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WEB EVANGELISM BULLETIN

. . . learning from each other
W-E-B Issue 137 ~ August (i) 06
Twice a month ISSN 471-0323

News this time...

UCB LAUNCHES OUTREACH SITE
CHURCH WEBSITE WITH A DIFFERENCE
TIPS
MID-LIFE CRISIS
OVERCOMING ANXIETY
THE WORLD WE LIVE IN
EVANGELISM CHALLENGE MUSIC
COMMUNICATING WELL
CONFERENCES
CULTURE
TEACHING YOURSELF STUFF
MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE
TAILEND

"We need men who can dream of things that never were" - John F Kennedy
"To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act" - Anatole France
"A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline" - Harvey Mackey


UCB LAUNCHES OUTREACH SITE

UK-based radio ministry UCB's new outreach site LookingForGod.com launched recently. Already, site visits are growing, and UCB report that many are asking for more information about the Christian faith.

The site includes is a map of the world which shows the number of contacts around the world who are visiting at the same time as you.
http://www.lookingforGod.com/


CHURCH WEBSITE WITH A DIFFERENCE

Dave Mullen writes about his church website in Leeds, UK:
"The Church is really exciting: it's Jesus' body, God's rescue plan for the world! So why are so many church websites so dull? When I began to make a new site for my church I wanted to really present the church, not a building or a creed. To do this I put the church on the front page, that is - the people, not the building or a creed!

Each time you visit you are greeted with a different selection of short testimonies: you meet the church, people whose lives have been changed by God. It's easy for the unchurched to ignore some mysterious text explaining the church doctrinal position, but it's a lot harder to overlook a group of people providing a glimpse of what God's done in their lives.

It works! The site's been online for around half a year and we've had guests at each of our last Alpha Courses who've found us through the web, previously knowing nothing about us.

Our church, Gateway Church Leeds in the UK, has really got behind the site. We have a database of over 40 testimonies from a church with just over 100 members. On top of this, people are promoting the site through their email signatures, blogs, forums and other personal sites. A small link, "My Church: www.GatewayLeeds.net" provides a very straightforward opportunity for people's friends to see what all of the excitement's about!

If you want to see people saved, if you want to see a whole church recognizing the potential of the web as an evangelism tool, then I encourage you to make the most of your church's website. It doesn't have to copy our model (though you're welcome to), but in an age where the web is becoming the primary source of information, it NEEDS to clearly present the church to the lost."
http://www.GatewayLeeds.net/


TIPS

- non-techies look away now - except for the first tip

MOUSEWHEEL - not everyone knows this wonderful trick: hold CTRL down and rotate your mousewheel (if you have one), and the screen font resizes in browsers and many other programs. Other keyboard shortcuts that are very useful: CTRL + D to delete unwanted opened emails in most desktop-based email programs, CTRL + C to copy something, CTRL + V to paste something, and CTRL + Z to undo an unwanted keyboard action.

THE SCRUTINZER: a one-stop site to submit a webpage for many the necessary tests and checks. This site has "150 things you can do to your URL". Created by Rosano Coutinho, it allows you to analyze, assess and validate any link using various tools and testers on the Web. Some of these are also available within the Firefox Web Developer toolbar, but this is even more comprehensive:
http://www.scrutinizethis.com/

YAHOO Mail has a new beta format which sounds incredible, making it operate far more like a desktop-based email program, with drag and drop, multiple tabbed emails open at the same time, and much more. One day, all web-based mail will be like this. Existing users can ask to try it out:
http://advision.webevents.yahoo.com/mailbeta/

RANDOM IMAGE: how to add a random image to a webpage using PHP:
http://www.christianav.com/2006cav07/2006cav07lou.pdf

FLASH: Best Practices for Accessible Flash Design:
http://www.webreference.com/authoring/flash2/

CONVERT: if you need to convert pixels to ems:
http://riddle.pl/emcalc/

PHOTOSHOP brushes f.r.e.e:
http://www.designfruit.com/jasongaylor/blog/

REGISTRY TWEAKS for Windows XP:
http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_tweaks.htm

LAPTOP SAFETY: preventing travellers from having their laptop as personal airline baggage has been likened to separating children from parents. Until restrictions are relaxed, here is all you can do:
http://www.web-evangelism.com/rd?b06august-laptop


MID-LIFE CRISIS

To those who are too young (ie. not yet 35-50ish) to have experienced this relatively universal rite of passage, the characteristics of a mid-life crisis are:
- realization that your life is in all likelihood halfway through, that 'life is passing by, and passing you by'.
- a fear of death, which is suddenly less than forever away.
- a growing sense that 'I could' is becoming 'I could have' - that your dreams are likely to remain just that: dreams.
- physically, you are no longer 21.

It can be a time when people suddenly take up a long-hidden ambition - cryptic clue: Ha*ley D*vidson. And that's just the women. Depression, infidelity, singleness, childlessness, or empty-nest syndrome can all be part of it too.

Here's a ready-made felt need to which we can offer a healing Christian perspective. It is a fairly narrow window of opportunity, for most people work through the issue anyway and often end up with a more fulfilled and mature outlook on life. But still without God.

