@stickyjesus: How to Live Out Your Faith Online


@stickyJesus is a fusion of discipleship, faith sharing, marketing, and a Get Started 101 on Twitter, Facebook and blogging. @stickyJesus lays out the current day reality—the good, the bad, and the ugly—and challenges Christ followers to regain our God-given dominion on earth, which includes the Internet. With knowledge, skills, and Holy Spirit guidance, we encourage believers to dig in and learn how to navigate this online world together—and give Christ a voice in the online world.

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@stickyJesus: How to Live Out Your Faith Online

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@stickyJesus is a fusion of discipleship, faith sharing, marketing, and a Get Started 101 on Twitter, Facebook and blogging. @stickyJesus lays out the current day reality—the good, the bad, and the ugly—and challenges Christ followers to regain our God-given dominion on earth, which includes the Internet. With knowledge, skills, and Holy Spirit guidance, we encourage believers to dig in and learn how to navigate this online world together—and give Christ a voice in the online world.

The book also includes personal testimonies. Most are from everyday people impacting others’ lives and culture online for Christ. These are real people and ministries (about a dozen) making a difference because they walk, talk and connect differently online. They are living out their faith before others unashamed. The authors’ desire is that this project will equip and empower Christ followers and get them excited about sharing their faith online.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426741890
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2012
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Tami Heim is the president and CEO of the Christian Leadership Alliance, headquartered in San Clemente, California. Her professional career includes executive leadership experience in the technology, marketing, publishing, and retail industries. She has served as a partner in The A Group - Brand development, executive vice president and chief publishing officer for Thomas Nelson Publishers, and as the president of Borders, Inc. Tami and husband, Dale, delight in their daughter, Zoe, son-in-law, Matt, and first grandchild expected in 2012. As members of Long Hollow Baptist Church, they're compelled by love to frequently go and serve the orphans living in Jeremie, Haiti.

Toni Birdsong is a partner in Birdsong Creative, a graphics, marketing, and Web firm in Franklin, Tennessee. She’s served as a reporter and editor for several newspapers and as a communications specialist for the Walt Disney Company. She’s authored more than 2,000 articles and currently provides marketing content and social media strategy for businesses. She lives a blessed life with her husband Troy and their amazing kids Zane and Olivia. They worship at Grace Chapel in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee, where Toni also serves as the church’s social media strategist.

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Read an Excerpt


how to live out your faith online

By Toni Birdsong, Tami Heim

Abingdon Press

Copyright © 2010 Digital Scribe Press
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4267-4189-0


you: born for such a time as this

@stickyJesus The land is shiny, but you are My light.


Welcome to the Land of Shiny Things. Your citizenship was not overtly solicited, but gradually you made your way here. You are an unwitting but active, dues-paying resident. The Land of Shiny Things is a finely manicured mental, spiritual, and physical subdivision of our universal domain. It is the cookie-cutter context that wraps itself around your mind daily, and for lack of an intuitive escape route, you fall into it ... way too easily.

The Land of Shiny Things begins to define itself when you hit the snooze on the digital alarm in the morning. Without waking up fully you point the remote at the television, and an impersonal, albeit strangely comforting hum paints a layer over the room ... and over your thoughts.

The morning sun rises in supernatural splendor but fails to compete with the shiny box that has reeled in your gaze. Your need to know far outweighs your need for much else. Amid the stream of shiny things coursing through your mind, you hope to catch a glimpse or deduct a rational prediction, based on your library of shiny apps, reliable resources, and mobile reports, of what the unopened day ahead might hold. The shiny coffeepot is programmed to perk. You punch the shiny toaster and poke the shiny blender. You pet your shiny dog that now has a shiny chip surgically implanted so he can't get lost in the Land of Shiny Things.

You kiss your shiny kids good-bye as they get on a bus where all the shiny kids blindly slide into their seats, careful not to interrupt an intense texting tango, blowing out the next game level, or snagging a hot song download.

Rather than swap stories or baseball cards, they peer into their shiny Game Boys, PSPs, cell phones, and iPods.

Meanwhile, you get in your shiny car, complete with a shiny GPS that gives you a 0.2 percent margin of error that you will make it to your destination within 0.6 percent of the estimated time without wasting a moment on a wrong turn or inefficient route. Stop! Go back! You almost left your shiny cell phone, which would render you unreachable and unconnected—the equivalent of being among society's electronically disabled.

At the office you ache to skip the pleasantries. Cordial people move soooo slowly, you think. Chitchat and office banter exist to delay the euphoric cliff dive into the shiny stream of e-mails and other online destinations corralled on the other side of your shiny laptop screen. Ahhhhhh! Finally one with the Wi-Fi, you are officially powered up and a contributor to a world fueled by batteries, power cords, and chargers.

You are persuaded of your unique presence as you join the other 2 billion people on the planet who inhabit the In-ternet daily.

You need to know and be known, and there's little room for God in this shiny equation.

what time is it anyway?

