Despite the rapid rise in the use of mobile technology, too many churches too infrequently ask themselves those very questions. For many, the idea of adapting to new technology movements is off putting; for others, it’s downright scary.
But don’t be scared. The answer to the questions above can be best consumed by breaking down and analyzing the following terms: mobile ministry, mobile technology, and vision.
Here are answers to 7 Infrequently Asked Questions about mobile ministry:
1. What is ministry?
The mission for every Christian ministry is essentially the same. It can be defined as the execution of three specific commands given by Jesus: to GO, SOW, and REAP (See Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, and Mark 4:26-29).
But no ministry can progress without a vision, the guiding principle that informs the specific message, goals, programs, and projects. For churches, the vision is often tailored to the demographics of the membership or the surrounding community.
2. What is mobile technology?
First, it is helpful to define technology as a tool used by people to carry out processes. Mobile technology, specifically, are the portable (handheld or wearable) devices and the applications they use to send or receive data over mobile networks.
3. What are mobile devices?
The most general categories of mobile devices include: basic phones (which only handle SMS, and sometimes can be used for mobile internet browsing); smartphones (which can handle any mobile data); and tablets (which can handle any mobile data, but cannot be used to make or receive calls over a cellular network). Emerging mobile devices include such wearable technology as the smartwatch Samsung Galaxy Gear, and the Google Glass, an eyeglass that delivers mobile data directly in front of your eyeballs.
The “brain” of these devices is the mobile operating system. The most popular ones are: Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8.1, and Blackberry’s Blackberry 10.
4. What is mobile data?
The common types of mobile data include: text messages (or SMS); multimedia messages (or MMS, including videos, large images, and group chats); email; mobile apps; and information transmitted through social media apps and mobile internet browsers.
5. Who uses mobile technology?
Young or old, we are the the Mobile Generation. There are more than 5 billion active mobile phones in the world: In the US, according to a study by the Pew Research Center, 91% of the population own a mobile phone and 55% own a smartphone. The fastest growth in mobile-phone use is occurring in some of the least developed countries. And since the launch of the Apple iPad, the use of mobile tablets is on the rise.
6. How can my mobile ministry be used, and be useful?
That depends on your vision. In general, mobile ministry can be used in: community outreach (i.e. promoting events on social media platforms, many of which are primarily accessed with mobile devices); discipleship (i.e. church members submitting prayer requests through the church’s mobile app); and evangelism (i.e. mobile users instantly Sharing/Liking/Retweeting a sermon or other inspirational message).
7. Where do I start?
Whether you’re a mobile-technology novice, or you’re looking to go to the next level, your approach to mobile ministry will require you to focus–or refocus–and adapt. First, visit your ministry’s website and app, if you have one, on your mobile phone. Then ask yourself, are we effectively reaching as many people as we can, and are they reaching us, through these tools?