ArmstrongFamily 220Yesterday I wrote about my personal journey in using the social media. In particular I wrote about Facebook and Twitter. I am not an expert on these media resources by any stretch. I do know how they have impacted my personal life. As a result of reflecting upon these social media resources I shared in that previous blog post how I will make changes beginning this week.

I will continue to blog. I will post my own material on this (my) blog site. I will also publish material from guest bloggers who hold various viewpoints and who are in my network of friends and Christian leaders. These will not be mere links to public sites and news feeds but articles and opinions that I post on my blog site with my knowledge and oversight. Generally, I will post only once a day. My sense of frequency feels like I will post 3-5 times a week. Most posts will be 300-500 words, some longer. It depends on the content and time I have to write. I will link all of these blog posts to a Facebook page, maybe a “fan page” though I hate that designation. Here people can respond if they would like. It is highly unlikely that I will respond to each comment as a matter of my daily routine. I explained why yesterday.

I may, over time and with further careful thought, stop blogging. Blogging is, at least for me, a task I still (generally) enjoy. I believe it has some ongoing (and more permanent) value. But when this writing drains me, and actually keeps me from my more important writing, such as the book I am currently writing, then I will not blog. I believe I am called to write and publish books, not to be a daily blogger. I blog because it allows me to reflect on my immediate ideas as I am digesting them.

I write this because I want to clarify my calling and ACT3 ministry priorities. These are:

  1. To write published material in my books, to edit books contributed to by others as well, to offer my contributions (chapters) to books, and to write serious journal articles, magazine articles, and other occasional pieces for print and Internet use. I am currently working to find the right agent to work with me in some of my writing ventures in order to organize what I do and then to wisely choose who will publish my work. I resisted this decision for years, being very old-school, but this is how the modern world of publishing works. Pray for me as I seek to know what is right for me and ACT3 in this area of writing and publishing.
  2. To speak on missional-ecumenism in every context where my gifts and vision are welcomed and received with some evidence of interest and openness. This includes planning and leading ACT3 Unity Factor Conversations in various locations.
  3. To plan and work on major video resources that reach, teach and inspire vision for missional-ecumenism. I will be filming in early may for a Reformation series and I am currently preparing a plan for a major video series on ecumenism and mission. These projects reach far more people than almost anything else I do.
  4. To continue to plan and stage public dialogues between me, and a Catholic partner/theologian, so that more people can see and experience the unity and diversity evangelicals and Catholics share in Christ’s love.
  5. To preach the Word of God in contexts where I think I can do some good. These will mostly be conference settings. My preaching as a guest in a local church on Sundays is virtually non-existent. I believe this development (which is a radical departure from the decade of the 1990s) was the Lord’s doing since my life has changed so much since 1998. I see more clearly where I can now do the most good and I am older. I can see that a lot of my energy is best devoted to meeting with one person or a small group of people.
  6. To continue to teach as an adjunct in mission and evangelism at Wheaton College Graduate School and to teach as a guest lecturer in other seminary and college contexts.
  7. To meet with other Christian leaders, young and old (Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox), who share my vision or who might desire to understand this vision better and help me spread it as far and wide as possible. I do this over coffees, lunches, dinners, etc. I visit various cities to continue this relationship development that leads to supporting and helping local networks do missional-ecumenism.
  8. I serve one other mission (Acton Institute) as a senior advisor. Because of this role I visit seminaries and meet with presidents, deans and faculty. I am not sure if this will continue into next year but it currently remains a vital part of my work.
  9. To represent and support all my ACT3 partners. You can see these friends and ministries on our home page at ACT3 Network.
  10. To cultivate new ACT3 partners in order to grow a humble and incarnational presence for our vision.
  11. To chair the Lausanne Committee’s Catholic-Evangelical Conversation, which meets annually and is becoming more global. Next meting: September 2-5, 2015. Mark September 3 for an evening public event which we hope to live stream.
  12. To continue to serve on the Plan Committee for the National Workshop on Christian Unity in order to build a strong, contributing Ancient-Future Faith Evangelical partnership within this historic ecumenical presence in the United States. (This is the only annual workshop completely devoted to Christian unity.) The NWCU takes place next week in Charlotte, NC.
  13. Most importantly, I continue to seek to nurture my own soul and to love and serve my wife and family. I have two adult married children (and two teenage grand-daughters) who live within twenty-minutes. My son leads an impressive ministry to reach children in public schools. I think this is one of the most important ministries I have encountered. (I admit my bias!) I hope you will see this work at Crossroads Kids Club. I am privileged to support my children, and their spouses, in every way that I can. Even more important to me is the truest love of my life, Anita. If the social media takes away time that I can spend with her then it has seriously become a hindrance to the one relationship that matters most in my life. There are times when this has happened and my attention is drawn to my computer and time is lost to her and my family that I have missed.

I have often said that when I die I’d like for my legacy to not be my books, my events or my honors but my truest and dearest friends. I treasure unhurried time with my real friends. I hope that some will say, when I am done, “John was my friend! He cared for me, he prayed for me and he invested his time in me out of love.” If this happens then I succeeded. For this to happen I must follow these priorities which I believe frame my life and mission.

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  1. Bryan Prosser April 14, 2015 at 1:18 pm - Reply

    Thanks again John. We all need to reassess our involvement with social media. It’s a new phenomenon, and with anything new, there is a tendency to over use it. I have discovered much by blogging and sharing on FB. But a little over a month ago, I realized I was becoming quite distracted by all the “noise” and chatter. It was all quite interesting, and in most cases, more intensely interesting than general media sources because I got to choose what feeds I received. Some of the feeds like the steady news flashes from the Middle East just undid me. It was too much emotionally. Then more importantly, I was not giving proper attention to my wife and family. Since my severe cut back, I now spend more time with my wife on walks, bike rides, spontaneous road trips to go hiking, investigating new restaurants, while carrying on much deeper and often more humorous conversations. That also goes for my grown kids, and my two granddaughters. Face to face time is and always will be best, and I need to model that to the young hip generation who stares at their phone more than 18 hours a day. Blessings to you as we both seek to navigate the ever changing landscape of human relationships. May God be glorified.

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