HumansofNY and the Gospel


If you don't follow HumansofNY on Instagram yet you should. They currently have 1.5 million followers and the account is growing by 100 thousand followers every 2 weeks. The author of the account, Brandon Stanton, has also published a book that is on the New York Times Bestsellers List. The pictures and stories inspire me on a regular basis. It is a beautiful reminder of the imago dei; God's image in humanity.

It is also a clear example of how sin effects the human life. The unvarnished nature of each post reveals the brokenness in the world.

It leaves me wondering "how would the gospel change its persons life?"

So if you haven't discovered HumansofNY check it out. And if you enjoy it as much as me I'd love to hear why?


College: More Than A Place for Learning


Colleges are so important. And their importance is not just found within the aspect of learning. After working in the field of higher education for the past thirteen years I am convinced of the these institution's value within society. We live in an age where old institutions are being disrupted by new technology. And there are some who predict the demise of the college as a geographical location where students learn. These prophets suggest that learning will eventually happen all online and that the online classroom will replace the brick and mortar classroom. But those who make these predictions fail to realize that college is more than just a place for learning. These institutions serve five other purposes.

Colleges are a Clearinghouse for Talent

The brick and mortar college is a gathering place for gifted students; students  with vision. They declare majors and clump with students that share their interests. Peers are in the trenches together, working their way through exams, research papers and labs. And at the end of the day these students are launched back out into society to be productive and the leaders of the next generation.

There is something special about gathering young gifted people in a single geographic location. It has always reminded me of the cord blood that is saved from a newborn baby's umbilical cord. In the same way that that blood contains the rich potential for future healing, these young lives are success stories in an embryonic form. They are gathered together in one place and then distributed around the world as productive and creative leaders.

The college campus serves as a testing ground. Students are evaluated as they do their coursework. They have opportunities to collaborate and lead. The gifted are identified as they go through the academic process. At the end of the day these campuses are like distribution centers that help distribute these students into the workplace and ministry.

Colleges Provide Accountability

Colleges or college departments are often connected with specialized fields. The professors should be experts in a given field and ought to582324_69357709 be tacticians with past experience in their field. The connection between new research in the institution and active fields where the new research is applied implies that their is accountability. When a student does their research and produce their finds in a paper, those findings are then scrutinized by professors and peers. This is what we call peer review. It implies that the new thought leadership produced by the college has gone through an accountability process.

This accountability process lends itself to trust. The work can be trusted because it has gone through the accountability process. This is important for the church. The local church has various winds blow through that are new ideas. There are different philosophers that want to have the stage to espouse their theory on the second resurrection, or the implications of Paul's Christology. The college institution helps the local church to know who they ought to give more credence to. The philosopher that has gone through an institutions research process and has been peer reviewed ought to have more weight than the crack pot theoretician from down the street.

Some seminaries have earned the trust of a denomination. And the churches in that denomination are able to trust the material produced by the seminary because they trust the accountability process in place at that academic institution.

Colleges are a Gathering Place for Scholars

Higher education institutions are also of great value because they become the gathering place for scholars. This has been the case for the church since the second century. The schools of Alexandria and Antioch were more gathering places for the theologians than they were organized learning centers for pastors. And this is valuable when heresies crop up. Colleges and seminaries can rise to the occasion and critic a new heresy and provide society with the ammunition needed to oppose what is false.

This is tied in with the idea of accountability, but it also leads into the idea of collaboration. With these scholars gathered in one geographic location, it is much easier to develop new ideas and think through what has been proposed. These higher institutions serve as the "connector" of scholars and this is a highly valuable role within our new world.

Colleges Are the Grounds for Collaboration

Just a quick glance at some of the companies that have emerged over the past 40 years reveals how valuable the collaboration can be at these colleges. Apple, Facebook, PayPal are just a few tech companies that were developed through college collaboration. But there are many new church plants that are based on the collaboration that took place during college. There are new bands that have developed out of the collaboration that took place at college. This ties in with the idea of the clearinghouse. Colleges connect young people together and create a synergy for new ideas.

Colleges are a Meeting Place for Spouses

Last but not least, our society needs brick and mortar colleges so that men and women can find their spouses. And these colleges serve that purpose well. Unfortunately, some people have viewed this aspect of the college experience as a negative. I have heard some people speak of Bible College in a condescending way as the Bridal College. As if marriage was a bad thing... In reality, we need young people getting married and starting families. And what better place to find a spouse than at a Bible College can they propose?


If the brick and mortar colleges of today want to remain relevant they will need to harness these five byproducts. They will want to capitalize on these strengths. There are some colleges that are already doing this and these are the ones that will succeed.

Four Ideas for Foursquare

Foursquare is a mobile check-in app that allows the user to indicate their location by checking in. Users can earn points, badges and the title of “mayor” based on their frequency of check-ins and variety of locations that are visited. It also has a social component that allows you to see where your friends have checked in and what locations they recommend. This type of application is still on the tech horizon even though they have over 15 million users. There is a big upside for this type of business. 

Here are four new features I’d love to see: 

  1. Classify businesses based on the volume of checkins. This idea springboards off of  the “mayor” concept. If a business can have a “mayor”, why not classify the business as a village, town, city, or metropolis? This would incentives the participation of individual businesses and give a new metric to the users. 
  2. Provide more leadership positions than just the “mayor”. This would incentives more people to check-in and it gives a good metric to the business. If I were a business, I would want to know who my 10 most loyal patrons were verses just a single “mayor”. 
  3. Incentives the To-Do feature. Shouldn’t I get points for publishing a list of places that I’m interested in? And shouldn’t businesses be able to act on my To-Do list? 
  4. Let me give points to my friends. If points have value, then I should be able to use this value for more than just personal status on a list. This builds community and gives users a reason to come back to the app. 

How to Put a Church on Facebook

I have two primary roles at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa: content curation for and social media strategies. 

On the Social Media side of things I’m constantly running into Calvary Chapels that want to have their church on Facebook, but are creating a profile rather than a page. This is a violation of Facebook policy, and a self-defeating use of the platform. Click here to read Facebook’s policy about profiles. 

A personal profile is intended for individuals. A public page is intended for an organization. If you want to create a page for your church you can click here. If you need some good examples of public Facebook pages check out these two.  

I’ve been invited to give a workshop on Social Media at the Senior Pastor’s Conference this Summer. I’m excited to help as many Calvary Chapels as possible use these tools to extend the ministry.