Commonality – finding a starting point & getting to know each other – essential building blocks of any evangelism, etc… with a strong focus on LISTENING!
You’re looking to provide information, engage in dialogue, listen to your audience … build a community who will be interested in the other things that you do ..
Also whilst we’re thinking about social media (sometimes new/digital media…) … we also need to think about what evangelism is.. In a world where it’s OK to be a Mac evangelist, but not a Christian evangelist… DISCUSS (bring in e.g. friendship evangelism, on the street, Bible verses in tweets, etc. – see the notes from Spring Harvest)
Lifestyle = includes online!
We need to understand “the culture” that we are engaging with…
… this is what many people think the internet is about … just a big ‘timesuck’, but thankfully the attitude is changing amongst those I’m meeting – question changing from ‘why should we waste our time’, to ‘we know we need to get with it, but we don’t know how…’
Qualman – 4 mins (business focused, but worth thinking about…)
… want to find the right tool for the right job?.. If you want to know more – download this 6-7 page document I try to keep updated.. , and you’ll see different tools are use for different things!
Far too many times when people talk about social media, they focus on the word ‘media’ (or technology), rather than the word ‘social’ which is surely what we should be focusing on … we are looking to build relationships, which require good communication (rarely do you want to get “the IT Guy” doing your social media … you need someone who is good at comms)….
I have a problem with this kind of “if you share this” kind of statement… too much pressure?
We are created by a God who rejoices in our 2-way communication with him… we are called also to be extravagant communicators…
Image taken from Durham University website.
DISCUSS – what is involved in good/positive “communication” – 2 way, listening, interest, etc..
So - want to highlight a handful of ways that people have engaged ‘differently’ online…
Chris Juby – reducing every chapter to 140 characters … did this personally, but decided to send out a local press release – got picked up by national & international press – got lots of people engaged with the Bible – even if they were only interested in language/the novelty of what he was done… it’s still a touchpoint (online = lots of touchpoints)…
Phil - … summarised entire Bible in around 9000 characters… makes you think about what it’s really about.
… and we’re been playing with what each Bible chapter looks like as a wordle – where the bigger the word, the more times it’s mentioned in a chapter…
.. And this ties into an increasingly ‘visual turn’ online – particularly with the advent of Pinterest which gained popularity at the beginning of 2012 – with people sharing inspiring pictures (and the picture links to the website behind it).
Important in our thinking on this is the notion that we are talking about ‘online/offline’, not ‘virtual’real’ … relationships online have a different nature, but they are as valid and real as offline relationships, and for many the edges are entirely blurred as conversations online in between face-to-face meets change the nature of offline conversations (sometimes allowing for deeper conversations in either space)…
Importance of online/offline
Always remember that there is a human being at the other end of the keyboard - each uniquely created by God… and as is noted by many communicators is not what you’ve said, but what others have ‘heard’ … not everyone receives the message that you send in the same way .. And one message definitely doesn’t fit all… we’re in the world of what is described as “the long tail”, where rather than being able to send out a mass message, we have to have more concern with individuals (which I always hope we as Christians do anyway, but…. ) – Google searches for ‘niches’ (small keywords/multiple entry points, etc.)
Think before you post … does this truly represent what you want the business to say, and if you are doing this personally, how might this reflect (well/negatively) on the business // HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired).
You might decide that you want to think further about what your “10 commandments” of engaging online might be… but a few thoughts…
Here I want to emphasise from Ian Aspin who spoke at CNMAC11 … that it’s a “pull” economy – we have to earn the right for people to take notice of us – most of the public wouldn’t see us as having a ‘God-given right’ – we need content that will be interesting & draw people in…
Come to know yourself, what gifts and passions God has given you, and look to live those out authentically & with integrity online… what I call a ‘digital fingerprint’ – you were made to be unique, so be unique … and look for others to engage with in that area…
Think it’s hard to sustain ‘authenticity’ 24/7 online, are so many TRACES … (still entirely possible, but I think hard) … but also there’s a tendency to work hard on ‘marketing’ ourselves… (e.g. Romania … they go out and have studio photos taken for Facebook)…
… who are we in God, and therefore how can we make a difference?
God gave us gifts, passions – how do we use those to be authentic – and then in those spaces to share [LICC?].
… it’s the world of the ‘long-tail’ – don’t compete online to be known as ‘church’, but to be a particular aspect of church – good to find people to connect with…
.. And example of how this has helped many people is this website (also on Twitter, etc.) and how they have got these people together… something many people don’t want to talk about… but these people do –it’s healing
… note also that people tend to find it easier to ask difficult questions in the relative ‘anonymity’ of the online space…
So much of what we talk about is about collaboration & community … and re Big Bible Fr David Cloake had this to say about participating as a #digidisciple “I am …”
In all of this we are thinking “who is our neighbour” – within the church community we seem to particularly “value” f2f contact (a lot is down to the incarnation of Jesus), but this notion needs a lot more thought – we now have global neighbours! DISCUSS
We also have limited time to engage – we can’t be spending all our time online (same as you wouldn’t spend all your time in the pub, or the gym, or Tesco)…. But if you are going to respond to something it’s better to be quick..than to be BBC quality! Quality often comes second to missing the opportunity…
Whilst you’re thinking about that, remember also that the time for ‘control’ has largely passed online – especially once something is online… and also that UK laws about privacy, libel, etc. still apply …
We’re seeking to be salt & light in the digital space – a good example (and many non-Christians are, so what will make us stand out?)
Something to leave you thinking about … “what Biblical values do we want to see in our (digital) world?” (digital in brackets, as it’s part of our whole world…) …
… what do the fruits of the spirit look like online – what does it mean to be patient & self-control … do we need to hold back from posting that thought at the moment we think it? EXERCISE
.. In particular what does it mean to share with ‘grace’ … we want to be invited to share, but we also want to ensure that we respond to things ‘gracefully’ – this doesn’t mean like a doormat but not flinging around some of the insults that I can see from people online at different ends of Biblical interpretation… DISCUSS GRACE-FULL CONVERSATION – being a good ‘witness’ online…
I think this is the thought that I want to leave you with.. (if time, ask if any other verses spring to mind for similar adaptation.. )
So – what do you think? What does it make you think about engaging online, how we share our faith, how we make Jesus real to people?
DNA: New Media Evangelism (2015)
New Media Evangelism
Dr Bex Lewis, Research Fellow in Social Media and Online Learning, CODEC, Durham University
Assigned Creative Commons Licence 4.0 non-
Relax, enjoy your friends. Enjoy their
company along with the company of
Jesus. Point him out, freely, without
fear or intimidation. You’re not
responsible to sell him to them.
You’re simply saying what you’ve seen.
You're not the judge. You’re the
The greatest single cause of
atheism in the world today is
Christians who acknowledge Jesus
with their lips and walk out the
door and deny him by their life
style. That is what an unbelieving
world simply finds unbelievable.
Communication & Relationships
Image Credit: iStockphoto
Darren Hill,TheWorship Cloud
All these great Bible verses
arrive on my feed without any
context, background or
explanation. As believers we
are fine with this, we of
course know the context to
any text that appears online…
don’t we? But what about
Image Credit: Darren Hill
Rev Prof DavidWilkinson
God is a communicating God:
“In the beginning was the
word, and the word was
God is extravagant in
communication – he is not a
silent God who has to be
tempted into communicating
Image Credit: Durham University
Image Source: Stockfresh
Who sees this?
Care for others - genuinely
Know that the world doesn’t revolve around you
Be ‘remarkable’, be different
Earn the right to have others take notice of you
Be grateful if ONE person cares what you’re doing
Have something to say that matters
Do stuff that matters – make an impact
Strive to bring value to everyone you connect with
Be fantastically generous with our time, money, and kindness
Be outrageously committed to making the world better
It’s all about relationships – build & nurture them
Thanks @ianaspin (http://bigbible.org.uk/2010/10/the-eleven-commandments/)
Image Credits: The Worship Cloud/ @digitalfprint
It is only out of
identity, out of
who we are in
Christ, that we
can hope to bear
fruit in the world.
Image Credit: The Worship Cloud
Gary Collins (Christian Life Coach)
If you're a Christian, seeking
to walk in the footsteps of
Jesus, you'll approach every
aspect of your life from this
commitment to Christ will
impact your marriage,
parenting, lifestyle, values,
management, vocation ...
Image Credit: Gary Collins website
Image credit: http://j.mp/coffeelongtail
A Sense of Community
Whilst I cannot conclude my thinking in a wholly positive
way, I acknowledge that great use of all of this to my
own personal discipleship. I am a broader Christian, a
better informed Christian, a more readily supported
and sustained Christian and for that I love this digital
life. If that makes me a better Christian, then perhaps
its purpose is served if a purpose exists and indeed if a
purpose is needed. However, I shall continue to pray
that someone, somewhere, can say with absolute clarity
that because of this digital community, they came to
Who is my neighbour?
What does it mean to ‘love your
neighbour’ in a world in which a ‘friend’
might as easily be the kid from down the
street you grew up with as a woman in
Botswana whom you’ve never seen in
person and only know in the context of
Facebook status updates, photos, and
Tweet if You Heart Jesus, p.xiv
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)
But in your hearts revere Christ as
Lord. Always be prepared to give an
answer to everyone who asks you to
give the reason for the hope that you
have. But do this with gentleness and