Archive for category blogging
If you look at the last few entries I have made here, they all revolve around an online service called Slideshare. This online community allows you to upload and share slide presentation with people in a variety of ways. People can see the presentation on the Slideshare website itself (www.slideshare.net), you can embed the presentation in your Facebook profile, on your blog or website and even email links to anyone you would like. You can get to my Slideshare account and see some of the presentations I have posted by clicking here.
While this may be cool for some, (especially ministry tech geeks like me), it begs the question SO WHAT? I mean, what is the big deal about being able to put your sermon presentations online? Does that really matter?
Well, it might. Obviously leveraging the power of your visuals with your audio will help you communicate more effectively. If not, why did you build the PowerPoint presentation to begin with? But it goes beyond that…or at least it should.
1. Build short, 3-4 minute presentations to teach people about the inspiration of the Bible, Christian evidences, the importance of the church, New Testament Christianity and more and then embed them in your Facebook profile, blog or congregation’s website.
2. Build a short 3-4 minute presentation that describes your congregation, its purpose and mission to attract visitors.
3. Build a presentation to introduce new members to the elders, deacons and ministry staff.
4. Build short presentations to answer common Bible questions that people ask most often.
Getting the idea? There are hundreds of ways that you might leverage this tool in ministry. Share your ideas with me…I would love to hear what ideas you all come up with…let me know!
Let’s talk about traffic. No I don’t mean how long it took you to get to work today or that logjam of cars on the Interstate trying to get across town. I am talking about who is coming to your website or blog. Traffic is obviously important in this sense of the word. If no one is coming to your website or reading the posts that you labored over and posted to your blog, then why do it? If, on the other hand, you have people visiting your site from Korea or Ukraine or India, and you are in Denver, Colorado are what time your services are held and cool Mapquest directions to your building really all that important? We need to understand that the web is an international tool. That visitor from Korea, quite honestly, couldn’t care less about what time services start. You need to provide him (or her) with more. Teach him some biblical truth that he didn’t know before. Share something that will plant a seed in his life that may bear fruit for the Lord.
So who is coming to your site and where do they come from? I am often asked if there is a way to tell when people visit your website or blog. The answer is a resounding YES with the help our our friends at Google. Google Analytics is a free statistics package that you can easily add to your website or blog. Once installed on the pages or your website or blog you can get detailed stats about the number of people visiting your site and even where they come from. The amount of detail that can be gained from this tool is really impressive. You can learn the number of new visitors vs. returning visitors and dozens of other stats to help you understand who is looking at your site. One of the more interesting reports shows you a map of the world and when you hover you mouse over a color coded country (the color coding indicates traffic volume) you can see how many visitors have come to your site from that country. A simple click on the country shows a close up map of that country with dots from the various cities containing visitors. As an example, I know that within the last 30 days our school website (www.bvbid.org) has received:
– 2090 visits
– 55.89% of those visitors are first-time visitors to our site
– 50 countries had visitors
– within the U.S. we had visits from 49 states – North Dakota was a no show
Certainly this information can be very useful to a ministry website or blog. Knowing that a vast majority of your traffic come from a particular region or area of the globe may help you realize that you have an opportunity to reach out to people in places and lands you never dreamed were possible.
I just finished teaching Ministry Technology class here at Bear Valley and it went very well. More and more students are hooking in to what these technological tools can do for them and I am very excited about that.
New Ministry starting in the Northwest
The power of subscribing…
Blogging as a tools for preachers and evangelists provides some really unique opportunities to teach. One of the greatest advantages of using blogs is the ability that readers have to “subscribe” (don’t worry – it is FREE) to your blog and stay up to date on what you post very easily. Check out online tools like Bloglines. This tool allows you to subscribe to to blogs you want to read regularly. Once you subscribe, Bloglines goes and looks for new posts on these sites every time you launch it. That means you can have the information come to you rather than you trying to remember to visit umpteen blog sites to see what is new. I currently have 55 blogs on various topics (Logos, ministry, photography, missions) that I check everyday with one simple click of my mouse. Check this out…it will change the way you think about blogging.
As I mentioned before I do most of my work from a MAC these days. I am very happy to be back on the MAC platform and find myself more productive here. One tool (available for the MAC only) that is making my life easier is MarsEdit 2. MarsEdit 2 is a blog publishing tool that allows you to create, edit, and post blog entries from your desktop. I have always felt that the online blog editors for Blogger and other platforms was a bit clunky. MarsEdit is easy to use and is very flexible. I can create posts even when I am not online and post them when I get to a connection. It really makes things easy. I know that there are similar products available for the Windows world, but if you are on a MAC you really need to give this a try. You will love it.
Pat McIntosh, Assistant Director of our Extension Program here at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver, has started a new blog about the Extension work. You can find it at mcintoshmissionreport.blogspot.com Check it out and learn more about what we are doing all over the world.
I am in the middle of reading a new book by Will Richardson, entitled “Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Web Tools for Educators.” Now that title is a mouthful! While this book is written primarily for educators, I think it can have great application for the church as well. After all – isn’t the church supposed to be about teaching (Matthew 28:18-20)? The book explains in detail how weblogs, wikis and other technologies can be employed to make learning more dynamic and effective. Some of these terms may well sound strange and unfamiliar, but these tools are changing the way people communicate and learn. Imagine making Bible class curriculum available online for parents to use during the week with their children and even provide feedback to the teachers. Or maybe an adult class can post information about a book that is being discussed and various members of the class can contribute to the conversation. Imagine a ministry team using the internet to hold meetings and continue feedback even though the team members live all over town. There are dozens of possibilities. I will post more as I finish my reading.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of Denver area preachers about technologies that can be used in ministry. They wanted to know about what we are doing at the Bear Valley Bible Institute with our Chapelcast podcast. That gave me the opportunity to talk about a number of things. I introduced them to the idea of setting up blogs and how blogging could be used by minisers and preachers. We discussed RSS feed readers (like bloglines and newsgator) and how these can be used to subscribe to content and more efficiently gather information from websites and blogs.
While a number of these concepts and technologies were very new to them, I was very excited about their reaction. A number of people asked if I was going to podcast the presentation and as much as I hate to admit it….we didn’t tape it!! I know, dumb move. I may try to go back and screencast it to make it available later though. I had a number of preachers ask if I could come talk to their elderships or members about this stuff. I definitely saw a spark. Please pray that this word can be spread and that more and more preachers will see the value of using these technologies to help their congregations spread God word and grow themselves.