Fueling a Passion

May 25, 2012

It is arguable that the most interesting people in the world are passionate people. Have you ever see someone who is passionate about playing a guitar play? Or a passionate singer sing? Or what about a passionate evangelist? Maybe that example is a little more rare.

As this article on Evangelism from ChurchLeader.com pointed out, we often think that evangelism is better left to someone in the church. But Jesus didn’t think so. From the beginning of his ministry, Jesus didn’t choose the most scholarly theologically astute men. Instead, the first of his disciples were fishermen. He chose the common, regular, ordinary people to be his closest friends and the first evangelists.

The wonderful thing about the internet is that it is open to the common man. Everyone can minister online- you only need a passion for God. If you are interested in turning your passion for God into ministry, join us June 2 to find out how! We will be talking about everything from what it means to be an online missionary to how to have a powerful prayer life.  You don’t need to be an expert. You don’t have to have it all figured out or even having a seminary degree. You just need to have a willing heart. Just like the disciples of old, Jesus is wanting to use you.

Accelerate LIVE!

May 16, 2012

We are about to attempt something that we have never done before. On June 2 we will be hosting a HUGE simulcast event that includes people from all over the world! We are very excited to do this! The GMO team has been working tirelessly to put together a great program packed full of informative, encouraging, and fun stuff. Here is a peek into the agenda:

  •  Look into the GMO Online Missions process: find out how people find us online all the way through how we connect them with the right online missionary.
  • Also, learn how to engage in evangelism using the social sites you are already connected to.
  • Learn how to have more powerful prayer times.
  • Hear first hand from GMO correspondents all over the world.

You will NOT want to miss out on this event! The best part is, if you are not near one of our in person locations, you can join us from home.   Go here to register today! 

Read With Friends

May 4, 2012

Words with Friends. Draw Something. Mobile apps are allowing us to become more social. Did you know there is now a way to read with friends?  Check it out!

Think of the potential! You can read and share thoughts on the Bible or a Christian classic. There are online Bible studies, yet this app allows a person do go at their own pace and join others as they have time to go through a bible study or another christian growth book.  Along the way they can share their thoughts and insights and bless others.  Friends over great distances can keep in touch and grow spiritually. What other potential do you see?

It’s a celebration!

We are talking about Internet Evangelism Day, of course! Oh? You aren’t familiar with it? Please, allow us to share.

This year on April 29th, Global Media Outreach will be joining together (virtually) for Internet Evangelism Day. This will be a celebrations of online missions. The “event,” so to speak, is put on by The Internet Evangelism Day Coalition. These wonderful people have put together a FREE campaign solely to promote evangelism on the web.  We are excited to join with everyone to promote God using online resources to spread the gospel. We at GMO have a LOT to celebrate this year on April 29th. For example,

  • In 2011 alone 19 million people indicated a decision for Christ
  • We have 7,900 AWESOME online missionaries working with us to respond to our emails
  • AND we have proven fiscal responsibility which allows us to be accredited by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).

And we don’t want to just stop there! We want everyone to hear. We would love to have you join us, and all the others as we get the word out about Internet Evangelism. What are you celebrating in online missions? Let us know! We would love to give you a shout out. How are you celebrating? Who can you invite to celebrate this Internet Evangelism Day? The more the merrier.

Let the virtual conga line begin!

Online Survival Guide

April 20, 2012

There is nothing that shows our human fallen nature faster than reading comments on YouTube video. People can express their unsolicited options in the harshest of terms.  Anytime you express yourself or share something you believe in on social media, from fashion to faith, you run the risk of getting some painfully nasty comments. Here are six ways to survive engaging hostile people online:

Image from Fallout Wiki

  1. Prayer: Praying isn’t the “easy way out.” Rather prayer will invite God into the conversation. Ask him to focus you on who/what is really important. (Hint: it isn’t the angry post).  Pray for wisdom and for a response (or non response) that will be pleasing to him.
  2. Do Not Respond: It is so tempting to respond to a person posting the raging ranting, bashing, or degrading comment.  Such comments push our “internal justice button” and we want to tell them all the reasons they are wrong and mean! Usually nothing good comes of responding. As it says in Proverbs 26:4, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly or you will be like him yourself.”  Most times these comments really aren’t personal, so do not view them that way. Instead, if the comment is really ugly, delete it, pray (!) and move on.
  3. Respond: This may seem like a contradiction to the above statement, yet, there will be times when an angry comment is made because the person has been misinformed. In this case, take some time to think about how to respond. Good responses can take some time to formulate so that your tone doesn’t come across as harsh or condescending. Also consider what source or links you might want to provide. Remember you are working to correct the misunderstanding, not to correct the person.
  4. Reserve the Right to Block the Offender- Some people practice a random hatter commenting, and others will persist in their attacks. If you have a person who strongly opposes your online evangelism efforts, you can always block them. Their negative comments don’t only affect you but have the potential to hurt others as well.
  5. Be Honest with Other Christians: Sometimes, even when we try not to take comments personally, one will still get to us. Be open in sharing this with a Christian friend- offline. Let them know what hurt you, and ask for prayer.
  6. Prayer: Again. Seriously. Pray for the person who offended you. It is hard to hold onto anger when you pray for them.

Here are six simple ways to survive a harsh comment online. What else have you found?

