WEB EVANGELISM BULLETIN
. . . learning from each other
W-E-B Issue 123 ~ October (i) 05
Twice a month ISSN 471-0323
News this time...
HELP FOR KATRINA
DEALING WITH 'NEGATIVE PROPENSITY'
THE WORLD WE LIVE IN
THROUGH THE WARDROBE DOOR
701 SENTENCE SERMONS
INTERNET EVANGELISM DAY 2006
ELECTRONIC PAPER ON THE WAY
Don't shrink away from people whose experience and expertise are greater than your own. Peter writes, "God has given each of you some special abilities... use them to help each other" ( 1 Peter 4:10 TLB)
HELP FOR KATRINA
Campus Crusade has produced an evangelistic mini-magazine for hurricane survivors,
offering hope, understanding, and Good News. You can read it online and also order copies
of the printed version there. It's tastefully done and definitely seeks to help them
understand the 'whys' of human tragedy while introducing them to the author of human
Meanwhile, I am not aware of any Christian website yet responding in a gentle evangelistic mode to the Kashmir crisis. Or indeed the floods in Guatemala and AP State India, which received minimal press coverage in the West.
DEALING WITH 'NEGATIVE PROPENSITY'
In any country with a volunteer army, an ongoing recruitment drive is needed. Armed
forces, and indeed many other professions, find that if they only recruit those with a
natural inclination to that profession, a big shortfall in recruitment results. Of course,
there is a small percentage of people with a family background in the armed forces, or
nursing, teaching, or whatever. They are easy to recruit. They may have dreamed of the
army, nursing or teaching, since they were four years old! The need is to persuade those
who are 'negatively propensed' - i.e. would never dream of becoming soldiers, nurses, or
David Cwodzinksi, an army recruiting chief, spoke recently about this on radio:
"Once we get beyond the 'positively propensed' candidates, we are finding we have to
engage the 'negatively propensed' people - the people who would say, 'Heck no, I'm not
interested in the Army.' We launched a major effort to win over the negatively propensed -
and found that we got a HIGH response rate by targeting this market, through:
- awareness, correcting misperceptions
- dealing with the evaluation of 'high risk, low return'. Parents of potential recruits felt that there was a very high risk for their children with little return. Our goal is to get that equation to either 'medium risk, high return' OR appeal to a higher cause, which means they would willingly serve in high risk for the higher purpose of serving the country."
We can see that these principles may also apply in Christian ministry - both in terms of evangelism, as well as recruitment to the mission field or any other form of Christian service. How can we address root barriers? How can we change people's perception of the equation?
The church has been reasonably good at evangelism to the positively propensed - seekers
and 'once-churched' people. Our problem is touching those groups in society who are
'never-churched', who would in missiological terms be described as 'unreached people
groups'. See 'Translating the Gospel' by Mike Frost:
and a short story 'Emlyn and the Far Pools' which communicates the same need:
[Thanks to Dave Hackett of VisionSynergy.net for this valuable propensity illustration.]
SHARING CHRIST WITH POST-MODERNS: The Gospel never changes, but methods do. We must
understand the changing nature of the culture around us:
MEN ARE FROM MARS... women from Venus? A church service for men only?
THE WORLD WE LIVE IN
NEARLY 1 BILLION PEOPLE. Internet World Stats reports that approximately 957 million
people are using the Internet globally as of September 2005 - 14.9% of the world
population. The analysis by world regions highlights: Asia is the region with the largest
number of Internet users, 327 million people. Of this number, mainland China alone
represents nearly a third of the users with 103 million people. North America is the most
penetrated world region, with 68.1% of the population using the Internet. Africa is the
world region that exhibits the highest growth, 428% since 2000.
Additional stats are available:
TURNING THE PAGES - view some of the British Libary's greatest book treasures -
including the first hand-written manuscript of Alice in Wonderland - and turn the pages
with your mouse. (Best with broadband.)
100 PEOPLE. If the world were a village of 100 people... You have probably heard this
comparison before. It's available as a useful Flash presentation, ideal as an introduction
to any mission-related program:
KIDS STUFF. UK's public service broadcaster BBC has lots of good stuff for younger kids,
e.g. famous people - see the story of Mary Seacole (sadly it has taken years to
acknowledge her role):
ENERGY SHORTFALL. Reducing energy consumption is not a fad. Oil supplies will not last
THROUGH THE WARDROBE DOOR
Less than two months till the Narnia movie releases - it's still in its final edit. Pray for them!
If you are concerned that the film will be 'Disneyfied', rest assured; although Disney are marketing and distributing the film, artistic control is in the hands of Walden Films. They produced the remarkable HOLES film several years ago (a movie full of spiritual parallels), and president Michael Flaherty is a believer.
