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WEB EVANGELISM BULLETIN

. . . learning from each other
W-E-B Issue 164 ~ Oct-Nov 08
Monthly ISSN 471-0323

News this time...

NEW COMMUNICATION CHANNEL
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CYBERSPACE - DISINHIBITION
SETTING UP A BLOG
CHRISTMAS IS COMING
STORY-TELLING
PARABLES FOR CHRISTIANS
BIBLE COMMENTARY ON CD
RECESSION STUFF
THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC...
CONFERENCES
BOOK REVIEW
THAT ELECTION. AGAIN
TIPS
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
MOBILE PHONES
SOCIAL NETWORKING
USE YOUR TECH KNOWLEDGE TO HELP THE DISADVANTAGED
JAPAN DIGITAL OUTREACH
SECRET MILLIONAIRE
TAILEND

"If you are not content with what you have, you'll never be content with what you want"


NEW COMMUNICATION CHANNEL

A range of pages from the Web Evangelism Guide have now been integrated into the IE Day site (with more to come) as the 'Communication Channel'. These relate to a wide range of communication and evangelism issues:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/communication-channel.php

For other highlights about IE Day, in the form of a news release:
http://docs.google.com/View?docid=dc3q5dwk_3fwcwt7dz


THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CYBERSPACE - DISINHIBITION

Psychiatrist John Suler offers some valuable insights into the way people interact and behave differently in cyberspace, compared with face-to-face interaction. These are very insightful in relation to online evangelism and discipleship:
http://www-usr.rider.edu/~suler/psycyber/disinhibit.html


SETTING UP A BLOG

Rohit Bhargava writes, "Starting a blog is not for everyone. There are lots of reasons not to blog - issues include having the time to keep a blog up to date, having something to say, and the fact that blogging is becoming an increasingly crowded space making it far tougher to stand out than it may have been in the past. Why would I start a post about successful blogging with all these cautions against blogging? Mostly to make sure that if you are going to start a blog, you are getting into it without a false expectation that it can solve all your problems or how much work it will be."
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b08oct-blogging


CHRISTMAS IS COMING

One or two evangelistic websites will be getting thousands of extra hits in the next few weeks. This is because they have created a page or section about Christmas, offering genuinely useful and well researched bridge pages on topics as history of Christmas, who Santa Claus really was, how different cultures celebrate Christmas, etc, which then gently leading into the real significance of Christmas, told in a seeker and skeptic-friendly manner.


STORY-TELLING

SHADOW SILHOUETTES - a good way to tell a story. If you have a drama/dance group, this has potential:
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b08oct-shadow

PUPPETS - download a manual for puppet ministry:
http://www.dci.org.uk/zipped/puppettraining.pdf


PARABLES WORK FOR CHRISTIANS TOO

The beauty of a parable is that it embeds truth within the story. Unless you forget the story, truth has been smuggled into your mind. There are several parables that illustrate to Christians some issues relating to mission and evangelism:

Orchard parable - The Society for the Picking of Apples:
http://home.snu.edu/~hculbert/apples.htm

Emlyn and the Far Pools - fishing parable:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/fishing.php

A Tale of Two Clubs - golfing parable:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/golf-parable.php

More on strategic value of parables:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/parables.php


BIBLE COMMENTARY ON CD

Bob Utley has incorporated a life-time's bible college ministry into his online Bible Commentary. For people in the non-Western world with limited or expensive web access, he is willing to ship the entire contents of the commentary on CD:
http://www.freebiblecommentary.org

For other free teaching and downloadable resources, particularly for the non-western world, see
http://www.soon.org.uk/studyephesians

By the way, if you are an expert (ie. qualified to lecture) in NT Greek or church history, please write. I'd like an expert to check brief facts with occasionally.


RECESSION STUFF

In the past few weeks, I've had several emails refering to donations to ministries drying up. Two were one-person web ministries, the other a large and effective outreach team.

The key to support is 'think partnership and relationships', not 'fund-raising'. Learn more at:
http://www.peopleraising.com/

For a secular non-profit support organization, see:
http://nten.org/join

HURTING WORRIED PEOPLE - Wouldn't it be great if there was a drop-in center in every community, where worried recession-hit people could go, even if just for a cup of coffee and a listening ear. If some of the listening people had counseling skills and background knowledge of where to point people for further advice on debt, finance and other sources of support, that would be even better. But how could we quickly set up such a huge network? Err, easy. There's a zillion local churches around the world, already equipped with kitchens, kettles, cups, chairs, and enough members available during the day, who can serve and listen! All you need is a sign outside in the street. And maybe it would help to have an online guide on how to start one, from those who already have the experience. (Know of such a thing?) You could also make it known through the church website, press releases, etc.:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/writing-pressreleases.php

FELT NEEDS - have always been a biblical means of evangelism. One in three people are suffering a significant level of stress or hurt at any one time:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/felt-needs.php


THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC...

