Posts

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

423 – You Can’t Forget Bob Ross!

WELSTech wraps up 2015’s community feedback with a lengthy list of notable sites, mobile apps and videos covering all types of ministry applications. There are special tech deals, news of a new STEM classroom, and church history resources shared as well. Let’s make some happy little clouds in our world!

The discussion:

Bob RossSpotlight the community – As we often say on WELSTech, we learn and grow our use of technology in ministry when listeners share their first-hand experience “with the class.” This episode is dedicated to just that as we share recent community feedback we’ve received from across our many WELSTech channels. And there’s a happy little waterfall happening over here!

News in tech:

WELS now:

Take the December WELSTech Photo Challenge! We’re looking for photos of Advent, Christmas and John 1:9. Submit your entries at welstech.wels.net/photochallenge, and don’t forget to browse our public domain image album at bit.ly/wtchallengealbumIn life you need colors!

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

Featured video:

Enjoy the Advent music of WELS artist Mike Westendorf as he sings In the Waiting – Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel from the WELSTech Music YouTube Playlist.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 424 – Tune in for our special Christmas week interview with Pastor Paul Prange, Administrator of WELS Ministerial Education. Trees get lonely too, so we’ll give him a little friend! Release date: Wednesday, December 23

Get involved:

284 – Building A Specialized Digital Ministry

On this edition of WELSTech, we discuss ideas and examples of digital outreach web sites, podcasts, video channels and e-news including the Bread For Beggars site started in the WELS South Atlantic District. It may be our longest episode ever, but you’ll want to hang on for all the picks, WELS.net features and community feedback goodness we’ve packed into this show!

The discussion:

Niche Evangelism – Going beyond traditional church web sites, many people are using creative digital content to reach out with the good news of Jesus Christ. Martin and Sallie take a whirl-wind tour of specialized digital ministry efforts across the web and discuss tools and channels you can use for your own outreach as part of congregation efforts or on a personal level.

The interview:

(25:06) The Bread of Life – Pastor Mark Parsons from Christ the King in Port Charlotte, FL and Matt Visaggio talk with Martin and Sallie about the web site Bread for Beggars, an outreach focused site started in WELS South Atlantic District.

Picks of the week:

WELS.net feature:

(53:53) Check out WELS’ brand new Spanish outreach site, El Mensajero Luterano

Of interest:

(56:25) Register online to attend the first WELSTech Camp, a free un-conference coming up September 14 at Martin Luther College. Check out the link for all the details including a Friday night meet-up and deals on hotels in the area.

Community feedback:

Coming up on WELSTech:

(1:14:38) Episode 285 – Next week Martin and Sallie will explore ideas to introduce technology in your congregation and talk with Pastor Steve Schamber and Jason Petoskey about the use of Logos Proclaim for worship projection at Holy Trinity in Wyoming, MI. (Release date – 04/23/13)

The featured artist:

(1:15:39) We close today’s WELSTech with the music of Joey Schumann and the Lutheran Ceili Orchestra (JoeySchumann.com | Joey on Facebook) – Christ Be Beside Me

Get involved:

259 – Christ In Media

WELSTech hits the road this week as Martin and Sallie interview leaders of the recent Media Outreach in World Missions Conference from the beautiful Media Arts Studio on the campus of Bethany Lutheran College!

The discussion:

Conference recap – Martin and Sallie review highlights of the Media Outreach in World Missions Conference held recently at Bethany Lutheran College. There participants from around the world joined in discussions about using technology to collaborate and produce creative content for sharing the Gospel message with all people!

Four of the conference leaders sat down with Martin and Sallie to share their thoughts on the challenges presented at the conference.

The discipleship challenge with Paul Hartman:

(8:18) Pastor Paul Hartman, director of WELS Multi-Language Publications, has a vision for sharing God’s Word with the world which includes creative usage of technology. Pastor Hartman shares his thoughts on nurturing Christians from a distance.

The cultural challenge with John Lawrenz:

(21:25) Dr. John Lawrenz from Asia Lutheran Seminary has experienced more cultures than WELSTech listeners have experienced different versions of operating systems, and he shares his thoughts on how to bridge cultural challenges to sharing the Gospel.

Picks of the week:

The creative and technological challenges with Jas Lonnquist and Mike Klebig:

(44:45) Husband and wife team Mike Klebig and Jas Lonnquist are members of Apostles in San Jose, CA and “Godly Geeks” who were moved to action as they implemented media solutions in their own congregation and then shared those solutions with others. They talk with Martin and Sallie about right-brain creativity and left-brain tech solutions.

Coming up on WELSTech:

(1:12:12) Episode 260 – EdTech week on WELSTech returns with a special twist! Not only will we be joined by our semi-regular co-host Jason Schmidt and have a great interview with teacher John Dorn about using Edmodo in the classroom, but listeners can also look forward to WELSTech “going global” as Martin joins our Hangout from Hong Kong! (Release date – 10/30/12)

The featured artist:

(1:14:05) This week we close the podcast with the Reformation music of Koine (www.koinemusic.com | Facebook) – God’s Word Is Our Great Heritage

Get involved:

109 – Reaching The Technophobe

This week on the WELSTech podcast Martin and Sallie discuss ideas for reaching out to the non-techies in your congregation.

The discussion:

Tackling tech fears – Has your congregation considered offering TSL classes – “Tech as a Second Language”?  Martin and Sallie explain how patience and communication are key factors in turning technophobes into digital consumers.

The interview:

Missionary Paul Nitz(16:06) Technology Malawi-Style – Missionary Paul Nitz joins Martin and Sallie from Lilongwe, Malawi to talk about the blessings and challenges of mission work Africa, and how technology is helping.

Ministry resources:

(36:04) Thanks to Nancy Thompson from Victory of the Lamb in Franklin, WI for tweeting several Christmas worship media giveaways:

Picks of the week:

Community feedback:

Coming up on WELSTech:

(57:18) Episode 110 – Our discussion of Shane Hipps’ The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture continues with chapter 2: Perceiving The Powers That Shape Us. (Release date 12/16/09)

The featured artist:

(58:12) This week we close with the piano music of Dawn Gehlhar – O Little Town of Bethlehem from her “Christmas Dreams” CD

Get involved: