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We see it every day. We are at an event and someone holds up their phone to video or take a picture. Or they are looking down at their phone at your church service. You think they are distracted, not engaged with what is going on. Can’t they focus on the service and be engaged?Connected Disciple

Here’s the rub. They aren’t distracted. They are engaged. They are sharing the video of the service on YouTube. They are checking in on Four Square. They are always connected and they are always sharing their experiences. They do it as it happens. This is the new Connected Disciple. They are sharing with their friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and via text messages. The question is are they doing it at your service? If not, why not?

Engagement is completely different now. It is “in the moment” physically and digitally. We are becoming increasingly networked with individuals amassing hundreds or thousands of friends and followers. And it is in multiple networks. What they say to me matters more than ever before. Word of mouth used to be one-to-one. Now is one-to-many and that many could be thousands for real influencers.

There is a new kind of currency. In the network economy, there is the audience who has an audience that has most of the influence. This influence is changing everything about how disciples connect with our ministry.

The balance of power used to be to the church message at the service. The new way of engaging and influence gives all the power to the disciple to amplify the good news message of Jesus. It is not as much about what you say but what they say about what you say.  Do you encourage your members to check in on Foursquare when they arrive? Do you encourage your members to tweet relevant portions of the service as it happens? Do you encourage your members to video relevant portions of the service and post them to YouTube or Facebook?

Will any of that make a difference in how you decide to transform your ministry? It does make a difference in spreading the good news of Jesus.

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” ~~Jesus Matthew 5:14-16