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WEB EVANGELISM BULLETIN

. . . learning from each other
W-E-B Issue 144 ~ January (i) 07
Twice a month ISSN 471-0323


News this time...

The Bulletin is converted from text to an HTML file using AscToHtm. This program is available at a very generous reduction for non-profit and charitable organizations.
CHURCH WEBSITE ASSESSMENT TOOL IS LAUNCHED
COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY IN TODAY'S WORLD
THE WORLD WE LIVE IN
TIPS
'ACCIDENTS' HAPPEN IN THE KINGDOM
UK COMMUNITY SITE SYSTEM DEMONSTRATING THIS WEEK
SEARCH MOVING TO THE NEXT LEVEL
VIRTUAL VERSUS REAL
IF ONLY...
TAILEND

"There are two ways of exerting one's strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up" - Booker T Washington


CHURCH WEBSITE ASSESSMENT TOOL IS LAUNCHED

The new self-assessment tool from Internet Evangelism Day enables churches to analyze their sites and assess areas that could be developed in order to be more user-friendly to outsiders.
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/church-site-design.php

Please link to this page, blog about it, mention it in newsletters. We will, if we may, send a news item to you about it later in the month, hoping you can use it or pass it on.

For background on the purpose of this tool, see latest IEC newsletter:
http://community.gospelcom.net/Brix?pageID=20611

We still need a volunteer publicist to help tell the media about IE Day:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/publicist-needed.php


COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY IN TODAY'S WORLD

"HOW ARE TODAY'S CHURCHES innovating to reach a changing world, and which ones are leading the way?" asks Outreach Magazine:
http://outreachmagazine.com/Library/features/JF07ftrMostInnovativeChurch.asp

ONE CHRISTIAN BLOG was in the finals for the Weblog Awards at the end of 2006 - HolyMama, but didn't make it to the final list. For some reason, most of the top ten are either laddish or political. Kelsey's blog is just an honest sharing of her life, the ups and downs of motherhood, and much more, from a Christian worldview:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/christian-blog.php
http://2006.weblogawards.org/

"FIND PASSION AND POWER FOR EVANGELISM". Whitney Hopler has the gift of condensing the message of a book down into perhaps 2000 words. Here's her summary of Ché Ahn's new book, Fire Evangelism: Reaching the Lost through Love and Power, (Chosen Books, 2006)
http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/1451179.html

WRITING FOR THE WEB: "The rule of thumb when writing for the Web is to keep the information well structured, and to respect some basic, very simple directions. Failure to do so will result in web users never attempting to access your web page again."
http://www.site-reference.com/articles/Website-Development/Writing-for-the-Web.html

SCRIBBLE PAD - useful tips on writing effectively:
http://www.scribblepad.co.uk/

A NEW 'FACING THE CHALLENGE' COURSE: 'Facing the Challenge of Television' is a new course for home and cell groups. In eight 50-minute sessions, it covers:
- Creating our world
- Stealing our lives
- Causing 'Truth Decay'
- Distorting reality
- Junk food for the soul
- Pollution for the imagination
- Fuel for our prayers
- Points of contact for the Good News
The course is available at an introductory cost, with sample sessions online, as a digital download:
http://www.facingthechallenge.org/television.htm


THE WORLD WE LIVE IN

MINISTRY. Why it is hard for ethnic minorities in ministry in a majority culture? Ask them:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/february/4.104.html

ARAB 'SCHINDLERS' DURING THE HOLOCAUST: the remarkable story of how Arabs protected Jews in North Africa:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2099-2469952,00.html

RUSSIA: Russian web use has grown to 25 million people, or 17 percent of the Russian population:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20061218/tc_afp/russiainternet

THE CHOICE BETWEEN THE EVANGELICAL GOD AND THE 'ORDINARY ONE'. Grace Davie, a sociologist of religion, reports a conversation that took place during a survey in Islington in 1968. The interviewer asked a resident: "Do you believe in God?" "Yes", the individual replied. "Do you believe in a God who can change the course of events on Earth?" continued the interviewer, "No" replied the interviewee, "just the ordinary one."
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3933-2424994.html

CHRIST THE LORD OUT OF EGYPT: "Anne Rice, author of the chart topping and culture-bending Vampire Chronicles, has switched from Goth to Gospels. The zeitgest hasn't been so rocked and rolled since Bob Dylan released his born again album Slow Train Coming three decades earlier," says 'To The Source':
http://www.tothesource.org/12_20_2006/12_20_2006.htm

MOVIES. It's always different in the movies - even computer usability is so much better than in real life:
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/film-ui-bloopers.html

URGENT NEED: a Fulani mother-tongue language helper is needed, who speaks the Fulakunda dialect, and can be consulted by telephone or Skype. He or she need not be a Christian, just be willing to help with advice on translation for a paper for Fula people.
http://www.soon.org.uk/fulani/free-papers.php

And mother-tongue Swahili speakers from Kenya or Tanzania are needed to translate or check short articles for the UPESI outreach paper, communicating by email. Please email.

