Why We're on the Web [Main Story]Ministry opportunities for local Adventist churches
Murray Miller: Why did you start a church Web site?
Marion Miller: I wanted to promote better communication in our local church district and to provide an outreach tool to friends, family, and neighbors of church members.
What benefit has the Web site been to your church members?
It has not only helped to improve communication among church members but has also fostered a sense of unity and vision.
What are some reasons you would give for other churches/ministries to have their own Web sites?
1. Better communication among church members
2. A tool to help members and nonmembers grow spiritually
3. The Web site can provide access to resources that some members might not be aware of.
4. It provides a sense of unity among members.
5. The Web site promotes evangelism—providing Bible study links, resources, and sermon audio.
Has your Web site been an avenue to reach out to non-Adventists?
Yes, we’ve found it useful in communicating with those who are already interested in our church. But since our Web site is relatively new, our outreach has been limited. Our motto “Onward, ever onward” reflects our desire for continual improvement, especially in the area of outreach.
What plans does your church have for broadening its Internet influence?
We have recently changed our domain name so that people can remember it more easily. We also place the Web site on church bulletins and on the district newsletter. Our Web site is also linked with another Christian ministry that brings exposure to many different countries. In the future we would like to be more involved in podcasting. Utilizing already established chat rooms to get the word out about our Web site is yet another goal.
What special features on your Web site do you find most useful?
The “Events Calendar” is extremely helpful in keeping up-to-date on church activities. The “Pastor’s Corner” is also is a blessing to members, and our “Resources” section is another feature that is helpful. We also have a “Prayer Request” page on which people can send their requests directly to the pastor.
Do you feel that online groups (clubs) and chat rooms could be another area that can be used for God’s glory? If so, how?
Online chat groups or clubs are useful if you have several people who are dedicated to running the club. I hosted an online club for two years, but it eventually fizzled out due to my busy schedule.
How can chat groups or clubs be useful?
One way I have used a club in the past is to hold Bible studies. Each week we would meet as a small group online and explore a Bible topic together. We saw two people who had drifted away from Christ come back through the studies!
Have you thought of placing a vodcast (streaming video) or podcast (audio recordings) on your Web site? What benefit do you see them having?
We are currently working to place sermon audio on our site. I believe it will be a benefit to both church members and nonmembers alike. There’s a lot to be said for a site that talks!
Are there other online services that you think the church should get involved with?
I think the church needs to utilize online chat rooms more. You can advertise a site by simply entering a chat room (non-Adventist) and placing a link to your site for people to check out. You can also befriend people online and then invite them to your online Bible study group. Entering non-Adventist chat rooms can be a mission field if we will follow Christ’s method of caring about the felt needs of others.
What is your district’s Web site address, so that others can look at it for ideas?
Feel free to check out our church Web site: www.onwardsda.com.
Marion Miller, twin brother of Murray, is pastor of the Kearney, Holdrege, Beaver City, and Norton churches in the Kansas-Nebraska Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Marion, his wife, Elva, and son, Caleb, live in Holdrege, Nebraska.