Posted by: sdunnpastor | January 21, 2011

CHRISTIANS AND AN INTERNET PRESENCE

From the blog MODERN MARCH comes a post called “Christians and Internet Presence.” Here is a portion.

What are some practical ways that social media and blogging can benefit churches, church leaders, and their audience?

*STEVE MCCOY: First thing, know your audience. What are local people using? What are people in your church using? Where I live Facebook is very popular. Twitter and blogging are not that big. If I spend my time trying to connect with people in a way they don’t want to connect, I’ll be spinning my wheels.
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Because Facebook is so widely used it can be a helpful tool for communication both as a church and individually. I actively use Facebook to connect to local people. I have several local friends and I keep up with their lives. We are Facebook friends with all our kids’ teachers, many of their friends’ parents, and so on. People are allowing us to know them better. Why not do that? For our church, Facebook gives us a place to connect in a place where they already go. We get to connect people to information about our church, invite them to events, and so on. Our church members use Facebook to invite people to events when our church puts out announcements on Facebook. I just had a non-attender message me on Facebook because he’s eager for our next Pub Talk (connection ministry).
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For me as a pastor I’ve used Twitter and blogging heavily, but mostly to connect to other church leaders outside my local area. I need like-minded friends in ministry. I can’t fully explain the benefit and blessing of being connecting to hundreds of church leaders through my blog and Twitter. It is truly a kind of community. It doesn’t replace true community, it compliments it and expands it. For example, I’m attending the Desiring God Pastors Conference in a month and I already know of a dozen other guys going and wanting to hang together. Every conference I’ve attended in the last 5-6 years has been a social media family reunion for me. I love and need these co-laborers in Christ.
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Because of these relationships through social media I’ve had hundreds of people praying for my wife, I’ve been provided more than $6,000 for a new van (without asking!), been invited to speak at a conference, endorsed books, found guys to lead worship and fill my pulpit, and a bunch more.
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What I’ve just begun to see locally is crossover. Nearly all our visitors are from something web-based. Many are beginning to connect to use because they’ve found my personal blog or Twitter account. And it has been providing the opportunity to minister locally when my original intent was to connect with leaders internationally. Very thankful for that.
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From the Commission … the next class in the School of Evangelism is February 19, 2011 at the Conference Office. It’s called “Internet Evangelism and Social Networking Tools.” Learn more about internet evangelism from Josh Glacken of Global Media Outreach, Twitter and other tools from Nick Francis Stephens, and blogging to reach unchurched people from Steve Dunn. Go to the web site www.ercevangelism.com to register.

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