It's a sad farewell. Gospelcom is closing its internet division at the end of the year. Zondervan is taking over the name including Bible Gateway - all current links to Gateway verses will continue to operate as before:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/novemberweb-only/145-41.0.html

Zondervan will also continue with other material currently displayed on the gospel.com site. However hosting for Gospelcom partner ministries is not part of the change. Sites such as Internet Evangelism Day which operated with a gospelcom subdomain will switch to their own domain names, though link forwarding will continue for some time. As mentioned last time, please change any links you have from www.internetevangelismday.com/ to www.internetevangelismday.com/ and for any other links to other gospelcom partner sites with urls appearing as 'ministryname.gospelcom.net', check out their new domain name.

Gospelcom has made an incredible contribution to the world of Christian online ministry since its inception at the beginning of the mainstream Web. In those days, when so many things were new and everyone was learning, their expertise, encouragement, and conferences were very strategic. Many ministries owe them a huge debt of gratitude, and I certainly want to put on record my thanks for help and encouragement from Gospelcom as well as from the many partner ministries who share together as an informal network.


CONFERENCES

ICCM Europe, Feb 2009
http://www.iccm-europe.org

Q Austin 2009 looks interesting conference:
http://www.qideas.org/event/presenters.aspx

PCUSA have covered web ministry in their communicators conferences - you can access some of the presentations here:
http://www.pcusa.org/comnet/events.htm

More events and conference reports:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/events.php

Watch video presentations from recent conferences:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/internetministryconference.php


BOOK REVIEW

CULTURE MAKING: Recovering Our Creative Calling
Andy Crouch
IVP Books
ISBN 0830833943

To understand culture and our response and responsibility for using it and understanding it, let's go to one of the leading Christian experts. Crouch has written and lectured extensively on culture, and has a unique insight into a range of very practical issues.

Watch a short video from Crouch on this new and highly recommended book:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Bx6kAILamc

Andy Crouch's blog and writings:
http://www.culture-making.com/

Detailed book review:
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b08oct-culturemaking


THAT ELECTION. AGAIN

In all the millions of words written about the most expensive election in history, web commentators have also been highlighting the way in which the Obama campaign used the Internet. Whoever you voted for (if you live in US), or would have voted for (for the rest of us), the topic of special interest to web strategists is the role of the Web, and how effectively the Obama campaign used it and integrated it with SMS text messaging. This was because they understood its nature as a medium, especially as a grass-roots, 'bottom-up' social networking connector, rather than just another 'broadcast medium' like radio and tv.

Political parties around the world are rushing to learn the lessons of this for their own situations. Doubtless someone is already writing a book on the Obama web strategy. Jeremy Wagstaff is one of many web commentators who have written about it:
http://old.thejakartapost.com/detailfeatures.asp?fileid=20081110.Q02&irec=1

As ever, the issue for us is: what lessons can we learn for the Kingdom. The reason that many Christian groups do not yet use the web effectively is because they have not understood its nature. Static 'brochure-ware' is a valid use of the Web, but only a small segment.


TIPS

- non-techies look away now

INFO POPUP PROBLEM: if you offer a number of popup links giving extra information, targeted in the same named new window, there is a danger that when the window loses focus, it may not come back on top when a new link is clicked. (Chrome browser is particularly bad at this.) A safe way of avoiding the problem is to make the window automatically close once it loses focus, using onblur code in the page body tag.

CHURCH WEBSITES IN WORDPRESS - One way to go for church websites - a CMS solution from WordPress:
http://www.churchcommunicationspro.com/

CHURCH Metrics software - free and works on mobiles too:
http://vimeo.com/1759436?pg=embed&sec=1759436

OUTLOOK - there is a bug in Outlook 2007 which causes it to send spam. The problem occurs (most obviously) when you use IMAP to connect to a gmail account. Outlook keeps track of the items in the "spam" folder and when they are (automatically) deleted without being read, Outlook sends a "not read" read receipt to the apparent sender. The messages don't end up in your "send items" or Outbox but you can see it "sending message x of 200". They do show up in the gmail "sent items".

