Tag Archives: facebook

mini book reviews, part 3 (of 3)

Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church, by Kenda Creasy Dean
5+ stars

i hardly know how to write a “mini book review” for this book. it’s too important. i know i write “every parent and youth worker must read this book” from time to time. and, maybe that’s not true for this one if you only read people magazine or star trek novels — because this is not an easy read (there were parts where my brain really had to work!). but anyone who’s thoughtful, and cares about the spiritual lives of christian teenagers — well… yup, you gotta read it. kenda worked as part of the research team for the “national study on youth and religion“, the findings of which were most widely disseminated in christian smith’s soul searching. from her proximity to the study and its subjects, kenda unpacks the findings as a book of practical theology. in other words, she takes the findings and says, “what does this mean for us?” at times discouraging (as was true of smith’s book also), and at times fiercely encouraging and hopeful, it would be an excellent book to read with a team of youth workers, or a team of parents, and have a series of conversations about the implications for your church and youth ministry (and your home). certainly, if i had a “5 most important books on youth ministry in the last 10 years” list, this would be on it.

The 9: Best Practices for Youth Ministry, by Kurt Johnston and Tim LeVert
5 stars

i don’t know tim (though he seems like a guy i’d really like); but kurt is one of my favorite human beings. deeply humble and wildly gifted as a youth worker, he is a passionate utilitarian, constantly asking, “what works?” not that this is a fluffy book of game ideas — not at all; but it’s a deeply practical book, as one would only expect from the creator of simply junior high. based on the findings of the exemplary youth ministries study (well, there were 8 findings in that study — tim and kurt, rightly, add a 9th), the book simply (ha) lists those practices, then riffs on what they look like in the real world of church-based youth ministry. particularly good reading if you’re in your first 5 years of youth ministry, this will be a book i’ll recommend often. sure, there are a couple places i don’t completely agree with the authors (for example, i think they’re overly optimistic about the health of youth ministry in general, and they would clearly say the opposite of my writing, that i’m overly pessimistic); but the book is a conversation, not a manifesto — so wholesale adoption isn’t required. whatever our youth ministry health, these are (9 of) the things we’ve gotta pay attention to.

The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal, by Ben Mezrich
4 stars

this story of the birth of facebook is about to be released as a major motion picture, so i thought i’d enjoy reading the full story (i’m sure the movie will have to compact much of the details) first. maybe i have a bit of an entrepreneurial dream — i’ve flirted, as have so many, with daydreams and almost-ideas for websites that would change the world (in fact, i’ve gone a few steps down the road on a few of ’em). and i have a couple good friends who are deep, deep into the major launch of an online enterprise software that really could revolutionize the workplace. so i came to this story with that kind of interest. mostly true (some fact, some reasonable conjecture), it’s an easy and fun read. but there’s some real pain in the story also, and fault isn’t obviously placed at anyone’s shoes: there are lots of gray areas, with varying viewpoints that would shift right and wrong. go ahead and use facebook without knowing the story behind it’s creation — it won’t impact your use experience in the least. but the backstory is a good one. not a ‘must read’, to be sure, but enjoyable nonetheless.

growth of facebook

saw this visually-compelling little chart on bob’s blog recently. really, this says more about the times and culture we live in than it does about facebook, per se. sure, i’ve started to hear a backlash against facebook, mostly from hipsters and indie types who don’t seem to like anything that has gone mainstream. and i’m sure something will eventually come along to unseat facebook — that’s not really the point here.

the point is that we live in a time when reaching mass acceptance of a particular technology can take place in 5 years! i’m sure the speed also makes the acceptance less firm, in some ways (as in, there’s likely a corresponding quickness with which this technology will be usurped by something else). one of the things i notice is that the fuel for the fast rise of the most recent technologies has come from youth (whereas the older technologies were forced to go through the slower progress of adult acceptance first), which says something about the leading role of youth culture in the world today.

would love to hear your thoughts…


the last five things

ypulse has an interesting series of posts collecting info from their youth advisory board on their actual use of social media and other online stuff: MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, streaming TV and movies, downloading music. for each of these categories, a few of the advisory team tell the “last five things” they did. it’s a helpful snapshot of real life (not theoretical) teen and young adult usage of these various media.

check ’em out here:

the last five things i did on facebook

the last five things i watched online

the last five things i googled

the last five things i bought online

i expect there will be more to come in this series. i’ll likely post them when they do.

new discussion thread on facebook ym3.0 group

the facebook discussion group for youth ministry 3.0 is more than 1600 people strong. there’s been a little lag in discussion over the holidays; but it’s time to ramp it up again.

