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The value of national or regional digital ministry networks
We are always stronger and more effective as part of a network or team. This is particularly true in web evangelism and digital outreach, which can for some be a solitary and isolated ministry.
In North America, the Internet Evangelism Coalition started soon after the Web became a mainstream medium, and through a variety of projects including an annual conference and the development of Internet Evangelism Day, has advocated the Web as an effective means of outreach.
However, in many other countries and regions of the world, there are no active networks of web evangelists. In some languages there is little or no online evangelism at all. There are different models for such networks; we are not proposing any single way of doing it.
Digital ministry, in particular, benefits from collaboration and networking because the tech field and tools have such a high innovation curve. New tools, processes and back-office systems must constantly innovate to respond to rapid development. In such a situation there are particularly strong rewards for collaboration to stay abreast of current technologies. Through networking, many organizations can draw on one another’s expertise and specialisms. Follow-up systems are particularly suited to such collaboration. There is also huge potential synergy in building informal networks and partnerships with other groups in a country or region: print and radio media, mission agencies, and local church groupings.
We also urge collaboration in digital ministry to evade the likely scenario of various ministries spending precious ministry funds duplicating what other ministries have already done: the ‘reinventing the wheel’ tragedy.
Advantages of a networkThe advantages and potential of a national/regional network:
- encourage and equip individuals who are already involved in some sort of web or digital evangelism, to build relationships, investigate areas of cooperation and coordinate ministry
- catalyse new ideas and strategies
- network with other media (radio, tv, print) and with traditional mission agencies and church groupings, to enhance the effectiveness of each by using a multimedia approach; and develop ways of building and sharing follow-up systems for contacts and converts
Continuing a networkSuch a network, once started, can continue to build relationships and make connections by using online tools such as a shared ministry collaboration site, email newsletter or discussion group, bulletin board system, and/or any of a growing variety of useful tools that allow a network to collaborate together. It might also achieve sufficient critical mass to:
- hold conferences or seminars to network together
- advocate the use of the New Media to the wider church in their country or region, by creating online resources similar to IE Day, offering speakers to outside conferences or consultations, or by opening a network conference to outsiders
How we can helpThe Guide Network exists to encourage digital evangelism, particularly in non-English languages and non-western nations, and is already involved in three networks: Turkey, Japan, and a larger unreached region of the world. We would like to see other networks emerge, and will willingly give help, encouragement and publicity in any way we can. We can also offer speakers for seminars or consulations. Guide Network partner visionSynergy has a ministry of enabling varied groups come together in effective networks. Please contact us.
Feedback from existing networks...
“Our meeting was the fulfillment of a long dream by a team of people. ... The group worked very hard to come up with a united purpose statement, agreed to by all. Some fairly intense negotiations were involved in arriving at this common statement.”
“About 50 Christians ... came ... for a 3-day conference on internet evangelism. A large foundation gave generously to enabled many more to be able to attend, including several from Europe and the States. For many it was the first time to meet the faces behind the websites and email addresses that they knew so well.”
“I gave a Well Connected book to the new Steering Committee. ... Most groups have never experienced true group consensus building. They are also unused to getting into true discussion of points that need reconciliation.”
“A ‘skills bank’ was created using a Google Form which allows the network to share expertise. A Website Census was created on Google Docs and all Network attendees were went there to fill in details about their sites. A Google Specialized Search was created by one of the creative members of the team that allows all network members to search on any given term on any of the websites of those in the network (to check for related resources, avoid duplication, etc).”
“Together we CAN find solutions to those problems we are facing in Content, Personnel, and E-coaching/follow-up. And as we step by step achieve those limited achievable objectives, we are going to see all of our efforts to serve become more and more effective!”
related pages within the Mission opportunities menu links
recommended books on reaching outsiders, including free downloads
valuable online videos about web ministry