Dinner With My Dad


Reposted from 

I had dinner with my dad once and learned a lot about going places.

When it came to my dad, I carried some stuff around for a while. It was big, heavy stuff and had messed up our relationship . . . resentment, stubbornness, expectations and the heaviest of all . . . pride.

Have you ever had your luggage at the airport over the 50-pound checked-bag limit? I have. You and your bag are in it together and if you don’t take some stuff out, neither of you are going anywhere. Unless you lighten your load, you’re stuck.

I wanted a relationship with my dad, but I couldn’t travel closer to it with my overweight baggage. Our relationship was stuck . . . miles apart.

When my wife Claudia and I got engaged, I hadn’t spoken to my dad in 8 years! But she told me we weren’t getting married until she met my dad. I knew if I wanted to marry the woman of my dreams, I had to lighten my load. If I didn’t take inventory of my stuff, get on a plane and have dinner with my dad, she and I weren’t going anywhere together . . . and I’d be stuck single.

So, I left the stuff on the curb at the Atlanta airport and flew to Memphis, where Claudia and I had dinner with Dad. We ate steak and cried. We were finally able to travel together to a place previously impossible to get to for 8 years because my baggage was overweight.

It still happens though. I try to go places with too much stuff. I wish it was easy stuff to unload like socks and toothpaste. But it never is. It’s heavy stuff like . . .

A bad attitude and critical words.

Pride and entitlement.

Jealousy and comparison.

Expectations and opinions.

Fear.

These things weigh me down big time. You know what’s way lighter? Kind words, gentleness, gratitude, empathy and courage. When I choose to travel with those things instead, it’s like taking a jackhammer out of my bag and replacing it with a box of chocolates. I’m clear to fly. And happier too.

Jesus chose to travel light and load His bags with love and grace. Those things kept Him moving toward people. He must have known a bunch of other stuff would have slowed Him down . . . which feels like good packing advice to me.

Sometimes the places we get to go are destinations on a map. I unloaded fear and ended up in Mogadishu, Somalia once. But more often, the places I get to go are in relationships. Moving closer to family, friends and Jesus. Those are the best adventures and the ones where I learn and grow the most.

Usually I need a push to take inventory of my stuff, get moving and get unstuck. My wife, my friends, some great mentors and words from Jesus and his pals have been super helpful for me. Their encouragement helps me take inventory of the stuff holding me back. And when I slow down and really listen, I know I’m moving closer to going places and doing more things like having dinner with my dad.

Scripture: So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. Now stay focused on Jesus . . . (Hebrews 12:1-2a)

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Christian Digital Media in 2014


2014 is upon us. While we haven’t adjusted to writing this year’s date, we in marketing and media are well accustomed to at least one promise of 2014: Change.

In recent weeks, news sources and trade publications have been choc-full of articles about the digital trends to watch, changes in the online/mobile marketing and media landscape, and related boom-or-gloom technology predictions. We at Infinity Concepts thought it might be a good idea to hear from the companies laboring alongside us on behalf of religious non-profits: What do the folks running Christian digital media outlets think we should know about 2014?

So we conducted an informal survey, asking eight questions of executives at America’s largest Christian new media companies. Respondents included directors and vice presidents from Salem Web Network (Crosswalk.com, Christianity.com, OnePlace.com, etc.), UPtv.com (and Women of Faith), Outreach Media Group (SermonCentral.com, FaithIt.com, etc.), BNmedia (Beliefnet.com), Moody Broadcasting, and Gospel Media Group (Faith.com, Believe.com, etc.).

Here’s a synopsis of their responses to our questions.

What will be different for your organization in 2014?

Expansion is the theme – both in new brands, platforms, audience growth, and in social media. It seems Christian digital media is poised to continue its rapid growth of recent years. Meanwhile, the responses also strongly suggest flexibility — and a readiness to reinvent media to remain relevant & effective – remains the name of the game for 2014.

What do you see as the up and coming digital avenue for ministries?

Responses boiled down to these three areas:

1) Social media

2) Continued use of traditional online advertising – including workhorses like display and email

3) Data-informed marketing, including better targeting, and more retargeting

Those surveyed agreed that the pace of change will continue, and that what worked last year may not work in 2014.

Key quote from one executive: “It’s important to periodically review your strategies and know what media works best for your audience. Mobile, social media, and online videos are hot avenues, but you may not need to be on every platform.”

When it comes to working with Christian ministries, what will be your biggest challenge in 2014?

Two key challenges emerged:

    • Shrinking ministry budgets
    • Attribution issues

    There are those in digital media who point to the struggles both online and offline media deal with when ministries broadly attribute Internet revenues.

    If you could share one thing with the organizations and institutions you work with, what would it be?

    The top four answers?

    1) Create a mobile strategy – now!

    2) Use better customer relationship management (CRM) tools

    3) Deploy marketing automation tools

    4) Improve tracking and results measurement

    What is the one thing your advertisers might be surprised to learn about the digital Christian audience?

    Reaction boiled down to this: The digital Christian audience…

    1) Has ample financial resources, which includes advertising avenues of smartphones, tablets, cable TV, and more

    2) Expects to know why your ministry is different and needs their support

    3) Needs variety in advertising through multiple channels

    Key quote: “The traditional approach you use through other marketing vehicles won’t translate to online ‘as is.’ It takes different creative, response mechanisms, and at times an entirely different mindset to succeed online. Marketers often expect ‘instant’ results from online. Our greatest strength is that it can be tracked with a short control cycle. However, tracking the short-term response only can lead to decisions that ignore the long-term benefit of branding and new name acquisition.”

    Name one thing that would help Christian marketers do a better job of reaching and converting your audience.

    Executives essentially agreed on the following:

    1) Target the audience as directly, and uniquely, as possible

    2) Create relevant messaging

    3) Measure performance tied to specific messaging, and be ready to tweak it

    4) Have a plan and be patient

    Key quote: “Online has proven better at creating interested inquiries rather than immediate conversions. Marketers who try to judge their ultimate success in the first 90 days are often disappointed. Those taking a six-month view are encouraged. Those adopting a one-year approach to evaluating online respondents are thrilled.”

    When approaching you for a partnership, what should the ministry come prepared to discuss? What should they have in hand?

      • As many details as possible!
      • Readiness to invest and be aggressive
      • Expectations for both sides
      • A story that resonates with our audience
      • Several great front-end premiums or “freemiums”
      • A donor cultivation stream specifically designed for the online respondent
      • A target audience, objective, call to action, and benchmarks for success

      2014: Bigger and Smarter?

      For many ministries, Christian digital media platforms will once again be an important medium for effectively acquiring and communicating with donors, advocates, partners, followers and fans. We’ve all learned a great deal about what works, what doesn’t, and how to best leverage these audience aggregators for reaching the people who want to know about our important efforts.

      But for your organization, 2014 should be a year in which explosive digital growth (mobile), plus improving technologies (big data, targeting), plus emerging vehicles (content marketing), plus consistent adherence to winning fundamentals (fundraising best practices, effective communication, compelling story-telling)…all add up to bigger — and smarter — growth.

      – See more at: http://infinityconcepts.net/2014/01/christian-digital-media-in-2014/#sthash.z6RzR18a.dpuf

      Starting a New Blog, But Still Keeping This One


      I have noticed as I have started to blog more that I have developed two main themes in my blogs. For this reason I have decided to split my blog and I have started another one. I will continue to post political and veteran posts on this blog, but I am splitting off thenchristianity and good news side into my other blog. I am hoping that some of you will follow both and that others can epick and choose as they wish. My other blog will be at http://danpolecheck.blogspot.com and I hope to see you over there too.