Reaching The Online Generation

An Initiative of CityTeam Ministries

The Lightning Rod Principle

Posted on | October 21, 2008 |

Editor’s Note:  I’m sorry for the irregularity of posting.  I’ve been traveling like crazy the last couple of months.  Writing is difficult when you are hardly in the hotel room and, when you are, you just want to get some sleep!  The end is in sight, though, and I hope to resume regular posting pretty soon.

If we want to reach the Online Generation, we can’t forget what I call, ‘The Lightning Rod Principle.’

Lighting rods attract and redirect lightning.  But while they sit on roofs all over the world, wind blows against them, bugs rest on them, and rain hits them.  Yet we wouldn’t call them ‘Wind Rods,’ ‘Bug Rods,’ or ‘Rain Rods.’  They don’t attract these things.  They attract lightning.  That is why they are called ‘Lightning Rods.’

Similarly, Christian Websites generally attract Christians.  Sure, occasional outsiders stop by to check things out.  A few might even choose to follow Christ.  But, by and large, they attract Christians.  Outsiders generally won’t go to a Christian website out of curiousity.  Most Christian websites, from an outsider point of view, aren’t that interesting.

If you want to have conversations with outsiders, you have to set up websites that interest them.  Set up a tech podcast, a photography website, or a fantasy football league.  Then you will attract - and hopefull build community with - people who are passionate about tech, photography or fantasy football.  Some of them will be outsiders.  Some will be Christians.  But the ratio of outsiders to Christians will much greater on those kind of websites than any Christian website.  (The conversations will be less slanted, too.)

Here is  the other thing about lightning rods: they direct lightning into the ground. In fact, if lightning rods didn’t redirect lightning, they wouldn’t be worth anything, would they?  Similarly, websites have to do something with people they attract.  If they don’t do anything with their traffic, then they are kind of pointless.  In this day and age, they should direct people into community.  Christian sites should direct Christians into online community.  Tech websites direct techies into community.  If websites don’t guide their traffic into conversations that lead into, or tap into, community, they they are kind of pointless.

So, who is your website going to attract?  And what are you doing with the people you attract?  If you want to encourage interaction between Christians and outsiders, is a Christian website the best way to do it?

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    Who is God?' was one of the top three sentences googled in 2007, according to Google Zeitgeist. According to Alexa, the top two religious websites are Muslim, with BibleGateway coming in at a close third. The Online Generation is spiritual. They are seeking. And the church is the last place they would go to find spiritual fulfillment. This site is dedicated to those walking with The Online Generation and living lives of obedience to all the commands of Jesus Christ.
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