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WEB EVANGELISM BULLETIN

. . . learning from each other
W-E-B Issue 124 ~ October (ii) 05
Twice a month ISSN 471-0323

News this time...

MISCARRIAGE AND STILLBIRTH: HOPE AND HEALING
STACI'S STORY
NARNIA IDEAS
OUR WORLD
THAT TIME OF YEAR
CHURCH LIFE
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES FOR DISCIPLESHIP SITE
TIPS
UK CONTACT SERVICE
GETTING YOUR PAGES FOUND
IF ONLY...
PASS IT ON & PLEASE CHECK YOUR LINKS
TAILEND

"Lack of money is no obstacle. Lack of an idea is an obstacle." - Ken Hakuta

"Shame arises from the fear of man; conscience from the fear of God" - Samuel Johnson


MISCARRIAGE AND STILLBIRTH: HOPE AND HEALING

Offering help and hope to hurting people is a key strategy for outreach websites. Sadly, many health-related Christian sites define themselves as only for Christians with that problem. Non-Christians would feel excluded.

'BABY GRIEF' does not fall into that trap, and offers hope and support to anyone, without appearing to be off-puttingly Christian:
http://www.babygrief.com/


STACI'S STORY

Student Venture and CCCI's GMO/WorldLINC team have launched an outreach site using the story of a young girl in Florida who suddenly died, leaving behind an incredible testimony. Staci Stephens was not your typical teenager. She was cute, personable and could have followed the crowd, but instead she wanted her life to count for all eternity. Staci died suddenly at age 16, but her legacy lives on and today is encouraging thousands:
http://www.StaciStory.com/


NARNIA IDEAS

UK's flagship monthly 'Christianity' has a vital list of ideas on how to use the Narnia film for evangelism in a local church setting, including a suggested church service program with a downloadable drama by Webwatch columnist John Allan:
http://www.christianitymagazine.co.uk/engine.cfm?i=92&id=421&arch=f

Pastors.com also have useful suggestions:
http://www.pastors.com/rwmt/default.asp?id=229&artid=8777&expand=1


OUR WORLD

ROSA PARKS: in memory of civil rights pioneer Rosa, CT have republished a 1995 interview with her:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/143/23.0.html

HEALTH: InterHealth is a medical charity providing specialist health services primarily for the aid, development, mission and NGO sectors:
http://www.interhealth.org.uk/

TELEPHONE DIRECTORIES ONLINE - around the world:
http://www.infobel.com/teldir/

ANCESTORS IN UK? The 1851 Census is now online:
http://www.ancestory.co.uk

ESCAPING P--N ADDICTION - son's confession:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/tc/2005/005/13.30.html


THAT TIME OF YEAR

While Halloween may come into focus only once a year, Wicca is alive and well all the time. And a surprising number of Wiccans "started off as Christians", says Christian journalist Catherine Edwards Sanders in her new book 'Wicca's Charms' (Shaw, ISBN: 0-87788-198-7):
http://www.web-evangelism.com/rd?b05oct-newbook

There are almost no websites which reach out to any part of the spectrum of New Age/occult belief systems, using their language and concepts. This is a big need - to contextulize the Gospel in terms that they could understand and relate to. Christians who have been prepared to take a display stand to 'body, mind and spirit' fairs have found remarkable openness to the message. For instance Daniel Hari of Switzerland has a special ministry in this area:
http://www.daniel-hari.ch/

One in four teenagers has a fascination with the occult, which is fueled by the large number of sites dedicated to the supernatural, according to a recent MORI poll in UK. 50% of the 2600 children aged 11-16 surveyed by MORI for UK's Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) admitted having some interest in the occult. For half of these, the level of interest went beyond the curious and was said to be 'very strong'.

Occult sites are also attracting people by offering self-help on various life issues, using essentially the bridge strategy we advocate for web evangelism.

