Tony Whittaker, coordinator for Internet Evangelism Day, 5 grownup children, 3 grandchildren. Live near Derby UK. Likes: trains, history, museums.
2. How and why did you become involved with mobile ministry?
By writing about it for Internet Evangelism Day, as mobiles have gained in significance over the last few years.
3. What excites you about mobile ministry?
That the mobile is near universal and available 24/7, even in the Majority World. It is totally portable, unlike an internet cafe, even the partial portability of a laptop.
4. What aspects of your background/training, books, websites, tools, etc. have been most helpful to you as you’ve moved forward in mobile ministry?
Following developments through Google Alerts, blogs and twitter, and news/discussion from friends and colleagues also interested in mobile ministry.
5. What are some of the biggest obstacles to implementing effective mobile ministry? For you/your ministry? For the Christian world in general?
As with most things, it's probably helping Christians to an awareness of the possibilities, showing them things they might never have thought of. And giving them the ready-made resources and guides to get started.
6. What is one recommendation you could make that would help an individual or ministry be better able to move forward in mobile ministry?
The first is obviously that someone should buy a decent smartphone with a widely used OS (realistically, that probably means IPhone or Android), and get really savvy with apps, downloads, and its whole potential. A simple phone may meet your current needs for calls and texts. A feature phone will do a bit more. You may feel you cannot justify expenditure on anything with a higher spec. Only a touch-screen smartphone is going to do anything strategic in evangelism or discipleship. The bigger the screen the better. Remember that you are also getting a half-decent snapshot camera, maps and satnav, web access, facebook, twitter, emails, bible downloads, book and bible downloads, and the potential for a portfolio of short conversation-starting video clips to share with others. I'd also want to calm people's worries about the supposed complexity of a smartphone. They are WAY easier to use than feature phones. They are WAY easier to use than Windows laptops. You do not need to be tech savvy to use them. Also I'd stress it is important to see mobile as integrated with Facebook, YouTube/video clips, Twitter, and other online/offline relationships. None of these things stand alone as individual mediums.
7. What is one hard earned lesson in ministry you would want to pass on to others here?
Envision people into mobile ministry, but keep it simple. And tell them stories of how other people are doing this stuff, that it is easy and they can do it too.
8. What part of mobile ministry does the Church need to bring more effort and focus to?
Many. Obviously there's the whole area of 'inreach' church communication to its members through texts, twitter and email. And, say, the ability to tweet ongoing prayer requests to a private group of supporters. And of course there's the whole area of Christans having multiple bible versions, even languages, at their fingertips. But in terms of evangelism, I think the most strategic is likely to be face-to-face sharing of conversation-starting video clips, both in the West and the Majority World. Encouraging inquirers to download evangelistic apps or YouVersion is also strategic. But apart from YouVersion there are very few apps - big need for development of outsider-friendly apps that inquirers would bother to download.
9. What aspect of mobile is overrated in your mind? Why?
I'm not aware of one as such. Certainly, people may make wild claims for the web or mobile, as they did in the past for radio or TV. The fact that people have a medium available to themselves does not mean that they will use it to self-evangelise - why should they. It's always about relationships and conversation, and always has been. But having said that, I do think that mobile ministry and evangelism is likely to be very very significant.
10. Is there anyone else you’d like to see interviewed regarding mobile ministry?