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500 – 500 … And Counting

This week we observe WELSTech’s milestone recording of episode 500 with a history making interview. For the first time in 9+ years, Martin and Sallie are in the interviewee chairs as Nicole Balza questions the WELSTech co-hosts about the show history and future. Pastor Mike Hinz also drops by to share information on WELS Daily Devotion. Let the celebration commence!

The anniversary celebration:

Together with WELSTech – The 500th episode of WELSTech is cause for celebration, including a refreshed website design thanks to webmaster Julie Duran, along with updated music and video imagery. There was even delicious cake shared at the Center for Mission and Ministry.

In the recording studio, episode 500 seemed like the perfect time to break new ground on WELSTech by having the interviewers (Martin and Sallie) become the interviewees. Nicole Balza, host of the Together and Heart to Heart video series, is in the driver’s seat and explores a bit of WELSTech history, the community that has grown around the show, favorite memories, and a look at the future of WELSTech.

The interview:

Reaching out with Daily Devotions – Pastor Mike Hintz, director of WELS Commission on Evangelism, shares the history of WELS Daily Devotions as well as a behind the scenes overview of production of the written and podcast versions of the devotions whose archives are over 3,900 strong and growing.

Featured video:

From the WELSTech “Like’s” list on Vimeo, enjoy Martin Luther College Choir’s performance of I Will Rise.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 501 – Join Martin and Sallie for the kickoff of the WELSTech summer focus on Ministry Resources. Release date: Wednesday, June 14.

Get involved:

Visitor Follow Up With Mailchimp Email Automation

Technology has provided many opportunities to improve visitor follow up in churches everywhere. From prospect/visitor databases to easy-to-download new resident lists to wonderful tools like Mailchimp, the Evangelism team at your church has a lot of options and tools available to them. Today I wanted to highlight one pastor’s approach to using one of the most useful features of Mailchimp — Automation.

Please be sure to watch the video below for all the details, but here are some of the reasons I think this “Rookie Preacher” has put together a great approach to visitor follow up through email.

  1. This method uses Mailchimp to send out five strategic emails to visitors over a one month period. The timing is important. Getting an email out the next day, then a few more during the week, and finally some a couple of weeks from the first visit seems like enough to keep your church in front of them, but not overwhelm them or make you appear too “pushy.”
  2. I like the use of a pastor’s welcome message as the main subject of the first email. It makes the contact a little more personal. If they view the video they hear a real person with a real message specifically for the visitor.
  3. The second email makes use of another technology from Survey Monkey. I think a great next contact after a warm welcome is a chance for them to react or respond to a short, non-threatening survey. You get good feedback and leave a positive message that you value what they have to say. You are making a rather sterile encounter more interactive.
  4. In later emails you have a chance to introduce some more personal opportunities for the visitor to connect with your members through invitations to Bible studies, small group studies, etc. Chances are the visitor didn’t make any strong personal connections after a worship service. But if your church has places where this is possible, that might be exactly what some are looking for. In this communication you can list some of those, perhaps with some personal testimonials that again make it more “friendly.”
  5. The fact that this is all automated will make this more feasible for some churches, especially if you have a lot of visitors. This of course may not take the place of personal follow up. But I can see this strategy as something to augment that. People are hard to reach these days. This may be the only contact you have with them.
  6. Mailchimp is such a great tool to consider. It is fairly inexpensive. It has great analytics, so you can tell if your efforts are paying off. And using a subscription service allows anyone to easily “unsubscribe” from any future communication, thus respecting their privacy if they wish to not hear from you again.

Again, be sure to watch the video. It is rather short, but informative and perhaps inspirational if you are looking to improve your visitor follow up.

See All Ministry Resources

Top Ten Reasons to visit WhatAboutJesus.com

Perhaps one of the unsung heros of all the WELS internet properties is www.whataboutjesus.com. It’s primary purpose is to answer that very question that many people ask…what about Jesus? Who is he? Was he real? Why should I believe in him? How will he change my life? If you are not familiar with the site, I’ve put together a little “top ten” list of why you might want to tag this site as one of your “go to” digital evangelism tools.

#1: It addresses many of the common questions a person might have about Christianity in general, and Jesus in specific.

