Brad Ruggles

The Art Of Living

Pay Attention To The Rule-Breakers

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photo by Scott Fillmer

Many of the people in my group said the most impactful session at Catalyst for them was the one by Steven Furtick, lead pastor of Elevation Church. Regardless of what you may think about Steven’s leadership style or church philosophy, there’s no denying that God’s hand is on him in a powerful way.

In the very last session Andy Stanley shared some thoughts on a handful of quotes that have helped shape his ministry. One of those quotes was from Joel Barker from his book Future Edge,

“What do I believe is impossible to do in my field, but if it could be done would fundamentally change my business?”

There are paradigm shifts taking place every day as companies, organizations, and churches are having to re-adjust their definition for what is and isn’t possible. Just because we think something is impossible or highly unlikely doesn’t necessarily mean it’s impossible. It could just mean that we haven’t discovered the way to get around that obstacle.

Andy’s takeaway from that quote was this:

Pay attention to people who are breaking the rules!

I think of people like Steven Furtick when I hear quotes like that. I just recently read about the Dream Sex series that Elevation is doing. They’re not only encouraging healthy relationships from the stage on Sunday, they’re actually providing an opportunity to kick-start it by giving out $30 gift-cards to local restaurants and 3 hours of childcare!

There is a new generation of churches and church leaders that are fundamentally redefining how church is done and people are reached.

Allow Room for Changing Paradigms

onlinechurch-124125We’re used to the idea of an Internet Campus like LifeChurch and Seacoast are doing but it was only within the last 5 years that those models were pioneered. What new ideas and tools will be available to us in 5 years that haven’t even been thought of yet?

Let’s take that question off the whiteboard and bring it home.
Perhaps you’ve had to adjust your ministry model to incorporate social media. Maybe you’re figuring out ways to utilize current technology tools like text messaging to make your service interactive (check out Jarbyco). Or maybe you’re letting God stretch you in the area of music or methods.

What are the paradigm shifts you’re dealing with in your ministry or organization right now?…

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Atlanta Bloggers Meetup Next Week

I’m so excited about meeting so many of you at the Atlanta Bloggers Meetup next week! Between going to Catalyst and hanging out with other bloggers, it’s going to be like my birthday and Christmas all rolled into one.

I also found out earlier this week that the Dealy Viper Shin-Dig will be taking place later that evening at the same location as the Blogger Meetup so if you hang around you’ll get a chance to meet Mike Foster, Jud Wilhite and the rest of the Deadly Viper crew. The one-and-only Anne Jackson will also be on hand capturing all the juicy details for CatalystBackstage and I’ll finally get to meet one of my favorite bloggers, Jon Acuff (StuffChristiansLike). We may even have a surprise visitor stop by!

Many of you have been asking who all is going to be at the meetup. Here’s the list of everyone who has registered so far. If you have some time before the conference check out some of these amazing bloggers:

  • Jonathan Herron
  • Josh Allen
  • Matt Simon
  • Russ Hutto
  • Pat Rowland
  • Pete Wilson
  • Jenni Catron
  • Ryan Bult
  • Chad Roberts
  • Dave Senes
  • Anne Jackson
  • Shawn Elledge
  • Shannon White
  • Adam Miller
  • Stuart Delony
  • Kevin Twombly
  • Jon Acuff
  • Mark Acuff
  • Bennett Acuff
  • Cherith Carpenter
  • Brett Carpenter
  • Shaun King
  • Dawn Nicole Baldwin
  • Keith Baldwin
  • Michael Harrison
  • Crystal Renaud
  • Lynse Leanne
  • Mark LeHew
  • Terrace Crawford
  • Dave Daniels
  • Kim Daniels
  • Aaron Dininny
  • Katie Dininny
  • Tim Liu
  • Zak White
  • Nic Burleson
  • Cole Phillips
  • Adam Black
  • Bryan McGee
  • Jennifer McGee
  • Mike Paschal
  • Ryan Detzel
  • Nick Carnes
  • Brad Ruggles
  • Lisa Ruggles
  • Aaron Foster
  • Jason Ruggles
  • Tom Hinton
  • Corbin Prows
  • Jake Miller
  • Adam Flynt
  • Travis Thompson

Remember, Twitter will be abuzz with activity during the conference as well (#catalyst08 is the hash tag to use and follow). I’m looking forward to meeting and hanging with all of you! See you next week in Atlanta!…

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5 Tips for Becoming A Social Network Butterfly

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The Internet is changing daily. In the last few years we’ve seen the rise of sites like Facebook and Twitter as millions have joined the social networking trend. But social networking isn’t just for business professionals trying to find new sales leads or socially inept computer nerds trying to retreat from the real world.

