What is the goal of this book?
The book will help Christ followers gain a biblical perspective as effective ministers of the gospel online, namely within social networking platforms. It will also teach them about the marketing culture of the online world.
The book is a fusion of discipleship, faith sharing, marketing, and a Get Started 101 on Twitter, Facebook and blogging. (It is much more heart-focused than tech-focused as the market is already saturated with how-to tech books).
@stickyJesus answers these questions:
How did Jesus build relationships? How did he create life-altering buzz from town to town? What character attributes did He possess that made others follow Him? What has made His message unchangeable (sticky) throughout history? How can we, as Christ followers in the 21st century, do the same online? How do I get started in social networks such as Facebook and Twitter? How do I get started blogging? Where do I get ideas and content to share?
Why this Book. Why Now?
The statistics don’t lie. Like it or not—embrace it or not—the world is living online. Politicians are rising to power and big brands are gaining more and more of our mindshare through social networks and a very powerful tool called influence. @stickyJesus lays out the current day reality—the good, the bad, and the ugly—and challenges Christ followers to regain our God-given dominion on earth, which includes the Internet. With knowledge, skills, and Holy Spirit guidance, we encourage believers to dig in and learn how to navigate this online world together—and give Christ a voice in the online world.
The book also includes personal testimonies. Most are from everyday people (we’ve observed) impacting others’ lives and culture online for Christ. We have chosen real people and ministries (about a dozen) making a difference because they walk, talk and connect differently online. They are living out their faith before others unashamed. Our desire is that this project will empower Christ followers and get them excited about sharing their faith online.
We define sticky sticky (stik′ē) as: The message that holds fast; adheres and clings to the heart of every generation. Eternal content independent of time, change, and cyberspace.
Sticky is a marketing term that means “to attract and make stay.” We flip that easily and apply it to the attributes of Christ and His message of salvation. @stickyJesus will ignite Christ followers to become effective ministers in their online communities and build up their confidence to move seamlessly in the online world, while sharing the message of the gospel in relevant ways.
What prompted you to write this book?
As marketers, we began to see some trends we couldn’t ignore. First, while the Internet has grown like wildfire over the past 20 years, social networks have literally exploded over the last 3-4 years. As platforms such as Facebook, YouTube & Twitter gained more and more influence in the commerce arena; some awesome parallels began to emerge. Many of the values touted in social media as key to marketing success—such as relationship, trust, compassion, authenticity, community—are in our DNA as Christ followers and have been fundamental to the scriptures for centuries. They are the very things that made Jesus’ message of salvation stick to hearts and change the world.
The more we taught our clients to engage in this space for business success, the more God pulled our hearts toward the common goal of how to help individual Christians do the same—for Kingdom success.
We also began to see amazing things happen in our personal interactions online such as people asking us questions about God, strangers requesting prayer, and off-line conversations that begged us to go deeper on the things we shared on our Facebook and Twitter feeds.
We know many Christians feel comfortable sharing their faith online, we also know many are lost, intimidated, and downright scared to engage in social networks for a number of different reasons. The book addresses most of those reasons. We want people to know how easy it is—even if social media “experts” have couched these platforms in complicated terms.
The online world has also brought out the need for strong online discipleship. More and more, Christians are blending into the digital landscape, and viewing their online time as separate from their Christian life. Our culture is overpowering Christ in some of us. The book is a firm but loving reminder of our need to walk apart (#LiveSticky) from the world. We hope to help people shake down exactly what the online culture is about and how their faith fits into—and can impact—this new culture.
What’s the #1 thing you hope readers glean by reading it?
There are many things—fundamental things—like putting Christ’s agenda ahead of our own online and being steeped in prayer before communicating since our words have 10x the reach online.
However, the #1 thing we hope Christ followers gain is a clear understanding of our God-given dominion here on earth—a dominion that includes the Internet. We want to remind people that God has crafted us for this hour in time and that embracing the day’s technology as a way to communicate the gospel is essential to the Great Commission—whether we are comfortable with that or not. We’ve been born to “such a time as this.” It’s His story and we are here to let the world see His glory. We must speak to people where they are. And right now, 25% of people’s time and attention is online, specifically in social networks.
Clarification: @stickyJesus is not a book persuading Christians to learn social networking for the sole purpose of sharing the gospel. This book is not about “one more thing to do.” Studies show believers are online already. @stickyJesus challenges believers to keep step with technology and be intentional about reflecting the heart of Christ in their online communities, so that others may come to know Him personally.
Who are the authors?
Tami Heim and Toni Birdsong are professional communicators who currently co-own two separate web and communication companies.
Tami Heim is a partner in The A Group, a media and brand-consulting firm in Brentwood, TN. Tami previously served as the executive vice president and chief publishing officer at Thomas Nelson Publishers and president of Borders, Inc. She lives in Gallatin with her husband, Dale, and puppy Kali. They Skype often with their daughter, Zoë, and son-in-law, Matt, serving as missionaries in South Korea. Tami and Dale are members of Long Hollow Baptist Church, Hendersonville, TN.
Toni Birdsong is a partner in Birdsong Creative, a graphic design and web company in Franklin, TN. She has authored more than 2,000 articles and created marketing and web content for countless companies. She previously served as a reporter and editor for several newspapers in Arizona and Los Angeles and as senior communications specialist with The Walt Disney Company. She lives in Thompson’s Station with her husband Troy and their children Zane and Olivia. She attends Grace Chapel in Leiper’s Fork, TN.
Both Tami and Toni are avid practitioners of online ministry and have been following Christ for a combined five decades. They are passionate about the Word of God and sharing it in the 21st century digital space. This book is a combination of their skills and hearts and a reflection of their passion to mobilize Christ followers to share Truth online.
Tami and Toni met on Twitter.
Who is the target market?
- Christians of all ages who may or may not spend time online.
- Christians interested in sharing their faith online, but need a holy nudge—and some confidence.
- Christians already using technology who could be tithing a portion of their time online to share their faith — if they knew how and felt empowered.
- Non-techies who may not understand (or who deny) the importance of sharing faith and building community online (the trends are not reversing!).
How can I get to know the authors better?
- You can become Facebook friends with Tami Heim or Toni Page Birdsong.
- You can follow them on Twitter: @stickyJesus, @TamiHeim or @ToniBirdsong
- You can become a Facebook Fan of stickyJesus.
- You can read and become part of our blog community here, www.stickyJesus.com.
How can I contact the authors?
Is there a website?
Our website is www.stickyJesus.com. It’s content includes: resource links, blog posts, technology updates, web links and inspirations that daily equip, inspire and mobilize believers to share their faith online.