"The pressure is insane," says Flaherty, who's feeling the heat to get The Lion, the
Witch, and the Wardrobe exactly right. But Flaherty promises audiences a "fantastic,
ATS Tracts (US) and CPO (UK) offer high quality Narnia leaflets for outreach:
(and there's still time to order good Halloween leaflets from them too.)
Some of you will know of evangelist Ray Comfort, and his particular way of using a
strong but very loving emphasis on the law in his evangelistic presentations. His ministry
has prepared a website based on the Narnia story, which includes a 10-minute MP3 spoken
presentation by Comfort:
701 SENTENCE SERMONS
L James Harvey
Here's a new book of 'single sentence sermons' - quotations and aphorisms - which have been collected together by Harvey to "use on church signs, bulletins, newsletters and sermons". In fact, many would be useful on church websites too, perhaps on a rotating basis. Many are specifically evangelistic, others are motivational for Christians.
The book includes two chapters on the vital and often overlooked ministry of maintaining a church sign-board, and explains current sign-board technology and the options which are now available.
The rest of the book contains 701 thought-provoking one-liners, ideal for church signs and websites. Each entry in this valuable book includes space for you to rate it, and record usages of the item if chosen. A detailed index helps you find quotes by topic or author. A unique and useful resource.
More on church sign ministry
The vital nature of the church sign - i.e. the road-side notice-board for passers by - is often overlooked. This (and the church website) are the church's public interface with the world, the 'shop window' that most people will encounter first. A faded, peeling sign-board is an instant switch-off. So is a solemn graphic and lettering style which would have looked old-fashioned 50 years ago. Sign board design should never be done by amateurs - get a professional in! Attractive boards are not a minor luxury, but a foundational necessity.
Include space for rotating and seasonal messages in text large enough, and angled correctly, to be seen clearly by people in passing vehicles. Many church signs are only readable by pedestrians. If the nearest road is a 6-lane highway, the sign needs to be ... big.
Tony O'Hagan shares his experience of maintaining church signs: "An important principle that we embraced was that people would get turned off and not bother to look at the sign if it only ever had a religious message. In a way, we used a kind of 'bridge strategy'. In rotation, we'd try to put up messages that were: (a) comedy (b) wisdom (c) gently spiritual. Some of the best quotes were a combination of these. We figured that this would hold the interest of most motorists while clearly delivering a consistent spiritual challenge. It was a window into the community.
"We felt it important to communicate our concerns for things like recent disasters, or
emphasise the importance of family over other things like work or money, or highlight the
value of forgiveness, or dealing with emotions such as anger. This, I believe, lays the
foundation of interest and trust for when we present a spiritual challenge or an offer of
God's forgiveness and love.
"Also, putting up an easy-to-remember website URL on the church sign board is an under-utilised evangelistic strategy. You are very limited in what you can communicate via the church sign - but as an introduction to the website it can become a key that unlocks a universe! Better still ... there's an very obvious local place to get spiritual follow-up if the website should bear fruit.
"I used a database with well over 1000 quotes and an online PHP/MySQL program that I
wrote to select and manage them. Because it runs on the Internet it allowed anyone in our
team to select quotes and record what they selected and when each quote was last used. We
can use the database to search for quotes on a theme (keyword search), and also limit our
search to those that had either not been used for selected period of time (e.g. 3-5 years)
or never used. Years ago I wrote a simple MS-DOS/BASIC program to avoid the laborious task
of counting letters to find a pair of quotes that did not exceed the number of letters
that we had in stock!"
- non-techies look away now
EXTRA TOOLS FOR FIREFOX - one great thing about Firefox is the extra tools available
for webmasters, which you can download and integrate with the toolbar. Many of these are
CSS LIST TIPS - doing incredible things with lists:
10 VITAL CSS TRICKS - (a different 10 to those we featured recently) - includes how to
highlight a menu section in a different color to show what page you are on.
HELP WITH PAIN. If you suffer from RSI, back pain, or stress through concentrating too
long or too hard on the computer, WorkRave is software which advises you to take a brief
break every so often:
RSS SUBMITTER - if you have an RSS feed, use FeedShot Multi-Feed Submitter to submit it
to RSS search engines:
REAL PEOPLE: how to bypass computerized switchboards and speak to a real person:
SENSITIVE LOCATIONS: missions staff in sensitive countries can keep a running check
that they are not being written about online by name, by subscribing to Google Alerts
using their own name. Then they can ask for references to be deleted.
FLOCK - new browser that wants your browsing experience to be linked with others
through blogging, networking, and online communities:
DREAMWEAVER - version 8 supports web standards with more fervour than ever before.
Christian software developer Rachel Andrew explains the product's evolution, and shows how
to set up Dreamweaver 8 for standards-compliant development:
COLOR THEORY: select colors for your next web design project. This online color chart
allows you to select and view colors side by side and get the hex numbers for each:
DESIGN: what do different typefaces and colors actually look like on a webpage?
