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Getting the message online

POSTED: March 25, 2008 5:00 a.m.
We are living in fast-paced technological society. Almost everything is instant and information is beamed around the world in a matter of minutes.
People are fascinated with CNN, FOX, MSNBC, the Internet and other media outlets that give us information when we want it. People visit various Web sites to get information and learn what is happening in their community, state, country and world. Even the Courier posts information online for readers' review.
Consequently, churches are coming to realize the value of the Internet in getting the word out. They recognize the Internet is a valuable resource to inform, encourage, inspire and invite people to share with them.
According to Minister Richard Mansel, having a Web site is a great ministry asset.
"The mass media is becoming more important in reaching people. The Web is a remarkable thing. It is an identification and teaching resource," Mansel said.
The minister is the leader of the Church of Christ in Allenhurst. He has served as the church's leader for almost two years and has been in ministry for 12 years, serving several churches.  
Church of Christ in Allenhurst's Web site is cofcallenhurst.com. It has been in operation for about one month.
"In a military community with military members, deployed members can visit the Web site and keep up with what is going on in the church," Mansel said. "Posting sermons on the Internet also helps those who are sick and shut-in."
Mansel's sermons, links to articles he writes for the online magazine, Forth Right, Bible study links, activities of the church, and other materials are on the church's site.
The minister also maintains a web log, "blog," with the Courier's coastalcourier.com and with preacherpages.net, posting different writings about the culture.
"I have received a lot of hits on my web log. Writing is my passion," Mansel said. "I have these words on the inside that need to come out."
Mansel said a church can get a free Web site.
"You can start by checking the Internet. So much is available to people," he said. "Just about everybody is online. The Internet is the way of the future."
He recommends a church Web site include its purpose and plans.
"The Web site should be active and updated. Churches can also post CDs and DVDs of sermons. The Internet allows you to present your sermons to the masses. Some people enjoying reading the sermon, listening to it on audio, or watching the sermon," he said.
Members of the Church of Christ in Allenhurst are active in evangelism. In addition to Internet outreach, once a month, they go door-to-door and have a visitation program. Their newsletter, House to House, is distributed every other month to residents of Allenhurst. Additionally, the church sponsors a television program along with other area Church of Christ congregations. The program is aired on WSAV at 7 a.m. on Sunday.  
"We are developing plans to reach the many people who are coming into the community because of the military build up," Mansel said.
 

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