Archives For Twitter

Well, the other posts in this series touched upon how your ministry should view the social web as an extension of your social community and also seeing that social media is not just a passing fad at this point.

Today, I’ll share three factors of the social web that makes it compelling to use for church communications, especially for outreach into the communities around you.

At the foundation of today’s discussion is basically whether you want to remain nameless without any familiarity or trust. Do you want to be some anonymous entity stuck in a corner of your community or do you want to be a dynamic community participant that befriends people so you can invite them into relationships — with you and / or your ministry?

Here we go:

1) Better visibility – Managing your online presence across the social web gives you a position of infinitely better visibility to those that are in your community.  These days, the Googlopoly has invaded our life, not just our computers.  People don’t let their fingers to the walking anymore, they  travel the world of mouth.   In fact, with any serious effort, you’ll personally gain a lot more “friends” that can now know you exist than ever before.

2) Increased familiarity – This benefit does not require exteme lifestreaming, but it can be found from intentional utilization of the social media networks out there. If you are wiling to take on some simple proactive strategies, the social web allows you to converse with a much wider range of people about a much diverse range of topics than you probably would in your normal offline routine around town.  As people begin to regularly have a view into your daily activities (regular as well as those seat of the pants last minute activities), thoughts /reactions to various happenings around town, and your overall posture regarding both –  things that excite you and things that really really really matter to you, your local online social network becomes increasingly familiar with you, your personality / humor as well as your general willingness to engage.

3) Trust – This can only be achieved over time with authentic exchanges pointing the way to a God-honoring relationship built on trust. If you are consistent, outward facing, and responsive to people’s questions, needs, and just plain ol’ calls for social engagement, it is a start to quickly establishing trust with other individuals in your social networks. This last factor category cannot be overstated enough in terms of effects.

Visibility, Familiarity, and Trust.
These are the ingredients of any evangelistic outreach efforts whether you are online or offline.

Do you see how utilizing the social web successfully is not that different?  You really should leave a comment below.

Recently, I’ve been getting into more discussions with people regarding the question – should churches be using social media? If so, why and how?

There are plenty of reasons why we should look at the social web and see ways that the church should be evaluating and embracing it as just another extension of the offline social web that is the basis for our church communities.  I posted a video here of a recent talk that walked through the super high level basics of why the church should be social media positive.

Further in the conversation, the question arises whether social media is here to stay or just another fad.  I ask, was faxing or texting a fad?  Because they both were viewed the same way at the very beginning, but both in their own contexts are heavily relied upon for communicating these days.

Social media seems to be everywhere. There’s an important distinction here. Talking about social media might be a fad. But social media itself as a communications medium or approach, is probably something different. . .

Here’s a video from the Socialnomics author Erik Qualman that has made the rounds (based off an original version of socialnomics that went viral a long time ago in internet time) that presents that case regarding social media and diagnosing it as a fad. . .

AFTER WATCHING THE VIDEO ABOVE, WHAT DO YOU THINK?  ANYTHING SURPRISE YOU? Please leave a comment here to encourage or challenge others about churches embracing the social web!

It is amazing how divisive the topic of using social media in the church setting can be these days.

It’s being treated like a completely wild animal on the loose by some.  Some pastors’ take is to ban all social media and prohibit church staff and lay leaders from using Facebook and other social media — people in this camp position it as Satan’s work.

But what happens when social media becomes more than a fad?  But a new mode of communication like the telephone, or fax, or email, or . . .is it proper to ban it altogether vs. find some other creative approaches to address the concerns at hand?

I’m guessing the fundamental position on social media in the church is largely determined by how one perceives how and where the social web fits into the picture today and in the future.

Here’s one take that makes the bare bones basic appeal for the church to use social media.   On one hand, I’m surprised that such arguments have to be articulated out loud.  On the other hand, I guess the web 2.0 world has evolved so fast relative to other emergent technological innovations in communication that it can’t be addressed enough.

Check out this short video segment of a presentation on social media any why the church should embrace it. . . Continue Reading…

It’s been awhile since we posted a freebie twitter background. . .since Valentine’s Day.

If you’ve been on Twitter for a bit, you’re background probably hasn’t been changed recently.

Here’s your chance to throw up a fresh look for your Twitter backgdrop.

Just download the free Tweetback image and follow the instructions below to install it on your profile.

If you don’t like this one, there’s plenty of other free Christian Twitter Backgrounds available in our Twitteratti Tuesday Series. . .



RIGHT-CLICK>SAVE LINK AS… to DOWNLOAD this free background image

How to upload a custom background to your Twitter account:

  1. Log in
  2. In top navigation bar, click Settings (or go to
  3. Click the last settings tab, Design change-twitter-background
  4. Select a template, change your text and background colors, or upload your new background image
  5. Save your changes!


Tonight I teleported over to the 1st Presbyterian Church of Second Life and joined a prayer gathering in the virtual world.

I’ve done church online, video chats, tokbox multi-user web conf prayer meetings, I’ve even been to in Second Life before.

But this Second Life virtual reality prayer meeting was a first for me today.

10 people stopped by this evening as we gathered in a taize-style prayer mini-service in a circle of comfy (looking at least) floor cushions.


Here’s my first thoughts as I left the meeting tonight.

The technology seems to still get in the way of the experience.   Aside from voice chat not working for some members tonight, the learning curve for navigation, gestures,  audio-visual control, group chat, messaging, etc is all a challenge for new comers.

But if a church is to continuously attract new visitors, even in a virtual one, getting over the technical hurdles is one reality that needs to be addressed.  Of course, if you are more versed (spend more time) in this virtual reality environment, it would become infinitely more transparent. Perhaps ministry volunteers are needed to monitor and guide new visitors through the experience just as in off-line churches.  Perhaps more training can be offered via short videos or other methods on church websites, available before entering Second Life.

I realized that viritual church and church online are two completely separate things.  With church online such as or, the technology is basically transparent for most.  You are not bogged down continuously being reminded of the technology interface you are using to connect with others.  To give SL credit, I *was* handed a “newbie card” during the experience, which had some help notes to get me started on Second Life.  But most of it would be more useful only sif I had a sherpa guide next to me helping to decipher and lead me through it all.

The human connections are still real though.  Some of the concerns shared and emotions showed up big time.  One can’t help be frustrated that you want to be ever more present – be virtually there if you could.  (sorry, couldn’t resist!)

Bottom line is: Virtual church on Second Life still has a way to go before it is ready for mainstream exposure.

But in the meantime, digital explorers have found a place to roll up their sleeves and beat down a path for us for when we (and the technology) catches-up.

Valentine’s Day is upon us which is when you have the opportunity to display your LOVE.

Here’s one way to share your love of God, love of others and love of Twitter all in one place — your Twitter background.

Go ahead, follow the instructions below to get the latest free Twitter background with a valentine theme here at’s Free Christian Twitter Background Series.


How to upload a custom background to your Twitter account:

  1. Log in
  2. In top navigation bar, click Settings (or go to
  3. Click the last settings tab, Design change-twitter-background
  4. Select a template, change your text and background colors, or upload your background image
  5. Save your changes

If you end up using one of our free Christian Twitter backdrops, make sure to leave a link to your Twitter profile and share it with us!

As technology advances the Church continues to evolve with it. There is a small but growing contingency setting out to define the frontier for the Church in the virtual world. Church online has moved beyond live online interactive broadcast worship. It now includes full church communities within Second Life and other similar virtual world platforms. I was able to get Neal Locke a current scholar completing his graduate work at Princeton Theological Seminary to help weigh in on the legitimacy of virtual world churches with respect to those with claims to the Reformed tradition of the Church. His guest post below is just a tip of the iceberg, and hopefully will open some eyes and spark some new creative thoughts for church leaders of the future.

As the proliferation of online communities like Facebook and Twitter continues to attract widespread attention and commentary, a more subtle revolution is taking place that will have more far-reaching consequences for church and culture—the advent of virtual reality.

Projections by researchers in the technology industry indicate that 80% of active Internet users and Fortune 500 companies will be engaged in some sort of virtual reality platform within two years.[1] Analysis of current participation shows that well over 100 million people already are.[2]

As people continue to migrate into these virtual worlds, they bring their institutions with them—in the prominent virtual reality world of Second Life, for example, there are already presences maintained by major universities, corporations, government agencies—and churches.  The legitimacy of churches that function entirely in online virtual worlds has been the subject of much debate in the past year, and this will no doubt continue for some time. Reformed churches, however, are confessional, and thus guided by our our confessions. This seems an appropriate place to begin when exploring the issue of churches in virtual reality: How do the confessions define church? What do they have to say about presence and worship that transcends presence? How do they speak to the church in the midst of cultural, technological, and social upheaval? The reformers who wrote the confessions—even those in the last century—likely did not anticipate the particular reason for which these questions are now being raised, and yet their work displays a remarkable understanding of human nature, society, and theology. In this way they offer both guidance and example for those who seek to be the church in the virtual world.


To begin to explore these questions, I believe we need to take a look at different ways in which the Confessions describe or speak about the church, especially those ways that highlight a dualistic tension between two seeming extremes. This will be helpful in raising a wide variety of ways in which the Reformed heritage intersects and intertwines with issues surrounding churches in virtual reality. In addition, the classic Reformed “Marks of the Church” can be used to see how online churches measure up.  As the church in a virtual reality is further defined , a look at other distinguishing “marks” of the church hinted at, but not prominent in the Confessions can be read with an eye toward those that seem to hold particular promise for fresh expression in online churches.

