Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Call for Creative Thinking

We're taking a fresh look at our blog for Christian artists and we're wondering what types of things you'd like to see included.

What types of information would you find most helpful in your personal growth and ministry?

We will be expanding book reviews -- what kinds of books are you most interested in and which authors?

We want to serve you as you serve the Lord, so let us know!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Thoughtful Christian Blog

The Thoughtful Christian, the retail arm of the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, has unveiled a new blog: Gathering Voices: Faithful Conversations featuring a respected panel of regular bloggers as well as frequent guest voices. The panel of bloggers includes Lynne Baab, Erin Lane Beam, Adam Copeland, Greg Garrett, David Maxwell, Donald K. McKim, Laura Pickrell, and Jana Riess.

Oikeo Music Magazine Gets Makeover

A new look and focus is in the works for Oikeo Music's worship and arts magazine. If you would like to include information about your organization, contact editor Melissa Saulnier at

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Book Review: Netcasters: Using the Internet to Make Fishers of Men by Craig von Buseck

Extending a Biblical Metaphor into the Digital Age
By Lauren Yarger
The tools of the trade and even the scope of the catch might have changed since Jesus shared his promise to make His followers fishers among men, but the principal is the same and thanks to Craig von Buseck’s latest book "Netcasters: How to Use the Internet to Make Fishers of Men" (2010 B&H Publishing Group), the metaphor gets extended into the digital age.

In "Netcasters," Dr. von Buseck, ministries director for, compiles a thorough study of the Internet and how individuals and churches can use it to reach out. If you don’t know what the terms blog, SEO, Twitter or podcast mean, this book might be over your head, but if you already have a web presence, “Netcasters” will help you expand it and use it for outreach purposes, even if you’ve been online for a while. I’m pretty knowledgeable, but von Buseck offered a number of examples that I’d only briefly touched on, or hadn’t heard of at all, so it was very helpful to learn more.

Von Buseck sees the internet as a tool – just one of many that have been used over the centuries – to communicate the Gospel. He provides practical warnings about some of the dangers out there in cyberspace, but his excitement about the medium is evident throughout.

“The wonderful thing about the internet is that once the language barriers are overcome, it becomes possible for any believer to reach one-fourth of the world’s population from a laptop on their dining room table! And now, with mobile digital devices in the hands of three billion people worldwide … any net caster is potentially connected with half of the people living on planet earth!”

Social networks like Facebook are just communities of people, von Buseck explains, and after all, that’s how we reach people for Christ – through the communities of which we are part. He offers practical tips for setting up a web page or posting on a blog and even how to improve your SEO (what makes it easier for people to find you on the internet) for the best “fish finding.” The fish/net metaphor is continued in the chapter titles like “Weaving the Nets: Building Your Internet Presence” or “The Fishing Village: Who’s Catching Them?”

The book isn’t just a lecture on how to work the internet, however. Von Buseck uses statistics and interviews with people like Tony Whittaker, coordinator of Internet Evangelism Day and editor of the web evangelism bulletin , David Brice of Hollywood and Christy Talbert of to broaden the perspective. He shares stories of how people have found faith through contact with people online and it’s quite fascinating.

“All indications are that we are at a dramatic crossroads at the dawn of this new millennium – and much of the impetus for this revolution can be connected to the opening of conversations worldwide through the internet.”

If you want your ministry or if your church wants to reach the most people possible, “Netcasters” is a must-read. You can purchase it at

Follow von Buseck’s popular Church Watch blog at

(An online review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.)

Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."



Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at

Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light ( and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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