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?

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Evangelism Rebranded

February 7, 2012

Greg Stier, from Dare 2 Share ministries, in an article on ChurchLeaders.org presented 5 reasons why evangelism needs to be rebranded. Naturally, my thoughts turned to internet evangelism. Although we have made some gigantic steps forward, internet evangelism can still have several misconceptions about it. So, here are 5 reasons why internet evangelism needs to be “rebranded.”

1. People are seeking for THE good news.

According to a google eBook “Religion online,” religion is one of the most popular online topics. “Three million Americans turn to the internet each day for religious information and spiritual guidance.” Our experience with visitors to Global Media Outreach evangelistic sites is that this isn’t just an “american” interest. India, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries are some of our largest audiences. So, while the term “internet evangelism” may cause some people to cringe thinking it is nothing more than pushy online Jesus marketing, the reality is people are already online searching for spiritual truth and guidance for their lives. If we as christians are not there to answer their questions, and help them, what else might they find?

2. Every Christian can do it. 

We all know that not everyone is a good public speaker. Not everyone can teach on Sundays. Not everyone is outgoing enough to talk to someone on public transit. And for various reasons not everyone is mobile enough to get out of their house and talk to people.  Yet, the internet provides multiple opportunities for these same people to bring the presence of Jesus online. There are no special requirements or degrees needed to bring the message of Jesus to those we encounter online.

3. The internet can offer the largest church connection.

In my email today was a story of two of our online missionaries in two different parts of the world who worked together to help someone find a local church. How amazing is it that someone in the one part of the world was able to help a person in a completely different part of the world find a local church- a church that was ONE BLOCK away from him! Online we can talk to people from ANYWHERE and connect them with other believers. A man who is desperate for a life change in Prague can be given encouragement in Christ by s man in Brisbane. A mom in Nepal can be reminded in her identity in Christ by someone in Germany. Over the internet we can see the body of Christ working across geographic and cultural boundaries.

4. Real relationships are formed. 

Bloggers, Tweeters, Instagramers, and Message Boarders all know this: You can form connections and relationships online. While some people wonder how real these relationships can be, let us remember how powerful the written word can be. Communities don’t necessarily need to meet face to face in order for God to use the encouraging and honest words to build one another up.

5. There is something for everyone. 

Every believer carries the Holy Spirit. If believers are online, and those seeking are online, sharing the gospel is just one comment, post, tweet, video, email, pin, picture, away from being shared. For as many sharing or learning preference exist, there are that many options (and maybe more!) online.  If you are looking for a way to join in the movement of sharing your faith online, one way is to pray for people online. Hundreds of people a day visit the GodLife prayer wall. Take a moment, pray for someone, and see what God will do!

Trends are trendy. People love them. We study them. And, depending on the trend, we follow them. Yesterday I addressed Thom Rainer, the CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources,’s article “5 Major Trends for Churches in America” by looking at how social media can help in sharing the gospel with the Millennial generation. Today Let’s look at another trend he noted:

The Boomer generation will actually be more receptive to the gospel.

They have been there and tried that, and it left them feeling empty. For the Boomer generation, who will not  “accept their senior status“, they will continue to ride the technology trends of their children and grandchildren. We are reaching the place where everyone has a facebook. Even my  grandmother (I mean that literally). In light of this, we can not give up on a generation who once gave up on the gospel. They are more ready and open now than ever before. The more important trend or online missions to the Boomer generation is simply to be present where they are. They will use their smart phones, we should have apps available. They are on facebook, twitter, and other social sites, let’s engage them in a conversation.

As Thom Rainer pointed out, these two generations can not be ignored. They are the two largest generations in American history. Take a moment to realize that we are talking about real people with real spiritual needs. We can not afford be indifferent about this. We must engage these generations online!

Future Evangelism Trends

November 8, 2011

As humans, we love trends. We love knowing what will be “in,” marketable, and profitable. We want to know where to put our money, time, and talent. Where can we get the biggest return for our investment. While we might not be hopping on trends like watching bad reality TV, there are others that we don’t want to miss out on. Investors want to know what would be a wise investment of money. Parents want to be aware of what trend their kids think is “cool” (especially to know if running interference is necessary). And the church wants to know what is the best way to share the gospel with people.

In a recent article, Thom Rainer, the CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, lays out “5 Major Trends for Churches in America“. Two in particular stand out as important to consider for the future of online evangelism.

The Millennial generation will be indifferent toward Christianity. 

The very opposite of acceptance is indifference. Some people might be tempted to think it is hate. But if someone hates, they still have emotion and thoughts for a subject or person. If they are indifferent, they simply don’t care. Questions like “where will you go when you die” or “why are you here on earth” are dismissed with “I don’t care.” If someone doesn’t care, there can’t even be a conversation.

