• an annual worldwide focus day on a Sunday near the end of April, as the culmination of Digital Outreach Month. Churches and other groups are encouraged to create a focus spot or digital training day, either on that Sunday, or indeed at any time of the year.
• a year-round resource guide about web, mobile and digital media outreach
Digital Evangelism Issues
• is the blog for Internet Evangelism Day ... main IE Day menu:
We offer a range of free articles and related resources for anyone wishing to write about online evangelism. You may also use any of this blog's posts as short filler items in print media. Read more To reference any blog post in print, you can shorten the URL to IEDay.net/blog/ archives/1234 (of course replacing '1234' with the actual posting number).
Church website testing tool
Use our free self-assessment tool to provide you with a customized report on ways to make your church site reach out into your community. Read more
Helpful advice from Socially Stacked – a good source of tips for social media communication. And a second infographic below from WhitefireSEO on how social media boosts your web site’s search engine positioning.
The TruthMedia digital evangelism team urgently needs volunteers, working in their sparetime at home. Please republish this page, or share the opportunity widely on social media.
Karen Schenk, National Director Media Strategies, writes:
We have a huge opportunity for people to help share God’s love! Jesus Daily, a Facebook page with over 16 million users, is now partnering with TruthMedia. We are doing follow-up for the thousands of private messages that are sent in to that page. These messages come into The Mentor Center and our mentors can answer them.
Just this week one of our mentors shared that he received a message that simply read ‘thank you’. He wrote the person and engaged in conversation with them. Within a short time the mentor led this person to the Lord. When someone becomes a mentor for TheMentorCenter, we train them each step of the way, including how to transition to share Christ or help a person take next steps in their spiritual journey.
As of a few minutes ago, there are OVER 15,000 messages waiting to be responded to. We are desperate for more mentors. If you or someone you know would like to make a huge difference in people’s lives through this ministry, please go http://www.thementorcenter.com/jesus-daily/ and fill out the application.
1000 volunteers needed!
To answer all of these messages, we actually need over 1,000 more mentors. Please help us get the word out!
Here are two of the messages waiting for responses:
• “Jesus! Please I need help, I always promise God that i would repent, but then I just turn into the old me, I swear and do a lot of bad stuff, I need help!
• “I am muslim and i want to ask you about your religious and may i follow your own thought ok?”
This is an evangelist outreach and the harvest is great. There are thousands of seekers coming through this page wanting to know Jesus. There are also believers asking all kinds of questions about life and faith.
It’s an unprecedented opportunity to have a huge reach around the entire globe. Please pray for us as we journey through this transition and work on simplifying and scaling our processes so that we truly can reach millions. God has opened up an amazing opportunity for us! We want to share it with you.”
Mentoring can be a hugely fulfilling ministry, needs no technical knowledge, and TruthMedia provides full training and support. This short video explains more, and can also be embedded in your own site or blog.
Internet Evangelism Day encourages churches and other groups to create a focus spot or discussion time to consider how be effective in digital evangelism and integrate it with the rest of their ministry. Although the actual designated Day – usually the third or fourth Sunday in April – is a good time for this, there is no reason why you should not create a focus day at any time of the year.
As never before, there is an incredible potential of digital media to share the good news of Jesus, in an intentional but appropriate way. In the last eight years, the Internet has changed dramatically:
the vast growth in digital access via mobile phones, including in the Majority World
the advent of social networking, through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and many other niche networks
growth of the video short on YouTube and elsewhere, to communicate visually, and often by storytelling
These three developments intertwine into what we might call a ‘three-fold cord’ of strength, echoing Ecclesiastes 4:12. Each gains synergy by functioning together with the other two.
It is now simple and practical for any online Jesus-follower to engage in opt-in permission conversations across existing relationships with friends and indirectly to friends-of-friends, using perhaps all three platforms – social, mobile and video short. No longer is digital evangelism a specialism, needing writing or technical skills.
The outsider-friendly video short has growing significance. It can be used to start a conversation, or enhance an existing discussion, by posting to Facebook, Twitter etc. Valuable ready-made sources of video shorts, which can be dropped into Facebook with a single click, include:
YesHeIs.com (varied categories of shorts in several languages)
Also very significant are mobile phone apps which enable and enhance one-to-one faith-sharing. Sadly, there are very few. Mensajes de Fe is a new release (in Spanish). The JESUS Film is available in multiple languages as an app.
