Internet in church work

Tech-evangelism: the development and implementation of a social media strategy an African-American church

Author
Michael G Christie
Abstract
In this project report addresses, "How technology and, in particular, social media can be used to promote the work of an African-American Baptist Church." The main goals are 1) strategy creation, 2) team development, 3) online capacity and content assessment, 4) test the social media effectiveness both internally and externally outreach, and finally 6) raise the congregation's visibility and use of social media and technology. The project concludes that in light of the shifting technological and cultural landscape the church can benefit from emerging technology. The project successful used technology to increase outreach to the community and to its congregation.

The impact of online audiences on preaching ministries in local churches

Author
John David Ellis
Abstract
This study explored ways that pastors whose sermons are posted online as audio recordings address the needs and concerns of their local congregations. Employing qualitative research, the author reviewed pertinent literature and interviewed seven Christian pastors who preach to local congregations and whose sermons are podcast. The study found reasons to be concerned that podcasting pastors' sermons might alter the way they preach to their congregants. However, it also revealed that there are practices that can be employed by pastors whose sermons are podcast that enable them to continue preaching effectively to their church members.

Preach with me: a web-based model of conversational preaching for a global age

Author
Gretchen W Bretz
Abstract
The author of this Doctor of Ministry project created a dedicated Web site entitled "Preach With Me" to generate a new conversational model for preaching, which incorporated a global exchange between members of a particular congregation in North America with others from around the world. On the website the participants studied and discussed particular passages of scripture. The content of those scriptural discussions was then used to formulate sermons. The author learned that involvement in the process led to a greater investment in the sermons, both for the preacher as well as the participants.

Selected case studies of churches facilitating spiritual growth in online environments

Author
Robert Clayton Scroggins
Abstract
The thesis of this dissertation is that churches who create online environments that facilitate spiritual growth have three common practices as follows: practical Bible teaching that allows for a wide audience; a diversified web presence that allows multiple ways for users to connect; and a three-way relationship between the church, the user, and other users. This dissertation examines the following: an overview of spiritual growth for individuals and churches, online tools for personal growth, and online environments created by local churches for Internet users. The project then continues with an explanation of research procedure and an argument for the legitimacy of the case study method. He then reports the research formulated by the case studies. All three churches studied are rather large in size, each of them differs in culture and structure. However, there are commonalities in how their online environments facilitate spiritual growth, which supports the hypothesis. The dissertation concludes with a chapter presenting four principles for how churches can facilitate spiritual growth in online environments as well as potential ideas for related areas of study and research.

Meeting people where they are: how internet-based technology and spirituality intersect

Author
April M Campbell
Abstract
The thesis for this study is that Internet-based technology, specifically e-mail, blogs, podcasts, and social media, can be a vehicle for nurturing and enhancing personal spirituality. Using a qualitative research approach with a grounded theory methodology, this project employed a research method which included an online Zoomerang survey and follow-up interviews. The research discloses that a significant number of participants affirm the stated thesis. In addition, this research suggests that individuals are open and willing to consider new opportunities for personal spiritual growth.

Social networking and the church: evaluating the electronic media program of Wildwood Community Church

Author
R Mark Robinson
Abstract
The thesis of this dissertation is that there is a positive relationship between participation in the electronic media program of Wildwood Community Church (including reading blogs, listening to podcasts, participating in the church Facebook group, and following the church on Twitter) and sermon retention and application, experience of group life, and involvement in serving. This dissertation shows how one church in Norman, Oklahoma intentionally developed a strategy to leverage electronic media resources in an attempt to further their chief discipleship goals related to helping people worship, connect, and serve. The hypotheses anticipated that participation in the electronic media program would reveal a positive relationship in sermon retention and application, experience of group life, and involvement in service. To determine the validity of these hypotheses, a pre-test/post-test was designed to evaluate the change in sixty demographically diverse participants after a one-month period in the electronic media program in July 2010. After the results of the survey were examined, the hypothesis concerning a positive relationship between participation in the electronic media program and sermon retention and application was confirmed. However, a statistical analysis of the data did not confirm the two hypotheses that predicted a positive relationship between participation in the electronic media program and an improved experience of group life and involvement in service.

Evaluating the effectiveness of internet-based religious education for the deaf

Author
Rickey A McClain
Abstract
Deaf ministry is an intensive endeavor. Historically, the deaf community has not been recognized as culturally distinctive within the American Mainstream. This is indicated in the approach to deaf ministry many churches provide. This study will attempt to outline a biblically correct perspective of deafness that leads to a better understanding in developing contextualized religious education materials for the deaf in an Internet setting. Presented in an online, video-streamed format, this project demonstrated and verified both the importance and integral value of religious-based education on the Internet.

Exploring internet use among the growing churches of the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church

Author
Brian C Burch
Abstract
The study explored Internet use among growing congregations. Growth was determined from membership, worship attendance, and professions of faith data from 2000 to 2003. A researcher-created survey instrument recorded Internet use. The data yielded the following observations. Churches with higher growth rates exhibiting higher Internet use rates. Growing churches were four times more likely to host a web site than average. Pastors of growing churches use technology that can be adapted for ministry at a higher rate than average. Higher church growth rates were observed in communities with above average education levels, also with above average level of Internet access.

An evaluation of barriers in communicating the gospel using an evangelistic web site

Author
Stephen C Strom
Abstract
The author solicited evaluations from anonymous respondents who visited an evangelistic web site. The researcher then directed these responses to a focus group of Christian experts who analyzed these responses to determine some of the barriers involved in communicating the gospel through a web site. The focus group offered recommendations for web site design and implementation so that internet based evangelism efforts might be more effective. The focus group also considered ways to provide visitors of differing world views with opportunities to find answers to their questions about the truth of Christianity.

Care4Caregivers: an internet-based program of pastoral care for families of nursing home residents

Author
Bonita Sparks
Abstract
The model of ministry proposed in this paper is an Internet-based support system for family caregivers of nursing home residents that responded to their unique spiritual needs. This project at Parkvue Healthcare in Sandusky, Ohio met families in their daily lives by providing scripture based suggestions for proactive relationship building. A pretest of family members ascertained the degree of connection to their resident and related areas of anxiety. Following the pretest, a monthly Internet correspondence was established providing scripture, exegesis, reflection and a suggested action. After four months a posttest was administered to determine change in family member anxiety.
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