Are You Mobile?

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They (whoever “they” are) have been saying for a while now, “The world’s going mobile,” and it sure seems they are right, doesn’t it? Wherever you look, people are peering, or talking, or singing along, or listening as they walk, ride, fly — whatever. What about you and your church? Are you going mobile?

We discussed tablets in my last blog entry, and Jerod Clark listed “Get serious about going mobile” as the first item in his list of things to consider for “Church Communication in 2014.” There have been several articles, blogs, and discussions about mobile technology. I loved all the comments on my last entry about different uses of tablets, by the way. It was great to learn the many ways tablet technology is being used at your churches!

And speaking of many ways of use, recently I read an article in the “Calvin Wire” (Calvin College’s e-newsletter) about a Calvin alum who is hoping to bring a new technological product to market that has potential use in churches, in a way that never would have occurred to me.

The article was called “Calvin Grad Takes Class Project to Market,” and is about KJ Yoo, who worked with fellow students on a senior project called “Übercaster ... ’Think of it as a device that empowers anyone to be a local broadcaster to anyone, like your own personal radio station anywhere,’ explained Yoo.” The idea for this device came to him when he was busying, playing his violin as a street performer. He noticed that some passers-by wanted to stop and hear, while others preferred not to.

“I thought there must be a way to broadcast my music to those who wanted to hear it,” stated Yoo ... After conducting more research, Yoo determined that the proliferation of smartphones created an opportunity to broadcast over Wi-Fi much more simply and affordably. He ran the idea past some other people who agreed, and the vision of how the system could be used kept growing: in sports bars so customers could select which TV’s sound they wanted to hear, in churches so people with hearing loss could tune in easily, as a translation service, by tour guides and more. — “Calvin Grad Takes Class Project to Market,” Calvin Wire, December 2013, by Laurie Lemmen (italics mine)

When I read the first description of Übercaster, I had a hard time conceiving why it would seem useful. But as I read on, I was amazed at the possibilities, even potentially useful in church services for those with hearing loss. Imagine the ability for hearing-impaired people to use their mobile device to listen to the service. Or get a translation of it, for that matter. Who knows?

I have to confess I feel like my church and I are a bit behind on the mobile movement. We have been podcasting our sermons for a long time now. But our website is not yet mobile friendly. We do not stream our services. We’ve begun work on switching our site to a “responsive design,” so at least we’re starting to move in that direction.

What are you doing? Is your church website mobile-friendly? Do you podcast your sermons or services? Do you stream them? Do you record your services for viewing or listening later? Do you use technology aimed at mobile users for church news, prayer requests, or other communication?

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