A recent Barna Group survey states that when people look for a church home, more than 75% start by using the Internet. They also state that less than 2/3 of American churches have websites and only 1% of those websites are actually designed to lead people toward Christ and lead people to join a local church. If you are familiar with the Internet of today, you have to be asking yourself: Who doesn't have a website and/or online connection?
First Baptist Church of New Carlisle has maintained a website (fbcnewcarlisle.org) in some form or fashion since the early 90s. If having a website meant having a Web Ministry, then FBCNC has been online. The FBCNC website was born during a time when the Internet was just becoming mainstream and everybody was rushing to take their place on the World Wide Web. Websites back then were mainly static pages of information that changed very little and basically told you a little bit about the church, some contact information, and directions. Boy! How the Internet has changed in the last 20+ years. Everything on the Internet is now "Interactive" in form and based around making personal connections with you as an individual. That personal connection could be to sell you a product, give you information about a college, check the status of your bank account, fill out an application for a loan, connect with friends/family on Facebook, share your photos via Facebook, share your videos on YouTube, and share just about anything you want to open up to the world. If you are a writer and love to share your opinion with others, you might even maintain a "Blog". The Internet is now filled with people, places, and things wanting to make a personal connection with YOU!.
So...Why does FBCNC need a stronger Web Ministry? Personal Connections is the reason. As church members/Christians we need to be actively present in our online communities. A "Ministry" in the church today often can be defined by its purpose. The Bethel Churches United Food Pantry is a ministry providing food to those in need. Upward Sports is a community ministry providing a safe place for young children to play sports and do cheer-leading in a loving supportive Christian environment. There are many other ministries all performing similar functions and filling needs in people's lives. The common thread in all these ministries is that they all make personal connections with people just like you and me.
A number of years back, Rick Shoemaker and I had several discussions about what the Internet and all of this online stuff means to us as a church and to each of us, as Christians. If you knew Rick Shoemaker it should be very easy to determine what Rick's number one use for all this online stuff was; Jesus! You would be correct! The Internet is another tool to help make personal connections and to tell others about Jesus and share the Good News with a dying world.
So...the question should not be "Why have a Web ministry at FBCNC" but "Why aren't we doing more with our Web Ministry!"