The default religion
Further back along the spectrum, in most western countries, a New Age/Buddhist world view is effectively the majority, if passive, religion. While most westerners might not assign any name to their spiritual worldview, a check-list of their beliefs would quickly demonstrate close alignment to many Buddhist tenets.

Yet, so often, we continue to try to reach them with approaches designed for once-churched people who already know the words and concepts.


CHURCH LIFE

BEHIND THE MIXER (BTM) is a resource for church sound engineers. BTM is also a resource for churches and their research into sound systems - an integral part of getting out the message.
http://behindthemixer.com/

CHRISTIAN AUDIO-VISUAL magazine - available by email - covers the wider AV field for churches:
http://www.christianav.com/

LESS IS MORE. Whitney Hopler has the gift of condensing the key points of books and long articles into well-written short features for CrossWalk. See 'How to Bring Lost Souls to Your Church':
"No matter how impressive your church building is or how many programs you offer, you can't expect to attract a significant number of people in your community - lost souls who wouldn't dream of walking through church doors. Yet those same people have an innate desire to seek God, and many will respond if you stop expecting them to come to you and instead decide to go to them."
http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/pastors/1357605.html

UK CHURCH PROBLEM. The decline in the UK church is relentless and scary, and is highlighted in an article for the October issue of Lausanne World Pulse by Dr Peter Brierley. The loss of young people is particularly significant. Similar trends are seen in many western countries.
http://www.lausanneworldpulse.com/10_05/brierley.php

CHRISTIANITY TODAY LEADERSHIP BLOG: Seven layers of emerging church insights - how can we be more effective in reaching people?
http://www.web-evangelism.com/rd?b05oct-CT


VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES FOR DISCIPLESHIP SITE

Antioch International Bible Institute (formerly Asian Internet Bible Institute) is a vital discipleship resource for the non-Western world. This ministry needs volunteers, including:

1. Coordinators of online courses in Russian and Thai languages. Must also be able to communicate in English and spare 4-6 hours per week. Will help pastors set-up church-based Bible colleges using AIBI curriculum.
2. PHP/MySQL programmers familiar with Linux environment, to help with AIBI forms, databases and CRM systems - 4-6 hours plus per week. Would be good if they understood Moodle or other online educational software packages.
3. Missions-minded, pastors, Bible college graduates to act as online facilitators for particular subjects in the Diploma in Global Ministry,
4. Graphic artists, web designers to help with the look of the AIBI website.
5. Content developers to develop course subjects suitable for pastors in the developing world. Subjects: hermeneutics, homiletics, eschatology and on worship are urgently needed.
6. Computer security guru to help design systems suitable for educating pastors in creative access countries.
7. Full-time ministry, for appropriate qualified people who can raise their own support, is also possible.
http://aibi.gospelcom.net/articles/volunteer.htm

There are many other areas for volunteers to be involved in web evangelism and discipleship:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/vacancies.php


TIPS

- non-techies look away now...

TELL A FRIEND PHP script from Christian Webmasters:
http://www.christian-web-masters.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=182

CSS Shorthand. When your style sheet takes five minutes to scroll through, maybe there is some scope for using short-hand to cut it down in size:
http://www.dustindiaz.com/css-shorthand/

PASSWORD MANAGER: My Key Ring is a small no-pay password manager:
http://www.mykeyring.com/

RECOVERY TOOL. Hard disk problems - SpinRite 6 may get the data back:
http://www.grc.com/

WORD-PROCESSOR for blogs - Qumana posts directly to various types of blog software and integrates with Technorati:
http://www.qumana.com/

OPTIMIZATION for blogs:
http://www.web-evangelism.com/rd?b05oct-technorati

COMPUTER HARDWARE REPAIR TIPS - and newsletter:
http://protech2u.com/

COLOR MIXERS - finding colors that go with each other:
http://www.webwhirlers.com/colors/wizard.asp
http://www.colorschemer.com/online.html

PHP CALENDARS - with lots of features:
http://www.phplite.com/products/calendarexpress/

TRY PODCASTING? Introduction from Merle (item 2 of her newsletter):
http://www.mcpromotions.com/ezinearchives/MCP_080705.pdf

SITE TEMPLATES. Ready-made designs:
http://www.webdesignhelper.co.uk/
http://www.icehousedesigns.com/downloads/


UK CONTACT SERVICE

UK-based 'Contact for Christ' celebrates its 30th anniversary next year. Its purpose has always been to link inquirers and new Christians with local churches and other available help.

