Mobile%20Pic %20MEast%2091. Tell us something about yourself!

My name is Tim Jore, and I'm the Executive Director of Distant Shores Media. My background is in linguistic research and Bible translation.

 

2. How and why did you become involved with mobile ministry?

A few years ago, my wife and I were living in a part of the world that at the time did not have much in the way of technology (it has since been overrun with mobile phones). We then moved to SE Asia and I was amazed to see that virtually everyone had a mobile phone and most of those phones were data-capable and could play media. I started to realize this was probably the greatest opportunity for the advance of the Gospel since Gutenberg's press, and sensed God was leading us to start being intentional about using mobile phones as a tool for equipping the global church to grow spiritually.

 

3. What excites you about mobile ministry?

I love the fact that mobile phones are universally "native technology", in that the mobile phone is already an "insider" of practically every culture on the planet. This is significant for ministry because it means that the people take care of their own technology and do not rely on "outsiders" to do it for them. So if their phone breaks or is lost, there is such a high value placed on it by the people themselves that they go and get it fixed or buy a new one with their own money. This makes it a more durable platform for ministry because the focus can be placed on content and delivery of the content instead of maintaining the hardware.

 

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?

I have a little training in linguistics which helps immensely as we address issues of non-roman scripts, unicode, etc. I find the #mobmin hashtag on Twitter to be a steady stream of helpful information. And when we're doing research on devices and capabilities, anything by Tomi Ahonen is helpful.

 

5. What are some of the biggest obstacles to implementing effective mobile ministry? For you/your ministry? For the Christian world in general?

Two of the biggest obstacles are the relatively limited number of missions-focused mobile phone developers, and the general lack of awareness of the potential for mobile phones in ministry. In the U.S. it seems that some of this is due to the way users have traditionally had to pay for data access: $30/month for unlimited or exorbitant "per MB" rates. This is very different from many/most places outside the U.S. where per MB rates are often much lower.

 

6. What is one recommendation you could make that would help an individual or ministry be better able to move forward in mobile ministry?

For developers: any time and effort put into learning HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript is time and effort well-spent, as more smartphones are converging on those technologies, and the technologies themselves are coming farther down the chain toward "less smart" phones. For ministries/anyone: it may be helpful to research the trends and statistics relating to mobile use among people that you are trying to reach. The view we often get (from advertising, especially) about mobile phones is that "everyone has an iPhone or Android" and the assumption is that if all we have is an iPhone or Android app, we're doing mobile ministry. The reality is often far different.

 

7. What is one hard earned lesson in ministry you would want to pass on to others here?

"The future of the global church is Open." We started to realize how severely copyright restrictions on discipleship resources hinder the spiritual growth of the global church shortly after getting into mobile ministry. We had to derail a key mobile ministry project because there would be no way to obtain the legal permission to use the copyrighted resources as needed, or manage the restrictions for thousands of languages with potentially hundreds of millions of content consumers and creators. This realization is the direct motivation for the launch of the Door43 project (http://door43.org/) and the vision of "unrestricted discipleship resources in every language, and on any mobile phone".

 

8. What part of mobile ministry does the Church need to bring more effort and focus to?

I would love to see the Church working to serve one another more intentionally in the realm of mobile ministry. A huge opportunity for service is going open-source with the mobile software that is created, enabling others to learn from and re-use what we have already created without hindrance. All too often, it seems, we forget that this is not a competition among ourselves for "market share" over against others in the Church. It is a competition, of sorts, but it is between the Church and an Enemy who will use every time-worn trick he has - organizational hubris near the top of the list - to hinder the advance of the Gospel. By choosing to purposefully "endure anything rather than create an obstacle for the Gospel" (1 Cor 9:12), I believe we will see incredible advances for the Kingdom that might not otherwise be possible.

 

9. What aspect of mobile is overrated in your mind? Why?

The "walled garden" approach of a certain fruit-themed company that creates a popular smartphone. There are very good business reasons for that approach, but it is the antithesis to "freedom" and requires a high degree of reliance on the good graces of a third party (the owner of the walled garden) for things like app distribution.

 

10. Is there anyone else you’d like to see interviewed regarding mobile ministry?

Yes, but they are already on the list of people to be interviewed. Looking forward to it!

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