Campfire Feature – Spiritual Formation and the 4Bs.

We believe in discipleship at Watermark.  So much so that once a year, in order to stay a member of our community, each member is asked to complete a 4B Spiritual Assessment.  Our model for spiritual formation is based on our 4 ‘B’s:

  • Believe in Christ
  • Belong to His Body
  • Be Trained in Truth; and,
  • Be Strong in Ministry.

Our assessment is designed to ask each person a number of questions that will help them to stop and evaluate their walk with Christ over the past year.  As we have moved to a more online environment at Watermark the past several years, we’ve had the opportunity to capture this data, report on it, and make strategic decisions based on this data.  For example, we might structure our equipping classes offered, Sunday teaching, even staffing is based on how the body of Christ at Watermark is doing in areas of serving, stewardship, knowledge of truth, community involvement, community effectiveness, etc.

New this year in Campfire, we have been able to provide a personalized growth plan to each person who takes the survey.  We provide them a breakdown across not just the 4 “B”s, but also across 13 “sub-buckets” such as evangelism and apologetics.  In addition, we show them their lowest scoring areas and have nearly three-hundred resources available that we recommend based on how they score.  Once again, what I love most about this functionality in Campfire is that these are fully customized to how we do things.  We can base our results on our values.

For example, my greatest area of growth this past year was Apologetics and Evangelism.

As I view my next steps, I have the option to select the next step, whether that is video to watch, a class to take, a service opportunity, or a book to read (which can be one-click ordered from Amazon).  Selecting any of the growth areas in the left column provides detailed resources in each of the individual areas.  As we prepare for the 2011 Assessment (which is coming and too soon!) we are working on full integration with Arena to automatically notify members of my community group whenever I take a next step.  In addition, we are adding the ability to rate resources and serve up resources based on user and staff reviews.
As part of Campfire, the backend admin tool allows us to easily add, update, and delete opportunities very easily and link them with the appropriate areas of growth.  The thing I like most is that we are integrating into ONE system what used to be completely separate.  There is a lot of power in bringing all of these things together.

Campfire going LIVE at Watermark this weekend.

We have been working for a long time on a new tool for Watermark called “Campfire.”  It’s based on a tool that we are collaboratively creating with Big Bad Collab (@bigbadcollab) that we really are excited about.  This tool is collectively known as “Shadetree” (@getshadetree.) Not only does the tool provide a great user experience for the user, but provides tons of functional tools.

So how is this different from ANY NUMBER of social tools out there for the church?  Well, in a nutshell, this isn’t just a social tool for the church.  In my humble opinion (see also, I’m an idiot sometimes), the church doesn’t need a ton of other social tools.  In many cases we have created “church bubbles” that merely replicate the same functions that can be found in Facebook, YouTube, etc.

What is different about Campfire, is that we have customized our church’s process and integrated them into an online environment that allows our people to better communicate with one another, connect with spiritual growth resources, get updates about ministries they care about, AND take advantage of social tools.  This isn’t an either/or situation… it’s both/and.  The best part in my mind is that this tool is open source.  In other words, we aren’t building this tool to sell to another church.  The vision is, and always has been, to create a set of tools that other churches can take and build upon, then make available to others free of charge.  I’d sing “We’re all in this together” from High School Musical right here… but I’ll spare you the pain.

Over the next several blog posts, I’ll be talking about features and functionality that we think are important.  Understand that these are the things WE (Watermark) think are important. Your church might not value all of these things equally, and that’s just fine… ’cause I love flexibility.

Most of all, I covet your prayers.  We pray the tool helps people better connect and grow to become disciples so that they can go and disciple others who are far from God.  At the end of the day any tool is just a tool.  Pray that we can be faithful in making it available and serving the body well.