Nextdoor: The New Social Network You Must Check Out

6 Reasons Your Church Should Be On It

If you’re a pastor of a church, social media can be a frustrating thing. You want to use social media to connect with people who might be looking for a good church, so you create a Facebook page.  You put out the word, and people start “liking” your church page – but they don’t even live in your city, let alone your neighborhood!  But instead, it’s your grandma, your high school best friend, 2 weird people from your email address book, and 3 spam accounts that want you to buy Oakley sunglasses.

If only there was some way to connect naturally with people right in your neighborhood!  Some way to know what what going on in their lives, without stopping by 500 homes every week.

Then, someone created NextDoor.

It’s a social network that is geographically based by your address, not relationally based.  You actually get to know your neighbors, people who live right in your neighborhood.

On Nextdoor, people:

  • Share things they saw in the neighborhood
  • Post events (garage sales, etc.)
  • Warn about theft or vandalism
  • Share news that’s relevant to the community.
  • Post about lost or found pets
  • Ask about good places to Trick or Treat
  • And other things neighbors do…

Here’s why you should check out NextDoor:

1.  Geographic connections.

Facebook is great, but it’s not easy to find people who are geographically connected.  They may be connected by relationships, but it’s not a place where people come to connect with people who live two streets over.  Besides, if you’re like me, you have too many FB friends to even see most things they post!

Nextdoor allows you to talk with people and stay up with what’s going on in your neighborhood, instead of lunch photos from that girl you went to high school with.

nextdoor screenshot

2. Early adopters & relational people.

For right now, those who are on Nextdoor are people who are very open to trying something new.  They aren’t the last guy holding out from joining something new.  As Guy P told me this past week when he visited our church (from Nextdoor), “I knew you were pretty savvy. You’re on Nextdoor, after all!”  They’re also people who are tired of the phenomenon of 1/3 of Americans not knowing their neighbors.  These are people you ought to get to know.

3. Ground floor influence.

I am now a Neighborhood Lead on my Nextdoor network, because I was one of the earliest adopters, and because I invited so many people.  They make it easy to invite geographically, since they (at the time of this writing) pay for you to send postcard invites to 50 people at a time in your neighborhood.  (You never have to touch the postcards, but you can customize the message with your name.)

For me, this was a no-brainer: Get to know my neighbors better, and let someone else pay for it?  Yes, please.

I am planning to use Nextdoor more intentionally in the next few months.  But without any particular plan, we’ve had 2 men start attending church from it in the past few months.

4. Very little noise.

Facebook and Twitter have been noisy for a while.  And they are getting noisier, with all the ads and commercialization.  Nextdoor is like a quieter room – you don’t have to talk with a megaphone to be heard.

In fact, on our Nextdoor, we will sometimes go for a few days with no posts at all.  Which is fine with me.  No one is feeling pressure to fill up the empty space, which makes your message stand out more.

5. No Farmville.

Right now, Nextdoor is simple.  No apps, games, and ads.  Maybe someday they’ll complicate it, but for right now, it’s uncluttered.

6. News about what’s going on in your community.

Oklahoma City is using Nextdoor to put out information about community events that are geographically based.  Law enforcement in OKC is using it to share ideas about safety.

I use it to share graphics about what is coming up at our church, specifically events like Trunk or Treat, or Easter.

If you’d like to check to see if Nextdoor is available in your area, or if you can launch a Nextdoor for your neighborhood, CLICK HERE.  (For a limited time, if you recruit enough neighbors to launch a neighborhood Nextdoor network in an area where it is not available, you get a $25 Amazon gift card.)

In the comments, I’d like to hear:

What social networks are you currently involved in?  What are their negatives?  Is it hard to break through?

Are you on Nextdoor currently?  How are you using it?

Can We Stop Talking About Technology Like It’s An Enemy?

One of the questions I get asked frequently is about technology… about what tools I’m using, what new things I’m trying.  This week, I’m launching my first e-book: “The Top 9 Tech Tools and Apps I’m Using to Get More Done!”  In it, I share my favorite tools, and how I’m using each one.

Before you download and read it, a few words on the role of technology in your life:

Technology is not a savior or an enemy.  It’s a magnifier.

It’s kind of popular to talk about tech as a savior (“This app is the greatest thing ever…”) or enemy (“it will make you ADHD and you’ll forget how to talk.”)  But the truth is that it’s neither.  The iPhone, the laptop… they didn’t cause your issues.  They are only “magnifiers.”  They simply magnify your strengths or weaknesses.

If you were easily distracted, not disciplined, lustful & have little self-control:

  • …just wait until you meet Facebook & Youtube!  Your problem is about to be magnified.
  • …just wait until you meet the 12% of the internet that is porn.
  • …wait until you have a video game permanently implanted in your life.

On the other hand, if you are growing in focus, discipline, spiritual desire and maturity:

  • …just wait until you have an audio & text version of the Bible permanently implanted in your life!
  • …just wait until you have tools that let you capture great ideas.
  • …just wait until you have tools that allow you to keep commitments, track time, and manage details.

In other words:

…wait until you see what happens when you meet the tools & apps I talk about in this e-book!

  • Evernote
  • MightyText
  • Todoist
  • SmartReceipts
  • If This, Then That
  • Google Drive
  • Google Calendar (& Business Calendar)
  • Morning Routine Alarm Clock
  • StayFocusd Chrome Extension

And every one is free!  Or at least they all have a free level or option.

