If you are a friend of mine on facebook or twitter you may have seen a comment from me about trying out this new website that is geared towards helping people in their spiritual growth. The service bills themselves as the following: “If spiritual discovery is a journey, then goTandem is the pack of tools you’ll need for the trip. We’ll equip you with everything you need to be the person you want to be, and we’ll do it every day.”
Let’s start with the video that Tandem uses to introduce themselves to you.
Let me go over what the service offers and then give you my opinion of it. When you first sign up you have to share some basic information like name, location, how many times you read the Bible last week, e-mail and phone number (not required). Once the basic information is done you fill out a spirituality questionnaire (only one non-multiple choice, don’t worry I don’t think you can fail) that asks you questions about your beliefs like “What do you think happens after death?” and “How well do you know the Bible?” The questionnaire takes around 10 minutes to complete and the only painful part about it is when you realize that you would like to change what you are doing, but that’s why you are using Tandem in the first place, right? Once you are done with the questionnaire Tandem takes you to the subscriptions page where you decide how involved you want Tandem in your life. There are many options. There are five options they give you to choose from. They are: “Encourage Me” phone call, “Hear from God” non-topical phone call or e-mail, “Respond to Him” non-topical text or e-mail, “Take a Step Closer” topical e-mail, and “Relate to Others” topical e-mail. I’ll explain each in more detail later. For each of these options they ask you to choose specific times to receive these and what days as well. Once you are done making those selections is takes you to the dashboard where that days e-mails are displayed for you to check out. For each subscription you can go into your account and make a comment to share with the Tandem community, make it a favorite to look at later when you need an extra pick-me-up or write a journal entry for your own private thoughts.
Alright here are my thoughts. I know you have been reading this blog with baited breath for me to give you my thoughts, so here they are. I have been a member of Tandem for just over a week now and so far I like it a lot. Well, I hope you liked my review, that’s all……….Alright so I guess I can get a little more detailed in what I like about the program and what things I think could be improved. I’m going to break it down into Love, like, not-so-excited about and dislike just to break it down a little.
1. The variety of ways of contact. Phone call, text and e-mail make this usable for just about everyone. The best thing about the variety is that they are each optional too. You don’t have to have the phone calls if you don’t want them, or maybe you are still not a big fan of texts, either way you can choose what you want.
2. The Encouragement phone call (completely optional). I had my first one last Thursday and at first it was a little strange since a stranger was calling me, but it ended up being very nice. I answered the phone and the guy on the other end sounded like he genuinely cared about my spiritual growth. He asked me how many times I read the Bible in the last week, what he could pray for me about and then he literally prayed for me right then. There was no judgement and I truly believe he is praying for me this week, maybe even right now. That’s cool to think!
3. The randomness of it all. I chose to be contacted at random times. I don’t know how random it is, because I don’t pay attention to things like that, but it seems like sometimes I am getting a text with a simple verse and question (makes you think about the verse) right when I need it. I got a text while at a men’s breakfast that was from Romans 12:5. It said “With Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” Then it asked “So you act like that? It was perfect timing. I’m sitting in a room of over 200 guys trying to be better men and we were talking about mentoring and being mentees with other men. It was so cool to get this text at that moment, reinforcing what the Christian community should really be about.
1. The e-mails are brief for the most part. That allows my short attention span to read it right away and not wait for later (we all know what that means sometimes).
2. Some of the e-mails are topical specifically geared towards me based on my answers in the questionnaire, but not all of them are. I like that because I don’t want to be inundated with e-mails only on specific topics. The non-topical e-mails and texts are kind of like opening the Bible to a random page and reading whatever is there. It doesn’t always hit home, but when it does it is oh so nice!
3. The Bible reading e-mail is nice because if I missed the phone call or wanted to hear it again the e-mail has a link to the audio so I could theoretically save it forever.
Not-so-excited about it
1. The journal and comment parts don’t get me too excited, but honestly I think that is just me. I am sure some of you would love to journal about some of the entries. It’s just not my thing.
2. Linking Tandem to Facebook or twitter so you could share comments or your journal entry would be pretty nice. That way, if you wanted to, you could share with other people what you are learning. I guess I could use copy and paste to create a note on Facebook, but sometimes I’m just lazy and would rather click a share button and have it done for me.
1. The Bible reading phone call is nice overall, but if I miss the call and want to hear it on the voice mail sometimes it cuts out the very beginning. Not a huge deal, but I had to have something I disliked, right?
2. The only other thing I dislike is the lack of community beyond the comments. Honestly I am not sure if I would like more community, but it would be interesting to see something where you could have conversations with other people who are maybe on the same topical e-mails as you or something to that effect.
Overall I like Tandem. Like I said, sometimes the texts, e-mails or phone calls seem to come at the right time or have the right verses and words for whatever I am dealing with that day. The bottom line is that Tandem does what it says it is going to do. It helps you get in the Word on a daily basis which I know is something I struggle with sometimes. If you are like me, then try it out. The worst that could happen is you absolutely hate the service then you deactivate it and look for something else that meets your needs. The best that could happen is you love the service and continue daily to grow closer to God. There is definitely more of an upside than a downside.