No matter what your level of experience is with blogging or social media you can expand your circle of friends and meet some amazing new people.

5 Tips To Becoming A Social Network Butterfly

Let me start by pointing out that the goal isn’t to meet so many new people that you develop a large group of shallow relationships. The key to social networking is meeting enough people so that you can cultivate deeper relationships with those you click with. Here are 5 tips for becoming a social network butterfly everyone wants to meet.

1. Make Yourself Easy To Find

Perhaps the simplest and most obvious way to get connected online is to get yourself out there! There are a host of popular SN sites that make it easy to meet new people. Some of the more popular ones include Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, StubleUpon, YouTube, Vimeo and LinkedIn (we won’t mention MySpace, I’m still trying to pretend it doesn’t exist).

However, one of the biggest mistakes I see people making on their blogs is failing to provide easy links to all their social network profiles. If you’re going to capitalize on networked relationships then make it easy for visitors to your blog to find where else you are online. Popular social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk does a great job of this on his blog. Make the most out of your online presence by making yourself easy to find.

2. Cultivate Shared Interests

As you begin to develop your online relationships you’ll find you related to some people better than others. The beauty of social networking is that it allows you to connect with people that have similar likes and interests as you no matter where in the world they live. There are several new sites and tools that help facilitate meeting people with shared interests.

Meetup is one of the largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group around an interest or activity. More than 2,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.

Roov is a new online community launched earlier this summer that “connects like-minded individuals around their shared experiences and passions within their church and city.” It was designed to help facilitate new relationships and build community within the church.

There are a variety of other social networking tools that allow you meet new people that share your interest, hobby, affinity or passion.

3. Discover New Connections

Just meeting and associating with people online who have the same tastes and style would greatly limit you. There are certain online “circles” you may feel more comfortable hanging in but why not leverage the power of social networking tools to broaden your interests and meet new people.

Most of the people you interact with online probably became your “friend” through another online friend or a link off of their site. The old adage, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is just as true on the web. The most successful social networkers have expanded their social circles to include thousands or tens of thousands.

One good way to make new connections online is to harness the power of Google Alerts. Simply type in the search term of your choice, such as the name of your favorite author or an area of social need you’re passionate about. Select “Blogs” in the search type to limit the alerts to just blogs that mention those keywords you chose. Choose how often you’d like to receive notifications, type in your email address and click the ‘create alert’ button.

You can create as many of these alerts as like and manage them from your Google account. You’ll be amazed as the new connections start showing up in your inbox.

You can also use Twitter’s Search functionality to perform real-time searches of what people are saying on Twitter. This is another great way to meet new people on Twitter who are already talking about the things you’re interested in but may not run in your social networking circles.

4. Go Deeper With Key Relationships

Sure, you may have 535 friends on Facebook and follow 796 people on Twitter but what fun is that? The ultimate goal here isn’t to see how many people you can follow on Twitter (even though some people take that approach) but to find new people that you can get to know better.

Most social network or blogging relationships start with the “comment exchange” – I leave a comment on your blog, you leave a comment on mine. Don’t just limit yourself to “comment relationships” though. If you’re clicking with someone then shoot them an email, forward them a link you think they would enjoy reading. You may even chat with Skype or AIM.

You’re going to develop lots of relationships online but you won’t necessarily get to know everyone on the same level. Take the time to go deeper with people you really like.

5. Meet In Person

relationships-20081002-100118The ultimate goal of social networking isn’t to be stuck behind the computer all day hanging out with our “virtual friends.” In spite of all the great networking tools that about on the Internet today, nothing beats good old-fashioned face-to-face.

Be sure to check out local social networking sites in your area to see if there are any opportunities for connecting over shared interests. Meetup.com is a great resource for this but in my area there’s also sites like Smaller Indiana that help facilitate meetups.

I’ve been blogging for 9 months and I already have a network of people that I can hook up with for coffee or lunch in nearly every major metropolitan hub in the country. You just can’t develop a network of relationships like that anywhere else.

Next week I’ll be hooking up with 60+ bloggers at the Bloggers08 Atlanta Meetup, many of whom I’ll be meeting for the first time. I’ve also had the chance to meet some amazing people in person that I would have never been able to meet were it not for my social network.

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Good luck on using these 5 tips to expand your online circle of friends. Social Networking isn’t just a trend or buzz-word, its a chance for you to make and develop new relationships with people you would otherwise never had the opportunity to meet. I’d love to hear more ideas and tools you use for your social networking.…

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