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CP blogger Barry Bowen is the author of this blog.

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

Posted 3/13/14 at 6:30 PM | SHOW Times

Throwback Thursday is a Ministry Opportunity

Barry Bowen: Once upon a time I was a first grader.

Perhaps you've seen them: photos of the past posted on Thursdays on Facebook and Instagram. The Internet meme Throwback Thursday allows people to share memories of the past.

Teens often stop attending church in their college years. It may be possible to re-engage these former church attenders by sharing photos from when they attended the church youth group.

A photo may let someone know that you haven't forgotten them.

Throwback Thursday posts are often promoted with the hashtags #TBT and #ThrowbackThursday.

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Posted 3/5/14 at 11:21 PM | SHOW Times

Better Church Communication by Scheduling Blog and Facebook Posts

Photo: Flickr/ Simon Shek - Creative Commons

Here's an idea: During the month of April you could post a daily Bible verse on Twitter and Facebook or a daily devotional on your blog.

However, visiting Facebook and your church blog each day to post is an inefficient way to spend your time. Instead, you could save a lot of time by using software to schedule your posts and tweets.

If your blog uses WordPress software, then you can schedule posts by selecting the edit button next to "publish immediately" and entering a date and time. Blogger Amy Lynn Andrews recommends that you also set the correct time zone in WordPress.

How to Schedule a Post in WordPress

Facebook and Twitter do not have scheduling capabilities built into their websites. Alternative apps and websites include this functionality. FULL POST

Posted 2/26/14 at 5:47 PM | SHOW Times

Communicating Your Church Mission With a Logo

First Baptist Church Hendersonville, North Carolina logo.

First Baptist Church of Hendersonville, North Carolina, has an excellent logo and motto that communicates its mission. The motto is "a place of transformation through connecting, growing and sharing." The logo which reinforces this motto is a cross made of three parts. The church website explains these three parts:

  1. "Connect with God and with others"
  2. "Grow through discipleship"
  3. "Share your faith, your resources and yourself with others"

Does your church or ministry have a logo that communicates your purpose?

Besides featuring your logo on your website, you can display it on church t-shirts, and church bulletins. So it might be worth hiring a professional graphic designer to create a logo for your ministry.

Another option is to create a logo online. Websites such as Logo Maker  and Cool Text allow their visitors to choose from a library of images to create a logo.

This infographic from Amberd Design Studio offers some advice on logo design.

FULL POST

Posted 2/24/14 at 9:30 PM | SHOW Times

Building Christian Community With Facebook

Photo: Flickr/David Armano - Creative Commons

Churches have multiple options for networking online: email newsletters, blogs and social media and each has strengths and weaknesses. For example, some people refuse to join Facebook or Twitter but will exchange information via email.

In 2005 First Baptist Church of Houma, Louisiana, set up a blog for its members to keep in touch when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf coast.

Many church members evacuated before the hurricane's arrival. They shared phone numbers and addresses and checked on each other by posting numerous comments. The church later removed those posts to protect the privacy of its members.

Now the church relies on a Facebook Page for networking.

Facebook offers both Pages and Groups for networking. Anyone can like a Facebook Page to receive updates. Meanwhile there are 3 kinds of Facebook Groups: Secret, Closed or Open. FULL POST

Posted 1/29/14 at 9:29 PM | SHOW Times

How the Gospel is Shared on Twitter

I came across some interesting examples of Christians witnessing on Twitter and wanted to share them.

Global Media Outreach often asks questions about spiritual matters and provides a link to a relevant article on the topic.

Here are several examples:

On December 11th GMO posted a series of tweets about suffering.

"Why does God allow struggling in our lives? Do you ever find yourself wondering "Where is God?"

 Another way that GMO engages its audience is by posting a "definition of the day."

 Forgiveness is a common topic of GMO tweets. FULL POST

Posted 1/20/14 at 10:10 PM | SHOW Times

Church Leaders: Find the 1% Percent Internet Population

Photo: Life of Riley - Creative Commons

Only a small percentage of the vast internet user population creates most of the videos, articles, photos, audio clips, infographics we find online. Wikipedia describes this as the 1% rule and refers to the other 99% of people as "lurkers."

Another description of this imbalance of content creators is known as the "90-9-1 principle."

In July 2006 The Guardian reported:

It's an emerging rule of thumb that suggests that if you get a group of 100 people online then one will create content, 10 will "interact" with it (commenting or offering improvements) and the other 89 will just view it.

That article was written before Facebook opened its site to anyone over 13 years of age. Since 2006 the rise of social media has happened transformed how we use the Internet. But if you examine Facebook posts, you will often see videos, articles and photos shared by people that didn't create them. FULL POST

Posted 1/8/14 at 4:53 PM | SHOW Times

Guidelines for Sharing Ministry Articles

Photo: Flickr/ woodleywonderworks - Creative Commons

Some ministries are fearful of allowing their articles to be re-posted on other websites. There is a concern that this will hurt their website, that they could be penalized by Google.

There is a lot of duplicate content on the internet. Google engineer Matt Cutts reports that 25% to 30% of Internet content is duplicate content. Cutts explains that not all duplicate content is spam.

Google tries to prevent duplicate search results and this quality control technique is sometimes referred to as the "duplicate content penalty." If you aren't trying to manipulate search engine results, then you should have little to fear.

Matt Cutts: How does Google handle duplicate content?

If you would like to syndicate your articles so that they appear on news websites, you may use the syndicate meta tag. Here's an example:

meta name="syndication-source" content="http://blogs.christianpost.com/show-times/23-percent-of-pastors-use-twitter-19184/"

Hopefully this will remove any fears you have about re-posting your articles online. If you wish to re-post an article by another person, then request permission from them. By doing so you show respect for copyright.

If you have any questions about duplicate content, please leave a comment below. FULL POST

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