LUP023 – Lessons from a Week in Germany

Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll hear in Episode 23:

  • Update: WhatsApp broadcast list, missionary websites, and learning new ways to help missionaries.
  • Encouragement: Four things I learned on a week-long musical mission trip to Germany last month.
  • Tech. Tip: How to protect your reputation from other people’s careless or malicious facebook posts

Resources mentioned in this episode

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Update

  • Started WhatsApp broadcast list. Send your WhatsApp number to steve@edifyhub.com, along with a description of your ministry to join.
  • New missionary websites – happening through automation now.
    • Important because my time is limited.
    • Edify Hub priorities:
      • Supporting missionaries who currently have websites running
        • Answer their support questions
        • Create content to instruct them on maintaining, improving, and customizing their websites.
      • Bring in income to make websites self-supporting
        • Cover increasing hosting costs – server upgrades
        • How? Custom domain names and feature upgrades:
      • Learn new ways to help missionaries
        • Some ideas coming up in the next segment.

With each new missionary website, I have the opportunity to make a new acquaintance, learn about a new ministry, and gain an even better understanding of how to help missionaries.

Encouragement

I’ll share a little bit about my week-long musical mission trip to Germany with my church.

  • One week whirlwind trip to Germany – sang in 7 services in 5 different churches.

Background

  • When a missionary visits our church, one of our common questions is: “How can we help?”
  • Often material needs.
  • One missionary to Germany explained that Germans love music, and a musical team can attract people to the church who might not otherwise come.
  • So our church organized one.

Three Goals

  • Accomplish what we went to do
  • Be a blessing
  • Learn something – This is what I most want to share.

What I Learned

1. It’s hard to do things when you don’t know the language!

2. Churches in other countries send and support missionaries.

  • The missionaries who invited us were leading a German-speaking church. We sang there Sunday morning. That church was started by an English-speaking church, located right next door. The English-speaking church (there to support U.S. military) Germany 2016 teamstarted having so many German speakers attend that they decided they needed to start a German-speaking church, so they invited our host missionaries to help them.
  • The English-speaking church had missionary prayer letters all around its auditorium.
  • If you ever wonder whether English-speaking churches in other countries have an impact, let me share this story. At that church, Rheinland Baptist Church, I met Sean Coffey, who you’ll meet on next month’s episode. It was at a missions conference in that church in Germany 23 years ago that Sean, stationed at Ramstein Air Base with the U.S. Air Force, surrendered with his wife Kathy to follow wherever God led them. From there, he became a pastor, and then a leader in missions. The night we sang, Sean was back at Rheinland Baptist Church for the final day of leading a missions conference booster. Next month, you’ll hear his amazing testimony of God’s work to overcome his very troubled childhood.
  • In another one of the churches – a German-speaking church – we also saw many prayer letters hanging on the walls – including one from a missionary that our church supports and another one from a missionary who just launched their website using Edify Hub’s services. He also has an amazing story that we have scheduled to share on an upcoming episode.

3. Importance of a team for church planting – With different skills

  • Preacher, obviously
  • At least in developed countries, promotion.
    • Capture photos/videos of the ministry
    • Create culturally-relevant promotional materials to draw people
    • Create communications to send back home.
    • Why? The audience expects modern communication styles or they don’t pay attention long enough for the message to sink in. True in many cultures.
    • Even Ugandan markets had their way of capturing attention.
    • Makes me wonder, though, if a person dedicated to this role is a good investment. Better to have common templates for various cultures? Have a missionary capture their own photos and videos with external guidance and let a culturally-adept contractor create the periodic promotional materials?
      • Much like up work and fiverr?
    • Interested in your thoughts. If there was one role you would like to see added to your team, why would it be? Let me know in the comments.

4. Even without officially being part of a team, there are many creative ways to support missions.

For example, when we were in Germany we needed a place for 12 people to sleep! Some slept in some rooms at the church; one couple stayed at a hotel. The rest of us stayed at the home of a U.S military member from the English-speaking church. Before she was deployed, she had prayed that God would help her find a house where she could house visiting missionaries. What she ended up with was half of a three-story duplex, with four bedroGernamy 2016 foodoms. The other half of the duplex was occupied by missionaries from the English-speaking church. So, to make room for a visiting team like ours, she moved in with the missionaries next door and left her entire half of the duplex for us. And if that wasn’t enough, they also sent over plenty of breakfast food for the whole week, including both American and local favorites and fresh fruits and bakery goods.

