MCCA 2014 Workshop: Do you love me more than your Phone?

Main Idea: Your phone is a revolutionary device that can hinder or help your walk with Christ.

[PDF of slides]

Revolutionary …

Hinder …

… deep relationships

The Social Media Irony

… deep life


Help …

… you connect with God

The Bible App

Go Tandem website, iOS app, Andoid app

PrayerMate website, iOS app, Android app, Amazon app

Unreached People of the Day websiteiOS app, Android app, Amazon app

… others connect with God

One Life website, iOS app, Android app

Two Ways to Live website and iOS apps

Should You Post a Selfie?

Think Before You Post

… others connect with God’s people

“Social Proof”

“People care more about what others say about your church than what your church says about itself.”  – Brady Shearer

How Many Teens are Actually Leaving Facebook?

(or not:)

Survey: Teens Say They Are Using Facebook More

Your Church Should Be Paying Attention To Instagram

20 Great Ways To Use Instagram At Your Church

Not On App Store


MCCA 2012: Eat the Word


(6/30/12 version)

Intro stuff

Pre-workshop music: Word by Sho Baraka

Intro game: Make It or Break It?

Personal Devotions

“The Christian faith is the most exciting drama that ever staggered the imagination of man—and the dogma is the drama …. this terrifying drama in which God is the victim and the hero. If this is dull, then what, in Heaven’s name, is worthy to be called exciting? The people who hanged Christ never, to do them justice, accused Him of being a bore—on the contrary; they thought Him too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround Him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certifying Him “meek and mild,” and recommended Him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.” – Dorothy Sayers

[related resource]

Top 10 Most Read Books in the World

by Jared.


Have a plan

“The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life coming flowing in.” – C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity

Mix it up.

Time with God (PDF)

Listening to a sermon



  • Reverent and expectant attitude
  • Prayerful heart
  • Physically prepared


  • Actively engage!
  • Sit strategically
  • Open your Bible: “There are few more encouraging noises for the preacher than the rustle of Bible pages among the congregation when he announces his text. He should draw comfort from that, more than from the sounds of approval for what he is saying during the sermon. A faithful congregation will draw faithful preaching out of their pastor. Conversely, it is very hard to persevere as a faithful teacher of the Word of God to a congregation that does not want it taught to them. To some extent congregations get the preachers they deserve, because preaching is a two-way process: the attitudes of the preacher and congregation must unite in a humble hunger for God’s Word.” – Mark Ashton in Worship by the Book
  • Take notes


  • Reflect
  • Obey: Submit to the text

Leading a small group


How to lead

How to lead a diverse group

MCCA 2011: Following the Suffering Servant as an Asian American

Relationship with Self

Dangers of being colorblind described in Why we need Asian Americans.

Relationship with Jesus

“Asians are 5% of the population.. yet less than 1/3 of 1% of executive positions.. less than 1% of board positions.. even though Asians are better educated and make more money than any other group in America…” [source]

Asian Americans’ Rising Suicide Rates

A Family Suicide Risk in US Asians?

Relationship with Parents

Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Following Jesus without Dishonoring Your Parents

Relationship with the World

1 in 7 marriages are interracial — nearly 15% [source]

Eric Liu’s The Accidental Asian

7,000 Asian American churches in USA; 15.2 M Asian Americans [source]


  • 86 percent of Asian Americans are high school graduates.
  • 49 percent of Asian Americans are college graduates.
  • 20 percent of Asian Americans have graduate degrees (M.A., M.D., J.D., Ph.D.).
  • Asian Americans have the highest median household income of any racial group ($64,238). [source]

Other Resources

  • Gospel Empowered Authenticity and Transparency Dr. Paul Kim – [Download MP3]
  • Asian American Christian Thought and Theological History: Pastoral Implications for Diversity and Innovation in a Multiracial Church – Stephen Um and Julius Kim [MP3; The Gospel Coalition 2011 Conference in Chicago]
  • Many more books and articles

Social Networking and Churches

Nearly two years ago I tweeted about three sites which sought to connect people in order to meet needs:,,  All seemed to be quite similar in filling such a niche.

I had the same feeling when I heard of today.  It reminds me of,,, and some aspects of and other ChMSes.

No doubt there are differences between those listed above, but it will be interesting to watch how churches respond to all of these choices.

[update: related post on some of the above and another]

Grace 2010 Prayer Workshop Resources




General Books

How to Choose Worship Songs

First, brainstorm songs.

Here are some resources to find appropriate songs that link with the theme of the sermon/service:

Second, run ideas through the following grid:

  • What does this song say about:
    • God
    • Us
    • How we relate to God, namely, the Gospel
  • Questions
    • Is it cohesive?
    • Is it comprehensible?
    • Does it encourage congregational participation?
    • Have we sung it recently?
  • [these are drawn from Marva Dawn and my worship class notes]

Library Software for a Small Church Library

I’m a library technology hack who has been on a search for software to catalog and automate our small (~1500 volumes) library at church.  Here’s the situation, what I’ve learned, and my recommendation as of now.

The Situation

We currently have a MS Access database which is accessible and editable on our website courtesy of some ColdFusion programming.  While it does a good job of communicating what our holdings are, it has two main downfalls: first, every piece of data (title, author, etc.) must be typed in; second, there is no circulation feature — meaning there is no way to track which books are checked out and by whom.

