In the Newspaper!
Hey! The following article (and above image) were published in the West Australian Newspaper today, so I thought I would share it with you. Praise God for the way He is working online!
Paddock is parish of millions
Mark Brown is an Anglican priest who has embraced the future, ministering to millions of followers on his Facebook page from a rusty old worker’s caravan in a Narrogin paddock.
Fed up with people abandoning mainstream churches, the Rev. Brown, 38, took a groundbreaking step and followed them out of the parishes and on to networking site Facebook to spread the Christian message.
A recent Christian Research Association report revealed a large decline in church attendance. Only 16 per cent of 1718 Australians surveyed at the end of last year attended a religious service at least once a month, down from 23 per cent in 1993.
“Where are people?” the Rev. Brown said. “They’re not at church, they’re on Facebook and so I’ve said ‘well, that’s where I’m going to go’.
“I’m not going to sit in an old, dusty church building waiting for people to come to me. I’m going to go to them and that has been my drive for about four years.”
The father of four is a world pioneer in Christian engagement online after setting up a church in virtual world Second Life several years ago. He has a Bible-teaching blog but his focus is Facebook, creating pages dedicated to scripture postings, discussion and support.
Just one page in his “Facebook ministry”, facebook.com/The Bible, has 3.3 million followers, 4000 discussions and last week had 700,000 online interactions. He often receives 200 responses within 10 seconds of posting a comment on the page.
“An average church has 20 to 40 people,” he said. “I’m running a very large ministry touching about four to five million people and growing by 250,000 to 300,000 a week.
“In a typical day I would get 50 to 100 private messages – anything from ‘I’m suicidal’ to ‘My cat’s lost, can you pray for me?’ If I were to make the determination that I need to have that face-to-face contact, my ministry would be dead in the water in minutes. Many of the people I work very closely with I will never meet and that doesn’t bother me at all.”
To purists shocked by the thought of online confessions, the Rev. Brown said at least people were addressing their issues. He told serious cases to see a doctor, pastor or police.
“They’re not going to church. They’re looking for meaning and answers in the context they feel most comfortable, and that’s Facebook,” he said.
The Rev. Brown, who was chief executive of a New Zealand charity until returning to his home State in March, will work from his in-laws’ paddock for a year while starting a not-for-profit organisation to oversee his work online.
He is content in his modest office; just don’t mess with its internet cable.
Picture by Mogens Johansen/West Australian.
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Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan
The portion for today is: Ezekiel 31-36; Luke 21-22
To access the complete plan for the year click here: click