My name is Brad Rhoads and I’m a Sr. Software Engineer Missionary Aviation Fellowship Learning Technologies (MAF LT). My wife and I originally thought God was calling us to church planting at an Indian reserve in Ontario, Canada but health conditions now prevent me from living in a remote area.
2. How and why did you become involved with mobile ministry?
I used to work at MCI, so had some background in telecom. I've also been involved with open source for a long time and was aware of an open source PBX (voice mailbox system) called Asterisk. When I joined MAF, I learned about orality and got very excited about using technology for orality. I almost instantly put together a vision for a completely voiced-based, interactive training system built on Asterisk. See http://www.ontherhoads.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/celuversity.zip.
3. What excites you about mobile ministry?
There are two very interesting facts about the developing world. First, it has mostly oral societies. Second, mobile phones are surprisingly prolific. You can go into the jungle and find a guy with a bone in his nose, talking on a cell 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?
Google alerts. For example, set up and alert for: mobile phone africa.
5. What are some of the biggest obstacles to implementing effective mobile ministry? For you/your ministry? For the Christian world in general?
Lack of clear best practices for the developing world. Voice is best, but expensive.
6. What is one recommendation you could make that would help an individual or ministry be better able to move forward in mobile ministry?
Focus on voice and video even if a large percentage of your audience has smart phones. But remember that video is much riskier to use cross culturally.
7. What is one hard earned lesson in ministry you would want to pass on to others here?
Mobile- Instead of giving instructions to follow, ask questions. For example, instead of saying: Say your name after the beep, just ask, What's your name. In general, be conversational.
8. What part of mobile ministry does the Church need to bring more effort and focus to?
In the West, or at least the US, we need to start a culture of trading/passing on resources (music, sermons, videos) via Bluetooth and sim cards. That's being done a lot internationally, but not much at all here. I think there's great opportunity for people. Say, “Hey did you know we can do this....” and then just happen to pass on a gospel message to your friends.
9. What aspect of mobile is overrated in your mind? Why?
Smart phones. Voice is the killer app! Smart phones, at least for now, are too expensive. And a lot of their features don't necessarily help cross culturally (e.g. video again).
10. Is there anyone else you’d like to see interviewed regarding mobile ministry?
Antoine Wright (Mobile Ministry Magazine) of course!