I am sitting in a room full of Christian internet innovators in the beautiful Texas hill country at the GCIA conference at Laity Lodge. It is beautiful remote location on the Frio River where there is not cell phone coverage, but they got wifi installed in the conference hall especially for this conference. I am learning lots about the creativity and diverse strategies and uses of the internet by different Christian groups around the world. Some of my favorite sites that I have seen so far include http://www.biblegamezone.com/, created by Norwegians in an effort to offer a complete children’s Bible via computer games; http://www.topchretien.com/ based in France who are applying some interesting e-vangelism strategies via a number of sites and partnerships including www.GodRev.com; also http://www.erf.de/ a German web site that has launched "the Jesus experiment" as a sort of online alpha course to facilitate discovery about Christianity and many others. I have also had fascinating conversations with people from Brazil, Russia and Canada on their visions and work online.
Yesterday was a full day. We heard from the new CEO of GodTube yesterday which has grown in leaps and bounds in the last 14 months since it went public. News flash, GodTube is going through major re-branding and structuring and will be re-launching itself in January 2009 as "Tangle" as a global Christian SMS site. It will be a MySpace/Facebook hybrid that will provide options for individuals, ministries, churches groups, bands and artists and expand to include discussion forums, podcasting as well as host the prayer wall and a new feature an interactive "virtual bible' that will allow for tagging and commenting on individual verses. GodTube will still exist as the video sharing section of the site, so it sounds like interesting times are ahead for that group.
I gave a talk on my research on the rise of Christian community online and its implications for the Church and Christian ministries. I was also interviewed by the editor in chief of Alliance Presse from Switzerland for an article on how the internet is and will impact Evangelical Christianity in Europe. More ministry case studies and presentations today...It was a five hour drive from TAMU to here, but it has definitely been worth the trip.