CSS - "Everything You Know About CSS is Wrong! The way we lay out pages is about to change forever..."
http://www.sitepoint.com/article/1682

JAVASCRIPT REFLECTIONS EFFECT - Don't over do it, but can be nice sometimes:
http://javascript.internet.com/image-effects/reflection-js.html

HOTLINKS - If you sell files, and want to avoid unauthorized hotlinks to them:
http://www.willmaster.com/library/misc/how-we-use-hotlinkalarm.php

BACKUP AND SHARING - Dropbox allows you to both backup files online, and share them with others, or coordinate between your different computers. 2Gb of free storage:
https://www.getdropbox.com/

NOTEBOOK REPAIR - looks like a good source of spares and repairs for UK:
http://www.notebookrepair.co.uk/

SMS: Free mass-SMS software program for non-profits!
http://www.frontlinesms.com/

VIDEO - sign up for advance news of video teaching you can use in your church, an initiative of Lifechurch.tv:
http://www.VideoTeaching.com/

WEBSITE COPIER - crawls through your site and saves a copy:
http://www.httrack.com/

SUMO Paint is a free online tool for graphic manipulation including layers, blending tools, brush, ink, text and shape tools, and lots of filters:
http://www.sumo.fi/

RSS - creating Dynamic RSS Feeds with Ajax:
http://www.webreference.com/programming/javascript/rss_feeds_ajax/


SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

Ten SEO Mistakes Made on Database Driven Websites:
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b08oct-seodatabase

List of free and pay-for directories to submit sites to:
http://seo.site-reference.com/list-of-free-and-paid-directories/

Christian webpage promotion:
http://www.InternetEvangelismDay.com/promote.php

Using Google Adwords to Drive Traffic to your Church Website: "Google Adwords is an excellent strategy and tool in giving your church site maximum exposure in your community. Nevertheless, Google Adwords should not be your sole advertising strategy:"
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b08oct-adwords


MOBILE PHONES

iWebKit is a package containing files to create your own iphone/ipod formatted website. The package is accessible to anyone even people without any html experience and is simple to understand thanks to the online tutorials:
http://iwebkit.net/

We haven't yet begun to see the full potential of the mobile platform. New applications about being developed all the time, as this interview with a developer shows:
http://www.nwinnovation.com/story/0017873.html

Even gaming is moving to mobiles too:
http://www.pocketgamer.biz/r/PG.Biz/Qualcomm+News/feature.asp?c=9236

More on mobile ministry:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/mobile-outreach.php


SOCIAL NETWORKING

Women outnumber men on most social networking sites:
http://technorati.com/posts/8u4DOykxaB%2FMbEl4LAyGzWYYhs3UBdBK50CbhViVDxM%3D

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg puts idealism before profits. Four years in, Facebook does not actually make a profit yet:
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b08oct-facebook

"I recently discovered that 30% (530,000) of the population of my home town Brisbane are on Facebook! I suspect the same is also true of the rest of Australia. Most importantly, this 30% are also the younger age demographic that are so strategic to reach," writes Tony O'Hagan.

TWITTER - There is a new micro-blogging Christian-based service similar to Twitter, called GospelR:
http://gospelr.com/faq

For more on the Twitter concept, and a growing range of add-ons, see:
http://www.InternetEvangelismDay.com/twitter.php


USE YOUR TECH KNOWLEDGE TO HELP THE DISADVANTAGED

TechMission offers a range of internships for 2009:
http://www.urbanministry.org/paid-urban-ministry-internships
Logos Hope is also looking for an IT specialist: http://logoshope.org/

Teaching IT has huge potential, both in the West and the non-Western world:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/teach-it.php


JAPAN DIGITAL OUTREACH

There's a new network for people interested in any form of digital outreach to Japan - web, mobile phone, cartooning, social networking, video sharing, or anything else:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/digital-japan


SECRET MILLIONAIRE

A UK Channel 4 TV series takes various willing millionaires, and places them incognito for 10 days as volunteers with community groups, in what are usually areas of social deprivation. At the end of the period, they confess to being not quite what they appeared, and make generous donations to the community group, and usually thereafter maintain an ongoing involvement. They all testify to this being a life-changing experience. Indeed, one said that he would not swap his experience for any possible amount of money.
http://www.channel4.com/culture/microsites/S/secret_millionaire/

This raises some interesting issues:

1) It is a rerun of the common theme in real-life and fiction (including fairy-stories) of a prince or important person coming incognito, in the guise of a poor person, to visit and help his people. Of course, this has a special resonance with the Incarnation.

2) The spiritual principles of giving rather than getting, and of what really gives happiness in life, are clearly demonstrated.

3) Perhaps not all Christians are aware of the many secular volunteer opportunities available to minister in areas of social deprivation, and not all churches see the possibilities of setting up their own caring ministries. In the recession, there will be a big need to minister to hurting people (as mentioned earlier).


TAILEND ô¿ô

Get all the frogs to the other side. Each frog can jump one stone, or two if it jumps over another frog of either color. Here's 10 minutes of your life you'll never get back. Except that brain puzzles keep your brain more active for longer, so it's probably a win-win situation!
http://funstufftosee.com/frogleaptest.html


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