What I’ve Learned

My initial thought was to use LibraryThing or aNobii or GuruLib to catalog our holdings.  However, each had a shortcoming for our purposes:


  • Autopopulates fields like title and author [+]
  • But does not consistently support Chinese titles or other media (like DVDs) [-]
  • Also does not have a circulation feature (though it has been requested) [-]


  • Autopopulates fields like title and author and supports Chinese titles [+]
  • But does not consistently support other media (like DVDs) [-]
  • aNobii allows one to track to whom a book has been lent,  but does not publicly show if a book has been lent out. [-]


  • Autopopulates fields like title and author and other media (like DVDs) and allows you to lend items out  [+]
  • Publicly shows if media has been lent out [+]
  • But does not consistently support Chinese titles [-]
  • Also is unreliable — was down for two weeks in January [-]

Drupal: I thought about creating a library system using Drupal and populating nodes using createfromweb and library module for circulation, but I don’t trust my Drupal skills enough to deploy and maintain that successfully.

OpenBiblio: This is a software which could definitely run a small library, but it looks like it would take a bit of work to make the Z39.50 tool to work, and we would have to maintain the install ourselves.  Again, I’m not sure I want to shoulder the responsibility of all that.

Brief excursus on library science stuff I’ve cobbled together: I initially thought all library software worked like LibraryThing: input the ISBN and you’re done!  However, that is not quite the case.  From what I’ve gleaned, libraries use an integrated library system (ILS) to manage not only all the books and media, but acquisitions and patrons and more.  The interface to these holdings is done through an online public access catalog (OPAC).

Inputting books and media into a library’s catalog is done in two stages: first, the bibliographic information (usually in the form of MARC records) is inserted into the database.  Second, holdings are indicated.  Because the bibliographic information is separate, one may add multiple quantities in the holdings step.  In other words, this division makes it possible to show that a library has, say, 3 copies of the same book.

My Recommendation

Our ideal ILS/OPAC would:

  • Autopopulate bibliographic records
  • Support books and other media (like DVDs)
  • Track circulation
  • Web-based
  • Inexpensive

In other words, it is clear that we need to explore a full-fledged ILS/OPAC such a Koha or Evergreen.  I’m definitely leaning toward Koha as they have a hosted version for $299/year and they are completely web-based (I think the Evergreen client is a Windows download?)

The main challenge, however, will be importing our Chinese-language books.  Because the MARC records are not widely available (even from, we probably need an OCLC subscription to CatExpress which runs $190/year for 250 records and $480/year for 500 records.  Each additional record is $0.99.

An addition challenge will be finding enough volunteers to help with the initial set-up and import process.

Books and resources are important so I’m hopeful that we can get something more robust up and running over the next year or so.

[5/6/2010 update: Koha Express is now $899; evidently, they were losing money. For our context, this makes it much less attractive.]

[10/24/2013 update: ResourceMate and Follett may be two addition resources to check out]

[4/22/2016 update: TinyCat pretty much seems to be the answer.]

[9/6/2016 update: Helpful article and interview on starting a church library.]

In Honor of the Ordinary No-Name Pastor

In every subculture — including American Evangelicalism — there exists the cult of personality.  That is, the veneration of the elite cadre of men and women that well-meaning folk aspire to imitate.  This is not necessarily bad.  Indeed, these men and women are usually called role models, and the Scripture enjoins us to imitate them (1 Cor 4:16; Heb 6:12; 13:7; 3 John 1:11).

But this is a double-edged sword which may lead the vast majority of ministry leaders to despair of ever having any “real” ministry (defined by a certain number of podcast subscribers or blog post mentions, etc.)

Two resources to encourage, then, the ordinary no-name pastor:

This post by Tim Keller urging young pastors to start in a country church because one is more likely to receive hands-on training there rather than in a megachurch of specialists.

Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor by D. A. Carson [entire PDF available here].  In this book, Carson chronicles the life of his dad, an ordinary pastor.

Being ordinary is okay as long as you’re faithful.

[5/26/2010 update: How can I compete with Internet sermons? is also a helpful and encouraging word.]

Social Justice and Us

The thrust of Dangerous Worship by Mark Labberton is that one’s vertical worship of God cannot be divorced from the horizontal love of one’s neighbor.  Although this is nothing new (cf. Isa 1:10-17, Jesus’ indictment of the Pharisees in Matthew 23:23-24, and the Greatest Commandment in Luke 10:27 (which, not coincidentally, is followed by the story of the Good Samaritan)), I was convicted that we, as a community, need to be more intentionally and strategically involved in alleviating poverty.  Hence I was particularly thankful for the following resources which came across my radar:

  • When Helping Hurts – “The book provides foundational concepts and clear principles for helping the poor without hurting them. It then presents proven interventions and relevant applications for churches to use when ministering to the poor both at home and abroad, including advice about short-term missions programs.”  We are planning on doing a one-session book club to discuss this book.  Hopefully this will get some creative juices flowing for how we can get involved.
  • Seek Social Justice – From the makers of the excellent Modern Parables (which we used before) comes this 6-session small group study. We really enjoyed Modern Parables, and this looks to be excellent! In addition, it is FREE and available as a digital download (starting in December 2009)! The trailer is below.

Sexual Purity Resources for Guys