Looking Beyond Mobile Ministry to Find Opportunities to Understand Implications

Action Learning's Energy Leadership ProjectPeople often ask, “how does this magazine bring in income?” Its honestly not a difficult question to answer. It is a challenging approach though. Many of the insights shared here over the years don’t come from direct mobile or ministry perspectives. They come as a result of connecting the dots between mobile or ministry with the needs and challenges present within other concerns that people, organizations, or industries might have. Sometimes, this takes us so far off the beaten path, that in order to see the connect, the dots that connect become the insights shared.

This connecting the dots happened recently when I attended a Meetup group which focused on the energy industry and its economic impacts sponsored by Action Learning. Now, you might be like the person who chaired the meeting, “what is the connection between the economic impacts of energy poilicies, behaviors, etc. and mobile as it relates to ministry efforts?” As with him and the group, I’ll just smile and take you on the trip towards the connection.

Charlotte (where this meeting was held) is in the midst of a major transformation into an major energy center. So much so that the primary energy provider for the SE USA, Duke Energy, is actually on the verge of an acquisition which will make it the largest generator and provider of energy in the energy industry’s history. As many of us figure out all of the time, our mobile devices require power. Many times, this power is coming from grid-based sources, such as a Duke Energy. Anything they are doing to improve or optimize their energy service offerings eventually has an effect on how we use our mobile devices (amongst other energy needs).

Now, one of the things that we understand from this region as well is that between indusry and residential users, the former is the larger consumer of energy needs. Industry consumers include everything from parking lots, schools, business parks, city infrastructure, and religious facilities. When looking at the economic impacts of energy industry transformation (regulation, on and off-grid generation, competition, and sustainability), we wouldn’t be too wrong to make the reach that its possible that at some point, some of our campus/multi-campus religious insitutions would have to enact measures to be more efficient in their use of energy. When that regulation comes from the energy provider to the insititution, there’s some kind of change/challenge that now those that administrate that campus have to change towards.

This change, at its most basic, asks those who choose to work on that campus to change their behaviors. In order to save power, a campus might be asked something like to invest in a smarter circuit breaker, which connects to sensor driven lights/power outlets. If there is no one in the room, then the entire circuit to the room is shut off. Those people who are used to leeching power to charge their devices might be effected as they can’t put their mobiles into another room to charge it (while keeping it on and it not being a distraction). If the mobile can’t last all day, they will look for a mobile that does last the duration of their working day on that campus. This might mean fewer smartphones (how many can last the entire day and keep up productive throughout). Or, it might mean that some people invest in innovative charging solutions like hand-crank or solar chargers.

All of that is simply paying attention to the potential challenges to mobility as a result of the larger industry (energy) that spokes from it. The conversation eneded up being very good for helping me to better visualize the challenges (real and potential) that energy changes around the world will cause. Some of these might not happen for some time, others are right on the horizion (imagine how Japan’s energy policy changed in a matter of days after the tsumani and its effects to the nuclear power and policies they were working towards; if power is even more expensive to manage/make, how do communications providers best provide tools/solutions which don’t transfer all of that cost, but some of that behavior change, to its customers).

I don’t write this to say that every insight gained will have to come by looking outside of the conventional ministry or mobile boxes. But, in terms of best building knowledge and understanding, you’ve got to be as adept in looking outside of the box as you are inside of it. We do that constantly here. And its challenging for both making ends meet, as well as making sure that insights are relevant (technology is only relevant when its personal remember). Other groups involved within mobile ministry will have their own ways of coming to conclusions and approaches. All are benficial as they are needed. That insight is more valuable than a product I believe (an app is not a strategy). The opportunities that it opens sheds the kinds of light on implications of change that need to best be expressed in mobile ministry and beyond.