

I close by pleading with you not to feel “judged” because that is not my intention.  I just hate that all of this happened like that.  Below is a verse that I want to put for your thoughts: 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 (TNIV)