So cut out the dramatic language about technology, and just go get busy magnifying what you do best.  If you like the ebook, share this post with someone who might find that it can take their productivity up a notch!

Get the Free E-book!

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Four Starter Steps to Fight Porn In Your Home

Pornography is big business in America.  Approximately $12 billion annually is spent on pornography.  To put that in perspective, the 100 largest missions organizations in America received 3 billion in a recent year.  Porn is about equal to the energy drink market in the US.  Close your eyes and visualize all the energy drinks in all the gas stations, grocery stores & Walmarts in America… there you go.  (If you haven’t read my last post on porn, and how pervasive it is in our culture, there are more stats there.)

In the last few weeks, a study on pornography among young people by the Barna Group commissioned by Josh McDowell was completed.  The results were startling.  76% of young people who identified as Christians sought out porn regularly.   Perhaps even more shocking were their views on it.  To quote the news story: “…while 52 percent of young Christian adults ‘would say that not recycling is morally wrong, only 32 percent would say watching pornography is morally wrong.'”

In that kind of world, how do we protect our families, our hearts, our churches?

Here are four beginning suggestions:

1. Build technological walls between your family and sin.

No one in today’s world — NO. ONE. — should have an unsecured, unfiltered internet connection. There are multiple tools available to do this, at reasonable cost (or no cost!). Invest the time. Get them. Learn them. Use them. Here are my favorites:

  •  OpenDNS – this software lives on your wireless router (not the computer), so it filters every device connected to your network. Invaluable, and free. Slightly more complicated to install than other programs. Very dependable in blocking. Not as powerful in monitoring and reporting.
  • Covenant Eyes. Filtering program for computers and phones. No child should have a smartphone or tablet without it. Not free, but excellent.
  • K9 Web Protection – Good, and free.  Custom lists, forced SafeSearch, time restrictions, reports… I’m impressed they can provide this much horsepower for free.  Multiple platforms available.
  • X3Watch – Free phone reporting app, sends your browsing history to an accountability partner. Somewhat weak on what it catches, but free. Barebones option. Also has a paid version of filtering software for computers.
  • Purify – this web service (and Chrome extension) shows Youtube videos, and strips away all the sidebars, comments, suggested videos, etc. Excellent idea for those who need to use Youtube, but dislike the abundance of sensuality & vulgarity in the suggested video thumbnails.
  • Mobicip – A free version & paid version.  Mobicip has apps & filters for all platforms.  I’m currently test driving this one on my Android phone and my PC.

2. Pray like crazy.

While we may fight with digital means, the protection of our homes is fundamentally a spiritual battle. Fasting and prayer for your family simply can’t be replaced.

3. Communicate often.

Cultivate honesty & willingness to share about these things by starting early. Talk about it with your children.

Discuss it with your spouse.  Men, share this parable with your wives:
Imagine that the Scripture condemns eating chocolate. Not only does it condemn it, but it condemns looking at it, and wanting to eat it. Then imagine that everyone ate chocolate. There were books about it. 12% of all websites were about chocolate. TV shows featured it, celebrities discussed their chocolate lives on talk shows.  Popular songs discussed chocolate openly.  Magazines and billboards featured half-unwrapped chocolate bars. Now, how hard is it not to think about chocolate?

Ladies, “Is it really like that?” is a question you need to ask of your husbands. If he’s honest, he’ll say yes.  But the conversation you have after he does will be important.

And you’ll need plenty of this next principle:

4. Create an atmosphere of grace.

I’ll be honest. You can’t build walls high enough to completely solve the problem. You can’t have enough tech tools. You can’t check up enough to prevent the possibility.  Odds are extremely high that your husband, your child, will see something impure.  Perhaps even intentionally.  What then?

Be very careful how you respond.  You have two choices: Law and Grace.

Paul says the law is clear that “the person who DOES these things shall live by them.” (Romans 10:5, NKJV). But the opposite is also true. The person who doesn’t — will die by them. And if the atmosphere of your home is one of law; if you’ve created an atmosphere of law, fear, condemnation, ultimatums… then the threat of condemnation will add to the guilt of their conscience and keep them from coming to you.  They may try to repent & seek forgiveness from Christ, but they won’t seek you out.

Please take it from me as a man who has struggled deeply in this area, received grace from others, & come thru to victory: Grace is more powerful than sin. Law is not… but grace is.

Someday I’ll share my story.  For now — grace, my friends.  Grace.

How to Build a Morning Routine – Part 2

How I Capture the Most Important Part of the Day

There isn’t one “right” morning routine.  It’s built on your values and realities.  My reality is self-employed (pastor) and 6 kids.  Yours might look totally different.  But for some ideas and encouragement, here’s a walkthru of my morning routine, from start to finish, with tips of what makes it work better for me.

If you want to read the first post I wrote on this, you’ll need to go here: How to Build a Morning Routine In 7 Steps.

First 90: Getting Started Right

10 Ways Evernote Is Making Pastoring Easier For Me

I am loving Evernote.  I had an account with Evernote for a couple years, but I confess I didn’t see the benefits & uses at the time, so I didn’t start using it. Then I read a post by Michael Hyatt on how he uses Evernote, and it opened my eyes to the possibilities. Since then, Evernote has become one of my absolute favorite tools.

It’s really useful on on a personal level — I keep my budget there, gift lists, etc. But in this post, I’ll talk about how I’m using it professionally in my ministry work. Here’s what I’m doing with it, and how it’s making my life easier as a pastor: