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W-E-B Issue 238 ~ August 2014
Monthly ISSN 471-0323
Sharing faith in post-Christian culture | Conferences | Using social media well | Good communication | Church resources | World we live in | Popular culture | Tech tips | Tailend fun

They say...

"If the 1950's come back, many churches are ready" - Ed Stetzer

"It is a test of a good religion whether you can joke about it." - G.K. Chesterton


For the first time in a millennium, most of us in the West are living in a post-Christian culture rather than 'Christendom'. "The colors of the world are changing day by day." (Les Miserables) It is essential to understand the times we are living in, like the men of Isaachar (1 Chron. 12:32).

The good news may be unchanged, but the context is totally different. We cannot be like the rebuilders of the collapsed belltower in Venice a century ago, who chose to make it 'come era, dove era' - 'As it was, where it was'.

Outreach Magazine explains the key to sharing faith in this new culture - one of many articles that this excellent magazine offers free in their email newsletter. Subscribe on any page of their website, where you can also subscribe to the additional material available in their paper and iPad full magazine.

See also their article: how to stay connected with the unchurched - 8 steps to keep from settling into the "Christian bubble".

And a new free ebook by Alan Hirsch, Fast Forward to Mission, provides more background and wisdom on these themes. Download this 72-page PDF file.

More free ebooks on church, social media and also all Microsoft products.


Next Africa-based digital ministry Indigitous Conference is Pretoria 17-18 October.

Like to host an Indigitious Lite session in your town? At least one member of the planning team must have already been on a full Indigitous Classic digital ministry conference. Learn more. You can also sign up for the Indigitous email newsletter via their homepage.

Brits - you can book earlybird for the Christian New Media 1-day conference in London, 1 November.

ICCM (International Conference on Computing and Mission) events are held annually in US, Europe, Africa - and Australia due in October.


Probably the biggest barrier to using social media effectively is not 'getting' how it really works. You may recall the story of the narcissistic filmstar who, after talking at length about his life and acting triumphs, says, "Well, that's enough about me. Your turn now. What do you think about my films?"

Social media is not a proclamation medium, and if used in that way will be ineffective. And a sense of entitlement in Christian proclamation is always a real turnoff.

Steve Fogg and Josh  Burns and Best Ministry Practices share their failures in church social media. More on how social media can fail.

Having said that, it IS possible to pay for proclamatory adverts on Facebook, but this should not be the heart of your social media strategy.

Facebook works well if you often pose questions that trigger conversations, says Internet Toolbox for Churches. But remember that people in social media overhear ALL your conversations. Best to have your insider arguments and debates some place else, if you must have them at all.

If you are a typical church or small nonprofit, you may have only one person involved in your social media strategy: see how to be a social media team of one.

"75-80% of our first time guests found us on the web." Social Media can be a big resource for church planters.

Instagram is another potential church social media tool, says Godvertiser.


Blink and you won't miss it. Why you can't break human cognition rules on your website.

Get rid of insider language.

Why curiosity matters, explains EvangelVision blog.

How to tell a great story, explains Harvard Business Review. But there's a subtle shift in any kind of storytelling that can zap your work of its power, says Len Wilson.

Should we preach like a TED talk? asks Chris Green. 12 things that TedX speakers do, that preachers usually don't.

How to blow any theological conversation, explains Credo House.

What's your worldview? Valuable chart summaries that can be great conversation starters. Worth downloading.

What is best practice for a distance-learning course? See this very positive experience from student Cal Clark.

How to write a memoir: the gold will be found in the ground beneath your feet, says Sheridan Voysey.


Training video on using video for churches from Paul Clifford, plus his new ebook.

Getting church site visitors through your real doors.

How church communications will change in next 10 years.
Here's a practical plan for churches struggling to get online, says Dave Hakes of the excellent Internet Toolbox for Churches.

UK-based evangelism resources supplier CPO has a new Twitter handle @CPOresources and Facebook page Also subscribe to their email newsletter Reach via any page of their website.


UK census analysis displays adherence/non-adherence to religion, street by street. Amazingly high variability.

Facebook pioneers limited free web access for Zambian mobile phone users.

Can we learn from Rijksmuseum's decision to share without restriction? Eg. discipleship material to benefit Majority World.

YouVersion Bible App for Kids now available in Spanish.

8 common thinking mistakes our brains make every day, and how to avoid them, says the excellent Buffer blog.

A 10-year-old taught me the most powerful thing I've ever learned about criticism, says Jon Acuff.

Review of fairly academic book Shaping a Digital World (Derek Schuurman, IVP Academic).


The Taste of Strawberries: on Tolkein's crafting of a story that makes goodness something desirable. Amazing piece by Professor Bilbro (yes, you read that right) of Spring Arbor University.

Do Christians have poor cultural taste? asks Christ and Pop Culture blog.

My review of Boyhood turned into a conversation with my younger boyhood selves, ages 7, 14, and 20, says Jeffrey Overstreet.

Let's make a film of The Lone Ranger. And build a real railroad to film it on. With almost no CGI. Yay.

Check the numerous movie analyses and study guides on the Damaris Film Blog. Movie group discussion is a valuable way to connect with people.

Hollywood Jesus site looks at The Giver - "a movie worth some thought."


God: new evidence is the apologetics ministry of UK-based team Focus. Their approach is to create short accessible online videos on a range of apologetic topics, each by an expert in that area. There are very few comparable resources. The team need a new part-time volunteer representative in USA (following the retirement of their previous volunteer). Check their site - the need is shown in the right-hand column, along with contact details.


- non-techies look away now


Christian comedian Tim Vine has won 'best joke' at the Edinburgh Festival a second time, with the one-liner: "I decided to sell my Hoover... well, it was just collecting dust." Interview with Tim on Premier Radio.
Explanation to those outside UK - 'hoover' is the generic noun (and verb) most people use in UK for a vacuum cleaner, as well as being the brand name for the first successful powered vacuum cleaners to be sold in UK.

"For some reason my wife thought this was funny. No idea why." - Paul Boag

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