-- the "Nuts n' Bolts"
By Total Love In Christ Ministries
This column will deal with creating
* Click for Volume Index * September 15, 2006
Three Words: Content-Content-Content !!: Part II
Welcome back to Volume 11. Well Done -- You have labored for "six days" in the creation of the physical presence (WEB site) into which God will pour forth His Spirit. It is now time to "Rest in the Lord" and to "Stand fast and behold the Salvation of our God" !!
Finally we arrive at the consummation of our labors -- CONTENT !! After all, our goal was NOT to produce a beautiful and technically proficient WEB site, but to present the Glorious Gospel (Good New) of Jesus Christ to the WEB World. If you have reached this point in your endeavor, I assume that you have sought and received God's counsel as to WHY you will be overseeing this ministry and what is HIS purpose in it. If you have NOT, please STOP NOW !! The church of Jesus Christ has already birthed MORE than enough "Ishmaels" !!
The content of your site is basically an issue between you and God - no one else can tell you exactly what He wishes your ministry to convey other than He Himself -- Seek Him diligently until this is clear (if it isn't already). God's word tell us that, "in a multitude of counselors there is safety" (Proverbs 11:14, 12:15, 15:22, 19:20, 20_5, 20:18, and 24:6). However, it is ALSO true that, "in a multitude of counselors there is compromise and confusion" (AEJ).
There are two points that I want to stress about Content:
One - Try to make it original, reflecting the unique Word and Ministry that God has imparted to YOU !! Though God gave the Ministry of Salvation to ALL of His Apostles, He imparted a unique Word to Paul that was to be the foundation of HIS ministry. Do not merely copy what you see someone else doing, no matter how well it may be working for THEM. It is THEIR ministry !!
Two - Try not to make it "RELIGIOUS". What distinguished the Ministry of Jesus when He walked in the flesh from that (if you can really call it "ministry") of the religious leaders of His day, the Scribes and the Pharisees, was that His Words were fresh, alive, life-giving, and relevant compared to the "tombstones" that the religious leaders hung around the people's necks.
Your site NEED NOT contain solely "Christian" material. Try to include material (approved by the Spirit of God) that the Christian as well as the non-Christian community might find beneficial, helpful, informative, useful, and that would attract them to your site. After all, the REAL objective of "Ministry" is to bring the Love of God and His Message of Salvation to the UNsaved, NOT basically to provide a gathering place for the saved. If you object to using non-Christian material on your site, consider -- you DO NOT shop at "Christian Stores" (for the most part), you DO NOT buy your car or have it serviced or fueled at a "Christian Dealer", your electricity, phone, gas, etc. DO NOT come from "Christian Utilities", and SO ON !!
Be creative. Utilize the full spectrum of available Multimedia resources in order to present God's message to the full spectrum of senses that God is pleased to have given us. If you don't posses all of the necessary talent yourself, seek out a like-minded Christian traveler to work with you. Christianity IS NOT, need not be, and SHOULD NOT BE boring, drab, dull, irrelevant and UNintresting !!
Offer ORIGINAL work presenting the ORIGINAL aspect of the Gospel that God has imparted to YOU !! Even if you don't believe that you can write, put down in writing what God has given you, be faithful, practice, and you will learn by doing (I did). It is God who will give the increase, NOT your natural talent. Moses claimed that he was a man of "stuttering lips". Paul said that he did not present the Gospel with "words of man's wisdom", NOT with eloquent words and stately appearance, but rather in "fear and trembling". Of Jesus it is said that, "He had no stately form or majesty that might catch our attention, no special appearance that we should want to follow Him" (it was NOT His outward appearance that attracted followers).
Paul was pleased to present "the Mystery that had been hidden from Ages past". It was HIS gospel -- NOT the one that God had given to Peter and the 11 to present. I want to put this next point as delicately as possible -- If God has NOT imparted to you some ORIGINAL revelation or word to present - if you are going to merely mimic some other site or ministry - what is the need for YOUR web site and ministry ??
However, do not misunderstand me. I AM NOT saying to ignore the work that God is doing through other of His servants. If you find a WEB site or material that you feel is relevant to your message -- that enhances, supplements, or runs parallel to it -- by all means put a link on your site to that material, or, if permissible, add the material to your site. I like to add material from many sources to my site. My point is -- keep your site unique, reflecting Gods Word and Ministry for YOU. Don't merely become a mirror of and/or link exchange for other sites.
