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The Inspired Mobility Panel from the Blogging While Brown Conference in New York was at it again, but this time it was a live broadcast for the world via Google+ Hangout. Thursday, August 7th, Jason Caston, creator of the iChurch Method, moderated a conversation with Chip Dizard, ministry multimedia expert, Tiffani Robinson, digital and social media expert, and L. Michelle Smith, U.S. Diversity Corporate Communications Lead at AT&T.

The Inspired Mobility conversation has really taken off on social media, with people sharing inspirational quotes, memes, music, and videos using the hashtag #inspiredmobility. The discussion has also gone further than online inspiration and daily motivation on the go, to include different perspectives on online giving, using technology during church services, and how faith-based organizations can expand their reach using technology to connect with people wherever they are using podcasts and streaming video. The goal of the discussion on Thursday was to address questions that have come up during these online conversations, as well as to share tips on how to stay inspired on the go using apps and other mobile tools and to talk about the future of technology and faith-based organizations.

The mid-day hangout began around the time of day when most people need some motivation to make it through to the end of the work day and finish on a positive note – refreshed and ready to move into the evening’s activities either spending time with family and friends or enjoying a quiet evening, recharging for the next day. The great viewership of the broadcast, along with the lively conversation on Twitter, served as an excellent indicator that this was the perfect time of day to talk about ways to stay inspired on the go using mobile technology.

Caston began the conversation by explaining what the Inspired Mobility campaign is, supported by some enlightening statistics from a study conducted by AT&T in partnership with Ebony Magazine about technology and the worship experience.

“90% of people hold the belief that technology has a place in houses of worship […] Nearly 80% of respondents said that technology has had a positive impact on their worship experience.”

Smith made it clear that this was a “tech first” conversation. “It’s all about mobility and how people are leveraging it to experience their faith or inspiration. When it comes to people who aren’t particularly religious, don’t follow a particular faith, are not members of a group and don’t attend worship services,” she said,” [If] you do seek inspiration daily, weekly, or maybe even monthly - online, with your device, or with apps, we’re interested in you having this conversation, and letting us know how you are using this technology to inspire…”

Robinson shared some of her favorite apps that she uses to stay inspired on the go, like Path (path.com) and YouVersion (youversion.com). Dizard added Youtube (youtube.com), Pinterest (pinterest.com), and Stitcher (< a href="http://www.stitcher.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">stitcher.com) to the list of go to apps when it comes to staying motivated. Jason Caston says, “When we are talking about technology, things happen so quickly, we want to look at what the future of faith and technology [is].” Looking forward to that not so distant future, Robinson told the Google+ Hangout viewers that she can see some great opportunities for church leaders to use tools like Google Glass to give a first person experience to those watching church services adding a more “human element”.

One of the viewers, still very much concerned about the present, told the panel via Twitter, “As a millennial wife with five children, I’m interested in options for my kids versus [in] ten years.” Caston replied with information about the YouVersion app for kids which, according to Smith, has just been released in Spanish, adding a multicultural element to it. Dizard added that there are several apps from digital coloring books to games that are faith based, and that developers are constantly adding more apps for children. Tiffani Robinson suggested that youth look into viewing streaming youth services through sites like Ustream (ustream.com).

Towards the end of the online event, the panelist talked about ways that faith based organizations can get started with reaping the benefits associated with adding technology to their church services to increase engagement, giving, and the reach of their messages. “When people walk into a sanctuary and they whip out their tablet, the expectation is that there would be Wi-Fi so that they could connect with the [Bible] app that’s there, or any of the other tools that you would use to participate in the service,” said Smith. While the discussion on the Google Hangout had to come to a close, the conversation continued on Twitter with the hashtag #inspiredmobility. Before signing off, Smith encouraged viewers to “Share your experiences, use the hashtag and search for conversations that are going, and find people like you who are involved in ushering in this cultural shift.”

For those who missed the broadcast, it is available online to view any time on Youtube. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWH-mamIwdc), and the conversation is still going on Twitter. Follow the hashtag #inspiredmobility to see the latest discussions.


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