Church, Manchester, Faith, Punk

Archive for May, 2011

The Church needs Facebook and Twitter

I came across this article about how religions use facebook and twitter by a Manchester marketing, SEO and web design firm called The EWord.

They have noted how Christians are using twitter to pray and even use hash tags like #dailyprayer to pray with other people. They also explain how the christians are using facebook in huge numbers. Apparently the Bibles facebook page had more usage over Easter than Justin Bieber and Manchester United.

The church needs to be on the front foot in social media because whether we like it or not we are in the marketing business. We had a visitor to CCM:City recently who was training to baptist minister. He confided in me that he was worried that following up visitors and having good presentation (online and offline) was a little bit to much like marketing and PR. I explained that I viewed a huge part of my job as marketing. The church is not trying to sell a product and we are not really looking for people to consume the church but we do want people to commit, buy in, feel part of something bigger and we hear these terms applied to all sorts of products or companies.

Social Media is essential to church planting. A significant amount of our growth at CCM:City has come from the way we use Twitter, Facebook and how we improved our Search Engine Optimisation. I think it should be a job requirement for church leaders and potential planters. At the very least they should not hold social media in contempt and realise the incredible opportunity it provides for meeting new people and engaging the ones you have.


The Rapture, Superman and a Lunatic

This rapture thing has got me in a bad mood. It has been fun to take the mickey out of Harold Camping and his crazy eschatological maths but a serious point needs to be made.

He makes us all look stupid.

By “us” I mean Christians. Christians across the planet who have no idea when Jesus plans to come back because Jesus himself had no idea as to when he would come back. Did any of the disciples or apostles spend hours working out the maths of Jesus return? Nope, they went on mission like he might show up at any point.

What frustrates me most is that we are now on the defensive. We have to explain that no we do not believe the rapture (whatever that is) will happen on May 21st and no the Earth won’t be destroyed sometime in October. In a nation that views the church with crushing indifference we could really do without having to defend ourselves against this rubbish.

Anyhoo, I have a Superman suit to put on. If this rapture thing really happens then I am not going to pass up an opportunity of flying in a Superman suit.


Another reason to love Manchester

Something I have come to love about Manchester is how some of the local churches relate to each other.

Long before I got here the churches who were involved in student work in some form met together to pray for and encourage each other. This group welcomed me in with a great deal of grace and patience. I turned up in their city making a bunch of noise and it would have been easy to tell me to sit down, shut up and show some respect. They didn’t do that, instead they invited me to join them on a mission that some of them were decades into.

On friday a few of these churches organised an event called the Gathering. It is a simple event, we turn up, eat popcorn, worship God, hear some testimonies, pray and then we eat a heart stopping kebab afterwards.

The day after The Gathering someone described some of the churches involved to me as “CCMs Competition”. I suppose in some way that they are our competition but I found myself defending these churches and explaining how much I love the guys involved and that I genuinely want them to be successful and rejoice in how well they are doing.

The event made me realise that I love the Vinelife and the Ivy Fallowfield guys very much.


the strange effects of blogging

It’s funny what blogging some times turns up. One post can suddenly present you with unexpected opportunities.

Last week I wrote about the sad death of David Wilkerson. It took me 15 minutes to write and to be honest not very many people read what I had to say. David Wilkerson was a hero of mine when I was a child and I have often thought about the impact that the Cross and the Switchblade had on me. So all I wanted was to commemorate him in a small way.

Anyway, the post was read by a producer for a BBC Radio 4 programme called “Sunday” that is broadcast, unsurprisingly, on Sunday mornings. He got in touch with me and asked if I could be interviewed about the effect the Cross and the Switchblade had on me. So on Saturday afternoon I will be interviewed and it will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 7:10am on Sunday morning.

All from one blog post.


Evanjellyfish

Dave Capener posted this today about a Christians tweeted response to the Death of Osama Bin Laden. I like what Dave wrote as the Christian twittersphere and blogosphere has been troubling me lately.

We have been incredibly quick to jump up and down on the death of another human being. By all accounts a particularly nasty human as they go but it is not our job to rejoice in anyones death or to loudly speculate as to whether they are in heaven or hell.

Dave also points out how Evangelicals are currently very quick to aggressively smack down anybody who dares disagree. The treatment of Rob Bell is an obvious example. Some very prominent Evangelicals were super quick to slap Bell around for thinking differently to them. (Dave calls them “Evanjellyfish”. I am stealing that and pretending I invented it)

I am all for disagreement, debate, argument and standing up for your position but do we have to look and sound like socially incompetent religious nutters while we do it? Clanging cymbal anyone?