i’ve posted a new discussion thread, on the topic of “communion”:

in the book, i write about moving beyond our ideas of community, to a goal of “communion”. i define this as “true community with christ in the mix.”

part of the reason i didn’t want to use the word “community” is that it comes with lots of pre-conceived ideas: all of us have a desire to experience community in our youth groups, and we’ve often built programs to that end.

the questions i’d like us to wrestle with here are:
– what might communion look like in your context?
– for those of us with programs in place to build “community” (small groups, etc), how might we envision something more, something deeper?
– and, then, how do we get from here to there?
– oh, and, how might this look different for today’s splintered youth culture, compared to what it might have looked like 20 years ago?

four pieces of randomness

a small handful of things that didn’t seem to warrant full, individual posts…

i really like facebook, and use it all the time. and i have a pretty good amount of “friends”, mostly due to my job. in fact, since latin america seems to have caught on to facebook, and i travel to our ys conventions in argentina and guatemala most years, i have a bunch of spanish-speaking fb “friends” with whom i cannot even communicate, other than the occasional “hola!” on a normal day, i get 2 – 5 friend requests. but tuesday, i was at my writing spot, and noticed that a TON of friend requests were coming in. i’d seen a virus-y kind of thing on facebook recently, where a comment told me my picture was on some other site (and it was clearly not from the person who theoretically sent it). so i started to think i might be getting slammed with some kind of virus thing. when it got to 45 friend requests, i twittered about my concern. when it got to 95 requests (in less than two hours), i was really starting to freak out. by the time i got to the office, there were 150 friend requests waiting for my approval. i wasn’t sure what to do with them. then, i noticed in one of them, that the person had tipped me off to the fact that a ys online survey told him to do this. i saw our internet peeps had sent out a survey about our weekly emails. so i clicked through the survey, and there at the end, was a little “joke”; something like, “click here and add marko as a friend on facebook. shh! don’t tell him, and this will be our little secret.” well, there you have it. over the last few days i’ve had a steady stream of friend requests — about 300 or 400 now, i’d say. crazy. i might have to fire someone.

my awesome son max had a few words, as kids are prone to do, that he pronounced wrong when he was little. one by one, these fell by the wayside. jeannie and i loved each one of them, and were always sad to see them go. the last hold-on was that he has always said “callerpitter” when he means “caterpillar”. the other day, caterpillar was on his weekly spelling list. jeannie and i groaned, and were so sad to see the veil removed for him once and for all. he likes being a kid, and insists he’s going to keep saying it callerpitter, and even says he’s going to spell it that way on the spelling quiz.

saw an amazing movie on the plane to nashville. it’s called henry poole is here, and stars luke wilson. it’s the story of a terminally ill guy who buys a surburban home down the street from his childhood home to basically sit alone and die. but his neighbors won’t leave him alone, especially when one is convinced she sees the face of christ in a badly done stucco job on his back wall. it’s wonderfully slow paced, and a beautiful story of mystery and healing. i teared up multiple times.

i’m reading anne rice’s spiritual autobiography right now (anne rice is the massively popular author of a bunch of vampire books, and also the brilliant newer series, christ the lord). in a bit i read yesterday, she revealed that her given name, which she used until she was in elementary school and decided to start using the out-of-thin-air name “anne”, was… howard. seriously.

finding jesus on facebook

interesting article in the new york times about how people are using facebook and podcasts to find churches. nothing earth-shattering or overly insightful, but worth a quick read.

here are a couple ‘graphs:

It is not just from the pulpit that churches are finding new ways to attract younger worshipers. Some have created profiles or groups on Facebook or MySpace, as well as on specifically Christian networking Web sites, like MyChurch.org, to encourage young people to stay connected to Jesus. Larger, wealthier churches build and maintain their own sites, offering video clips and podcasts of sermons, blogs, church ads and the ability to donate electronically.

Those seeking a place to worship say they use the online tools to preview a church. At one service, Mr. Searcy asked how many first-time attendees had listened to a podcast before deciding to try out the Journey — half the audience raised their hands.

(ht to ypulse)

join the youth ministry 3.0 facebook group

my smarter-than-me friend and co-worker, adam mclane, helped me set up a facebook group for youth ministry 3.0.

here’s the point:

i’ve created a few discussion threads, as you can see. i’ll add more as time goes on, and i’ll check here often to interact with comments and posts.

i don’t have all the answers (as is quite obvious in the book!). we need to figure this stuff out together. this is a space for just that.

i’ve started three discussion threads for now:
1. stories of experimentation
2. what resonated
3. what didn’t resonate

read the book and come join the discussion!