Seeing this military member’s deliberate way of helping with worldwide evangelism, along with our host missionary’s comment about needing many more ‘members of the body’ than just a preacher for a powerful launch team got me thinking. I bet there are many, many creative ways that we can be involved in missions – even creative ways to be goers! What creative ideas have you seen? I’d love to know. Share your thoughts in the comments.

Tech. Tip

I have seen it happen several times. A ministry is put at risk or a person is embarrassed because of something one of their friends posted on their Facebook timeline.

In one case, church members posted congratulations to their new senior pastor’s timeline moments after the vote – before the news could be officially announced to the teens where he had been serving as youth pastor.

In another case, a missionary was tagged in a Facebook post sharing an article that unwittingly discussed sensitive details about the place where he served. Because the missionary used Facebook to connect with the people in his place of ministry, having that article show up on his timeline sent him scrambling to get it removed and access to that article blocked in order to avoid tearing down bridges that he had spent years building.

Most recently, a friend was tagged in a video – completely unrelated to him, and with completely inappropriate content. Though the video clearly violated Facebook’s content policy, by the time it could be reported, the damage had been done and his name had been associated with that content on his friends’ news feeds.

So if you want to protect your reputation and your ministry from the careless posts of other Facebook users, what can you do?

You can change your privacy settings in Facebook so that your friends can’t add anything to your timeline without your approval.

From the web, click the little blue triangle all the way in the upper-right corner of facebook and choose “Settings” from the menu. From the settings page, look on the menu the runs down the left side of the page, and in that menu, click on “Timeline and Tagging.” On your phone or tablet, open the “hamburger menu” on the Facebook app. The what? Oh – the “hamburger menu” – that’s geek-speak for the icon with those three parallel lines overcomputer-searches-1172405_1280 there in the upper left corner. Tapping that “hamburger menu” opens a huge list of options. Scroll waaaaay down to the bottom and find “Account Settings.” There’s also an “App Settings” option, but that’s not it. Skip past App settings and find “Account Settings.” When you tap “Account Settings,” Facebook lists out the same kind of options I mentioned in the web app. In that menu, tap “Timeline and Tagging.”

Once you’re in the “Timeline and Tagging” section of your account settings – whether on the web or on your mobile app – you’ll see a section labeled “Who can add things to my timeline?” One of the options there is whether you want to “Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline?”. If that’s turned off, turn it on.

So what does that do? That prevents those posts from showing up when people click on your name to see your profile’s timeline. When you’re tagged, you’ll get a notification in Facebook, and you’ll have the opportunity to approve or reject each post. While that is important, it’s not quite enough. There’s one more setting you’ll want to add.

On this screen is another section labeled “How can I manage tags people add and tagging suggestions?” In that section is another question: “When you’re tagged in a post, who do you want to add to the audience if they aren’t already in it?” This option controls whose newsfeed will get a copy of a post when someone tags you. So let’s suppose you’re a missionary with some friends in your supporting churches and other friends in your country of ministry. If one of the friends posts anything on facebook – and does not tag you, you might see it in your news feed. And so might all of their friends. But your friends in your country of origin wouldn’t see it because they’re not friends with the person who made the post. That’s normal. Now, suppose they do tag you in that post… By changing this setting to Only Me, the poster’s friends may still see it in their news feed, and you will likely see it in your news feed, but your friends in your country of ministry will not have the post added to their news feed.

So – to protect your reputation from association with unwanted Facebook posts, Go to your account’s Timeline and Tagging settings. Turn on the review option, and set the added audience setting to “Only Me.”

Closing

On today’s episode, you’ve learned how to protect your reputation from other people’s careless or malicious facebook posts. You also learned what I shared about my quick trip to Germany, and you’ve heard about the growing number of missionaries using Edify Hub’s website builder to create and maintain their ministry websites.

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Take Action

If you have an idea of what kind of help you would want to see added to a ministry launch team, why not leave a comment. By doing that, you could help others know how to lift up someone today.

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