#2: It will provide even the seasoned Christian with a refresher on core theological topics and help them be even better prepared to “give the reason for the hope that they have.” (1 Peter 3:15)

#3: It provides daily devotions that can be read, emailed, or listened to via podcast. And then shared of course!

#4: It provides worship helps that will prepare new and old Christians for worship the following Sunday by listing the common readings and brief questions and answers on each.

#5: It provides “catechetical” aids that cover things like the Apostles Creed, Communion, the Lord’s Prayer, and other key topics that can sometimes be confusing.

#6: It provides an easy way to submit a prayer request. These requests are then passed along to people who have volunteered to pray for you and the requests you have. Everything is kept very confidential.

#7: It provides biblical answers to the relevant questions someone might have today concerning life, friends, and society. This site is not a stodgy set of “theological truths” that are hard to read, little lone understand. This is relevant content!

#8: It provides Bible studies that can be used in many contexts. They include studies on John, Colossians, Romans, Great Chapters of the Bible, and significant people of the Bible.

#9: It’s design is fresh and mobile friendly.

#10: It has a name that is easy to remember and share… What About Jesus? .com! (i.e. www.whataboutjesus.com)

As you can see it has a wealth of resources and many uses. Bookmark the site and remember to share it with your Christian friends as well as those who are just beginning to ask… “what about Jesus?”

See All Ministry Resources

WELS Video on Vimeo

No one would argue with the fact that video is becoming more prevalent in Internet communication. In fact, a recent study indicates that the average consumer watches 49 minutes of social video every day, and that number is expected to grow. Another study projects that by 2019, 80% of Internet traffic will be video. Perhaps now, more than ever, we might be inclined to agree with this 1964 statement by Marshall McLuhan –

“The medium is the message.”

in the sense that the medium of video is becoming an expectation of online communication if a message is to be heard.

Application/audience

But video creation takes time and strategic thinking. To support and supplement congregation and school needs in this area, WELS offers a collection of 1,100+ videos which can be shared via social media and embedded on church and school web sites. These videos are available on the Vimeo web site at vimeo.com/wels. Video topics include …

and more. The video below gives a brief overview of the site and includes a demonstration of how video can be easily shared and embedded.

Related resources

In addition to the Vimeo hosting platform, WELS videos are also available on YouTube at youtube.com/user/welsstreams.

See All Ministry Resources

392 – Care and Feeding

This week’s WELStech is quite a zoo as Martin shares digital outreach tips, there’s a BORAM on the loose, and the Education on Air archive is available. Tune in for all of this plus a milestone birthday for one of the zoo keepers!

The interview & discussion:

Another day at the zoo10 Tips for Cross-Cultural Digital Outreach – Martin is just back from Boise, ID where he assisted a congregation considering digital outreach strategies, particularly in their Vietnamese mission efforts. He boils down the efforts to 10 useful tips for anyone doing online outreach, locally and globally.

  1. Identify digital content
  2. Pick one priority at a time
  3. Can you do more or do things differently?
  4. Provide digital resources to members (friendship evangelism)
  5. Capture and share stories
  6. Provide digital resources to members for deeper study
  7. Develop a social media strategy
  8. Understand what websites are and aren’t
  9. Develop an engagement strategy
  10. Use a prospect management database

WELS now:

Picks of the week:

It’s Google Chrome plug-in week:

Community feedback:

Ministry resources:

Google’s Education on Air is archived. A few recommendations:

Featured videos:

The newest addition to the WELSTech Music playlist on YouTube is Koine’s Precious Lord, Take My Hand

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 393 -Pastor Emile Burgess from Trinity, Caldonia, WI, a presenter at WELSTech Conference 2015, joins us as we discuss church office apps. Watch and participate on 05/19/15 @ 4 pm Central – welstechlive.wels.net

The last word:

We hope you’ll attend WELSTech Conference 2015, July 9 – 11 in Waukesha, WI

Get involved:

384 – No Green, But Lots Of Media

We’re not kissing the Blarney Stone on today’s WELSTech episode. Instead you’ll get a great conversation with WELS Connection producer, Steve Boettcher, on media in the church. There’s also news on 3d printing innovations and the developing IoT plus Pinterest infographics galore!

The interview & discussion:

Steve BoettcherMedia: Friend or Foe? – Steve Boettcher, the man behind the WELS Connection camera for the past 28 years, chats with Martin about his impressions of media and its impact on the work of the church. He shares details on his latest project, a continuation of the Road to Emmaus/Come Follow Me video series which will focus on the life of Christ through the eyes of his mother, Mary. He also previews his keynote address at this summer’s WELSTech Conference 2015. Viewers will get a first-look at the new WELS studio.

Ministry resources:

Bible Study Resources for Road to Emmaus & Come Follow Me

News in tech:

3d Printing – A New Way

Picks of the week:

 

WELS insider:

WELS Blogs

Need to know:

St. Patrick’s Day breaking news … we’ve discovered the rainbow’s end, and it’s at WELSTech Conference 2015! Register by April 1 to take advantage of the Early Bird price of $199.

Community feedback:

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 385 – It’s Virus Day on WELSTech as Martin and Sallie share tips for avoiding the identity and data threats which are spreading across the web. Pastor James Wilcox from Good Shepherd’s, West Allis joins the conversation with a preview of his WELSTech Conference “Smart Computer Security” session. Watch and participate on 03/24/15 @ 4 pm Central – welstechlive.wels.net.

Featured videos:

New additions on the WELSTech Presentation and Teaching playlist on YouTube are the full Road to Emmaus video and the trailer for Come Follow Me

 

Get involved:

169 – How Mission Friendly Is Your Website?

This week the WELSTech Podcast focus is evangelistic web sites as we discuss a new e-book on that topic.

The discussion:

A WELSTech e-Book  Release – Martin and Sallie discuss recent work on Websites and Missions: Reaching Out in a Digital World.

The interview:

Jonathan Favorite and family(23:00) Crosswalk Communications – Staff minister Jonathan Favorite from Crosswalk Lutheran Ministries in Phoenix AZ joins Martin and Sallie to share details about their use of technology to communicate the Gospel.

  • Umbraco content management system

Ministry Resources:

(38:44) Do you accept online donations on your church web site?  Share your experience!

News in Tech:

(40:41) Port your existing mobile number to Google Voice (Video tutorial)

Picks of the week:

Community feedback:

Coming up on WELSTech:

(54:28) Episode 170 – Missionary Mike Hartman joins us to share news about the newest “Proclaimer” of God’s Word in Mexico, and we discuss chapter 6 of Leading 21st Century Schools. (Release date 02/09/11)

The featured artist:

(55:20) This week we close with the music of Crosswalk Lutheran Ministries featuring our interviewee, Jonathan Favorite- Dive Into God’s Word from their CD titled ”Crosswalk Lutheran Ministries”

Get involved:

126 – Internet Evangelism Day Preview

This week on the WELSTech podcast we gear up to celebrate Internet Evangelism Day, focusing on personal, digital outreach.

The discussion:

Mark Your Calendar – Sunday, April 25th has been designated as Internet Evangelism Day, an opportunity to promote awareness of tools and methods for personally sharing the gospel in our daily digital lives.  Listen as Martin and Sallie review the many resources which are available to promote internet outreach on this special day and throughout the year.

The interview:

Tony Whittaker(10:34) The Man Behind the Site – Tony Whittaker, the creator of InternetEvangelismDay.com speaks with Martin from his office in England about the history and purpose of the site.

Ministry resources:

(26:25) WELS Android App created using iSites.us

Picks of the week:

Of interest:

(33:35) WELS will be streaming the Martin Luther College Chapel of the Christ dedication service on Saturday, April 10 at 7 p.m.  Check out the agenda for the dedication weekend.

Community feedback:

Coming up on WELSTech:

(38:08) Episode 127 – Tune in for the techie MLC Chapel of the Christ tour.  We’ll talk with Jeffrey Clark about their audio/video equipment set up. (Release date 04/14/10)

The featured artist:

(39:15) We close the podcast with the music of Mike Westendorf (www.mikewestendorf.com and mikewestendorf on Twitter) – Climb The Mountain from his CD with the same title, “Climb The Mountain”

Get involved:

071 – Electronic Church Doors

This week the WELSTech podcast examines the platforms and methods available to spread the Word in the 21st century.

The discussion:

Pastor Mike HintzAnswering the question – Pastor Mike Hintz, Administrator for WELS Commission on Evangelism, joins in on Martin and Sallie’s discussion of chapter’s 6 and 7 of Clay Shirky’s book, Here Comes Everybody.  In terms of evangelism today, the question isn’t “Where or what is the church?” but “Who is God?”, and we can use the power of the Internet to share our confessional response to that question.

New Technology Showcase:

Picks of the week:

  • (33:30) Free Animoto for Educators – Create animated videos of your photos
    • Thanks to Jason Schmidt from Gethsemane in Omaha, NE for this link!
    • Check out their FAQ for a great Gmail method of creating “dummy” student e-mail accounts
  • FoxitPDF

Of interest:

  • (41:29) This week features live streaming of MLC Graduation and Call Service as well as Vicar Call Service
  • Check the schedule and watch the events at streams.wels.net/site/live

Community feedback:

  • (43:53) Welcome WELSTech listeners, Prof. Bob Anderson and Missionary Mike Hartman
  • Are you a WELSTech listener with a ministry technology idea to share?  We’d love to interview you!  Contact us to get the ball rolling!
  • Pastor Dan Witte from Risen Savior in Lakewood Ranch, FL shared several great links:

Coming up on WELSTech:

(50:29) Episode 072 – We’ll talk with Dan Lohrmann, author of Virtual Integrity and discuss accountability software options.

The featured artist:

(52:15) This week we close with piano music of Dawn Gehlhar – Beautiful Savior from her CD titled “Inspiration”

Get involved:

066 – The Five D’s and W’s

This week the WELSTech podcast goes global as Martin and Sallie discuss internet evangelism and chat with Dr. John Lawrenz from Asia Lutheran Seminary.

The discussion:

The interview:

  • Dr. John LawrenzReaching out to billions (24:34) – Spanning the globe to bring you the latest news on technology in ministry, Martin and Sallie talk with Dr. John Lawrenz about the work being done in Hong Kong through Asia Lutheran Seminary and how technology is a blessing to their efforts. Listen also for details on their newest project, the Translation Working Group.

The tidbits:

  • New technology showcase (47:55)
  • Picks of the week (52:35)
  • WELSTech Desert Island Picks ContestContest – Top 5 Desert Island Software Picks
    • Send us the five software titles you wouldn’t want to live without – free or fee, desktop or Web 2.0, anything goes
    • Get us your list via your favorite WELSTech communication channel – e-mail us, leave us a voice mail (414-375-2334), send us a message on facebook or twitter – just get us your top 5 picks!
    • One random entry will receive a $25 gift certificate to the WELSTech store (cafepress.com/welstech)
    • Deadline for entry is Sunday April 26, 2009 @ 11:59 p.m.
    • Listen to WELSTech Episode 069 on April 29th to find out if you are the winner and to experience a virtual desert island of software picks
  • Community feedback (1:00:09)
    • Jason Schmidt from Gethsemane in Omaha, NE shared a link to embedit.in which generates embed code for any type of content you want to post on your web site
    • Alyssa Dunning from WELS Web Services shared a link to VisualCV.com where you can create a free online resume
    • Ryan Rosenthal from Faith in Fond du Lac, WI came through with a response to Sallie’s last Pick of the Week – NCShtDwn will shut down computers at whatever time you set
    • The #WELSTech Twitter conversation this week included
    • John Shoosmith from Redeemer in Yakima, WA offered to encode closed caption videos in Microsoft Silverlight for WELS congregations, free of change.  Contact John through the e-mail options on the Redeemer web site for details.
  • Coming up on WELSTech (1:11:21)
    • Episode 067 – We’ll return to Clay Shirky’s book Here Comes Everybody and discuss chapter 5, “Personal Motivation Meets Collaborative Production”.  Also we’ll share part one of our conversation with WELS musicianary Mike Westendorf.

The featured artist:

  • This week we close with the WELSTech debut of artist Stephen Bautista (www.stephenbautistamusic.com) – The Man Who Drove The Nail from his CD titled Abandon (1:13:10)

Get involved: