"Removing the walls" means, taking the truth that is regularly preached and taught within the walls of our building, and broadcasting it out across the Web. We took our first steps into this strategy half way into June of 2008 - today we report to you a summary of what we have done in the first year, and what the results have been.
What we have done...
1. Started blogs telling about the lessons being taught in a number of our regular adult Bible study classes that we hold every Tuesday. This was expanded later to also allow those in the class to contribute a devotional thought they had written up, or a personal testimony.
2. In September of 2008 we started podcasting the sound files of our Sunday morning messages.
3. Later in the year one of our local out reaches to a Russian community (via the children's Bible Story Time) started a blog of their lessons and also had them translated and published in Russian. Additionally, they utilized the comment capability of the blog to encourage the children to come to the website and answer a question about the lesson. This was to encourage both them and their Russian speaking parents to come to the site.
4. All this blog and podcast output was broadcasted across the Web utilizing the feeds out of our blogs and podcast along with a free Web broadcasting service provided by Google.
5. Finally, we utilized a "mini application" capability called "gadgets" and "widgets" to also further cause our blog and podcast output to be further published on other websites, blogs, and personal portal websites like iGoogle. (Note: some of these gadgets and widgets are displayed on the sides of this web page.)
What has resulted in one year...
The bottom line is that we are now sending CDs of what is preached regularly in our services to 13 different places around the world. These people found us just this last year via the content we have been publishing on the Web:
- We have 8 different brothers we are sending CDs to in Kenya - most of them are ministers. One of them travels often and labors with a number of others to spread the truth of the Gospel to numerous places and congregations in that country. We recently helped him put up a website/blog about the efforts there at http://purechurchofgod.wordpress.com
- A brother in Nigeria who since 2001 has been publishing with others a monthly publication called "Rays of Truth." There are about 9 other congregations of the Church of God he is in fellowship with there. We hope to help him also put up a website/blog about their efforts.
- Some in India that through us have come in contact with the full truth on the Church. Please pray they will continue to seek to follow the Lord in all the light of the gospel.
- A brother in Malawi (associated with others that have already been known in years past.)
- 2 brothers in Tanzania with congregations, who after contacting this website, have come to the truth on the Church. The brother in Kenya has made contact with one of these brothers and will hopefully meet with them soon.
The following highlights the increase in traffic we have seen through our "removing the walls" approach on the Web:
In May of 2008 (the month before we started the new strategy) our web site received:
- 315 visits
- 1209 page views
In the final 30 days of our first year our website received:
- 2235 visits
- 4366 page views
- 26 external to our web site downloads of our Sunday morning message (this is in addition to those who would listen to it on our website so we know for certain that they are not from our own congregation.)
- 22,992 views of web pages, blogs, and personal portal pages with our gadgets and widgets on them (note: this is not the same as a visit to our own website because the gadget or widget is only one small part of another web page, but it does raise the visibility of our content, and when ever someone clicks on the content in one of these, it will bring them right back to our website.)
- 558 external clicks back to our website due to our feeds/gadgets/widgets showing up on other sites
For the whole first year we received:
- 16,247 visits (coming from 136 countries/territories)
- 56,729 page views
- 257 external to our web site downloads of our Sunday morning message
- 141,776 views of web pages, blogs, and personal portal pages with our gadgets and widgets on them
- 2275 external clicks back to our website due to our feeds/gadgets/widgets showing up on other sites
It has been a frutful first year. May the Lord continue to help us find honest souls where ever they are!