My name is Jerry Hertzler, and my wife, Cathy, and I have been staff members with Campus Crusade for Christ since 1989. My current role is coordinating online and mobile projects that expand our capacity to 'Win, Build, Send.' We have two kids that are almost out of the house now, and my favorite cartoons growing up were Hanna Barbara cartoons; Bugs Bunny, Road Runner, Speedy Gonzalos, etc. As an adult my new favorite cartoon became Tom and Jerry - when I worked with Tom in Eastern Europe for three years.
2. How and why did you become involved with mobile ministry?
After working with evangelistic websites like EveryStudent.com and seeing the amazing effectiveness of connecting people with the Gospel using online communications (evangelistic websites, social media, email mentors, etc.), the opportunity to do something similar in the larger mobile phone world seemed compelling. I got involved in mobile phone projects when David Rogers, of Allogy Interactive, proposed a partnership with Campus Crusade for Christ to do theological training on mobile phones. Our seminary in Kenya was looking for a similar opportunity, so I got involved in making a project happen to train pastors in Africa using mobile phone technology. Our first two classes went very well, and we are now planning several other mobile phone applications that will assist our small group Bible studies as well as provide training for larger numbers of pastors in Africa and other parts of the world.
3. What excites you about mobile ministry?
I am excited about the enormous potential that the mobile phone world presents to reach people with the gospel and see them grow in their faith, assisted by the most personal device they'll own; their mobile phone.
4. What aspects of your background/training, books, websites, tools, etc. have been most helpful to you as you’ve moved forward in mobile ministry?
My experience using Google Adwords to bring visitors to evangelistic websites showed me how effective advertising can be for this purpose and how many people are using the Internet. These PC-based Internet numbers are small compared to how many people are in the mobile phone world. Another helpful influence has been David Rogers at Allogy Interactive. He has a vision for how the current barriers to education (and discipleship) can be removed by using mobile phone technology and a new way of viewing education. And, finally, a primer like "Project Management for Dummies" helped clarify my thinking in how to manage longer-running projects that involve people in multiple cultures and countries. And nothing beats using one of the current batch of smartphones to learn what is possible in this world.
5. What are some of the biggest obstacles to implementing effective mobile ministry? For you/your ministry? For the Christian world in general?
Moving a non-believer from making a decision to put their faith in Jesus to seeing them join a local congregation of believers has been difficult. "Seeing" it happen is often not possible unless the non-believer wants to indicate that process to you, and there is currently no reason why a non-believer who recently became a believer and joined a local church would be motivated to tell us (or the people providing mobile technology to help this spiritual process happen) about their journey.
6. What is one recommendation you could make that would help an individual or ministry be better able to move forward in mobile ministry?
Think big, not small. Everyone in the world will have an Internet-connected smartphone within 10 years.
7. What is one hard earned lesson in ministry you would want to pass on to others here?
Detailed planning almost always pays off in the end.
8. What part of mobile ministry does the Church need to bring more effort and focus to?
Figuring out the spiritual equivalent of eHarmony; connecting new believers with other believers on a large scale. Facilitation of spiritual movements using mobile phone (and other online) technology.
9. What aspect of mobile is overrated in your mind? Why?
It's difficult to answer this question when I'm the one overrating the mobile world.
10. Is there anyone else you’d like to see interviewed regarding mobile ministry?
David Rogers at Allogy.com