MooreMission 2012 is here

It’s that time of year again. The time of year I am talking about is when all of Moore College put down all of the books about systematic theology, and goes out to do MooreMission.

This year MooreMission is bigger and better than ever. A friend and I have built a website to be the online hub for blogging and tweeting, and Anglican media are getting involved too.

I’m especially looking forward to Mission this year because:
a) Kirsty is coming along
b) We are heading to country NSW (Glen Innes, Guyra & Emmaville)

Tomorrow we are driving north to spend a night with Kirsty’s cousins in Coffs, before continuing on to Guyra on Saturday afternoon.

If you want to keep up to date with what is happening you can:

a) Follow all the action on twitter by looking at #mooremission
b) Head over to the website

How to use twitter if you aren’t John Piper

[Disclaimer: I actually quite like John Piper. I have learnt much of his teaching of the bible. The title of this is a shameless attempt to get you to a) click the link to this post and then to b) read this post]

The other day I wrote a post, about how Christian organisations could use digital and social media. I thought it would be a good idea for me to write something, kind of as a follow up, about how you could use twitter as an individual.

I have been on twitter for 3 years. In that time I have sent over 5000 tweets. I got a twitter account because it was something new, and another way to keep in touch with friends. If you are on twitter, your story might be similar. At first I didn’t really know what twitter was even for. I had facebook, it was 2009, facebook was kind of a big deal.

In those three years I have seen lots of different ways that people use twitter. Firstly, I don’t think there is a set way to use twitter, but there are some different approaches that I think are better, especially in relation for how Christians use twitter.

With that in mind, I think I have seen five main ways that Christians use twitter.

First: Using twitter for broadcast

This approach is often taken by pastors of large churches, mostly from the United States. Im specifically thinking about John Piper & Mark Driscoll among others. This approach often has very limited one-on-one engagement. Most of these people have over 50,000 followers, which can make one-on-one engagement difficult. These people generally use twitter to broadcast their events, publicise the release of their new book or to write daily reflections. Given their influence and follower count this could be a good way to use twitter as one-on-one engagement is hard and very time consuming.

With everything there are exceptions. In this case, the exception to this is Ed Stetzer. He has 54,000 followers, and on the most part he is really good at engaging with people who mention him. Ed recently came to Moore College to give a lecture on how churches can engage their members in meaningful ministry. There were lots of tweets going back and forth between Ed and some of the students at Moore College. Some of it was people thanking him for the lecture, some was just humour. Regardless of the content, he responded, either giving thanks for the feedback or joining in with joke that was made. Ed took the time to engage with, and learn from those who had taken the time to engage with him and his content.

Second: Using twitter as facebook.

The second approach is this: people use a feature in either facebook or twitter which automatically cross posts to either platform.

It works like this: If you post something on facebook, facebook will automatically post that status update to twitter. There is also a feature in twitter which can cross post your tweet to facebook. This approach makes using social media a little easier. Just like the first approach, this approach often means that engagement with others is limited. In many ways it is similar to the first approach. People broadcast what they want, but because they are only really using one platform, their engagement with BOTH platforms are limited. If I am already friends with you Facebook, why should I bother following you on twitter? The content will be the same.

Third: Not using your twitter account at all.

The third approach is fairly simple. You set up a twitter account a while ago, you sent some tweets, then you stopped sending tweets. No engagement because you aren’t actually using the account anymore. Fairly simple.

Fourth: Using twitter to engage with other Christians.

The people who take this fourth approach usually like to use twitter, and they have seen the benefits that it has for building friendships and community. They send tweets around the topics of Live sermon tweets, things that are happening in their lives e.g ‘my train is running late today’ & ‘thankful for a great catch up with a good friend today’, posting bible verses from apps like the ESV iPhone app to talking about sport, food and music they like.

These people generally enjoy a high level of engagement with Christian brothers and sisters. Usually around the topics I mentioned above. These people usually follow Christians alone, and are followed by Christians alone.

Fifth: Using twitter to engage with everyone.