We live in a time when information and the access to it are more powerful than ever. Armed with the right content (information), you become (or feel) more in control of the world around you. The right information helps you make better decisions about how to live, interact, and succeed. You seek information to help with purchasing, investing, staying healthy, being successful in a career, parenting, traveling, buying real estate, maintaining relationships, voting, eating, doing business, and if you're on such a quest ... finding God.

Google has wooed the world. But who woos the hearts of men and women? The Bible says the Holy Spirit. But these days it's easier to get more personal with Google than with God and other people. Increasingly, people search Google for information about personal issues such as marriage, depression, parenting, addiction, finances, disease, sexuality, loneliness, and eating disorders. And people do it often without a thought of reaching out to one another or to God.

Has Google replaced the belief that God is omnipresent and all-knowing, and can even answer prayers? As absurd as it may sound, a generation that has grown up as digital natives communicating in real time via instant messages might shock you with a resounding "yes."

Relax. There's no need to renounce your residency in the Land of Shiny Things or mask the evidence of your connected life. There's no shame. This is the hour to which you've been born—so by all means, power up! Just power up the way God wants you to. That means with a God-breathed strategy, Holy Spirit power, and divine discernment.

A 2008 study by George Barna indicates that matters of faith play a small role in differentiating people's technological habits. The study found that Christians are just as immersed in (and dependent on) digital technologies and social networks as anyone else. Christians emerged as statistically "on par" with national norms.

David Kinnaman, the lead researcher on the project, gives the research context and warns church leaders to strike a balance between the spiritual and the cultural potential of today's technology. While technology allows us to reach the masses, it's no substitute for the human impact of life-on-life discipleship, says Kinnaman. He adds, "whether or not you welcome it, technology creates an entirely new calculus of influence and independence. The stewardship of technology as a force for good in culture is an important role for technologists, entrepreneurs, educators, and Christian leaders."

For you, a Christ follower, the discussion around technology and its impact for good cannot be left to chance. It's a conversation that must be an ongoing priority. It must become part of the writings, readings, and teachings that communicate faith to this and future generations. And if businesses, motivated by profitability and survival, continue to generate effective content marketing solutions and new ways to engage the public, the body of Christ should be alert—and teachable—to use those same strategies.

How much more critical is the message of salvation than communicating the benefits of the latest fat-free soup or the faster running shoe? Exactly.

We live and communicate in awesome times. And we live in one of the most exciting windows for sharing the gospel since the Gutenberg press was invented in 1440, making Bibles accessible to the masses.

Until that time books, including the Bible, were painstakingly copied by hand and available only to the wealthiest and most educated people. German-born Johannes Gutenberg died without knowing that his invention would spark the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, and the Reformation and catapult the spread of Christianity.

Multiple media, including literature, art, television, film, and radio, have collectively transmitted the gospel message over time. Although their impact has been great, nothing can compare to the mind-blowing—and ev-er-evolving—impact of the Internet, namely, the content-sharing side called Web 2.0 and the spin-off industry of (and obsession with) social networking. No doubt, a monumental shift is taking place around the world politically, socially, and economically. Social networking is consuming the collective psyche and redefining the understanding of words as traditional as community and friends.

a snapshot of influence

The speed of change and the numbers are staggering when you consider what is happening around you. Perhaps you are familiar with some of these statistics. If not, be prepared to have your thinking rocked.

* It took radio thirty-eight years to reach fifty million users; television, thirteen years; the Internet, four years; and the iPod, three years. In just a nine-month period, Facebook added one hundred million users, and downloads of iPhone applications reached one billion. (That's billion with a b.)

* Print newspaper circulation is down seven million over the last twenty- five years. But in the last five years, unique readers of online newspapers have increased thirty million.

* Collectively, the television networks ABC, NBC, and CBS get ten million unique visitors every month, and these businesses have been around for a combined two hundred years. YouTube, Facebook, and MySpace got 250 million unique visitors each month after being launched for only six years.

* In 2008, Barack Obama leveraged online social networks to raise $500 million and mobilized young voters via social networking at unprecedented numbers. He outpaced opponent John McCain in fundraising online by five times.

* Ninety-six percent of people born between 1980 and 1994 have joined a social network.

* Nielsen research reveals that Americans spend a quarter of their time online; a third of that time is spent communicating across social networks, blogs, personal e-mail, and instant messaging. The world now spends over 110 billion minutes on social networks and blog sites.

* One out of every five couples married in the U.S. met via social networking.

Still think using social media is a fad or a waste of time? You may soon join the ranks of these leading, albeit well-meaning, thinkers:

"Everyone acquainted with the subject will recognize it as a conspicuous failure."

—Henry Morton, president of the Stevens Institute of Technology, on Thomas Edison's light bulb, 1880

"We have reached the limits of what is possible with computers."

—John von Neumann,

infamous mathematician and pioneer of quantum mechanics, 1949

"The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty—a fad."

