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Facing New Challenges as a Church

As a group, churches are faced with 'new' challenges during these (and all past and future) disruptive times. We are accustomed to meeting together at least weekly - for worship, for fellowship, for spiritual nourishment, for sharing of the sacraments, and for doing the work of Jesus Christ. Now we are trying to find ways to do all of those without gathering together in one space. And we, as are many businesses in our communities, are also trying to find ways to stay financially viable and support our ministries.

Many see the web as a machine and very technical and transactional. It is far from it! The web was created to be relational and provide ways to connect with other people that were physically separated - perfect for the situation we are in. We live in a time when it only takes minutes to start sharing live video and it reaches people in our neighborhood and beyond. We can host virtual meetings and see and hear everyone, regardless of their location. Just how do we do what the apostle Paul did through his letters?

For everything you place on your website, ask "Is this how I would do it if I was face-to-face with a visitor who came to my church?". Consider this instance - "Would I greet them with an offering plate? ". "How and when do I encourage stewardship with the people who visit our space?".

There is a time and a place for this, once you have established a relationship with them. "Hi, my name is ___, what's yours? What brings you to our church today? How can we help you?".

There are a lot of things behind the question "How do I add a donate button to our site?". Some are transactional. Some are relational. Some are technical. Some are administrative. Some are financial. The first to address are the relational. To be good stewards, you also need to consider the technical, the administrative, and the financial (these are all part of the transactional aspects).

These are big questions to grapple with. As you do, continue to proclaim an unchanging Christ in an ever-changing world.

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Why "Christian webmasters" and not simply "webmasters"?

Cables and connectorsA little over a year ago, a question was posed in the forums - What are the plans for this site?  Then, as now, the hope for this site was to be a resource for people with a passion for Christ who wanted to share their stories online. Stories of faith, of struggles, of joy, and of pain. Stories that educate, equip, encourage, enable, and empower each other. It was a way to bring together the people with the technological knowledge and skills together with the people with the talents for witnessing, sharing and story telling.

Within that post was another question - why "Christian webmasters" and not simply "webmasters"? It may seem a bit narrow in appeal and that could limit its reach. I find boundaries are OK - they help you stay focused and on track. With too broad a definition, we drift into other areas rather than dive deeply into the topics. continue reading ...

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Using Videos Effectively

Back on August 19, the ChSocM chat topics were centered around the rising use of videos on social media and websites, and during gatherings. Here are the questions that guided that conversation

use of video by brands is risign

Q1: Why should we use video in social media?

Q2: What’s a way you’ve seen video work really well in various ministry settings?

Q3: Where have you found good video for #ChSocM purposes? 

Q4: For those who’ve created videos - any learnings, tips, tricks?

      Q4A: How about good software/apps for managing and editing video?

Q5: Quick. Name a biblical story that could work really well (not corny) through the medium of video.

In response to Q1, the social cues and statistical evidence for using video are quite compelling.

  • We upload 100 hours of video to YouTube every minute, and watch 6 billion hours of video monthly just on that platform
  • Visual content is posted more, and shared more, that any other type of content. http://www.socialmediaexa ... -research/
  • Pinterest, Vine, and Instagram (three new fast-growing entries into SM that focus on visual content) all allow posting of videos. Vine is video only (albeit, each video is limited to 6 seconds)

Are those reason enough to foray into video for your ministry? Consider these points from traditional media studies continue reading ...

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Are You a Digital Native, Digital Immigrant, or Digital Refugee?

It wasn't like this when I was growing up

"It wasn't like this when I was growing up."

Times change - instead of a single phone wired to the wall, we each now have cell phones. Instead of walking over to the television to change the channel or adjust the antenna, we use remote controls and cable TV. Our cars can give us directions without us having to figure out how to fold the map back up again or which way is north. Instead of going to a movie theater or drive-in, we queue up movies on Netflix and Hulu to watch on multiple  devices. Instead of handwriting letters, we type out emails or tap out text messages.

The point in our life we get introduced to new technologies greatly impacts our reaction to them and our adoption of them, as does who introduces them to us and how. When is a phone not a phone? When it's a 'smart' phone in the hands of a digital native. When is a smart phone just a phone? In the hands of a digital refugee. It's not the technology, it's our view and use of technology.

continue reading ...

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