Thursday, May 21, 2009

Innovating on Outreach - Milestone Church

They say you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover - but how do you do that as a new attendee to a church, or an un-churched person walking into their first "church" experience. I mean honestly, what else do they have other than their first reaction?

I had the pleasure of meeting Chris Sigler through the Fellowship One REST API beta that we have going on right now.

He's a super cool guy who proves that tech innovators are more and more becoming part of the standard fair of our local church. It's what our churches need - for far too long now we have had a light grip on IT / Web Dev in the Church Sphere. Church is the one place where innovation through the tools of technology should be pouring from the walls thanks to the forward thinking of their exec staff and Worlds of Wow.

Milestone is all about outreach and connecting with people. In my brief meeting with Chris and having a look around his church, you could tell that they are a "meet me where I" am kind of church. More photos on my photo stream.

They have a play scape for the kiddos right in the lobby, public WiFi for the parents, seating for connecting with others, etc... The whole place seems to be built around connecting with others.

Churches like Milestone, The Met, Fellowship Church,, and others get the proverbial "it."

I gave a talk at DC09 on "Reaching the Unreachable" where I stated that:
context + timeliness = successful outreach

A big part of the reaching the unreachable is that most times people can only hear when they can relate and when they are in a trusted environment. Too often we are found walking into our churches with Teflon smiles and filtered voices. The reality is that virtual people are more "real" than real people, and real people are more "virtual" than their virtual counterparts. You could learn more about a person by studying them for 5 minutes in the social sphere than you can by seeing them for 1.5 hours on the weekend.

Let's get real with the people where they are like Jesus did. No doubt you're already on Facebook, twitter, MySpace, or any other social pipe - so use it for ministry and outreach, be innovative and throw some paint on the walls, get an access point and a $30 public pipe to the internet for the people who walk into your doors and for those who are standing at the online doors knocking.