—The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford's lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Co., 1903

"Remote shopping, while entirely feasible, willflop—because women like to get out of the house, like to handle merchandise, like to be able to change their minds."

"While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility, a development of which we need waste little time dreaming."

—Lee DeForest, American radio pioneer and inventor of the vacuum tube, 1926

"Transmission of documents via telephone wires is possible in principle, but the apparatus required is so expensive that it will never become a practical proposition."

—Dennis Gabor, British physicist, 196

what does it all mean?

It means anyone with an imperative message to communicate has to think bigger. People are migrating online. And as they continue to build niche communities, a significant window is open that should have every person who is concerned with the things of Christ sitting upright and being fully engaged.

This dramatic shift in communication and the growing hunger for human connection online have spawned a new mission field unlike any the church has ever seen. This mission field has a language and culture all its own. You haven't trained for it. You're not exactly sure how it works. Its velocity can be intimidating. The reference books and mission training programs tailored to impact a Web-based world ... well, they simply don't exist.

You stand here as a Christ follower in a definitive moment in time; you are an ordinary person called to usher a holy Kingdom into an increasingly fragmented world. It's the perfect scenario for God to move in big ways, just as He always has. Just as God called Esther, Joseph, and Paul to go before the world's kings at appointed times to alter history, He now calls you to log on and upload what's critical to today's conversation.

While everything changes at warp speed, the holy mandate remains: to communicate the gospel in the most relevant channels available here, there, and everywhere.even if "everywhere" includes foreign lands with peculiar names like Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Plaxo.

the lay of the land

What does this new mission field look like, and who dwells there? It's unique, a place where increasingly "connected" people can easily become more spiritually disconnected. Amid the urban sprawl of technology, they congregate, shop, work, share, play, and live online. It's a shiny terrain, indeed.

In The World Is Flat, author Thomas L. Friedman asserts that there's no turning back from this "mobile me" era; that the cheap availability of software and broadband Internet has leveled the global landscape, rendering the world more "flat" than round. Connectivity and collaboration have opened the global political, economic, and cultural playing field to everyone previously excluded from circles of wealth and power. The future will not resemble the past; to succeed from this point forward, individuals and companies must develop strategies that fit the global realities.

So how do you influence this 24/7 streaming global conversation? By doing what you do best—and what human beings have been doing since God established the twelve tribes of Israel—you reconnect to and mobilize the tribe.

In his groundbreaking book Tribes, Seth Godin reconnects us to our human tendency to create tribes. A tribe, says Godin, is a "group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate." The Internet provides the communication channel for the world. Jesus provides the channel and the leadership to you, the Christ follower. Can you hear your Tribal Leader over the noise?

let's go there ...

It's midday in Galilee. The sun is hot; a blanket of dust covers the weary traveler who comes into town by way of Judea. The townspeople have heard of Him and knew He was coming. Word traveled quickly of miracles, prophecies, and outlandish claims made by this very peculiar, humble carpenter from Nazareth.

"His name is Jesus. Says He's the Messiah," they whisper as He passes. "Son of God He claims ... but we all know nothing good comes out of Nazareth." He meets their critical eyes with an expression that lacks both worry and offense. They whisper, unaware that He can hear their hearts. While they are entangled in their quiet chatter, this Tribal Leader hears only their overwhelming need.

The Scripture provides the first lesson in social networking and the importance of community. It points to Jesus as one of history's first influ-encers to say, "Follow me."

then and now

That day in Galilee, Andrew and Simon dropped their nets and followed Jesus. Since that day, millions have decided to do the same. Jesus promised before He ascended to heaven that He would send His Holy Spirit (the Power Source) to enable His followers to do greater things than even He had done (John 14:12). Give yourself a minute and reread that sentence.

Do you really believe you can do greater things empowered by the Holy Spirit than even Christ did while He walked the earth? Perhaps if you did—if we all did—things might look differently around us.

Jesus charged His believers to get up and go, to share the truth about Him with the world. He called those believers, and He's calling you, a "light."

What does light do? It makes things visible and more easily understood. God's light helps others see what they didn't see—or couldn't see—when the lights were out. Your presence as a believer in social networking circles "sheds light on" cultural, social, and political issues, world events, personal struggles, and issues of morality that a global culture all but shrouds.

You will find in this new frontier that influence, persuasion, marketing, vanity, and jockeying for position are the universal currency. Your presence is to be monetized; your message is to be marginalized, to make room for the next, best thing in the Land of Shiny Things.

But your job is to illuminate and celebrate truth in a whole different way.

In this passage, Paul tells us that light isn't content to simply shine on itself; it must inform and proclaim a higher message. It sees, understands, shares, and illuminates for others the face of God, that is, Christ.

So in such a time as this—the predetermined time to which you were born—how do you follow Jesus in a Web-based world and lead others to do the same? How do you deliver the only message that matters? How do you make it stick?


Excerpted from @stickyJesus by Toni Birdsong, Tami Heim. Copyright © 2010 Digital Scribe Press. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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