This last approach contains almost everything from approach four. The main difference is that there is a much wider scope of the topics that they will tweet about. This is particularly powerful because they enable the Christian voice to be heard in a space in which it might not be heard otherwise. These broader topics might include the current poker machine debate, the legislation to get SRE (Special religious education) out of public schools (in NSW) or they might be able to speak into Gay marriage debates and engage helpfully with people on the issue.

If done correctly this person follows plenty of Non-Christian people, and in-turn, they are followed by lots of non-christian people. They are able to keep up with how people, yes people, are currently thinking about the world. Which will help as this person seeks to practice apologetics. The person using the fifth approach is usually in tune with political temperature of their region, and they engage on a wide range of issues with a wide range of people. Even people they disagree with.

How I use twitter:

I think the fifth approach is the best way for Christian people to be involved on twitter. Personally I actually follow more Non-Christian people than Christian. This is because of a few reasons. I think alot of Christians use twitter for broadcast, plenty of Christians also do the facebook cross post thing and lots of Christians don’t use their twitter accounts at all.

These approaches usually mean that Christians don’t generally engage with anyone in a meaningful way. I’m all about using twitter to engage with people and I think that twitter presents a huge opportunity to engage with real people about real issues. I love having the opportunity to engage with people that I might not of been able to otherwise.

Recently I got to have lunch with someone who I only know through interaction on twitter. This person wasn’t a Christian, and over lunch we got to chat about his family, politics and then Jesus. It was a conversation that would not of happened if I hadn’t of engaged with him like a normal person on twitter first. If I hadn’t of shown interest in him as a person first.

I have heard of lots of examples just like this. Gospel conversations happening through interaction and engagement through twitter.

In Conclusion

The temptation for Christians is to rubbish the possibilities of technology, or to simply ignore the possibilities all together. This could because they don’t even see the possibilities of what this technology could achieve. Technology has a huge possibility for furthering the message of Jesus. Christians need to make sure they are not a barrier to that happening.

So at this point, I want to encourage you to think about how you are going to use twitter. I would like to encourage you to think abut how you can use things like twitter better. To use twitter within your means. To use twitter realistically. If you aren’t John Piper don’t use twitter like John Piper.


If you are someone who would like to know more about how you can use Digital and Social media, some of us at Moore College are planning on running some Digital Ministry training workshops over the course of the year. If you’re a minister and would like to attend a student-run workshop, we’d love to have you.

You can register your interest on the form below:

Just warning you, this post is about twitter.

Recently, I inadvertently started a passionate discussion around the topic of tweeting during sermons with this tweet.

This morning John Woodhouse is continuing his series in 1 Timothy. You can follow tweets at #MTCchapel – ~ @stevenst

If you want to, you can read all about it here.

In this post I wanted to outline some of the back story and strategy around how my college uses social and digital avenues to further the gospel and the appearance of our college. I don’t write this so you will think we are doing digital and social really well. As you will see further down, we are just having some fun and trying new things. I write this so that you might feel encouraged to try some new things at your church or organization.

On a personal note. If you are serving as a pastor or minister in a Church, I believe you need to have a plan about how you will engage and approach the areas of social and digital media. If you church doesn’t have a plan, it can lead to un-welcomed and un-engaged people. I have found  this, this and this to be very helpful as i have done some thinking about these topics. The plan at your church might be to not engage in these ways. I think that is actually fine, I’m thankful that you have given it thought.

Anyway, back on topic. I go to Moore College. Our twitter handle is @moorecollege if you want to follow us. The twitter account is run by a team of students and faculty. Our team is made up of @thebiblebasher, @const500, @delantyj, @timmyclemens, @WatchmanJames, @katiebolton and myself (@stevenst). The account was started on the 21st of April 2009 by ‘all around nice guy’ Dave (@davemiers).

First the back story.

Each year Moore College participates in an event which we call Moore Mission. Simply put, groups of students and faculty are sent out to various parts of Australia (and occasionally the world) to partner with churches in running local missions that proclaim Jesus.