They are now using the Internet for this purpose, and are also happy to help any web-based (or other) ministry needing follow-up help for inquirers. Ministries can link directly to a response form, where appropriate.
http://www.deo-gloria.co.uk/contact.php


GETTING YOUR PAGES FOUND

Many Christian and outreach sites sadly do not understand how to get high search engine rankings, and may lose a big percentage of visitors as a result.

Of the highest importance is getting a range of searchable keywords into the title tag (in the page head). This requires an understanding of how real people are searching for topics relating to your page, and then adjusting your title and page content accordingly.
http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/suggestion will show combination of keywords - 'key-phrases' - that have been used to search recently. You can then adjust your page title, meta description, and text within the body of the page.

More on finding and using keywords from Merle's newsletter:
http://www.merlesworld.com/archives/MM_093005.pdf (PDF - scroll down to Feature Article on page 5)
http://www.ksinclair.com/Article709.htm (same Feature Article in html)

How to create good titles, meta descriptions and keyword lists:
http://www.searchreturn.com/digest/010.shtml

SearchReturn is a great newsletter to subscribe to:
http://www.searchreturn.com/

There is a PDF book available on search engine optimization. This is generously available on a no-pay basis to non-profit groups, if you ask Aaron the webmaster:
http://www.seobook.com/

You can find country-specific search engines to submit your site to:
http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/050922-093411

Chasing search engine algorythms, or doing something else:
http://www.sitepronews.com/archives/2005/oct/3prt.html

Search engine users click the results listings' top entry much more often than can be explained by relevancy ratings. People tend to stick to the defaults:
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/defaults.html


IF ONLY...

- a Christian had thought of that and built a Bridge Strategy site around it:

What game has taken the world by storm during 2005? The Su Doku phenomenon! How could we build a bridge site starting with Su Doku?
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,18209-1845653,00.html


PASS IT ON & PLEASE CHECK YOUR LINKS

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TAILEND ô¿ô

Many years ago in a small village, a farmer had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to a village money-lender.

The moneylender, who was an awful, mean man, fancied the farmer's beautiful daughter. So he proposed a bargain.

He said he would forgo the farmer's debt if he could marry his daughter. Both the farmer and his daughter were horrified by the proposal. So the cunning money-lender suggested that they let providence decide the matter. He told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty money bag.

Then the girl would have to pick one pebble from the bag.

1) If she picked the black pebble, she would become his wife and her father's debt would be forgiven.

2) If she picked the white pebble she need not marry him and her father's debt would still be forgiven.

3) But if she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.

They were standing on a pebble-strewn path in the farmer's field. As they talked, the money-lender bent over to pick up two pebbles. As he picked them up, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked the girl to pick a pebble from the bag.

Now, imagine that you were standing in the field. What would you have done if you were the girl? If you had to advise her, what would you have told her?

Careful analysis would produce three possibilities:

1. The girl should refuse to take a pebble.

2. The girl should show that there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose the money-lender as a cheat.

3. The girl should pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself in order to save her father from his debt and imprisonment.

Take a moment to ponder over the story. The above story is used with the hope that it will make us appreciate the difference between lateral and logical thinking. The girl's dilemma cannot be solved with traditional logical thinking. Think of the consequences if she chooses any of the above logical answers.

What would you recommend the girl to do? What she actually did - see next time!
[ Source: Mikey's Funnies http://www.mikeysfunnies.com/ ]

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