One Year Later

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been a year since we first launched our Internet Campus at Faith Promise Church. Since then, we’ve seen God work in a powerful way, and we’ve heard many stories of lives being impacted as a result. Although I haven’t included the numbers for the snow weekend where our church met only online (about 750 connections during peak times for each service), this graph does show the increase in people attending online over the past year.

This coming weekend we will have seven performances of Sacred Storm: Final Exam on our physical campus and six broadcasts online. I pray that over this weekend we will break new ground and see record numbers of people attend online and make important spiritual next step decisions.

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Worshipping Together, Despite the Snow

Less than a year ago, Faith Promise took a new step of faith and started an Internet Campus. This weekend, because of ice and snow, we were forced to cancel our services on our Pellissippi Campus, and all of our weekend services happened exclusively online.

Here’s how it all played out: On Thursday, the weather report predicted massive amounts of ice and snow for the area, and since Pastor Chris already had the message ready to go, we set up cameras in the Worship Center, and he preached to four cameras and an empty room.

After he was done, our video guy, Matt James, edited the video to include the weekend announcements as well as several songs from a recent Wednesday night worship service. All of this was done before the weather got bad – just in case the weather forecast was right.

When the ice made our hill-top campus inaccessible, and we canceled all Pellissippi Campus services, Brad Roberts helped me rewire the iCampus for six worship services.

The services online went very well, and Pastor Chris got to experience the iCampus for the first time. It was really great to see he and his wife take an active role in the chat room over the weekend.

Online numbers are difficult to judge since each video connection likely represents multiple people – especially when people are snowed in at home. From what I can tell, I’d guess that at least one third of our congregation (and possibly over half) connected online over the weekend.

Crazy stuff! Who would have ever guessed that a whole congregation would be worshiping together online?

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In Case You Haven’t Noticed…

I’m a rather huge fan of the Faith Promise Internet Campus. We’ve added a third service at 9 pm, and this online ministry continues to gain momentum.

The ministry happening online continues to blow me away. Just this weekend:

  • People were connected from four countries outside the United States (Canada, the Philippines, Nicaragua, and El Salvador).
  • One family connected from their hospital room the day after their new baby was born. (Yay, Crass family!)
  • One family connected while traveling on vacation to Disney. (I think to make the rest of us jealous.)
  • Our worship staff connected while traveling home after the roads were closed on their way back from a mission trip in NYC.
  • I spoke on the phone with someone who gave his life to Christ three weeks ago while watching the iCampus and now wants to follow up by being baptized.

And that’s just the stories I heard about this weekend. Many others attend anonymously until they are ready to take the next spiritual step.

My favorite part of the iCampus is that although the staff has provided this tool, it’s people leveraging their social networks via email, Facebook, and Twitter that has spread the word. If you haven’t already, you’re help letting people know about this would be appreciated and could even make an eternal difference in someone’s life. Just make sure that you include http:// so that the link will be clickable, and posting right before or during an online service is the most helpful.

To those of you who already play a part in spreading the word and who serve online as volunteers… thanks so much! You guys rock!

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Internet Campus News

Internet Campus Impact

I love being the pastor of our Internet Campus, and I love the people who gather there each week. It’s an eclectic group from all over the United States (as well as a few from other parts of the world), and I get to listen to the stories as we see people’s lives impacted by God. It’s amazing.

Some people who log on there are just checking out our church before they visit. Others are attending because they’re sick, home with a new baby, or home bound. Some attend because they are Deaf, and we offer ASL interpreted worship services. Even though it’s different from traditional methods, God is meeting people there.

Let me give you one recent example:

Last week I made a follow up phone call to a young woman who lives out of state but attends online each week and wants to start serving through our Internet Campus.* After a short conversation with her, I realized that she hadn’t committed her life to Christ, and I got to lead her to the Lord. Since then, we’ve connected a couple of times, she’s going to be visiting Faith Promise over the Christmas holidays, and I’m scheduled to baptize her during the service when we do the recording for iCampus. Amazing.

While some are suspicious and fearful of this kind of ministry, we see both the current impact and the future potential. Because of that (and a group of people who have stepped up to the plate in service), I’m very pleased to announce that beginning this Sunday, our iCampus will now feature three service times: 10 am, 11:45 am, and 9:00 pm.

I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Please join with me in praying that God would continue to bless this online ministry – to impact lives for His Glory alone.

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*In case you don’t know, we have online greeters, prayer volunteers, administrators, and soon we’ll have our first online small group. There’s room for more, so shoot me an email or drop a comment on here, if you’re interested.

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Towards a Deaf iCampus

deaf_video_recording

Thanks to the Hurculean efforts of Matt James, and the support of our great tech ministry at Faith Promise, we’re still on course to add an additional feed to the Internet Campus this weekend for the Deaf community.

This is a shot of our recording room. The monitors in the foreground are for recording both of the video streams. The board is for the sound recording, and the monitors in the top right are what the camera director uses to select camera shots. (In case you can’t tell, things are a bit of a mess right now.)

PS – In addition to the new video feed, I think we’ll also see improvements to the audio and video quality online this week, and video on the iPhone should be happening soon as well.

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Super-Secret Project

big-time secret stuff

Right now we’re working on a big-time secret project that I couldn’t be more excited about.  I can’t say anything yet, but we will be making an announcement soon.

For those of you who are so kind to visit this blog regularly, I want to give you a few  little hints (not so that you’ll start guessing, but so that you’ll be praying with me):

  1. It involves the Internet Campus.
  2. As far as I know, we’re the first church to do this.
  3. There’s potential to reach a lot of people for Christ.
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It Has Officially Begun

Well, the Internet Campus has gone great these past two weekends. Here’s a bit of recap:

  • Last Sunday, over 144 people attended a web broadcast of Sacred Storm.
  • People from three countries and 20 states joined us.
  • Today, over 60 people joined us for our worship service at 10 am.
  • People from nine states joined us.
  • Several people connected with one another in the chat area.
  • A couple of people requested one-on-one prayer from iCampus volunteers.

If all of that wasn’t cool enough, I heard a great story tonight from a couple that’s been attending our Knoxville campus for about a month now. As we were talking, I mentioned the iCampus, and the wife said, “Oh, I was on there this morning.” I was surprised to hear that, but I was even more surprised about what she said next. She said, “When I realized what the Pastor was preaching about, I decided that my family needed to be there, so I logged off, told everybody to get ready, and we came to the 11:45 service.”

I can’t wait to hear more stories over the next months! We are doing ministry in very exciting times!

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