Sorry you missed it.
Just kidding! The conversation will continue at Digital.Leadnet.org‘s website, so head over there if you want in… I think you’d be glad you did. And, the slides should be posted soon enough, so stay tuned.
Hosted by DJ Chuang, the webinar went smoothly (except for some epic macbook pro fails because GoToMeeting doesn’t like macs) and there were some excellent questions asked for both Brian Vasil, the Internet Campus Pastor of Flamingo Road Church, and Brandon Donaldson, the Internet Campus Pastor for LifeChurch.tv.
But it wasn’t that great questions, the great answers that the two gave, or even their presentations as a whole that really got me pumped; it was the fact that their efforts were dripping with juicy purpose.
Brandon opened the conversation with a story about how LifeChurch started with a simple webcast of their content and how stories after stories came pouring in about people receiving Christ in their own living rooms as their content streamed througout the internet.
This all happened “on accident.”
Brandon, and team, were amazed at the results and thought how amazing it would be if they did this “on purpose.” If that wasn’t enough food for thought for the rest of the day, then I didn’t know what else could! He shared his findings from Jim Collin‘s book Good to Great (which is an excellent read, btw) and how one particular chapter focused on how “technology doesn’t create momentum, it accelerates it.”
I think this couldn’t be more true in regards to how we use technology for our respective ministries and organizations:
Technology should, when leveraged correctly, assist in making the mission and vision our who we are and what we do more effective, but it is not an end unto itself and is nothing without purpose.
And that was just the first couple of minutes!
After Brandon came Brian and he also added to the wisdom of the crowd by adding this tidbit that I really enjoyed: There is (and probably should be) a “holy discontent” with our online “success” and endeavors. I’ll let that rest on you for a bit and you let me know what you interpret that to mean, but I could do nothing more than throw a fat “amen” bomb right at him (although he obviously didn’t hear me since everyone was muted).
Loved it. And loved to hear that so many great thinkers are on the right path.
After a much needed Q/A session (and more to come, goto Digital @ Leadnet for a good followup) there was a technology segment where both Flamingo and LifeChurch laid out some of the technology that runs their ministry.
LifeChurch uses some of the following:
- Flash encode for push/pull of content data.
- Jabber Service and Protocol for XMPP Messaging (and other cool tomfoolery)
- PHPLive for Live Support-esque issues like Prayer and Help
- Userplane integrated with their databases for Chat
In addition, they shared their new coming-soon rollout for their online campus experience which looked a whole lot cleaner, trimmed, and, from what Brandon shared, will provide a much more smooth and complete user experience.
One “surprising” fact shared is that LifeChurch’s setup cost came out to about $100k. Yes, $100,000+ dollars.
But, should that be surprising? How much does (or did) your ministry spend for a physical building? Probably much more than 6 figures (try 7… or 8). Curious, but logical.
Flamingo Road uses some of the following:
- Mogulus for Video
- Ustream for Video
- Windows Media Player for Video / Audio – Do this for variable bit rate.
- Parachat (Java-based Chat Ap) for their web chat
- Ning for their Forums, Community, Boards, etc. – They pay a little to get rid of ads.
What’s extremely fascinating (and encouraging) is the fact that Flamingo has successfully leveraged technology that is already available and, for the most part, no incremental cost for them. Mogulus, Ustream, WMP, Ning (ad-supported) is all free software already hosted on enterprise application-level servers.
What does that mean?
With a little creativity, know-how, and panache you can have an online campus without increasing your bottom dollar.
Of course, and this goes without saying, these platforms and technologies alone can’t bring about the desired results because the intagibles of creating a good experience and software platform is blood, sweat, tears, prayers, and good ol’ fashion software dev (and genius developers).
All in all it was a great time and I know that it “wet” more than just my appetite for Internet Campuses. I applaud loudly Brandon, Brian, LifeChurch and Flamingo in what they are doing and how they are challenging all of us to boldly move forward with our missions to see many know our Lord and Savior through online technology.
Oh, and one final thought… there willingness to share “how” they do what they do is a testament to their ultimate desire to see men come to know the salvation plan of God… and shows they are much more interested in building the Kingdom than building their own empires on earth.
Now that’s what I call “Open Source.”