Archive

Archive for April, 2009

Should Christians have their own website?

April 30th, 2009

I quite regulalry get asked by Ministers/Priests/Pastors the question of ‘should I have my own website?’, in fact I was asked this question the other day. It is always asked for best of reasons and often the person concerned feels very self-conscious about the thought of having one.

Let me paraphrase something that Jesus once said: it’s not having a website that makes someone unclean but the reasons for having one might.

A website is just a set of electronic files that others can view using the right kind of hardware/software it is not good or bad. However what the website promotes or says is a very different matter – this is always down to the person who runs the site and not the technology that drives it.

If you want a website because you want everyone to see how great you are then this is a bad reason to have a website. If you want a website because you have a message burning in your heart that you belive God wants you to get to as many people as possible then this is a good reason for a website.

However one thing that people often misunderstand about websites is how many people can/want to see them. Just because you have a website it doesn’t mean everyone in the world will see it or even want to see it.

It is quite possible to have a website that is linked to nothing and that is blocked from prying search engines. Or you could have a site (with say your sermons on) that is accessible only through one link on a church website and which is blocked from search engines.

So I think every church should have a website and every minister should as well. This allows you to get the message God gives you across without it being tied to a particular church or organization. I believe God calls ministers as people to the whole church and not just a local congregation – if you have a different view to God’s calling then you will probably reach a different conclusion.

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Who cares for their soul?

April 28th, 2009

One of the issues facing Christians online is the problem of helping Christians understand their faith. I’ve watched a lot of conversations on websites where Christians get engaged in very deep discussions. This is a good thing. However I’m sometimes disturbed by the lack of understanding of our own faith amongst some. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t believe that only those with training or superior knowledge should be allowed to talk about their faith online!!! Any Christian has the right to talk about their faith even if there ideas are not consistent with mainstream Christian belief.

However I am concerned that those with a responsibility to care for the souls of others don’t seem to be engaging with the Internet. I’m not saying that every clergy person should spend each day trawling the Internet looking for their members but perhaps there is a place for online chaplains. Perhaps there is a place for training people in ministry online who could then take some care to help those who are getting confused and upset.

There are many Christians who never go to church and yet they are willing to talk online about their faith. Perhaps instead of the church telling them they should come to the church – the church should go to them.

What are you thoughts? Should we have some kind of online chaplaincy?

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Building Rapport

April 23rd, 2009

One of the keys to a good online ministry is building rapport with people. Rapport is about having a relationship with another person(s) based on: trust, harmony, understanding and mutual respect. Without rapport people will not listen to the message that you are trying to get across.

Building rapport is notoriously difficult online but the better you can get at doing it the more effective your message will be. To develop rapport it is important to treat people online as equals. The moment you talk down to someone or indicate that if they think differently they are stupid you have lost the chance of reaching them. I think that the injunction to treat others as you would like to be treated is spot-on for the Internet (as of course it should be anywhere).

If you want people to listen to you then you must be prepared to listen to them. If you are not interacting with people online but just presenting a message then you need to try and listen to the kinds of people who will use your site and the kinds of things they will want to ask or say.

Humour must also be carefully looked at. Humour rarely comes accross well on the Internet (or in email) unless someone knows you well or you are a genius. Please be very careful about how you use it.

Do you have any ideas for ways of building rapport online? Why not share them in a comment.

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Using Twitter to reach others

April 22nd, 2009

I must confess that up till now I’ve not been a great fan of Twitter. I’m not one of those people who likes others to know about every detail of everything I’m doing and some research suggests that this ‘lighter’ approach to relationships might be detremental to some people. I think that is somewhat of an extreme view and is probably only true for those who mistake a twitter relationship with a real one.

Anyway Twitter is very popular and is a great way for Christians to build relationships with others, which of course has to be the basis for any outreach efforts. I came across this blog the other day which is an excellent introduction to the world of Twitter Outreach (Tweach perhaps?).

http://www.reachingtheonlinegeneration.com/2009/04/16/finding-christ-among-the-lost/

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New directory

April 21st, 2009

I’ve added in a new directory system to replace the old one. I’ve had lots of problems with directories in the past so I’m hoping I’ve found a good solution.

Please add links to any good websites that you find about online Christian ministry.

News

Ministry on the web

April 20th, 2009

The world has changed a lot since I first started the web Christian ministry. Back then there were few Christian websites and even fewer Church websites. Some of the needs have not changed at all and there is still a big demand for help with church websites. However as more and more Christians use the Internet the demand for ministry online has rocketed. Because of my experience in ministry as well as the web I thought I might share some of my thoughts on a blog.

So the scope of webchristian is changing a little. We will still seek to support Christians who are trying to get a website up and running but we will also now include web ministry. I hope this will cover all aspects of Christian ministry including: caring for Christians, evangelism, apologetics, etc.

Why not share some of your own thoughts on this blog?

What challenges and opportunities do you think the churches faces on the Internet?

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