Church Newsletter For February & March, 2004
Well, folks, I had hoped to have this newsletter out earlier this month, but I simply wasn't able to get to it until now, so we'll let this one do double duty as both the February and March newsletter.
You may remember, for the Christmas newsletter I tried something different, and used pictures of our members as the newsletter graphics. There was such a positive response that I'm doing it again for this newsletter. You'll probably recognize most of the names of the folks pictured here as regular participants of our Bulletin Board fellowship. Earlier this month I posted a message on the bulletin board asking members who weren't able to send in pics for the Christmas newsletter to send them in for this newsletter. As you can see, our members once again responded, and I'm very happy to be able to include their photographs here. I know our members enjoy "meeting" each other this way, and it's always a joy to me to be able to "put faces" to the names of members I've come to think of as my family.
Announcements like that one are only a small part of what you're missing if you're not participating in our Bulletin Board fellowship. The bulletin board is where our members bring both prayer requests and praise reports. It's where we support and encourage each other, share in one another's hardships, and rejoice in one another's victories. It's where new members introduce themselves to the other members of our church, and the first place long-time members return to after they've been absent for a while. I'm also very pleased to be able to say that the bulletin board fellowship is finally starting to represent what I've always felt it should be. I've never felt that I needed to be "front and center" of every part of our church, especially the bulletin board, as I feel it's the members who make our fellowship special, and I've always had faith and confidence in the talents and abilities of our members. And the bulletin board is where our members really shine and show the quality of their characters. It always brings great joy to my heart to visit the bulletin board and see our members interacting and supporting and encouraging each other so much. You're all doing a great job, and I'm very proud of each of you, and grateful to have you as members of our church.
As you know from the Christmas newsletter, last year we had to stop issuing degrees through our School Of Biblical Studies. I know this was a great disappointment to many who had been working on the lesson programs with the goal of earning their faith oriented degree. Well, I'm very happy to be able to announce that I've taken steps that allow us once again to issue degrees to those completing the lesson courses available through our school. We're even able to offer the Honorary Doctor Of Divinity Degree, which was always very popular with our members. So, if you haven't visited the school recently, be sure and drop by and view the programs we have available. And remember, you don't have to pursue a degree to use our lessons; they're available for study for your personal and spiritual edification at absolutely no charge. Nearly all of our lessons were written by our very own members, and I know you'll find them rewarding to study.
Many of our members have their own Christian web sites, and I'm frequently asked for sources of content for those sites. I'm happy to share with you a nifty little feature I've recently added to our own Bulletin Board, and which I feel many of our members may like to add to their own sites. It's a "pop-up" style Bible Search Program, that consists of nothing more than a couple of lines of code that results in a "Search The Bible" link like this one: . To see how it works, go ahead and click on the link. Neat, eh? If you'd like to add this to your site, Click Here for full details.
Another thing I'm frequently asked about is how Christian webmasters can make their sites financially self-sustaining. Of course, there are many affiliate programs available on the internet, but it's difficult to find one that truly suitable for a Christian web site, especially one geared toward evangelism or ministry. I'd like to share with you one called Crown Of Thorns. They supply hand crafted items directly from the Holy Land - items like olive wood crosses, bottled oils, even water from the Jordan River. These are products that any Christian might be interested in purchasing, and many of them could also be useful to Ministers and Evangelists. I really like their line of products, and I had no problem signing our church site up as an affiliate. They have a liberal affiliate program, where you earn a commission on any products sold through the link on your site, and, if someone signs up as an affiliate through your link, you earn a commission on any sales they make as well. I would encourage any Christian webmaster who is looking for a good affiliate program to check into what they have to offer. Your participation can be as simple as placing a banner on your site, or, if you're more "hands-on", you might make your own "Crown of Thorns affiliate page" similar to the one I added to our catalog, Crosses, Oils, And Other Products From The Holy Land. Another thing I really like about their program is that they're pretty new, and there aren't many affiliates signed up yet. For instance, when I signed up, I was affiliate number 5. So you know you'll be offering products that aren't already "all over" the internet.
Back to matters concerning our own church, I'd like to welcome back those members who've returned to our fellowship after something of an absence. I won't embarrass anyone by mentioning names, but the past couple of months we've seen the return of several members who I hadn't heard from in quite a while, and it's wonderful to have you back with us. Be sure and visit our Bulletin Board and meet some of the member's who've joined since you were last here. I know they'll enjoy meeting you as much as you'll enjoy meeting them. And speaking of long-time members, I'd like to mention that February marked our 7th anniversary as a church! We first started on February 7th, 1997, which is ancient history in internet terms. We're now officially in our 8th year of evangelizing Christ on the web!
Well, folks, that's about going to do it for this issue of the newsletter. In closing, I'd like to thank again everyone who sent in their photographs for our newsletter. It truly is a treat for me to actually "see" so many folks I've only corresponded with previously. I would like to do something similar for future newsletters, so if you haven't sent in your picture previously, and would like to be part of a future newsletter, do please e-mail in your picture. If you don't have a digital picture, you can "snail-mail" one in to me and I'll scan it for you. I know our other members would love to see you in a newsletter. In the meantime, do be sure and visit the Bulletin Board and participate in our fellowship. We truly do have a great bunch of folks there. As always, thank you all for participating in our church. Without you, we wouldn't have made it this long, and we wouldn't be the wonderful fellowship we've developed into. Thank you for being part of our church, and for being here for each other. And thank you for reading our newsletter. May God bless you and yours, and may His richest blessings fill your every need. God bless you.
Yours in Christ,