TEACHING THE CHURCH TO USE THE INTERNET

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BY STEVE DUNN

We live in a wired world and more and more of our church people are wired.  I sit in restaurants, often at hours, when there are more grey heads than anyone else and watch grandmothers with smart phones and old men with iPads.  I recently read that the fastest growing group of persons using Facebook are women over 55.  I have at least three other persons in my present congregation who write blogs for public consumption.Via many tools, there are not on-line, sometimes real time, Bible studies and chat rooms about faith issues.  Social networking tools now provide the means of great conversation, often with people with whom you have friendships and relationships but with whom you are rarely able to share the same physical space.

Do you see where there is headed? Outreach magazine recently posted this excellent Idea Stater on-line:

Invite tech-savvy church members to lead a workshop to show others in the congregation how to use the Internet and, specifically, social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, to share their faith in nonthreatening ways with their friends and family. Provide a list of evangelistic websites or opportunities to evangelize online, such as Campus Crusade for Christ’s Global Media Outreach.

In many churches there are dedicated disciples who work in the IT industry who could mentor people in the use of the internet–both its technology and the content of the message.  Pastors who use the internet to disciple, evangelize and shepherd could talk about the spiritual principles needed to minister with integrity in cyberspace.

Even a simple workshop or training session on how to navigate the church’s web site and access its resources would help people get connected in a positive way.  This can strengthen your internal communication which can lead to a more informed and involved church membership.  It can help the church respond more promptly and appropriately to ministry opportunities in the church.

Are you beginning to see the potential?

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