Remarkable instant online checker:
JOHNNY CASH: Two years after his death, there's a biopic released: 'Walk the Line'.
Steve Turner, UK-based Christian writer and poet, recently wrote the approved biography of
Cash: 'The Man Called Cash'. It is always good when a Christian writer of Turner's caliber
knows how to write for the secular market in a non-preachy manner. Turner shares his
thoughts on Cash here:
FINDING THEIR WAY HOME. Husband-wife film-makers Lawrence David Foldes and Victoria
Paige Meyerink bring two lifetimes of film experience to every movie they make. 'Finding
Home' is the story they've been waiting 20 years to tell:
WALLACE AND GROMIT: plastercine fun once again. Amazingly, it is one third cheaper to
make frame-by-frame animations with real models, than use computer animation; even though
a day's work by each team of model-makers produces only 2 seconds of film! Nick Park has,
I believe, a Christian world-view.
INTERNET EVANGELISM DAY 2006
Sunday 7 May 2006 has been set as the next Internet Evangelism Day. As the year moves
on, we will be aiming to increase the public profile of this initiative. There will be new
press releases and articles for you to use - please make it as widely known as you can. In
particular, we hope that more denominations will adopt the concept and encourage their
member fellowships to consider holding an IE Day. Can you help by writing to appropriate
people in your own denominational HQ?
Among the reports from churches who created an IE Day program earlier this year, we
have now posted a video of the drama 'One Billion Squares'. The file size is small enough
to view on dialup:
ELECTRONIC PAPER ON THE WAY
Computer monitors have improved beyond all recognition in the last ten years, and happily the clunky power-hungry CRT monitor is almost extinct.
But reading text on-screen remains far harder and less versatile for reading a book or
(see 'Tailend' feature at end of this newsletter). It's also a 'sit forward' activity requiring a desk. Books and newspapers are a 'sit back' relaxation. (Laptops come somewhere in the middle.)
'Electronic paper' may change all this. Millions are being spent to develop large thin
display sheets that can display print and pictures with a very lower power consumption,
and be portable, rolling up into a small tube. We will be able to load them with books and
newspapers to read at leisure. Here at last is the 'text version' of the MP3 player - an
application which frees you to load material of your choice to read during the day,
without internet connection, radio, or computer. (There will also be the option to draw
down content by wifi or mobile phone connection, in addition to plugging the device into
your home computer USB port. I believe that only websites written in XML are likely to be
viewable on electronic paper.)
Newspaper shops, bookshops and libraries will face the same issues that music sellers currently fear - the bypassing of conventional retail outlets in favor of online downloads.
It's not too early to start thinking how this could impact evangelism and discipleship.
Instead of giving someone a 500-word tract, we will have the opportunity to offer them,
even in the street using Bluetooth, an instant download of an interactive evangelistic
- a Christian had thought of that and built a Bridge Strategy site around it:
Most of us eat food, even if we cannot cook. Christi Sebikan has produced a top-quality
A real felt need for young people: bullying.
And now would be the time to build a site, perhaps similar to TheLife.com, giving information and countering fears of avian flu.
Just as you can never catch the little man who switches on the light in your
refrigerator, so you can never know what your computer desktop may be doing when you are
away from it:
Reaction times. No sheep were injured in building this game:
Not Google but Logogle? Type in a word and make your very own logo that looks a lot
B.O.O.K. - Introducing the new Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge device, trade-name: BOOK.
BOOK is a revolutionary development in technology: no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It's so easy to use, even a child can operate it.
Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere - even sitting in an armchair by the fire - yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc.
Here's how it works:
BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. The pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence.
Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet,
doubling the information density and cutting costs. Experts are divided on the prospects
for further increases in information density; for now, BOOKS with more information simply
use more pages. Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly into
your brain. A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet.
BOOK may be taken up at any time and used merely by opening it.
BOOK never crashes or requires rebooting, though like other devices, it can become damaged if coffee is spilled on it and it becomes unusable if dropped too many times on a hard surface. The 'browse' feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet, and move forward or backward as you wish. Many come with an 'index' feature, which pin-points the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval.
An optional 'BOOKmark' accessory allows you to open BOOK to the exact place you left it
in a previous session - even if the BOOK has been closed. BOOKmarks fit universal design
standards; thus, a single BOOKmark can be used in BOOKs by various manufacturers.
Conversely, numerous BOOK markers can be used in a single BOOK if the user wants to store
numerous views at once. The number is limited only by the number of pages in the BOOK. You
can also make personal notes next to BOOK text entries with optional programming tools:
Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Styli (PENCILS).
Portable, durable, and affordable, BOOK is being hailed as a precursor of a new entertainment wave. BOOK's appeal seems so certain that thousands of content creators have committed to the platform and investors are reportedly flocking to invest. Look for a flood of new titles soon.
[Source: http://www.mikeysFunnies.com/sub/ ]