In the past (up until 2011) there had been fairly good engagement individually on social networks about mission. The social networks that were implemented were the student run mission blog and individual peoples use of twitter. The topics of the tweets included things like prayer requests, encouraging stories of people learning about Jesus and some included personal tweets about things that individual students were learning from their experiences. While this engagement was good, it had no real traction in the wider college community. This lack of traction was partly due to the college not utilising its social networks to raise the profile of the exciting things that were happening during the mission and therefore the profile of the college.

It left some of us (students and faculty) asking the questions like, ‘Why we didn’t utilise these networks better?’, ‘Why were there no re-tweets from the college account’. These questions continued which lead some of us to another question, ‘How can we do things differently moving forward?’

Second, The strategy.

What happened after was the identification of several students who had professional backgrounds in digital and social media. This group were given the ok to try some new things on the web with the hope of a) increasing the online presence of the college and its activities, b) give a glimpse of the day-to-day college experience and the great things God has blessed students with; as well as the work He is doing through Moore College, and c) explore new ways of using digital and social media with a view to educating others about these things by example and formal training sessions.

While these aims may broaden in the future, this is what we are currently trying to do and we’re having fun asking ‘How can we use technology for the glory of God and the building-up of His Kingdom?’.

The article I linked to at the beginning of this post related to something we tried to do 2 weeks ago. It was related to the use of twitter to write notes and reflections from sermons and other activities where teaching is involved. While there has been some passionate discussion around this topic, I see it as a positive that people in Sydney are starting to think about how social and digital media can be used by churches. I say Sydney, because, for some reason, we seem to be a little behind the rest of the world on this stuff. If you are a pastor or a ministry leader, can I encourage you to think about the areas of social and digital media? Even if you decide that you wont use it. A non existent twitter account is better than one that is never used.

If you feel like you need some help in these areas, we are planning on running some Digital Ministry training workshops over the course of the year. If you’re a minister and would like to attend a student-run workshop, we’d love to have you.

You can register your interest on the form below:

Time for something with meaning.

It has been a while since I posted anything of any real meaning on here. That is largely due to an almost non-stop summer of activity. Here are the quick highlights.

  • We finished up at family church in mid December.
  • Christmas happened.
  • Tyro has been mental. See some of the stuff we have been doing here.
  • We went on beach mission. We were the cooks. It was mental. Good mental, but still mental.
  • A bit of time was spent getting ready for college starting again.
  • Kirsty started a new job.
  • I started a new job as a student minister at an Anglican Church in Cammeray.
  • Australia dominated in the test series.

Pretty much sums it up. Normal service will now resume.

Saying goodbye

One of the most difficult things about being at bible college is also being a student minister. Ok, not the actual job of being a student minister, that is great. I’m talking about the reality of moving around a couple of different churches over your time at college.

I am planing on being at college for four years, which means, being at roughly three different churches over that time. The breakdown then ends up being, two churches for one year and one church for two years.

Recently Kirsty and I made the difficult decision to finish up were we have been serving for this year, St Ives Family Church. It was a hard decision. But it is one that brings with it lots of excitement as we think about being able to meet with a new church.

We have just done a whole heap of our ‘last things’. A few weeks ago we had our last bible study leaders lunch, we have both had our last bible studies (me with the mens group, and Kirsty with her mixed bible study) and this coming week we are having our last Sunday morning.

One of the highlights of these last things was the opportunity for me to preach my last sermon, which happened last Sunday. I preached on Love from 1 Corinthians 13. I encouraged them to continue to be a church that continues to, a) Love each other and b) Love their community.

Family church has been a church that has shown so much love to Kirsty and I. We love this church. Leaving is hard.

p.s my sermon is below if you want to listen to it. note: my mic dies around the 6 minute mark, but it gets replaced with a much better one after then. I promise.

p.p.s as of the end of January I will be working as a student minister at the Cammeray site of Naremburn Cammeray Anglican Church. We are really looking forward to it!

A video from Unearthed Pictures.

I’m back. Exams are done. First year of college is done. Time to get back to posing. I have a fair bit of stuff to share over the next 2 weeks. I’m looking forward to it.


