What are the limits of the internet and the potential for ministry opportunity? I had an awesome conversation with a like minded web servant tonight. Tim Kimberly ministers online through He Lives.com. I can't remember if I have plugged the site before, but it is an incredible resource for biblical and theological content that is packaged in a beautiful manner. It is so much fun to sit down and bounce ideas, thoughts, passions and whatever comes to mind off of guys like this. If you have not visited the site, do so, and then tell all of your friends and neighbors about it. And after that send them a check or two to help cover expenses...
Internet and technological ministry has become my passion over this past year and I am really excited to see how God might lead in the future. I think that churches are really waking up to the idea that the internet is going to change the way we think about ministry. One of the things that Tim brought out tonight that made me stop and think, is the fact that the internet now can be a viable tool to do ministry and a way to actively engage a user. As Tim put it, most churches are using their websites as a map to get to their building. Now don't jump off a cliff here, I believe that ministry must be focused around the local church, but this in an area where the local church can do more.
One of my biggest passions is to see the church use the web actively for evangelism. Gospelcom.net's evangelism section has some great ideas about how to go about this. They send out a monthly newsletter with all sorts or resources, ideas and stats dealing directly with internet evangelism. I would love to hear your ideas on how we could do a better job of this.
One of the ways our church is currently ministering in this way is to offer up every Sunday morning sermon available for streaming download. I know a lot of churches are doing this and I think it is effective in a limited way. I would like to be able to not only serve up the sermon, but then connect with those that are listening and be able to do discipling and point them to a good local church. Again the idea is not to supplant the local church but rather support it.
One of the other things that Tim and I discussed was the need for more quality Christian media. Specifically we discussed producing short but powerful vignettes that could be used to pull someone in and get them interested in going deeper in their walk. He Lives.com is trying to focus on more of a discipling/teaching aspect in the way of online bible courses. This would be the "meat" where the shorter media would be the "hook." I can see doing this for not only short videos, but for creative print advertisements and marketing campaigns.
We bounced stuff back and forth for about 90 minutes and I won't repeat it all, but hopefully the Lord will take my passion and be able to use it in these and other ways.