For churches in virtual worlds, there are still many challenges, both theological and practical.  But the weight and thrust of the Reformed Confessions does not seem to condemn participation in them, nor does it seem to deny their legitimacy. In fact, the bold spirit of innovation in which many of the Confessions were written seems an argument in favor of new and experimental types of churches.

And yet, the Confessions do caution and admonish, striking a careful balance between a Roman church that refuses to be reformed, and Anabaptist churches who have gone too far. Perhaps this is the via media that Reformed churches in virtual worlds ought to seek out—not hanging back, but neither striking out empty-handed. Let them take the cherished Confessions along, freshly elevating neglected sections from newly digitized pages, but still finding familiar ways to proclaim the Word, administer the sacraments, and exercise discipline.

They will be a pixelated people, dispersed yet gathered, and visibly set apart by the God whose grace fills and transcends all of creation (including technology) to reach the elect in every time and place.

1 Gartner Research, “Gartner Says 80 Percent of Active Internet Users Will Have A “Second Life” in the Virtual World by the End of 2011”; available from; Internet; accessed 20 January  2010.
2 Kzero Worldswide, “Looking across the metaverses. Total registered accounts.”; available from; Internet; accessed 20 January 2010.

Hope everyone had a joyous celebration during Christmas this past week. Our Saviour’s birth!

Here’s a Twitter backdrop you can download for free this week that is a nod to all the names we can call our Savior.

We’ve had fun releasing free Christian Twitter graphic backgrounds in our Twitteratti Tuesday Series.

Would you like to see more in the new year?

Let me know by posting a comment below!


How to upload a custom background to your Twitter account:

  1. Log in
  2. In top navigation bar, click Settings (or go to
  3. Click the last settings tab, Design change-twitter-background
  4. Select a template, change your text and background colors, or upload your background image
  5. Save your changes

This Christian Twitter backgrounds series was our little effort to help “fill the Twitterverse with the Bible and teaching of Christ!”

If you are handy with graphics and want to contribute a free Christian-themed backdrop for Twitter users, just use the contact form and we’ll share your work with others here and on Twitter!

It’s the Christmas edition of Twitteratti Tuesday at!

Check out this week’s installment of free Chrsitian Twitter Graphic Backgrounds series.

You’ll notice that all three of them are Christmas themed! With just 2 weeks to go before the big birthday party, we listened to your requests for Xmas Twitter backgrounds — so that you have your chance to help spread the Good News Twitteratti-style.




How to upload a custom background to your Twitter account:

  1. Log in
  2. In top navigation bar, click Settings (or go to
  3. Click the last settings tab, Design change-twitter-background
  4. Select a template, change your text and background colors, or upload your background image
  5. Save your changes

We welcome your participation in helping to “fill the Twitterverse with the Bible and teaching of Christ!” If you are a designer and want to contribute a Christian-themed background for Twitter users, use the contact form and we’ll arrange to display + share your work with our brothers and sisters on the digital highway!

Twitter offers 12 free background templates which you can use to customize your Twitter page.

It’s a good idea, although the actual options Twitter gives are not the best way to go.

Why is it a good idea? Well, for starters, it legitimizes your Twitter profile. By installing an individualized Twitter background graphic, it signals creativity and leadership. It shows you are familiar with the environment. You are choosing to express your own identity, not letting Twitter define your identity.

When you use a custom Twitter background graphic, you also have the opportunity to show specific facets of your identity. Here is your chance to witness to the world of your faith.

Every Tuesday, we’ve been releasing a free background design for you to download and use with your own Twitter profiles. Some are explicitly Christian, others with subtle themes, and still others with Bible anchor verses integrated into it. Twitteratti Tuesdays at wants you to have a Twitter Facelift today.

dave-avatar-600x600-11-22-2009 This week’s design comes from Dave Ingland from the “left coast” who is currently planting a church in Sacramento, CA. He’s a husband, father, activist, agent for change, advocate for the arts, and lead revolutionary of Revolution Church Sacramento.

You’ll find that this Twitter background is different than most — it plays with the ability to use images with transparency. So after you upload this background design, you can set the page’s background color to your liking by clicking on the CHANGE DESIGN COLORS link in the design settings section.

You’ll see that I chose a nice deep red for my background. You can make it yellow or blue or green or anything else you want! Thanks Dave for such a neat little feature.



How to upload a custom background to your Twitter account:

  1. Log in
  2. In top navigation bar, click Settings (or go to
  3. Click the last settings tab, Design
  4. Select a template, change your text and background colors, or upload your background image
  5. Save your changes
  6. CHANGE DESIGN COLORS next on this same settings page if you want to adjust the page background colors.