Tag Archives: trends

My sister Mary posted this old picture of our parents on her facebook page last week. My dad was in the Seabees during World War II, building airstrips, barracks, bridges and the like in the Pacific Theatre. This photo was probably taken when he was on leave, early 1945, when I was conceived. I was born in November of that year, just a month or two after the war ended. I was an original baby boomer.

My parents grew up in a different time. Growing up I heard them say things like: “When I was your age:  we didn’t have indoor toilets … we had to pump water from a well … we had to milk cows and gather eggs before breakfast … we had to walk five miles to school.”  It all sounded like ancient history to me.

Now my history is ancient, too.

How many of these can you relate to?  They were all true when I was growing up:

  1. We couldn’t drive into town for a fast food meal because there were no fast food restaurants.
  2. Mothers  who worked outside the home were considered irresponsible.
  3. TV sets were considered furniture and they were available in black and white only.
  4. And it went off the air at midnight.
  5. And there were only 3 channels.
  6. Pizza was  called “Pizza Pie.”
  7. And it wasn’t delivered to your house.
  8. But milk was.
  9. And milk bottles had little cardboard stoppers in them.
  10. Newspapers were delivered by paper boys.
  11. There were no movie ratings because all movies were more or less G-rated.
  12. But Christians still didn’t go to them because they were “worldly.”
  13. Christians didn’t go to bowling alleys either.
  14. Or to school dances.
  15. But we could buy candy cigarettes.
  16. And little bottles of Coke made out of wax.
  17. Coke machines dispensed glass bottles.
  18. Music was purchased on 45 rpm records.
  19. Roller skates had keys.
  20. There was only one phone in the house.
  21. And it was on a “party line” so you had to make sure a neighbor wasn’t using it.
  22. We saved S&H Green Stamps.
  23. Nobody ever asked “paper or plastic?”
  24. We could take toy guns to school.
  25. Ice trays were made of metal.
  26. Cameras had blue flash bulbs.
  27. Clothes were dried on a clothesline.
  28. Wash tubs had wooden rollers for rinsing clothes.

Ancient history, indeed.  One of these days your life will become ancient history too. Enjoy it now … while you can!


I just finished a book by Jeff Jarvis titled What Would Google Do? which I spotted at the San Diego airport the other day.  The title intrigued me so I picked up a copy.google

Jarvis is a journalist and internet marketing expert who almost single-handedly brought down Dell Computer a few years ago with his blog.  Since then, he’s become an expert on things geeky and in this book he illuminates the worldview of today’s “Google Generation” and outlines 40 principles which have led to Google’s unprecedented success.  Here are just a few of them:

  • Give the people control.
  • Do what you do best and link to the rest (think distributed.)
  • If you’re not searchable, you won’t be found. “New publicness.”
  • Elegant organization.
  • A new economy: small is the new big.
  • Atoms are a drag (get rid of “stuff.”)
  • Free is a business model.
  • Decide what business you’re in.
  • Middlemen are doomed.
  • There is an inverse relationships between control and trust.
  • Listen.
  • Make mistakes well.
  • Life is a beta.
  • Be honest, transparent.
  • Collaborate.
  • Don’t be evil.
  • Answers are instantaneous
  • Simplify, simplify.
  • Get out of the way.

Jarvis applies these principles in a “what if” kind of way to all sorts of businesses from media companies to the airline industry.  His last chapter is titled “Exceptions” and there are two: God and Apple (computers).  In his view religion can’t be Googlejuiced and neither can Steve Jobs who does things pretty much his own way, whether we like it or not.  Jarvis doesn’t really elaborate on why religion is exempt but I’m assuming it’s because God thinks he’s Steve Jobs.

But maybe the church could stand a little Googlethink. As I go down Jarvis’ list, I think there are many Google principles which could help the church become more effective.

Certainly our unwillingness as a church to be transparent, to listen better, to “do no evil” and to simplify has driven many young people away from the church.  Some have left completely; others have started “emergent” churches which perhaps have been Googlejuiced a little too much.  Jarvis believes that companies and organizations willing to change quickly will survive.  The rest will simply go away and not be heard from again.

I’m working on a new book concerning the future of youth ministry which hopefully will be published soon. (Jarvis, by the way, predicts that books are soon going to become obsolete as the world becomes more Google-ized.)  This book has definitely given me some food for thought.  Maybe there are some ways we can do church (and youth ministry) in a Googley way without doing violence to the Gospel.  If you have any ideas on that, fire away.

Jarvis’ book has also encouraged me to blog more, which I really haven’t done (much) before.  I don’t know if anyone actually reads these things but what the heck, you never know.

Category: Ministry