TIPS

- non-techies look away now

AUDIO: find sound clips:
http://www.findsounds.com/

FAVICONS - if you do not already have a favicon for your site, here's more:
http://www.wilsonweb.com/design/favicon-shortcut-icon.htm

USING CSS to turn select options into somethign really attractive:
http://www.easy-designs.net/articles/replaceSelect/

RSS - when you have your feed working, test it with:
http://feedvalidator.org/

OUTLOOK 2007 will display HTML emails and newsletters differently - and worse.
http://www.devwebpro.co.uk/2007a/0112.html

VIDEO: if you want to add video to your site, Flash is the best way:
http://www.digital-web.com/articles/the_rise_of_flash_video_part_3/

PROTECTING YOUR COMPUTER - Greg Slade of CAMSoc says it is vital to use not just one Spyware checker, but three together:
Ad-Aware: http://www.lavasoftusa.com/
Spybot Search & Destroy: http://www.safer-networking.org/
SpyWare Blaster: http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/

He writes; "All three are free for personal use, and they work well together. I
highly recommend installing and running all three, and updating them at
least once a week. A good site for general information on spyware is
http://www.spywarewarrior.com/

Besides antivirus and antispyware, it is also essential to have an
effective firewall, whether a firewall "appliance", or a software
firewall. (I don't recommend either Norton or Microsoft for this.)
ZoneAlarm:
http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/company/products/znalm/freeDownload.jsp
OutPostFree:
http://www.agnitum.com/products/outpostfree/index.php>
are both free for personal or home use."


'ACCIDENTS' HAPPEN IN THE KINGDOM

Matt Rich, of the Internet Mission, writes, "One day I turned on my computer and there was an email waiting for me from a man in Malta. The email I received asked me many questions about Jesus, forgiveness and faith. After quite a few emails going backwards and forwards between us he explained to me why he had written to me in the first place. He said he had done so because he had stumbled upon my WhyBelieve website by accident! He told me that he'd been doing some research on the Internet about how left handed people hold a pen and that one of the websites he visited had been a board where people had left messages on this subject. At the end of one of these messages a person had signed their name and then added the words, "WhyBelieve.com - take the challenge". This man from Malta had seen these few small words on a website about left handed pen holding and as a direct result he is now learning and discussing about Jesus and the Bible with me!"
http://www.theinternetmission.com/


UK COMMUNITY SITE SYSTEM DEMONSTRATING THIS WEEK

Those living in the South-West of England have the opportunity at the Christian Resources Exhibition 25-27 January in Exeter, to see Richard Searight's 2Day.ws community microportal creation system being demonstrated:
http://www.creonline.co.uk/frameset.asp?show=southwest
http://www.2day.ws/


SEARCH MOVING TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Soon the traditional 'search engine ranking list' of results may change, with search results tailored to your own personal preferences and previous search history. Google is one of the first major search engines to test this new technology. They have released a total of 15 new patent applications this month in relation to this:
http://www.site-reference.com/articles/Search-Engines/Google-Gets-Personalized.html

Meanwhile, there is talk of a new volunteer-edited directory from the founder of Wikipedia. Is there a niche for this? DMoz is dead in the water. The excellent Zeal directory, with a very well-organized structure, was pulled by LOOKSMART last year. Who would actually use such a thing. I'd think it could only be useful if its listings were integrated into Google results. That way, you get the best of both worlds - editor-approved homepages, and internal webpages that you may need. And human nature being what it is, seems hard to imagine that a free-for-all Wiki system, rather than appointed section editors, would be impartial in assessing good sites.
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/e62ce8a4-5d3e-11db-9d15-0000779e2340.html


VIRTUAL VERSUS REAL

"Virtual Worlds are as important as the real world to many Internet users," says Sharon Gaudin. "A large number of Internet users feel as strongly about their virtual worlds as they do about the real world, a new study shows."
http://www.techweb.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=196600423&cid=RSSfeed_TechWeb

Dr Stephanie Bennett offers some thought-provoking personal insights from a Christian standpoint, on MySpace and the changing nature of relationships in a digital age:
http://www.breakpoint.org/listingarticle.asp?ID=5969

SECOND LIFE: Businesses use different aspects of the web to promote themselves. This may not be an automatic reason why we should - but it is interesting that they are beginning to use the 'Second Life' virtual world as a means of promotion:
http://www.webpronews.co.uk/2006a/1220.html


IF ONLY...

- a Christian had thought of this for a Bridge Strategy site:

You can send yourself as a dancing elf to your friends:
http://www.elfyourself.com/
But what a marvellous bridge option this could be, if the system included some links to 'the real meaning of Christmas'.

EONS TREE OF LIFE: Secular group EONS encourage people to add dedications to a Christmas tree. Interesting concept that could be adapted in an evangelistic mode:
http://www.eons.com/holiday_tree/view


TAILEND ô¿ô

Why not a different sort of Ebay for the Middle East and Asia - let's call it EastBay. An item is posted for sale on the site at an artificially high price - say 240 currency units. A potential buyer logs in - say with IM Voice - and asks the seller the price. On hearing it, he or she makes as if to leave the page, indicating that the item is not even worth 20 units, and anyway they have not the slightest interest in it. "Come back," says the seller, "How about 200 units - and please sit down and have (ok this has to be a virtual cup of) coffee." After telling each other about mutual family backgrounds, and much haggling, the buyer goes away with the item, satisfied with paying 80 units; and each person has an insight into the other's life, maybe even a new friend.

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