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Hobby and affinity-group pages
A key to reaching people
“Be what they are looking for”
Almost everyone has a hobby or special interest. Uniquely, the Web makes it possible for us to reach any affinity-group of people using a site that is designed to mesh with their own interests. This major strategy is hardly being used.
If you have a hobby or special interest, it is certain that there are millions of people around the world who share it. You have the expertise and enthusiasm to write about it – and reach them at the same time.
One of the problems that many of us Christians suffer from: we very quickly lose lose meaningful contact with non-Christians. There is one church in UK which insists that all members involve themselves in a midweek secular activity! The Lord wants us to relax, have fun, and share our lives with non-Christians. A hobby allows all three.
A hobby website is an extension of this approach. It is using the Bridge Strategy, and can include features such as:
- introduction to the hobby
- how-to pages
- news and developments
- two-way discussion via email discussion list, online bulletin board or blog
- links to world’s best pages on the same subject
- meet the site owner page – i.e. a testimony
- sensitive gospel parallels derived from illustrations relating to the hobby
- appropriate explanation of the Gospel – or a link to another site which does this
“Christians naturally want to share their testimonies, but what we believe that God has asked us to do, is to encourage them to write about their interests and hobbies first, and put their testimony, or a piece about what Jesus means to them, ‘behind’ their interest/hobbies pages. When you have a conversation with an unsaved person, you talk about other things – the things you are both interested in – and then, if there's an opening, you might be brave enough to mention your faith. With ACTS, we are approaching it the same way – and using people's hobbies and interests to engage their interest. It’s got to be easier to invite someone to read your review of Saturday’s football match, than it is to ask them to read your pages on Jesus! Easier for you, easier for them. No cringe factor, no embarrassment. Then Christians can invite unsaved friends to read their pages, and in doing so, they will engage them with the Gospel which is also on the site.”Note that there is no suggestion of trickery here. Pages should be truly about the chosen subject, and should be as good and informative as possible. Just as we would not attend a hobby meeting just to pass out tracts, so we should offer helpful information with integrity. And the links to Christian material should be appropriate, non-preachy and probably fairly low-key – there when people are ready for them. Communication – even online – flows through a relationship. You have probably only reached this point on this website because reading my writing allows you to sense something of my own heart, character and concerns, and you are responding to it.
A hobby or affinity-group site can also be developed into a one-stop portal on the subject.
Even a site produced for a secular professional audience allows a Christian author to introduce Christian input from time to time. A newsletter is a valuable addition to any hobby-related site.
You may not feel able to write a comprehensive set of pages section explaining the Gospel – but there is no need. You can instead link to existing quality presentations such as Power to Change or many others.
- Pet's Place – a way of touching dog-lovers.
- Douglas Yeo – Bass Trombonist – extensive music-based site; read more about Doug's ethos and strategy here.
If you know of good hobby/special interest evangelistic pages, we will add them here. Surely these few examples cannot be the sum total of pages that Christians have written about their hobbies which have included links explaining the Gospel? There is enormous potential for this approach, yet it seems almost no one is using it!
See also the opportunities for sports pages.
related pages within the Bridge the gap & Using culture menu links
recommended books on reaching outsiders, including free downloads
valuable online videos about web ministry