January 2013 Update

The last few months have been so busy, I haven’t reported much to you, our community of supporters.  Thank you for your support, all the same!  Here’s the latest.

What’s New

We launched Redeem the Commute in early November, and we have seen it making a positive impact already.

For example, this week we reached 350 installations of the mobile app on iPhone/iPad/Android devices.  It will take time to interpret our detailed metrics on daily usage of the app, as well as usage of the mobile web site and social media, but from the big picture summary numbers we have, it’s apparent a good number of people are following our life courses and daily challenges each week.

My work right now is focused on:

  • Advertising the app via Facebook and print ads focused on each course, new years resolutions, and next, the busy commuting lifestyle.
  • Connecting with users to encourage deeper engagement and community building
  • Seeking potential team members and partners in ministry
  • Developing daily content, finishing our current course offerings, and considering new courses for the future

Redeem the Commute has also been profiled in a few different outlets: ChurchNext, Darryl Dash’s blog, The Anglican, Fresh Expressions, and more.

The road ahead

stepsWe are in the early stages.  We have a long road ahead of us, that began here with life courses that we trust will serve needs and introduce discipleship to busy commuters.  We trust that we will pass new milestones along that road, including:

  • Commitment: That users will engage with our content regularly, not just once or twice.
  • Groups: Formation of small groups, as people share and discuss our content with friends and family.
  • Trust: That over time users and groups will register for accounts, discuss online, and introduce themselves to the wider community.
  • Celebration: That this scattered community will grow, and begin to gather together regularly as one.

Please help!

helpWe need our friends and partners to do the following:

  • Use Redeem the Commute regularly, and help to foster discussion by leaving comments at least once a week
  • Share Redeem the Commute with friends, neighbours, family, co-workers – anyone!  We even have postcards, if you can give some out!
  • Introduce me to potential team members – particularly those who can host others in discussion, help us prepare for public worship gatherings, or help produce quality video content.
  • Pray for people using the app, that they will find help, community and the gospel.  Pray for people of peace in the area who will support this challenging work.  Pray for my family and I, as we adapt to a completely new way of life, and a new vision of Christian community.

It’s a Church…Honest!

I thought I’d transcribe and share a recent conversation with an elder saint:

Her: So are you starting an actual church in Ajax?

Me: Yes!

Her: Where are you based, do you have a building?

Me: No, we..

Her [Interrupting]: So are you preaching on the streets?

Me: No, we’re starting with the mobile app for commuters that I mentioned, that will…

Her [Interrupting Again]: Oh, so you have church in a big truck, then?

Me: No.  We’ve developed a way for people to get help with life, and learn about  Jesus, on their phones while they commute.

Her: Oh, I see.  So will you be starting a church, then?

Me: Yes, as people learn about Jesus we will help them form groups, and…

Her [Interrupting yet again]: Yes, but will you be bringing them here for church?

Me: No, they’ll become their own church over time.

Her: So will you ever be starting a traditional church?

Me: No.  [Shaking and Weeping Silently]

This reminded me of the hilarious “It’s a Book“…you can see why in this short trailer for the book:

Draw whatever conclusions about communication, assumptions, etc. that you like.  I’ll be in my truck.

 

Photo Some rights reserved by lonelysandwich

Weekly Kit List – September 3, 2012

And more from my link backlog, this time on mission:

Evangelism and the Presence of God

A review of The Sacrament of Evangelism.  I haven’t read the book, but have added it to my wish list now!

The Neighbourhood Mission Start Up

What does missional living look like in your neighbourhood?  This is a good guide.

Turning a Church into a Community Centre

Fascinating story – do you think it’s a good idea?

21 Things They Don’t Tell You About Church Planting

Some wisdom from my friend Darryl.  So true.

August 2012 Update

August has been a busy month in the development of Redeemer Church and Redeem the Commute!  Now that we’re on the ground in Ajax, we’ve been getting settled, meeting neighbours and potential partners, and preparing to launch Redeem the Commute in just one month.

Milestones:

  • Finalized our contract with Alpha / Relationship Central permitting our use of their Marriage Course, and the Parenting Children and Parenting Teenagers Course.
  • Spoke at Westney Heights Baptist Church in Ajax to share our vision for Redeem the Commute and develop partnerships.  Upcoming visits to St. George’s Pickering Village and Crossroads Community Church.
  • Ordered advertising postcards for handing out to commuters, and requested permission from GO Transit to use their property.
  • Most importantly, our app is fully developed and submitted to Apple and Android for approval.  all goes well, we will be on track to launch September 24th!