I spent some time Googling, and could find not a single page offering a Christian input to this life issue. It would be great to see a website built around this need. Not, please not, a site 'for Christians' to find help. But one written entirely for non-yet Christians.

There are many secular sites, such as:
http://www.midlifeclub.com/
http://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/mid-life.html
http://www.lessons4living.com/midlife.htm


OVERCOMING ANXIETY

A related felt need - here's a short article by Rusty Wright, one of many available to syndicate into other publications.
http://www.probe.org/content/view/1374/162/


THE WORLD WE LIVE IN

Oz Views
Australians may wish to make their Christian viewpoint known in this survey:
http://www.democrats.org.au/survey2/survey/GodGovt_v2/

United 93
Michael Bronner, researcher for the film United 93, obtained all the recordings of the air defence team on 9/11, and has reconstructed a fascinating account of the unfolding tragedy:
http://www.vanityfair.com/features/general/060801fege01

Visit our solar system:
http://www.spacewander.com/USA/english.html

Is the church smaller than we think? asks Kevin Swanson, president of MAF:
http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/s06060084.htm

A children's illness to be aware of:
Kawasaki's disease is a rate children's sickness unfamiliar to many community-based doctors, yet can cause heart damage if not treated promptly. Our grand-daughter was diagnosed recently - though it took the children's hospital to make the diagnosis. If any child you know (mainly under 5s) has a range of feverish symptoms which may include swollen red hands and feet, and body rash, be aware of this possibility:
http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/medical/heart/kawasaki.html

Barna's insights:
George Barna latest research as to people's perceptions of themselves suggests a remarkable lack of objective self-awareness:
http://www.barna.org/


EVANGELISM CHALLENGE MUSIC

There's a new f.r.e.e. MP3 'Show Your Glory Lord' from Recent Rainfall in our resource page of songs (including lyrics chords and sheet music) which are useful to challenge Christians as to the need for evangelism:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/music.php


COMMUNICATING WELL

What DNA Are We (Really) Reproducing? Challenging article from Mission Frontiers:
http://www.missionfrontiers.org/2006/04/PDFs/08-10%20What%20DNA.pdf

"Does your organization have a crisis communication plan?" asks Terry Wilhite. Being prepared could make all the difference to your witness, one day:
http://www.christianav.com/2006cav07/2006cav07terry.pdf

Telling illustrations more effectively, by Steven James:
Illustrations make sermons come alive - at least when the stories in them are told well. Experienced storyteller Steven James shares three storytelling principles that are sure to help sermons come alive through your illustrations, and equally apply to other areas of communication:
http://www.pastors.com/rwmt/default.asp?id=271&artid=9713&expand=1

US AG churches now have a new option in designing a church website - a template content management system. 300 churches have already signed up since launch two months ago:
Story: http://www.web-evangelism.com/rd?b06august-AGsitebuilder
Sitebuilder: http://www.AGChurches.org/


CONFERENCES

There is a September MinistryCOM conference in Pheonix (Arizona, US. They say, "MinistryCOM hosts the only national conference specifically designed for church communication professionals. People who, daily, are challenged to find ways to harness the power of the most important message ever told to a hurt and broken world."
http://ministrycom.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi?section=conference

Other conferences - including the IEC September Chicago conference:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/events.php


CULTURE

Down on the Farm
Steve Oedekerk, the writer/director/producer of Barnyard, might be one of Hollywood's funniest guys. For Oedekerk, a Christian, it's all about the joy of making people laugh:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/movies/interviews/steveoedekerk.html

Dr Who
Detailed and insightful studies of the latest Dr Who TV series, from Facing the Challenge and Damaris:
http://www.facingthechallenge.org/who01.htm
http://www.damaris.org/content/content.php?type=5&id=492

HollywoodJesus.com
Dave Bruce has redesigned HollywoodJesus with a new appearance, style and direction. Sign up for the newsletter too:
http://www.hollywoodjesus.com/


TEACHING YOURSELF STUFF

Don't under-estimate what you can learn from a book, tape or website It could be CSS, PHP, writing, or anything else. Check this remarkable video clip of a girl who taught herself a skill:
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/178160/incredible_11_year_old_yodeller/


MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE

Here's an online version of throwing a bottle into the sea. You can send a general message, or a specific message to a named person. Why not try sending a non-preachy, thought-provoking insight that would be appropriate for non-yet Christians? Or something nice to a friend.
http://www.oceangram.com/


TAILEND

I planted some birdseed. A bird came up. Now I don't know what to feed it.

I had amnesia once - or twice.

I went to San Francisco. I found someone's heart. Now what?

Protons have mass? I didn't even know they were Catholic.

What is a "free" gift? Aren't all gifts free?

They told me I was gullible and I believed them.

Teach a child to be polite and courteous in the home and when he grows up, he'll never be able to merge his car onto a freeway.

Two can live as cheaply as one, for half as long.

Experience is the thing you have left when everything else is gone.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

One nice thing about egotists: They don't talk about other people.

If the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to look like a nail.

What was the greatest thing before sliced bread? Hmmmm?

[Source: www.witandwisdom.org/ ]

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