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CP blogger Barry Bowen is the author of this blog.

Posted 4/15/14 at 9:18 PM | SHOW Times

Reminder: Tell a Story Day is April 27th

Be a storyteller.

On April 27th we can share on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, or our own blogs the amazing story of how God forgave us of our sins and offered us an eternal relationship.

April 27th is Tell a Story Day. If you share your testimony online, please let us know about it with the hashtag #tellastory.

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Posted 4/11/14 at 4:51 PM | SHOW Times

How to Use Google Calendar to Share Church and Ministry Events

Google Calendar
Photo: Gopal Venkatesan - Creative Commons

Imagine your church members or volunteers opening up iCal or visiting Google Calendar to check their schedule, and then seeing your events.

This isn't a dream.

iCal and Google Calendar allow people to publish shareable calendars.

If you are a pastor, you would probably prefer to maintain a private calendar for counseling and appointments to keep private. A secondary calendar would list special church events. If your church has events happening everyday, then only list the most important ones so that calendar subscribers are not overwhelmed with events on their calendar.

In Google Calendar you will:

  1. Create a calendar and give it a name.
  2. Add your events.
  3. On the Google Calendar settings page, copy the link to the iCal icon. This ics file can be imported into other calendars. Share this link on your website.
  4. Your church members will import this link into iCal and Google Calendar.

 As long as you maintain your calendar, the new events will show up for your calendar subscribers. FULL POST

Posted 4/10/14 at 1:38 PM | SHOW Times

Heartbleed Bug Requires Some Church Websites to Update

Photo: Flickr/John Fischer - Creative Commons
WordPress logos

This week numerous web hosts have been patching a bug that allowed the commonly used Internet security software - OpenSSL - to be bypassed and passwords could be obtained. There are free services that can test your website to check if it is vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug: Filippo and SSL Labs.

This bug is very serious because it also impacts some credit card transactions online. The Verge reported, "If the "Heartbleed" name sounds dramatic, this bug seems to live up to the hype."

Tech experts recommend that you change your passwords after the websites you use are updated. Also, if your website owns an SSL certificate, it should be replaced with a new certificate. If your website doesn't do eCommerce, then you may not even use a certificate on your site. FULL POST

Posted 4/8/14 at 5:36 PM | SHOW Times

Tell a Story Day: a Chance to Share the Gospel

Photo: Flickr/Damian Gadal - Creative Commons

Tell a Story Day is less than three weeks away. This story-telling event is held on April 27th in the United States and on October 27 in England and Scotland, according to Holiday Insights.

There are so many stories that Christians can tell. We can share our testimony, a Biblical story, a historical account of God working in our world, or a work of fiction.

Stories can be told with written words, pictures, sound and video.

Missionaries often use storytelling to share the gospel. In cultures with low literacy missionaries recite Bible stories repetitively until the listener knows the story well enough to repeat the story. The process is called storying. FULL POST

Posted 4/7/14 at 5:12 PM | SHOW Times

Three Rules for Applying the Golden Rule to Social Media

Number three
Photo: Patrick Hoesly - Creative Commons

On Sunday an atheist friend attacked Christianity in a Facebook post. I responded in the heat of the moment rather than remaining silent. Because of the argument that followed, I started thinking about how Christians should debate our critics online.

Miri Rodriguez provides excellent advice by rephrasing the Golden Rule on Twitter: "Tweet others the way you'd like to be tweeted."

Perhaps our critics might be more open to the gospel if they sense we truly care about them by the way we engage them in conversation.

Here are the rules that I've compiled for social media evangelism.

Rule #1: No Insults.

I have seen numerous Christians criticize President Barack Obama using words like Obummer, Obozo and Nobama. Insults add nothing constructive to a debate. Every year Christians also joke about April 1 as a holiday for atheists. FULL POST

Posted 4/1/14 at 11:58 PM | SHOW Times

April 2nd is Reconciliation Today

Do you have a fractured relationship with someone that needs to be mended?

Jesus taught his disciples to reconcile:

"So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." - Matthew 5:23-24 ESV

Paul the Apostle taught Christians to engage in a "ministry of reconciliation."

"All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation." - 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 ESV

April 2nd is Reconciliation Day.

According to Holiday Insights, "Reconciliation Day is a special day to patch relationships and to make amends. It's intention is to re-establish relationships between family, friends and couples. Life is too short to hold a grudge between those we love." FULL POST

Posted 3/31/14 at 9:32 PM | SHOW Times

Smaller Social Media Sites Offer Mission Opportunity

Photo: Flickr/Gavin Llewellyn - Creative Commons

When we think of social media, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest and Twitter come to mind. Christians have a presence on each of these sites. However, there are smaller social media sites where Christians can share their faith.

LinkedIn is primarily used by business people for networking. Christians interested in marketplace ministry should consider this site. Wikipedia describes marketplace ministry as "evangelism or other Christian activities that are targeted towards the secular workplace, as opposed to homes, churches, or specialized venues (e.g., crusades). " LinkedIn allows its users to create groups for discussion about interesting topics.

Classmates and Reunion - If you are interested in outreach to former classmates, then these two websites are a decent starting place. Some people that refuse to use Facebook over privacy concerns will be listed on these websites. FULL POST

Posted 3/27/14 at 8:36 PM | SHOW Times

Internet Evangelism Day is Approaching: Are Your Tweets Worth Reading?

Photo: Wikipedia/Canislupusarctos - Creative Commons

This year Internet Evangelism Day has been moved from April 21st to June 1st. We still have two months to prepare for one of my favorite evangelism events. So please consider joining online missionaries on this day and telling the good news that Jesus offers salvation.

Sharing the Gospel online can take many forms:

  • Tweeting a Bible verse
  • Sharing a video testimonial
  • Posting an inspiring photo or infographic
  • Giving away a free eBook
  • Praying for Facebook friends

The latest issue of Web Evangelism Bulletin quotes church planter and missiologist Ed Stetzer: "It's not the job of the unchurched to enter our culture; it's our job to enter theirs." FULL POST

Posted 3/26/14 at 5:43 PM | SHOW Times

Promoting Your Church or Ministry With Facebook Ads

Photo: Neeraj Kumar - Creative Commons

Is your church or ministry's Facebook page receiving fewer comments? This could be caused by recent changes at Facebook.

According to Time Magazine, "Facebook and its popular Pages platform have been a cornerstone of most companies’ social-media marketing strategies for years. But if the brands, organizations and celebrities that use Pages want to continue to reach Facebook’s 1.23 billion monthly users in the future, they’re going to have to pay up."

In February the marketing firm Ogilvy & Mather determined that Facebook users are seeing only 6% of posts of companies and organizations using Facebook Pages.

A confidential source told Vallewag that Facebook is reducing the number of viewable Facebook Pages posts to 1 or 2 percent. FULL POST

Posted 3/19/14 at 7:14 PM | SHOW Times

Is Your Church Website Optimized for Smart Phones?

Photo: Flickr/Robert Scoble - Creative Commons
Viewing The New York Times website on an iPhone.

Soon the majority of people using the Internet will be doing so on a mobile device such as a cell phone or tablet computer. In January Yahoo's CEO Marissa Mayer said, "By the end of this year we will have more mobile traffic than PC traffic." (Source: CNBC)

Have you checked out your church or ministry website on a cell phone? If you have flash videos on your website, they will not play on some mobile devices.

There are two different design ideas for developing websites for mobile users:

  1. Create separate web pages for cell phones and other mobile devices.
  2. Responsive design which will resize the same web page based on the screen size of the device accessing the website. FULL POST

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