How to Know Your Target Audience

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Social Media professional, Giselle Aguiar, says, “You need to look at everything objectively. Step back and look at it through the eyes of your target market.” 

When using social media, as not just a tool for business, but as a tool to disciple and spread the Gospel, you need to listen to her advice. Look at her suggestions here.

As a writer, you are taught to know your audience. This advice is applicable in life, planting churches, mission work, etc. Knowing your audience as a believer means following, mentoring, and praying for them. Shape your audience with the truth from a place of compassion. You can’t share the truth with them unless they let you in their community.

Have YOU ever listened to unsolicited advice?

Your blog or social media is an extension of your livingroom. Make it a great visit so they return. 

 

Getting Into Their Hearts and Heads

“In the eighteenth century, the Enlightenment spread across Europe…the skeptics of the Enlightenment questioned every aspect of thought and practice in life, including philosophy and religion. (10%, Kindle)”

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When considering the mission field (i.e. online ministry), it’s important to get into the head and heart of the unbeliever.

The Ten Most Common Objections to Christianity by Alex McFarland briefly goes over the ten most common objections, like Jesus’ resurrection. What struck me was how many theories existed to disprove Jesus’ empty tomb. In order not to believe, people really stretched their imaginations.

Once again, I am convinced the reason to not believe is buried beneath pride or the scar tissue of the battered heart. A great book to read whether you are a believer or not.

How Do I Handle Everything I Do?

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Learning to be an expert in time-management has become essential in the process of becoming a missionary while I train and raise support. If you want to do something, you’ll find the time to do it.

Like Nike said, Just do it. 

You don’t just say, “I’m going to go for a run.”

You go to the bedroom, slip on your running clothes, and lace up your shoes. You grab your head phones, pick your music, and leave the house. You run and you come home.

Check. 

Done.

On to the next thing. 

You have ten minutes in the bathroom. Do some social networking.

Your next blog is 300 words. Write it during morning devotions. Let people see your Christian walk by showing them what it looks like.

Keep a notebook nearby or use Evernote to record ideas to build your online platform, a ministry, or your church.

Like running, the health benefits don’t kick in unless you actually do it. That’s how I manage my time, run three websites, and work a full time job, carefully balancing work, rest, and play every week until I raise full support. In case your interested, I use Google Task manager and Google Calendar. The tools of the trade help me stay on track.

What do you use? 

Being a Successful Servant

“Successful servants of the Lord have relied on the work of the spirit and intuitively understood how to frame their message to influence people to want to transform their lives and communities.”

– Intercultural Communication for Christian Ministry, 6% (kindle)

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In this section, the book cautions us not to use knowledge for shallow and temporarily transformed communities, but reminds us that change is always the work of the Holy Spirit. For long-term change, a missionary must have a good prayer life.

I’m reminded of all the great books out there from self-help to strategies to elevate your online platform. We first must pray, then listen.

The book reminds us, “Christians who are committed to ministry are prone to be too quick to speak and too slow to listen. We rush in to answer the questions (assuming them to be the same as ours) before we know what questions our audience is asking. (5%, kindle)” 

Before communities online can be transformed, we need to listen to their questions, know which ones to answer, and which ones can wait. Be their friend first. Let the Holy Spirit do His work via prayer.

Devotions: When I Was Single… @Biblegateway

“The book of Leviticus begins with one of the Bibles basic assumptions: we must worship and serve God with the resources and possessions he entrusts to us.” – Page 123, NIV Stewardship Study Bible

Day 3: Living Generously Study

Read Leviticus 1-4

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When I was single, I had no money. My tithing was service. In reality, if I had been a good steward of my finances, not spending foolishly, I would have discovered what I know now–there is contentment in living on faith. 

So while I was partially correct that an offering to the Lord can be service, I missed the point on those stewardship sermons. I missed the blessings of giving beyond what I thought I was capable. God gives us what we need and asks us to give from His generosity.

A New Kind of Writer’s Group

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While I still review books at TRC Magazine and CMI (even here sometimes), I have learned that, when it comes to book reviewing, Christians are just as cut-throat about their books as non-believers. Social networking to build up my name and followers just to have the opportunity to publish a book, dried me out.

Like the brown fields of Chino Valley in summer, I dried out beneath the heat of the game between Amazon algorithms, Indie writers sporting an attitude, and making the craft of writing around the sale of the book. If you are a believer, I asked myself, why would you mistreat others because they didn’t like your book? Why would you write a book just to see your name on the cover? Why would you get into writing as a believer and not treat it as the mission field?

So I created a different kind of writers group in partnership with a fellow writer. It does not replace the writers group you are currently in, but enhances it. I wanted a place void of marketing, void of the usual writer walking in with a stack of self-published books asking everyone to review it, and full of the joys and support a small group brings.

You can come to this group with prayer requests, enjoy technology support, and get a critique for all kinds of writing from micro-content on social media to the dream novel; from a missionary looking to write better letters to a blogger who just wants to tell a better story. All are welcome. This group is a place of rest and empowerment to bring writers back to the root of why they write.

Because Matthew 28:19-20 says we must.

READ MORE

A Reason of Anticipation

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“I go to this class called Beatbox in Nashville, and it is really hard. It’s an hour long and as soon as it starts, I anticipate its ending. From the first minute, I can’t wait for the class to be over so we can do the cool down song and get out of there. Working out is hard, especially for someone who has little to no upper body strength. But you know what happens between the beginning of Beatbox and the end of Beatbox? Beatbox. The actual exercising part happens. Without the middle part, there would be no work out at all. There would be no reason to anticipate the ending because no work would have been done. There would be no results, no reason to feel proud of myself, no healthier me.” READ MORE

Waiting is an unavoidable part of missions. Right from the beginning, God teaches you patience. He helps you accept that the results you long to see won’t happen immediately. Missions online is not any different in some aspects than missions on foreign soil.

You must first gain the trust of the people group you are trying to befriend and mentor before they will accept truth.

Social Media, like face-to-face relationships, takes time.

Respect Tradition and Explore Change

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Our God is a creative God. If He created this world in all its wonderful strangeness, why wouldn’t He, for instance, create different kinds of ministries that use different, but not unbiblical methods, for reaching people for Christ?

It really depends on the culture of people you are trying to reach to decide which method to employ. You must, “respect tradition, explore change,” and allow for a ministry to grow, adopting different methods, but staying on the Biblical narrow path in your theology. Adjust to the people you are trying to reach and influence.

The words, “Respect tradition; explore change,” came from an old Nora Roberts murder mystery on a night when distraction became my solace. Like a pastor said at a church I worship at, I also look for good theology in things I enjoy.

In the novel, the character was talking about the wine business. This sentence applies also to ministry work. Social media and mobile technology, while not brand new, thinking of it as a missionary tool is new to the church. People take an “either/or” approach to ministry, and that’s extreme.

I don’t read Nora Roberts at all, except for this one novel. She’s too racy. I like good writing and good story. A couple of cuss words don’t bother me if it goes along with character. This particular novel gets the creative juices going when my writing feels dry. It helps to read almost every genre in order to understand how to tell story, especially to share the Gospel with unbelievers in a language they understand.