Church in the 21st Century featuring Carlos Whittaker, Bobby Gruenewald, Scott Hodge, Cynthia Ware and Conway Edwards

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In this 60 minute session from the 2009 Echo conference, Carlos Whittaker, Bobby Gruenewald, Scott Hodge, Cynthia Ware and Conway Edwards talk about trends in the Church. Carlos Whittaker is an artist, pastor, musician, experience architect and Web 2.0 junkie. Bobby Gruenewald oversees the Digerati, Media Design, and Communications teams at LifeChurch.tv. Scott Hodge is the Lead Pastor of The Orchard Community. Cynthia Ware is Executive Director of CFCC. Conway Edwards is Lead Pastor of One Community Church. 

As you watch this session, take notes and write down thoughts about how this session can impact your ministry.


DOES THE CHURCH LEADERSHIP CONVERSATION FOCUS TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE ON INNOVATION? The panelists gave comments that included: too little because culture is changing dramatically and rapidly with the example that new members come through websites, we need to be where people are in technology, be careful to innovate with the mission of local church in mind, too much if technology replaces relationships. What would your answer be? How and why does your church use technology?
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WHAT IS YOUR SOURCE OF INSPIRATION? The panelist gave comments that included: small church culture, international culture, particular well-known pastors/artists/communicators, people who are asking deeper questions, those looking into new innovations such as online church and evangelism and spiritual formation websites, understanding how others use technology, and looking at those who are taking risks. What would your answer be? Which of those answers inspired you?
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ARE THERE ANY CURRENT MEDIA OR TECHNOLOGY TRENDS THAT GET YOU EXCITED? The panelists gave comments that included: tools like Twitter allows access to leaders or obscure leaders to have influence, tools like video chat that connect leaders from all over the world for learning and encouragement, unique apps that promote spiritual formation and connection, tools that intercept particular searches with ads that promote church online, and texting services that allow pastors to interact with congregation during services with feedback and questions. What would your answer be? Are there any that would work in your context?
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HOW DO YOU CREATE A CULTURE THAT EMBRACES CHANGE? The panelists gave comments that included: get to the heart issue and not just changing surface, address the emotional attachment for the "ugly" couch or non-working programs, change is a constant journey, talk about the theology of change, and make sure the organization is always ready for change. What would your answer be? What are the "ugly" couches in your organization?
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I LIKE TO SEE CHURCHES USE MEDIA AND/OR TECHNOLOGY TO _______. The panelists gave comments that included: drive home a spiritual truth, help re-shape people's perception of church and Christianity, and create followers of Christ. What would your answer be? Does your church use media in any of these ways?
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CAN EVANGELISM HAPPEN ON THE INTERNET? HOW? The panelists gave comments that included: through each of us as we intersect others online, one-on-one live prayer online, and physical anonymity can create more authenticity. Do you agree or disagree? What would your answer be?
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WHERE DO YOU DRAW THE LINE IN A CHURCH ON SPENDING MONEY ON "TECH-EXCELLENCE" VS. GIVING TOWARDS OTHERS/MISSIONS? The panelists gave comments that included: ask "is it going towards mission or machine?", hopefully both are trying to reach others for Christ, technology can educate on what's going on around the world, consider hardware cost differences in a physical church and online church, use the free tools on the internet, and the answer will be unique in every context concerning excellence and effectiveness. What would your answer be? Do you feel that decision leans too far one way in your context?
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HOW DO WE LEVERAGE SKILLS/IDEAS IN OTHER CHURCHES TO CONNECT US AND MINIMIZE THE DUPLICATION OF EFFORT? The panelists gave comments that included: easier to work together online, partnering to learn from each other, consider our unique roles to reach the world for Christ and offer without competition, intentionality, and the web makes collaboration simple. What would your answer be? Do you sense ego and competition in your context? What can you contribute? What partnership or help do you need?
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IN THE FUTURE, IS AN ONLINE COMPONENT GOING TO BE AN INTEGRAL PART OF EVERY CHURCH? The panelists gave comments that included: technology important for the (cap C) Church, can't say that it's the only way to be successful, still are at the early stages of the web, transforms what community looks like, a group of people online under the authority of Christ is a church community, and consider how it can mobilize. Do you agree or disagree? What would your answer be?
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WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT ANY CHURCH CAN DO TO BETTER LEVERAGE THE TOOLS THAT ARE OUT THERE? The panelists gave comments that included: find and involve young people who are already using media, from the launch have a tech guy on staff, collaborate with others to find money in budget, and take advantage of what is already developed. What would your answer be? Which of these suggestions could you utilize?
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IS THE 20 MINUTES OF PROGRAMMING COMPARED TO 40 MINUTES OF SPEAKING (IN TYPICAL SERVICE) BECOMING OBSOLETE? The panelists gave comments that included: some are experimenting with creating short films to deliver message, more storytelling, African American church is not changing now, and more interaction between person and God instead of person and speaker during teaching. What would your answer be? How do you feel about that?
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For information or to purchase tickets to experience next year's Echo Conference live, go to echoconference.com.