Continuing with this look back into mobile ministry (#mobmin) for 2012, we will take a look in this piece at a few more of the resolutions that were made, our progress in them, and how that points to future happenings for MMM and the genre of mobile ministry.
Resolution #3: Get Connected to Tech, Mobile and Mobile Ministry Events
This was actually a very hard one to come through with consistently. We did have a good start of things though with the introduction of the Mobile Ministry Event Calendar back in April. I think that this by itself was quite helpful towards just helping folks wrap their heads around how many ways that mobile ministry can be infused into mobile and tech conversations. Beyond that, the conversations that started behind the scenes about having more specific content geared towards how mobiles are used in ministry were generated because of this. To that end, this part of 2012 was quite successful.
Where it wasn’t as successful came on the end of attendance to more events. Though it seems like a great policy to go to 8-12 events in a year, that can’t be all that MMM is exposed to if we are going to continue to be one of the more public faces for mobile ministry. A lot of that is directly due to the one-man-operation for much of MMM; it takes a lot to make a living, then save for getting to a lot of these conferences and events where many times even if MMM is asked to present, that there’s no compensation towards travel or an honorarum coming. I hope that in 2013 things change in that respect, but am making concessions towards doing those things that keep food on the table and possibly scaling back how much time is put into MMM.
There’s a lot left to be put onto the calendar for 2013. God’s got the calendar and what we will be at then.
Resolution #4: All Books Project and Raising the Bar on Mobile UX
One of the areas that attending a few events in 2012 did help was in meeting this resolution. MMM has spent a lot of time revisiting the UX (user experience) end of information design and knowledge management and one of the outputs from that was the All Books Project.
Since that start last Christmas, the All Books UI has come a long way. There’s a solid performing HTML5 and jQuery-driven shell. With some effort, its basically possible to put nearly any compiled collection of Bible books, that are in HTML format, into an archive that this user interface (UI) points to. Unfortunately, a data mishap earlier this year lost the excellent NET Bible with notes that helped spark this project. But, there are several collections able to take its place. A current project has us working on taking Phillip Pope’s Thai translation of the KJV and applying All Books to it. Neat stuff for that audience if the encodings hold.
Other pushes into changing, or at least expanding the approach that faith-themed applications and services that have happened this year include:
- Paying more attention to non-smartphones, for example Phone Publish
- Not just a want to, but a concerted effort for ministries to utilize mobile giving (definitely check out our ministry partner Mobile Cause for this kind of service approach)
- Not just asking the question, but making non-application approaches to getting the Bible onto mobile devices, such as John Dyer and Digital Bible Society’s Bible Browser
- and several more approaches
Yes, like we said yesterday, there’s still this challenge of getting people to think outside of the “is there an app for it” way of doing mobile. But, I think the ground is working well into that direction. What happens next for these interactions has to push the mobile more into its unique characteristics, something that I think AR and similar tech have a good chance of doing well.
Resolution #5: Become a Digital Faith Advocate
I can remember in talking over email with Tony Whittacker when this point came up. There can be no movement or expression of mobile in ministry that transforms anything if only a handful of people stand up for it. There has got to be a moment where people are encouraged not only to do mobile ministry, but advocate that its direction and approach are legitimate.
By default, MMM gets to sit into making this happen all of the time. In doing some neat things such as speaking in some local tech events in Charlotte, or getting interviewed again by the BBC, we’ve certainly made for a presence about this mobile ministry space. But, the best has come from others.
Chris White Ministries gave us an excellent look not only into why mobile ministry makes sense, but whom it makes sense for in one video. Renew Outreach connected with us earlier this year not only to talk about how they are seeing mobile at the edges of the earth, but the kind of tech challenges that sit in the deepest of areas. A guide to mobile ministry was published, and a mobile ministry training course added another needed entry point into this discussion. And I can’t forget the conversations with students at Taylor University, Central Piedmont Community College, Biola University, and on the webinar with Symbiota. These are the kinds of moments that not only share the passion we have, but give others a chance to jump in and express their’s as well at this intersection of faith and mobile tech.
So, What’s Ahead for 2013
Part of me doesn’t want to go into trying to answer this. We’ve been constantly evolving the ideaology that is mobile ministry. From a 1st crack at just helping pastors, to now having a stable of resports, guides, and a methodology to guide this discussion across several applications of mobile ministry. This is a big space, and I don’t see 2013 being a year where MMM will have to, or will be able to, continue to do this alone.
I do think that we are ready for another shift in mobile. Yes, there are several reasons for this (lots of Android devices, wearable computing, Microsoft shifting the desktop/laptop paradigm, services-as-needed, OTT, and more pervasive reasons for having web-something on a mobile). But, I think the bigger one is simple: its just time. Changes in mobile have happened in 5-6 year spurts. There’s always a company that comes out of a nearly quiet place and does something disruptive enough that it makes others stand on end. Jolla, Mozilla, Leap, Amazon, and even Google to some measure, can play this card. I think 2013 is where we see that disruption, and its probably not going to look comfortable for any who have been on the fence about mobile or mobile ministry.
For this year, we’ve had in our possession several Nokia devices (the N8, N950, Nuron, Lumia 900), the iPad and a Kindle Fire HD. Am looking forward to probably investing either in swapping out all of the mobiles for an N9 or whatever Jolla brings to the tablet (especially if its like the Asus Padfone), and probably phasing out the use of a tablet (!!!). Instead of a tablet I’d like to experiment with expressions of #mobmin using a smartwatch (something like the Motoactv). Somehow, I’d like to get in my hands a device that’s able to run the upcoming Firefox OS, and the N9 might get Jolla’s Sailfish OS. BB10 looks like it will be a great play as well, but I see it more on the outside peronally (we’ve got someone who will speak on that in 2013 and own one of those too). Of Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, they are mainstream enough that the reading audience will have plenty of opinion. We’ll get impressions, but nothing owned unless its given. And nope, we aren’t going to get on Facebook unless you share us there
From MMM’s end. I don’t know. This site could fold into nothing, or there could be a team supporting efforts (I would so like the latter). I don’t see the site as a destination existing beyond 2013… MMM would be much better if served like an API (you plug into our content what works best for you, and then whether its reading, searching, building, or selling, that you pull what can work best). That’s something that wouldn’t take as much work as it sounds like… though for many of you who come to us via a generic Google search (about 45% of those who come), this would be a major shift.
Or, other sites could just come and do a better job, and we could retire to being a college professor who does the occasional speaking engagement
Mobile is the present, not the future. For 2013 and beyond, make it into your magic wand and do something to elevate Christ into someone’s world.