How you can help us launch on September 24th:

  • Everyone: Share a Redeem the Commute postcard with friends and neighbours on September 24th.  Just tell me how many you’d like, and where to mail or deliver them!
  • Everyone: Help hand out postcards from 7-9am on September 24th or October 1st
  • Everyone: Offer your time as a group host. Starting this fall, we need people who will engage with our daily online content and make themselves available once a week for their fellow commuters, friends, neighbours and colleagues to find and meet with on a train, bus, carpool, neighbourhood, workplace, coffee shop, or wherever you like!  I’ll offer you pre-launch training (for Fall 2012), leadership coaching, and regular visits.  We will not ask you to leave your home church, but want you to remain committed there, while serving as a host for at least a year.

    More Info or Contact Ryan about being a host.

 

  • Pastors: Provide Redeem the Commute postcards for your members to share with friends and neighbours.  Just let me how many you’d like and I’ll deliver.
  • Pastors: I am happy to come and speak to your congregation or leadership team about our vision, and to ask for your prayer support and assistance in getting the word out.

And please pray for our family, those discerning joining us as hosts, and those who will see and respond to Redeem the Commute.

 

Weekly Kit List – August 27, 2012

And more links from my backlog, this time focused on culture:

A Tacky Mess – The Masses vs. Great Design

This really resonated with me.

How Casinos are Failing the Elderly

From the Atlantic.

The Circles of Marketing

More from Seth Godin.

We Built Way Too Many Cultural Institutions

A really interesting exploration of cultural institutions in the US, and whether they are sustainable.  We could think about church buildings in the same way.

Weekly Kit List – August 20, 2012

And here is more of the backlog of links, this time about church, church planting, and change:

What Young Clergy Want You to Know

Some of this rings true – worth the read.

Church Hopping

An exploration of why people church hop (not shop) and why they shouldn’t.

Your Church Will Die

7 life stages of a church are outlined here: Birth, Child, Adult, Parent, Grandparent, Senior citizen, Death.  I can’t help but notice so many churches skip over the grandparenting stage – how can we encourage this more as an authentic choice

From Metro to Retro – Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4

A church planter chronicles his changing approach to planting – very thought provoking.

Everyone Benefits by Including Children in Small Groups

I really like the idea of families worshipping, and doing small groups together.  It’s tough to figure out, but there are some good overviews here.

The United Church

So true.

 

Not-So-Weekly Kit List – August 14, 2012

I am way behind on posting links of interest!  Here’s some of the backlog, focusing first on statistics and research!

A New Day – The Resilience and Restructuring of Religion in Canada

Reg Bibby’s latest work studying religion in Canada is available free.  Some very unexpected and encouraging results here, although his assessment of the mainline protestant churches seems grim.  He tries to recommend some solutions going forward, but like I found in his other books, these conclusions seem out of touch with reality on the ground, unlike his scientific approach to the data itself.

Is Bigger Really Better? The Statistics actually Say “No”!

Neil Cole looks at the numbers from Natural Church Development, to see if megachurches really do make more disciples than smaller churches.  He recognizes the research is limited, but it suggests “no”.

New Research: Churchgoers Believe in Sharing Faith, But Most Never Do

I can’t say I’m really surprised at this research!

How Churches use Social Media

Some stats on social media and church.  No big surprises here either.

How GTA Residents Beat the Heat

Environics had a little fun during our heat wave.

 

Two of my favourite Kindle ebooks are on sale

Two of my favourite books are on great sales this week at Amazon:

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name

My favourite children’s bible.  We have several, and this one is the best by far.  It’s meant for an older child than our baby, but we love it all the same.

The Road to Missional, Journey to the Center of the Church (Shapevine)

A great book from Michael Frost that I have been meaning to review since I read it this Spring.  He tries to clarify and explain the missional church to a broad audience.  The term has been defined so loosely by so many, and it seems like every church claims to either be missional, or not, based on their own definition. Michael was one of the first to use the term, and so he speaks with authority, and challenges us to get real about being missional!  Can’t recommend this enough.