[not] all paths lead to ordination

This piece was written for the Pacific Northwest Conference of the UMC’s newsletter, Channels.

I’m in that sweet demographic that the United Methodist Church, and frankly, other mainline denominations want in their pews (and pulpits?): Under 35. Female. Ethnic minority. You could call me a triple threat, though I can’t take credit that I had anything to do with that.

Unlike many of the young adults who have decided the Church just isn’t relevant, I still go. Regularly. I even chair a committee and am involved in conference level leadership. I feel like I have a place in the church. Gasp. Yes, it may have started because I was the token young person of color, but that’s moot. The point is that I said “yes” to some of these invitations to participate in various committees, events and worship experiences growing up, and though the invitations may not have meant much to me then, the opportunities were formative in preparing me for where I feel God is leading me today, muddy as that path may feel.

I’m in my second quarter of seminary at Seattle Pacific University pursuing my Masters in Business and Applied Theology (grad degree #3)–though I can still be persuaded to go the M.Div. route. Yes, SPU had a graduate program in theology. And it’s solid. Ask me about it sometime. I’ll even buy you coffee to talk about it. Continue reading

What’s in your toolbox?

This article was written for the Pacific Northwest Conference’s publication, Channels. To view this on their website, click here.

Let’s not kid ourselves. There is way too much information out there. It’s easy to get lost, inundated, bogged down so you feel like you don’t even know how to start sifting through the barrage of information we encounter daily, let alone decide how to mange it all.  Many of you have moved past the question of whether or not you’ll start tweeting, create a facebook page or start an e-newsletter. You’ve done that or are in the process. And just as you were figuring your way around blogs, facebook pages and podcasts, you’re learning there are even more communication tools at your disposal! How do you keep it all straight? You represent congregations and faith communities big and small. What tools can help you work smarter and more effectively?

I heard your plea. Or groan?
flickr user "cwt_ucla"

photo by flickr user, "cwt_ucla"

Here’s a sampling of basic tools you can use to keep up to speed with the changing (and sticking) technology. From eNewsletters to conference calls; blogging to file sharing; live streaming to media editing; project management to task management–you’ve got a smattering here of tools you’ll need to keep in your digital toolkit.

Use what you need, come back to the ones you don’t quite know much about. Find a friend and start exploring! Click on stuff. Don’t worry, you won’t break anything. Promise.

eNews + eCommunication :: Green is in. It’s time to start thinking about paperless communication solutions. This doesn’t mean completely doing away with paper newsletters. You are merely offering another opportunity for your community to receive timely communication about the great things happening in your congregation and faith community.

Constant Contact [constantcontact.com]
Constant Contact has been around the block. They’re a favorite email and event marketing solution for non profits and industry. If you subscribe to any of the Pacific Northwest Conference newsletters, you’ve received a product of Constant Contact. If you can prove your 501(c)(3) status as a nonprofit, you can take advantage of their discounted pricing starting at $15/month.

MailChimp [mailchimp.com]

MailChip is a newer service, but I like it already. They’re hip, easy to use, and have a “Forever Free Plan” that allows you to store up to 2,000 email addresses and send out 12,000 emails a month. Not too shabby! Continue reading