Phone users can also choose and download to their phones a small selection of video shorts to use in the same way. With growing mobile ownership across the Majority World, these opportunities are worldwide and strategic. MobileAdvance.org is one resource to learn more. The Mobile Ministry Forum connects groups working in this area.
There is a big need for churches to encourage members to understand these possibilities. A strategic way to do this is to appoint a ‘digital advocate’ in the fellowship to inform, educate and encourage members about effective and appropriate use of the ‘three-fold cord’ – read more at IEDay.net/advocate.php
When Christians in a community choose a range of social networking friends that includes many who are not yet Jesus-followers, it becomes likely that a majority of people in the community could be digitally connected to at least one believer.
Churches and digital
Churches can also use social media corporately, and many are finding this an incredibly effective voice in the community, rather than just as an internal communication system to members. It is possible to be outsider-friendly, but sadly, many churches only use social media as an internal communication tool. InternetToolboxforChurches.com is a key initiative to learn more about this.
In the last year, a number of Christian books ieday.net/books.php have been published on Christian use of social media, some of them free: ieday.net/eb. We have never been better resourced!
How to create a focus day in your church or group
Reproduce (or link to) this short news item in your church announcement sheet, church newsletter, blog or website, or any other media: ieday.net/shortannouncement.php
Create a short focus spot in a meeting, or even theme an entire service around digital evangelism opportunities. A very short focus spot might be little more than a verbal announcement. If more time is available, then you could add components such as a video short (for example the YesHEIs cartoon), PowerPoint slides, an interview with a church member involved in digital ministry, or an explanation of the ‘three-fold cord’ – perhaps with a live projected demonstration of posting video clips into Facebook.
Build on this awareness to plan a ministry or church digital strategy if you do not already have one.
Consider appointing a ‘digital advocate’ to resource your fellowship or team.
Questionnaire and free ebook
We’ve produced a 10-question survey about digital evangelism on SurveyMonkey. It’s not so much a yes/no questionnaire as a conversation to learn from each other. We will very much value your input: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LN63THN
As a thank you, you’ll get a free ebook download: Paul Clifford’s well-reviewed book Tweeting Church. He has also authored Podcasting Church, Church Video Summer School, and The Serving Church. Check his resources at TrinityDigitalMedia.com.
Happily there is a growing number of free short ebooks on social and other media for church ministry. Note the word ‘short’. Long books can be great, but a surprising amount of wisdom and practical advice can be condensed into 10-20 pages. It is, perhaps, the 15-minute TED lecture approach, applied to text.
You can read them quickly, and keep them as reference manuals.
Media Relations 101
This new 11-page PDF booklet by Jerod Clark explains how to relate to the traditional media (local press, TV, radio) and get your church’s story and news covered in the community. Download the PDF file from ChurchJuice.
34-page PDF ebook from Church Tech Today and seventy8 Productions. Gives an overview of social media basics, then takes you through Facebook, Twitter and G+, and ends with an explanation of building a church social media strategy. To download it, you just need to go to their Google+ page and follow the instructions. You don’t have to have a Google account, but adding them to your G+ circles will enable you to get updates of the book.
The HooteSuite video below, though it is primarily discussing businesses, clearly explains the importance of social media connectedness at every level in any organization – charity, non-profit, ministry – and emphasizes that in the end, it is just people and relationships. (Note, used in the video are commercial abbreviations ‘B2B’ meaning ‘business to business’ and ‘B2C’ meaning ‘business to customer’.)
Particularly highlighted in this video: social media needs to permeate through the entire organization, and is not something that is just ‘done’ by the marketing department. Richard Branson is cited as an example of a CEO who is constantly tweeting.
There are still relatively few non-profits and ministries that are really using social media effectively. Often, it is individual Christians who seem best at carrying a social networking conversation forward.
Social media won it for Mary Seacole
Social media can be powerful in influencing national decisions too. I just heard today that here in UK, an online petition at Change.org, widely publicized through email, Facebook and Twitter, has persuaded our government’s Education Department to keep the life story of Mary Seacole on the national educational curriculum, and indeed move her from ‘optional’ to ‘mandatory’.
