Lake Glenbawn [pics]

This past week K and I had a couple of days to get away for a short break. We decided to head into the wild (defined by any place with no mobile reception), 15kms east of Scone, NSW. It was excellent to spend time with friends, to build fires and to not be disturbed by email.

On holidays I usually like to set myself little challenges. This time I wanted to try out some new photo apps (mostly Average Camera Pro), along with my glif mount and a tripod. Here are some pics I took while experimenting with my new setup.

Glenbawn #1 Glenbawn #2 Glenbawn #3 Glenbawn #4

Live Streaming #AMCL 2012

Each year at Moore College there is an event called the Moore College Annual Lectures (AMCL for short, or #AMCL if you are on twitter).

Since I became part of a Student Group, which helps the college promotes itself, we have been looking at ways of making AMCL more accessible for people who either can’t get to Newtown to hear the lectures or those who live outside of Sydney/Australia.

Last night our efforts culminated in the first ever live video broadcast of the college. This year Rev Chris Green from Oak Hill College, London is giving lectures of Preaching. His first lecture from last night is available here.

AMCL commences proper next Monday morning at 10am (Sydney time). Follow us on twitter, or ‘Like’ us on facebook to get all the details.

Win a free copy of “Group Games”

If you are in youth or children’s ministry this might excite you.

When I was a youth group leader I had to prepare talks, prayers, supper to eat and games to play at the beginning of the meeting. Usually the latter of these things were done with much less preparation than the first things. Your experience might be the same.

It’s probably a good thing. Preparing your talk and the prayers should demand much of your attention. You don’t want to say incorrect things while you teach the kids. The games were usually under prepared, and not really thought out.

To fix this problem, my friend, Calum has created an iPhone app. It’s called “Group Games”.

The app is brilliant. Simply put, it helps you prepare for the game time of youth group by providing you a list of games that you can play easily, with or without resources. I especially like that way that you can select a game using a search involving the size of the group and the time a game is needed to run.

If you are involved in youth or children’s ministry, you should definitely check it out.


I’m giving 2 copies away for free. The first 2 comments win. Simple.

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:

Happy Birthday iPod

The iPod turns 10 today. The original iPod could hold 1,000 songs within its 5 GB of memory. Huge!

The iPod has come quite a long way since then, and quite a lot was said at the time of the first iPod. This quote is my favourite of all the responses on MacRumors.

All that hype for an MP3 player? Break-thru digital device? The Reality Distiortion Field is starting to warp Steve’s mind if he thinks for one second that this thing is gonna take off.

Ten years on, the iPod has sold over 304 million units. I think it took off.

Watch these two videos. One is from 2001, the other is from this year.




Who really invented OS X, Android & iOS?

If you use OS X, Android or iOS you shouldn’t be thankful for Steve Jobs or Google. Well not entirely anyway. Sure, they played a big part in their respective developments. But there is one man who played a much bigger part.

OS X, Android and iOS are written using a programming code called ‘C‘. Two other programming codes are used for OS X, Android and iOS are C++ and Objective C (they are basically just later versions of ‘C’), but ‘C’ has been a foundation of both of these operating systems since their beginning.

Anyway, to get to my point. C was invented by a man called Dennis Ritchie. He invented it while working at Bell Labs between 1969-1973. Dennis Ritchie passed away this past week at the age of 70 in his home.

No-one really heard about his passing. Dennis Ritchie was a huge player in the personal computing world. I especially like this quote about him.

“As the news of his death spread throughout the computer science world, historians and computer enthusiasts compared the bearded, introverted Dr. Ritchie to media-savvy Apple co-founder Steve Jobs

And this one.

“It’s sort of ‘apples’ and oranges,” said Paul Ceruzzi, a Smithsonian historian and expert on the history of computers. “Ritchie was under the radar. His name was not a household name at all, but . . . if you had a microscope and could look in a computer, you’d see his work everywhere inside.”

Dennis Ritchie was a big player in the development of the computers, mobile phones, iPod’s and media centres that we use today.

I am thankful for him.