About This Blog

Friday, May 20, 2011

Book Review: "Netcasters"

TITLE: NETCASTERS - using the Internet to make fishers of men
Author: Craig von Buseck
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2011, (192 pages).

This is a book that bridges the Christian's biblical mandate to reach the world for God, with the new opportunities and avenues of outreach. It shows readers the way to make evangelism methods relevant. In a nutshell, the author believes that Internet Evangelism (IE) is the new normal as far as evangelism is concerned. IE is here to stay. One needs to meet the people where they are. The Church needs to speak the language of the modern population. The Christian needs to be adept and versatile in an environment that is heavily influence by technology and new social media.

'Netcasting' is essentially reaching people for Christ using the Internet. The author describes netcasters as:
"people who share Christ on the Internet - are part of the air forces, which include bloggers, people with affinity sites, people who work on chat and message board forums, television ministries, radio ministries and so on." (102)

The book is structured with 12 chapters. Beginning with a call to 'cast an electronic net,' the author then works on explaining his premise for the call to do more, not less of IE. He then works on the biblical case for doing evangelism on the Internet, saying that it is a 'calling' for the modern Church to do. One needs to harness the opportunities of the Internet (21). He provides tips for equipping one for IE (32). He suggests IE methods to meet people (42). He goes through a wide range of tools, from Conversations 1.0 (Email, message boards), Conversations 2.0 (chats, online mentoring), to modern Social Media networks. There are loads of material here and readers will find many rich offerings of all kinds. The author weaves in both the old technologies and the new. He ends with a call for the Christians to be equipped for the new era, to become Netcasters via the 'fishing village.'

My Comments
This is an important book for the Christian public. It is also a crucial read for Church leaders who downplay Internet evangelism. Anyone who misses the IE opportunity will be missing not only new ways to reach out, but leaving out a big chance to touch all lives in new ways. IE allows one to connect both local and global. It has a wide reach. The author gives readers a lot of tools and tips to learn from. It is a treasure cove of information, of IE resources, of primers in social networking, and Internet usage. The author is an expert in media and information for the masses. He understands how information is flowing, and the mind of the up and coming generation. The old is past. The new has come.

I believe that Netcasters need to 'connect' first and move toward a 'conversation' before even dreaming about conversion. The tools in the book provide a welcome primer for anyone desiring to venture into IE. It is not enough just to know how to use the tools. One needs to exercise discernment when and when NOT to use the new media. For this reason, the author appear much too optimistic to the point of elevating IE beyond its realistic level. I understand his excitement and passion about the opportunities the Internet has afforded. However, the downsides of IE have not been covered as much. As I read the book, it appears more like a passing mention rather than a sustained argument for practicing discernment. I can understand the convictions of the author. Perhaps, the book will present a more balanced perspective if there is a co-author, a newbie or someone who holds conventional outreach on one hand, and preparing to use IE on the other hand.

Ratings: 3.75 stars of 5.


No comments:

Post a Comment