Firstly, I wanted to share this video with you from Unearthed pictures. It is about Unearthing sexual exploitation of women. Before you watch the video, here are some quotes from The Resurgence blog.

When Unearthed was formed, we had our hearts set on producing a documentary that would expose the mechanics of the global sex trade. For a solid year, we traveled, filmed, raided brothels, rescued victims, and had our hearts crushed by the magnitude of sexual brokenness that surrounded us. You can watch some of that work here.

We all have responsibility to the victims of this injustice, and we’re thrilled that 85% of the money that comes into our doors goes right back out to some of the best organizations in the world that rescue, rehabilitate, and reintegrate the women & children that live in this hell.

Jacob’s story in the video [below] isn’t an isolated incident. Jesus is continually transforming abusers into protectors; addicts into free men and traffickers into rescuers. Over the next year, we’re creating a film called The Hearts of Men. It’s a raw, unfiltered examination of how sin distorts sex, who’s affected, and how the Gospel changes all of it. We know that to win this war, we need to engage men and right now they aren’t just asleep on the battlefield, they’re fornicating on it. A generation of God’s sons need to be reminded who they are in Christ: chosen, washed, sanctified, and justified.

Now watch the video.

Have Faith. An update.

One of the reasons I started this site was to keep our friends updated of how life was going while Kirsty and I go through Bible college. (Kirsty isn’t actually studying at college, but she is still heavily involved. If you catch my drift. Hence, we are both going through college)

I wanted to write an update to tell you how things have been going recently for us. So here goes. Sorry, this post is long and doesn’t have a fancy video.

College has been busy, much busier than I had thought it would be. Managing college work, seeing family, seeing friends, church work, secular holiday work, starting tyro designs and spending time together as a married couple has been a steep learning curve. I don’t pretend to have mastered this yet, but our friends are gracious when we can’t see them, and our families are even more forgiving when we seem absent or exhausted. We are extremely thankful for this.

At the same time as being busy, this year has been excellent. The stuff I have learnt this year will prove to be valuable into the future, and the friendships we have made at college have been a real encouragement to us both. Our Church this year has been a real highlight of our ministry together. Ministering to the people of St Ives Family Church has been a delight and a privilege, and we have been greatly encouraged by our brothers and sisters there.

One of the most difficult parts of this year has been the status of Kirsty’s job. Kirsty works in the public health system, where she is a Speech Pathologist, helping young kids speak. Kirsty got the job at the end of 2010, and it has been a blessing. Both financially and relationally (She is working as a locum for another speechie on maternity leave). A difficultly presented itself a few months ago when we heard the news that the woman Kirsty was replacing was returning to work. Because of this Kirsty’s job looked like it might be terminated. The prospects of this were scary. We were tentatively making arrangements to move back in with one of our parents.

In the midst of this, there was a slight prospect that her job might be extended for a period of time, but we sat in limbo for weeks. Not knowing what the outcome might be, we did what we have always done in times of uncertainty. We prayed. We prayed, and trusted that God would work the situation out in the way that he wanted. Trusting in and having faith in God is not something that is foreign to us. In faith, Kirsty and I have made all of our plans in the last few years focused on God and based on what we think God would have us do. There have been numerous times that these decisions have caused stress, mostly financial stress, but still stress. This was another period of that. God has always worked things out for us. Wether it has been where we are going to live or work, God has always provided for us.

To cut a really long story, long. Once again God has answered our prayers by once again providing Kirsty with work in the form of an extension. Her contract has been cut from 5 days to 3, but it is still some work. The health sector is a really difficult area to find work in at the moment, so we are thankful for the 3 days she has been given.

I have written this, not to make you think that we are excellent Christian people. Instead I write this so that, if you are a Christian, you might be encouraged by God’s goodness to us in a time where we had faith in him. If you are not a Christian, I would love to encourage you to check out 2 ways to live, in it you will discover that God has done so much more than just provide materially for Kirsty and I. He has done so much more than that for people who have faith in him.


Sorry for the long post. Thanks for reading it.

Love, Tim and Kirsty