Sharing on Facebook

April 13, 2012

Image from FishwithTrish.com

Earlier this week I found an article that stated 1 in 7 online minutes was spent on Facebook. What a great ministry opportunity! Yet, there is a very real fear that if I start to share my faith on Facebook, I will be banished into the land of “blocked statuses.” How can this be avoided? Here are some great tips in keeping off blocked lists and in news feeds:

Beware the over-share watch list — There will ALWAYS be “that” person on your friend’s list who over-shares. They might treat Facebook like an online diary, post 15 times a day, or only ever post about ONE topic (such as how awesome their dog is).  It would be important to remember that just because you are talking about Jesus doesn’t excuse you from practicing some Facebook etiquette. Please don’t over share, post 25 times a day or ONLY talk about ONE aspect of your life, or I will block you (even if it is good)

Don’t feel like you “HAVE” to share -- There is so much content out there, so much untapped possibility. Neither of these facts should make you feel like you HAVE to share everything you find. It can be easy to start boring yourself with content when you feel it is your “duty” to share.

Let what you share be a natural expression of your heart — what God spoke to you, what encouraged you, what truth you needed to hear that day. Your friends on Facebook want to connect with a real person — not canned Jesus answers, poor but well meaning theology, or judgement. Being a real person helps them to see how Jesus is real. This is powerful.

A picture is 95% more effective than words at capturing attention -- I just made that statistic up. BUT I know for myself, I scroll my news feed looking for photos and videos before I read what people write. I am also less likely to block people if they are just sharing photos and videos than long status posts (unless they are oversharing).

Stop the Presses

March 23, 2012

Photo by Stewart Butterfield on Flickr

Encyclopedia Britannica has stopped the presses- literally. After 244 years, the folks at Britannica have decided to stop printing it’s iconic set of books.  While it feels a bit odd knowing fifth graders all across America will not need to hunt through these volumes for information for their state reports. Well, come to think of it, perhaps they haven’t been digging through these dusty pages for a while. If they are anything like me, when they have a question, they turn to google or another search engine.

So, while Britannica isn’t going to be printing any more information, all their information will still be online. As Jorge Cauz, president of Britannica, points out, printed work is limited. With all the information available, they have had to squeeze and prioritize what information got printed. Online they have limitless possibilities of what topics and to what depth they can post.

Information is going digital. It isn’t that people dislike books, so long as it pertains to novels. It seems, however, when it comes to accessing information, people prefer the quick and easy access of the digital world. But this doesn’t just stop at information for a elementary report or recipe. Christians and non-Christians are looking online for spiritual information. Software and web searches are more used rather than printed concordance. At least twice a week I search for a bible passage reference online. My worship pastor read verses from his phones, and another uses his iPad instead of handwritten notes. Remember the maps at the back of the Bible? Well, google earth may have replaced them. I have seen at least two people use them when referencing one of Paul’s missionary journeys.  Perhaps digital information is more accessible information?

What about you? How do you access information?

Friendship Evangelism

March 12, 2012

Photo by William Christiansen on Flickr

Easier this year, facebook rolled out the timeline- a digital way to show a person based on events, friends and connections.

Then Facebook made the announcement that they were requiring all of their facebook pages to switch to a similar format.  It left us thinking “how can this help spread the gospel?” After watching the announcement (or nearly all of it), it is interesting to see just how social this new timeline feature can be. It is all based on the premise of giving users a voice. As facebook pointed out, personal recommendations go much farther in successful marketing than announcement advertisement. For example, you may see an ad to try a restaurant, but if your friend gives the restaurant a rave review, you are more likely to get in there to try the food. This is a similar concept to the google+ button. Facebook now has a way to give more weight to certain posts than to others.

Facebook has expanded how people can tell their friends about Jesus. Well, I am sure they were not thinking of Jesus at all when they made it. But, just like many things that were build for communication, and commerce (think of the Roman Road), we have an opportunity to specifically reach our friends and engage them in conversations about faith, church, and the gospel. All you need to do is find your favorite Christian ministry, worship band, pastor or teacher,  join the conversation started on their page or share a link they shared. Your friends will see this, and are likely to respond.

So, we want to encourage you, go for it, interact- check into your church or bible study, comment on a worship video. Because facebook has automatically made it easier than ever to share that information with your friends. They are more likely to trust YOU than a welcoming easter flier that they find on their doorstep.

What are your thoughts? We are listening…

Evangelism Abroad

March 5, 2012

Have you ever had the experience where you engage in a conversation with a friend, and later overhear a stranger sharing the same information? It is almost like you want to jump into the conversation screaming “YES! I was just saying this and YOU understand!” That is exactly what we at GMO felt when we read this blog by John Dyer, director of web development at Dallas Theological Seminary.

In this entry, John shares how technology and the internet help Turkish Christians grow online. “We’ve all known people addicted to technology who have trouble unplugging and connecting in person. But in Turkey this anonymity allows Muslims who are curious about Jesus and Christianity to explore it safely.”

John continues by explaining how, while it is legal to be a Christian  in Turkey, it is still dangerous for Christians to carry a bible or “hang around a Church.” Yet, the Turkey Internet Evangelism Network (TIEN) utilizes online technology, like websites, email, youtube and facebook to engage people in faith conversations.

“The amazing thing is that they are all working to draw Turks along a path from an anonymous seeker to a faithful follower of Christ connected to a local church body.”

How exciting to read of stories of believers reaching out online to reach the world for Christ! What other stories have you seen lately?

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