The Ministry of Lisa Copen

Lisa Copen, Founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill, shares about mothering, illness, ministry and more.

Archive for Social network service

Come & Care – What Church Should Be About

A picture of Pisgah Baptist Church in Four Oak...
Image via Wikipedia

As Christians it’s easy to get caught up in all of the marketing and social networking of the rest of the world. We can say that we need to get back to basics, but let’s face it–Facebook and Twitter, cell phones and iphones are the way people connect now days.

It would have been odd for the church to never take anyone’s phone number years ago when the telephone was invested, because the church didn’t want to  get caught up in that technology.

That said, we need to remember that all of these social networking devices are TOOLS that we should use to carry out scripture. We should use them to reach more people — rather than letting them use us. I say that with a bit of guilty because I’ve told my son as he hovers over my shoulder, just a minute and mommy will get off the computer.  And I’m actually reading an article on how to be a better parent. Ironic, huh?

Occasionally I read a blog about church marketing and how “the church” can improve how it reaches out to people. When does it work right? When do we go overboard?

For example, one church in my town sent out postcards to the entire neighborhood, assuring them the church service would end early to accommodate the Chargers (football) game, plus, if they stayed and watched the game at the church on the TV provided, they might win some Charger’s gear. Is that cross the line into “tackiness” or is that just me?

Anyway, they recently posted this and it got my attention:

I asked my friend how he has continued to be a part of growing a healthy church community for so many years. Two words, he said, “come and care.”

Instead of spending his time trying to get people to come to church, he invests his time getting the people that do come to actually care. When people care, there is no longer an issue of getting people to come, he said. The people who care will get people to come which gets more people to care… and the cycle continues.

Don’t you love that? It sums up how I feel about churches but also about Rest Ministries. I’m going to repeat it…”The people who care will get people to come which gets more people to care.” (I wish I’d said it!)

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So Many People Online Do Care…

My social Network on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter...
Image by luc legay via Flickr

As many of you know I am trying to prepare for National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. I am excited about September’s virtual conference! And this year I am becoming more active on the social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

What I have found is thousands of people who have so much passion for whatever illness or condition they are dealing with. For instance, if you search Twitter for #autism you will see hundreds, if not thousands, of people – both moms and dads — who are not only sharing their story with others, but who are advocates for the illness itself.

Blogs and Twitter have given every person a voice. And it’s also provided resources for those who want to talk about the topic. A mom no longer just vents about her frustrations over her child’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan) but can also share her challenge with other moms and give and receive advice.

She can provide a link for people to find out about what bills are in congress to get more services. She can link to a news story about the schools in her community cutting services because of the budget and urge people to make a few phone calls.

She may provide links to coupons for products that may be helpful, interesting facts about the illness, and links to inspiring videos.

And not only can she do all of this with her online community, but it can keep all the information in one place, so that the mom-friends she hangs out with at the park can find it all too without having to worry about brochures that are smashed at the bottom of  a diaper bag.

I’m the first to admit that I’ve spend some wasted hours on the computer but even those wasted hours have introduced me to some amazing people (like you) who have such a passion for Jesus and what He is doing in your life.

You are also a voice, and sometimes the only one it can seem, that speaks out about not just what is happening in our world, but how you find true hope by knowing that the Lord is in control of all of your circumstances, even when the news isn’t all that positive.

Sometimes I am torn about what to post and what not to post here. I think it’s important, for example, for people who are declaring bankruptcy because of health bills (see story below) to know that they are not alone and that it’s not a situation to be ashamed of, but rather the result of a system that is flawed.

And yet, do we really want to read about one more negative thing in the morning about our illness?

I’m always on the look out for GOOD news and how Jesus is making a difference in your day, in this world. I love to find amazing ministries who are quietly serving others and let you know about them. Please always feel free to drop me a link if you find such a story.


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Health 2.0 Why Twitter Can Help You Identify Causes of Pain

This article is free to reprint on your blog, ezine, web site, etc. Just leave everything “as is” including the resource box at the bottom. Thank you!

textingIf you live with chronic pain or a chronic illness you may have been requested by your physician to keep a diary of when you are feeling your best and worst. It may also be recommended that you write down your activities, your sleep patterns, and even your diet.

If you have attempted to take this on and do it thoroughly, you know that it can be an overwhelming feeling to keep track of all of your activities and still maintain a sense of normal life. It can be extremely helpful, however, to you and your medical team, to have a written record of your activities, diet, etc. to help discover what is it is causing you the greatest pain. Was that extreme flare caused by a minor food allergy, the weather conditions, or that you were up all night with friends?

It is ironic while those of us who live with chronic pain they find it challenging to write down what we are doing all of the time, what we are eating, and how we are medicating ourselves, millions of people are on the social network Twitter are recording what they ate for breakfast, the fact that they have a cold, or when they’re up working at 2:30 a.m. and on the computer. . . and they consider it fun!

Now is the time for those of us who have a chronic illness to let Twitter worked for us! This social networking tool has been used to help people with dieting, exercise, and even encouragement to stop smoking. But it may best benefit those of us with illness, who need to record enough of our life to figure out what is causing an increase in pain.

Here are 5 steps to use Twitter to understand the causes your pain:

[1] Create an account at Twitter just for your chronic pain logs. If you already have a Twitter account, make a new one, and let it remain private. If you look under “settings” you will see the option to make your account private, meaning that you will have to approve any followers before anyone can see your Twitter account. Since this is private medical information, we recommend not approving anyone. If you are already Twittering this can seem a bit strange because you typically want to increase the number of followers.

[2] You are now ready to start writing your posts. You cannot write more than 140 characters, however, this keeps it a simple task and not too overwhelming. Feel free to use it in any way necessary, for example, submitting more than one post to describe a special circumstance. You can send posts from your cell phone, not just from the computer, so set up this option in your account to make the most of it.

[3] If you are new to Twitter and don’t know where to start, it’s easy. Just post about anything you want in the box and click submit. You may want to began with events that are not part of your typical day and how your body has responded. For example, if you awoke with a lot of inflammation, you may ask yourself if the weather was unusual the night before? Did you stay out late with friends the day previously? Did you change your medication? What did you eat for dinner in the evening last night? Post any information that may be valuable to you or your medical team at any point in the future for your treatment.

[4] Before you go to a doctor’s appointment, log on to your Twitter account and print out the posts if your doctor would like acopy. Highlight any major changes in your patterns of pain.

[5] if you already use Twitter for personal or business use, consider using a service that can post a message to more than one Twitter account simultaneously. This way your regular tweets that include where you are or what you are doing are automatically posted to your pain diary that resides on Twitter as well.

The market for Twitter applications will continue to grow and there is no doubt that’s those considering medical Web 2.0 tools will come up with some fancy (and complicated) ways to record your pain levels. But for now you can have a thorough log of your chronic illness and pain levels in just minutes at no cost. You can’t beat that!

Lisa Copen is the founder of Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week held each year in Sept and featuring a free 5-day virtual conference w/ 20 seminars w/ 20 speakers. Follow Invisible Illness Week on Twitter for cool prizes and info. Blog about invisible illness on your site, be a featured guest blogger, meet others, read articles and lots more. Make a impact today!