While people might become indifferent toward Christianity, they STILL care about their relationships. It is this relationship that will open the doors to conversation.  They are the first generation to share so much personal information online. And though it is less likely that they will live in the same town they grew up in, they will continue to be connected online. Social media then becomes all the more important mode of sharing the gospel.  The key to riding the social media trend is to remain authentic. The Millennial generation wants to know that you REALLY care. They want to engage with a REAL person. Therefore Christians need to continue to build a personal authentic social presence to connect and stay connected with people in their lives. Social media can’t be used just to throw christian ideas out there. The Millennial generation already “doesn’t care” about another idea. The most rewarding evangelism trend will be to build authentic relationships online so that they might be granted the privilege of sharing the gospel.

Join us tomorrow as we discover what the second trend is, and how we can address it…


Webinar Q&A

November 17, 2010

First, our Webinar is posted!!!  We have had some trouble getting this online, so while we will be doing things differently for future webinars, for this one, please save yourself some headache and read the disclaimers posted above the video.  In some cases it might be better to just listen to the audio than to watch the video. (so sorry about that… next time will be better!)

Y’all asked some great questions, so this post is going to be pretty long. Without farther ado,  let’s get started on your questions:

What exactly is Twitter? Is it done through a cell phone or the computer?

Twitter is a social networking and microblogging website.  Users sign up for an account and can post messages (called tweets) up to 140 characters in length.  Twitter can accessed both online and although through mobile applications (apps) on a persons phone. Some countries also have the ability to send and receive tweets through text messages.

On the webinar, Amy mentioned a crash course on her blog on how to use twitter and hash tags. Go here to read that post.

Go here to follow us on Twitter!

On twitter, what is the difference between posting @Biblein90Days and #b90days?

@[twitter username] in twitter means you are talking to or about someone. This person will be notified that you mentioned them in your tweet, and those who read your tweets can click on the @[name] to see the profile of the person you were talking about.  For example:

I just signed up to be an online missionary with @gmotweets.” – GMOTweets would be notified of your mention, AND the followers reading your tweets can click to see who GMO Tweets is, and perhaps get involved themselves.

The hash tag (#) is used in twitter to label tweets and make them easily searchable. You can search by hashtags to get a feel of what people are saying on a topic. For example, Amy, and those reading the Bible in 90 Days used #b90days to lable their tweets so that anyone on twitter, particularly those in the group, could make/find tweets about the program. It was an easy way to have a discussion with many people. Example:

“I am excited to complete the Bible in 90 days with the group starting Jan 3! #b90days” – When a Twitter user searched for #b90days, they could see all the tweets labeled with this tag.

Again, you can see Amy’s crash course on twitter and hash tags here.

What is a “twitter party”?

A twitter party happens when a number of twitter users agree to tweet about a certain topic at a set time.  They will use a hashtag to be able to identify and interact with each other’s tweets.

I have a Facebook page now. Is is possible to set up a separate Facebook page for my ministry?

Yes!!! not only is this possible, it is highly encouraged! Your personal facebook profile should be where you interact with the your friends and family- people you know personally.  If you would like to start a page for ministry only, you can do so under “pages,” (found under pages and ads on facebook) and click create a page.

To follow GMO on Facebook click here!

Do you know of any good evangelistic sites for teens?

Yes! Here are three sites GMO runs with Student Venture to reach teens:

www.everystudent.com

www.stacistory.com

Meant4more.com

What pros and cons have you found on holding virtual like bible studies, vs. the traditional old fashioned way in person?

Rather than give pros and cons, we just have some thoughts on Virtual vs Traditional “in person” Bible Studies. Virtual studies provide for a multicultural group (in a very literal sense!).  People from all over the world can be in one “small group.” It provides anonymous intimacy, and allows people to comfortably share their thoughts, feelings, and struggles.  Because so many different people can be on, one can see how God is moving in different people’s lives in very different situations. It allows for people who don’t have the option of being in an in-person study to join a small group. It can be held at anytime of the day or night from one’s own space; it provides flexibility.

Some challenges might be understanding when the study is being held- time zones can throw people off. The study might progress a little more slowly.  There can be many different language completion, typing, and spiritual maturity levels. Not everyone has the same level of interest or technical knowhow. This is okay. We aren’t trying to replace the more traditional settings, but want to understand and provide communication venues for many different types of Bible Studies!

The end.

I know other questions were either answered in the Webinar, or were a variation of the ones answered above. Hope this helped you, and stay tuned on fun upcoming social media events in the future!