An excellent ministry tool is creating eBooks - either containing YOUR original material OR public domain material by other authors. You can find one excellent source of public domain texts [ HERE ] and one OK source [ HERE ]. Do a "Google" search on [ christian public domain writings books ] to find more. Then make these eBooks available through your site and advertise them in various eBook directories. The benefit of eBooks is that they are more-or-less permanent. The user downloads them to his or her computer where (hopefully) they remain, as well as perhaps being distributed to others. There is a FREE eBook publishing program [ HERE ]. Also, check out Volume 8 under "Viral eBooks" for more details.
You might also consider adding audio or even video messages to your site. If you have artistic talent, how about creating your own original posters and/or cartoons and distribute them in .PDF form ??
If God has given you a counseling talent, invite people to submit their needs and/or questions via an online form, and then answer them via eMail (or perhaps even telephone). Using a FREE, online telephone service called "Skype", you might even set up a real-time counseling or forum program. Also, consider posting polls, either one time or ongoing.
Do you have an ongoing stream of fresh information to present ?? Then consider your own weekly, biweekly or monthly (etc.) column. I should caution you, however, that after a period of time, you may find your "well of information" tending to run dry !!
I have stressed this in previous columns, but I want to stress it again as I consider it of such prime importance. Whatever venue you choose for content, create it as a "Work of Art unto the Lord". Do the VERY best job that you can - give it your FULL 100%. It is interesting that MANY of the great classical composers and artists created their works as tributes of praise and worship unto God. These are the masterpieces that have endured down through the ages. Don't be content to just put up an unformatted white page with plain black text. The early monks illuminated their manuscripts of the Holy Scriptures with elaborate and extravagant drawings and flourishes, done in vibrant color along with silver and gold foils and inks. God has endowed His Creation with extravagant and unrestrained Abundance, Beauty and Variety. C.S. Lewis remarked in one of his writings that, however, among Christians, "Good Works are often NOT good work !"
The final concluding thought that I want to leave with you is this: "Don't be impatient and/or discouraged". I include this as much for myself (maybe more so) as for you, my readers. After all of the time and labor that will be invested in developing your WEB Ministry, it will be natural to want the whole world to visit it. Barring a miracle from the Lord, this is VERY unlikely to happen. There are MANY basic Christian as well as Universalist sites on the WEB. It may take a VERY long while, along with considerable effort and advertising, before your site acquires a large audience (if it EVER does). I consider it a great success if I see 100 unique visitors a day to each of our sites, and they have been up for over two years.
This desire comes from OUR wish to see OUR labors granted recognition. It is similar to our human craving to Quantitize the results of our evangelism efforts. God does NOT grade us on Quantity but rather on Quality. We are NOT required to produce Numerical Results, but rather to be FAITHFUL in that which He has given to us to do. We are merely the planters, the "sowers of the seed". It is God Himself who MUST give the increase !!
I believe that in "The Parable of the Talents" which Jesus recounted, among other possible lessons, He was emphasizing that what He was looking for were followers who would be FAITHFUL with the talents that they were given, utilizing them to their fullest. Each are given different talents -- some less, some more. It is GROWTH that He is seeking, NOT numerical quantity. Note that He was just as pleased with the servant who gained an additional two talents (in this account, a "talent" is a quantity of money) as He was with the servant who gained five. It was with the fearful, slothful servant who did nothing that He was displeased.
25:14 "For it is like a man going on a journey, who summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them. 25:15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 25:16 The one who had received five talents went off right away and put his money to work and gained five more. 25:17 In the same way, the one who had two gained two more. 25:18 But the one who had received one talent went out and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money in it. 25:19 After a long time, the master of those slaves came and settled his accounts with them. 25:20 The one who had received the five talents came and brought five more, saying, ‘Sir, you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ 25:21 His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful in a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 25:22 The one with the two talents also came and said, ‘Sir, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more.’ 25:23 His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 25:24 Then the one who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Sir, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed, 25:25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ 25:26 But his master answered, ‘Evil and lazy slave! So you knew that I harvest where I didn’t sow and gather where I didn’t scatter? 25:27 Then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received my money back with interest! 25:28 Therefore take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten. **** Matthew
This, at least for now, brings this column to a close. I have imparted to you ALL that I have received from God relating to Starting and Maintain a WEB Ministry. As Paul said, "I will not go beyond the measure of Grace granted to me by the Lord." Or, as a slightly less "spiritual" individual remarked, "When you have nothing more of value to say, that is a great time to stop talking !!" As and If the Lord chooses to impart to me further wisdom and insight along these lines, I will impart it through additional issues of this column to you.