Mary Seacole was a Jamaican-born woman who on her own initiative went to support soldiers in the Crimean War. An excellent role model, you might feel, yet some politician thought that she should be dropped from school lessons in favor of political and military historical figures – the likes of Lord Nelson and such worthies. Happily, 36,000 people signed the online petition and changed the decision. The moral pressure from the voice of the people can sometimes be powerful.
Also in UK, there are also two major reforendums coming up soon. One is on whether the UK should remain in the European Union. The other, for Scotland only, is whether Scotland should become an independent nation. Both are major questions that will shape UK and Europe for generations. It is likely that social media will play a big part in attempting to influence the undecided. Indeed, the probable winner in each case will be the side that can best reflect and retell the national story in social media.
Social media has changed everything in digital communication.
For non-profits and Christian ministries, Eric Qualman chillingly observes in his new video, “The ROI* of Social Media is: your business still exists in five years.” It is really as stark as this – if your non-profit or ministry does not have an integrated social media strategy (rather than just trying to bolt-on a bit of Facebook or Twitter), you are in danger. Your church will also suffer, though not terminally, if it does not use social media, says Josh Burns.
But equally significant – and greatly under-utilized – is this new potential for any Jesus-follower to share faith appropriately across relationships, using social media. And in our visual age, a video short is an ideal way to engage and start conversations. YesHEIs.com have produced a new short cartoon video explaining just how simple this it is to use their own curated choices of evangelistic video shorts. At only 1:30 minute length, this is an ideal clip to download and share in your church services. (Click on the YouTube download button here. You can also easily embed this video in any website or blog.)
And every church surely needs a digital advocate who is a resource person to help the rest of the fellowship understand how to use resources such as this.
YesHEIs also offers a selection of African and Indian-related video shorts, and in Indonesian, Russian, Spanish and Chinese.
If you are a church wanting to use digital media and social networking to reach out into your community, the Internet Toolbox for Churches resources – newsletter, podcast, videos and website – is a unique resource full of practical wisdom.
Erik does it again – explains the incredible reach and significance of social media in the world today. This is his latest incarnation of his well-known video summary. You can download it for meetings and seminars. Play length: 3:51.
A challenging, indeed chilling, statement by Erik in the video:
The ROI* of Social Media is: your business still exists in five years”
* business-speak for ‘return on investment’
For ‘business’, substitute ‘non-profit’ or ‘ministry’. Without a social media strategy, you will likely shrivel and maybe die. Leadership teams need to urgently read books such as Community Wins, Reach, Viral and Platform.
A social media strategy is something that most members of the organisation should own and be part of. If a member of the team, or more worryingly, the leader, replies to the question, “What is your social media strategy?” with the answer, “Oh, I believe we have a Facebook fanpage somewhere,” red warning lights should be flashing!
Also just published – Reach: how to use your social media influence for the glory of God, by Laura Krokos and Angie Pratt. It’s available as a PDF or Kindle ebook (not available in paperback).
How encouraging that there are now a number of new books covering different aspects of social media communication and evangelism. In the earlier years of the Web, evangelistic opportunities were much more limited. Today, social networking enables any Jesus-follower to engage in conversations about faith.
The authors are convinced of the incredible kingdom opportunity that social media provide, and they present this potential in an enticing and clear way. Their main focus is on Facebook (including the opportunity to share YouTube clips within it), plus a brief encouragement to blog. Twitter and Pinterest get limited coverage, but here’s a clever thing – the PDF ebook has clickable ‘tweet this’ links embedded in it. First time I have seen this, and a technique worth using in any PDF file. Facebook fan-pages or church social media strategy are not covered.
Laura and Angie’s background is CRU campus ministry in USA, so the methodology, illustrations and resources come primarily from that frame of reference. For other cultures, demographics or communities, you might need to calibrate your approach appropriately.
At 66 pages, this is a valuable gateway starter on social media evangelism, with useful web resources included throughout.
How to get it
Find out more, or order the book, at the Reach Ebook site. Also available in Kindle format from Amazon US, Amazon UK and all other Amazon outlets (except, strangely, not Canada at the time of writing).
You don’t need to own a Kindle to download Kindle ebooks – you can also add Amazon’s free software to your PC or MAC, or download their app for your smartphone, and be building your Kindle library in minutes.
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