Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Have You Ever Considered the Internet a “Mission” Field?



 
 

Sent to you by KC5FM/WX5EM via Google Reader:

 
 

via LifeChurch.tv Online Church Blog by Tony Steward on 4/14/09

This is a guest post by John Saddington, the Creative Web Director at North Point Ministries. He also writes at Church Crunch about the intersection of technology and the church.

wifi

A few years ago this would have been an even more absurd thought than it is now but change is happening rapidly, not just at the White House.

More and more people are spending their time online, reading material that they once bought on bookshelves, received on their driveway every morning, or watched on TV. The amount of time that people are spending online is also increasing as more of our daily routine and lives are wrapped up in the activities and applications that enable us to "function" on a day-to-day.

Isn't it appropriate, then, to consider the internet as yet another opportunity to share the Good News of the Gospel? It's a field of opportunity, and our mission is critical.

Being "on mission" or "missional" with my time online is becoming an ever-increasing passion and is one that has spurred me to think critically about the what and the how in terms of engaging with an online landscape and culture.

Although there are many ways to creatively interact with others online and be "on mission" online there is one specific way that have consistently proven to be successful in terms of reaching those that have not heard of Jesus Christ, and that you can easily begin to apply in your own context and within your own strategy:

Providing Value

From my Seminary studies at Dallas Theological Seminary I've learned that a successful strategy that has worked on the physical mission field is providing great value to the surrounding community in which the missionary resides. Investing in the local community provides avenues for conversation, inroads to the local economy, helps foster and develop trust and "authority" in others lives, and gives the missionary a platform of friendship to others.

The same thing can be applied to the online mission field. If you can provide "value" to the context and local sub-culture in which you find yourself or explicitly put yourself in, you'll begin to reach people that you "knew" were there but who may never have come to converse with you otherwise.

A great example of this is my work and development of Wordpress themes and applications. A specific example is my release of a Personal Branding Theme called Ipseity. You can read some of my thoughts in more detail about how I used this Wordpress Theme to reach people strategically through my blog here.

The bottom line is that people who have not yet heard or encountered the Gospel are pouring into my blog because of this Wordpress theme that they are interested in using. As a result, they will begin to encounter "other" targeted content that is more spiritual in nature which is more valuable from my perspective for them to consume. Many of these people Subscribe to my RSS feeds as a result, and now I have an inroad to them on a daily and continual basis.

This is how I personally am "on mission" with my gifts and through my online properties. By providing value to the community, not just the Christian community, I'm enabling connections with people in an effective manner, timely, and valuable manner; they are coming to me and my blogs and I don't even have to entice them or advertise or try to sell them anything.

Even more importantly, it doesn't cost me a penny.

What can you do to be providing value to your local online community in which you find yourself? How can you be more "on mission" in terms of your gifting, talent, and calling online?

A little thought can go a long way, and the "payoff" couldn't be any greater: The Gospel of Jesus Christ is being read (and understood) by those who have not yet heard.


 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

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