In December 2010, the first gathering of the Mobile Ministry Forum occurred. The following report is a summary of came out of that event.
The Mobile Ministry Forum
Dec. 2-4, 2010
From December 2-4, 2010, the first-ever “Mobile Ministry Forum” assembled 16 mission strategists representing 15 organizations to focus exclusively on the mobile platform’s potential role in the fulfillment of the Great Commission. Outcomes included plans to develop a mobile ministry training curriculum, establish a global “mobile practitioner” community and expand an existing database of mobile research. Never before in human history has there been a technology as highly personal, rapidly deployed, and universally embraced as the mobile device. The mobile device presents a unique, two-way communication channel that represents the most important technology for kingdom advancement in the next 20 years. Here is a brief slide show of the gathering.
- Campus Crusade for Christ International – Global Technology Office
- Christian Broadcasting Network
- Distant Shores Media
- International Mission Board
- Jesus Film Project – Global Short Film Network
- Kiosk Evangelism
- Mission Aviation Fellowship – Learning Technologies Division
- Mobile Ministry Magazine
- Role Model Software
- Visual Story Network
- Worldwide Evangelization for Christ (WEC) International – Mobile Advance
- Wycliffe Bible Translators
An overview of our agenda for this meeting:
- Clarify the reasons for mobile ministry
- Define mobile ministry
- Identify what a global Christian mobile movement would look like
- Identify gaps and obstacles needing to be addressed for such a global mobile ministry movement to take place
- Identify, prioritize and assign action steps that will address the opportunities/gaps/obstacles and which will be carried out by Summit participants (or their agencies) within the next year.
- “Why mobile ministry?” Top Ten List:
- The mobile is the world’s most ubiquitous media device (5 billion units, cf www.physorg.com/news198405924.html) and can provide Gospel access to hundreds of millions outside the reach of the Internet or other media.
- The mobile is a near-universal cultural insider and presenting the gospel via this “cultural insider” helps to minimize the foreignness of it associated with use of other, “cultural outsider”, media.
- The mobile is an individual’s most personal/intimate media device and when the gospel is shared via this device it is shared in one of the person’s most personal/intimate spaces.
- The mobile provides one of the most powerful media platforms for two-way communications and the development of real relationships.
- The mobile provides a powerful way to reach vast numbers of the most difficult to reach (hidden, oral, women and children, etc.)
- The mobile is the device that is present in the majority of circumstances when believers come into contact with the lost and is typically the only media device that could be leveraged in those encounters.
- Mobile ministry provides one of the most economically viable means for Christian content creation and distribution.
- Mobile ministry allows for the viral spread of Christian media content.
- The early mover opportunity is still available (the earlier in a media channel’s life one is able to obtain a hearing the cheaper the initial investment and the greater the likelihood of being able get and maintain an audience) but the door is closing due to increased interest in commercial, etc. use of the medium as well as efforts to control it by governments.
- Research shows that the majority of Internet usage will be through mobile devices, rather than through personal computers, by 2015 at the latest. As such, even Internet ministry, as a whole, will need to be “mobile first”.
- Working Definition of “mobile ministry”
Connecting and engaging the lost with the life-changing message, community and mission of Christ through personal, mobile technology.
- Vision Statement for a Global Mobile Ministry Movement
That within ten years every unreached person will have had a chance to encounter Christ and His kingdom in a compelling, contextualized fashion through their personal mobile device.
- Gaps and obstacles that should be addressed in order to see the occurrence of a global mobile ministry
- Awareness gap. Too few people and ministries are aware of mobile ministry’s existence/potential.
- Research and/or experience gap. Both a paucity of research on mobile ministry as well as a lack of mobile ministry experimentation and consequent viable ministry models upon which to build.
- Lack of any form of “road map” helping ministries work through the pluses/minuses of the various mobile ministry modalities (SMS, Apps, Mobile Web, etc.) in order to determine the optimal mobile ministry strategy for their outreach.
- Lack of how-to’s/best practices documentation enabling ministries to successfully implement their chosen mobile ministry strategy.
- Legal restrictions preventing content from being able to be converted for use and distribution on the mobile platform and/or translated into other languages where it could be used.
- Funding gap (funds are mostly in the hands of those who are either unaware of the opportunity or resistant to it due to its new/unproven nature)
- Technical difficulties (interoperability issues with multiple OS’s, screen sizes and resolutions, etc.)
- Security concerns
The group committed to undertaking these actionable outcomes within the next 6-12 months. Lead persons for each action area are listed after the project.
- Compile a list of mobile ministry thinkers and practitioners as well as top secular mobile thinkers and practitioners (Keith- preliminary list of ministries involved with mobile ministry available here and secular mobile thinkers and practitioners here)
- Develop best practices/how-tos for various mobile ministry modalities (mobile media content creation and distribution, SMS texting, mobile web, etc.) (Keith/Antoine/Ed)
- Produce a “getting started in mobile ministry” course (John, Antoine, Brian)
- Develop an in-depth mobile ministry training and certification course (Stephen, Antoine, John)
- Create a mobile ministry podcast series (Brad R)
- Create a mobile ministry search engine (John- completed and available at http://bit.ly/searchmobile)
- Investigate the development of a central hub site/resource for mobile ministry (Clyde, Brad R, Stephen, Ken, Ed, Tim)
- Expand a central research database giving a detailed view of localized mobile status and usage patterns around the world (Ed, Antoine)
- Strengthen the Mobile Ministry Forum partnership including ongoing communications, further gatherings, and the addition of other thinkers / practitioners / ministries (MMF Steering Committee- Antoine, Clyde, Dave, Keith, Stephen)
- Publish mobile ministry advocacy item/s (Antoine, Brad)
- Partner with academic institutions for mobile ministry research (Antoine)
- [Continue to] Oversee the collaborative outcomes and momentum from the gathering (Steering Committee – Antoine, Clyde, Dave, Keith, Stephen)
Mobile Ministry Resources
- Internet Evangelism Day – Mobile Resources
- Mobile Advance
- Mobile Evangelism Wiki
- Mobile Ministry Magazine
- Visual Story Network – Mobile Media Group
- Twitter- Search for #mobmin, the mobile ministry #hashtag
A slide show of the Forum’s initial gathering is available at http://bit.ly/ehmIxy.
For More Information
For more information, contact members of the steering committee:
- Antoine Wright – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Clyde Taber – email@example.com
- Dave Hackett – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Keith Williams – email@example.com
- Stephen Keel – firstname.lastname@example.org