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    Should We Move To Facebook?

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    Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  Paeter on May 9th 2018, 10:12 am

    Been a little while since this topic was on the table, but Tim and I are going to be talking over ideas for a redesign of the CGC site soon so it seems like a good time to revisit this.

    What would you guys think if we moved our community interaction over to facebook?

    In my mind, the downsides have always been that posts can't be as long, which can limit the depth of conversation. (I pretty much hate the shallow nature of most internet talk. An obligation to brevity makes it worse.) And in forums you can also organize threads and topics so people can find what they're interested in.

    Of course with facebook, I think the frequency of engagement might go up and growth might happen much more readily, since people wouldn't have to create a new account if they already have a facebook account. And most threads here are active for a bit and then usually not revived later. So the value of topical organization might not be that high. Facebook is also just a regular part of many people's lives.

    I'm not confident there is a way to do both effectively. So if we did move to facebook, I would probably close down these forums. Honestly, that's a hard thing to think about, and not something I'd pull the trigger on quickly even if the desire to move is the overwhelming vote. But if facebook would be better for the health and future of our community, I want to be persuaded!

    What do you guys think? I've set up a poll and would appreciate both your vote and your feedback.


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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  jorowi on May 9th 2018, 12:29 pm

    I'm for moving to Facebook over continuing to use Forum Motion for a few reasons:

    1. I think it would allow for more "organic" growth. People on FB would see it as a suggested group.
    2. It's easier to invite people to an FB group because they don't have to a.) leave the platform and b.) create another account.
    3. It would be easier to share content from the group to FB.
    4. It would be 1000000000x easier to post from a smartphone.

    Now, something else you may want to consider is moving to Discourse instead of Facebook. This is a move I would favor over moving to Facebook. At this point, I'd prefer almost anything over Forum Motion.

    Discourse is open source so it's free. Your hosting provider may already offer an "easy install" but it can also be installed manually. The only additional cost to CGC would be related to hosting (if any). With this option, you'd be able to use a sub-domain like forums.christiangeekcentral.com and it wouldn't need to be forwarded.

    Discourse.org offers hosting for as little as $10/month with a $99 setup fee. You need to scroll down through the FAQs to find this. I'm not sure if you're paying for Forum Motion or not but if you are, this may be a viable option too.


    Last edited by jorowi on May 9th 2018, 12:35 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added hyperlinks)


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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  AdamCollings on May 9th 2018, 6:50 pm

    Interesting thoughts.
    Not sure I have a strong-enough opinion either way without giving it more consideration.

    One of the one hand, I'm quite happy with the forums as they stand.
    On the other hand, John raises some very concrete benefits of a Facebook group (definitely not a Facebook page)

    The main disadvantage I see of Facebook would be we wouldn't have threaded discussion, but I guess a Facebook post with comments is not so dissimilar to a forum thread. It could work.

    I just wrote a big analysis of how Discourse would change the dynamic of our interaction. Then I realised I was thinking of Discord, not Discourse. Embarassed

    I'll ponder all this for a while.



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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  Paeter on May 10th 2018, 8:41 am

    jorowi wrote:

    Now, something else you may want to consider is moving to Discourse instead of Facebook. This is a move I would favor over moving to Facebook.

    Well, I definitely don't have the budget to add a $10 monthly expense anytime soon. Forum Motion has been free, so we'd need to replace it with a free alternative. But do your list of 4 facebook benefits also apply to Discourse? I'm not getting a sense of its benefits over Facebook.


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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  jorowi on May 10th 2018, 9:30 am

    Paeter wrote:Well, I definitely don't have the budget to add a $10 monthly expense anytime soon. Forum Motion has been free, so we'd need to replace it with a free alternative. But do your list of 4 facebook benefits also apply to Discourse? I'm not getting a sense of its benefits over Facebook.

    Discourse CAN be free. I could install it for you. The challenge is keeping it updated but a monthly/quarterly update cycle would keep things humming.

    That being said, here are the advantages of using Discourse over Facebook:

    1. Threaded discussions.
    2. You control the platform.
    3. No nosy Facebook tracking (unless you enable sign-on with FB).
    4. Search works better.
    5. It would contribute to the SEO of ChristianGeekCentral.com
    6. No ads (unless you want to continue using them).
    7. People who do not have (or want) Facebook accounts can participate.

    Read more from someone who moved from FB groups to Discourse here: https://blog.discourse.org/2017/03/moving-from-facebook-groups-to-discourse/

    There are some challenges we'd face moving to either platform:

    1. Discussion migration: Moving to FB would completely nuke every discussion here. I suppose you could freeze the forum for archival purposes and reference back to it. Theoretically, we should be able to migrate from Forum Motion to Discourse it would just have to be investigated and carefully implemented.
    2. User migration: Again, with FB it ain't happening. Users here would need to join the group. With Discourse we MAY be able to migrate users but passwords would need to be reset, etc.
    3. We'd all have to adjust to a new platform.

    Something to think about:

    You could always start a Facebook group and run it in parallel to this forum. You can assign group administrators (just like you have here) that can help with maintaining the group. If you find there is more activity and growth with a group on Facebook you can always make the switch. You may find out that users will naturally gravitate towards one platform or the other.


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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  Paeter on May 11th 2018, 11:22 am

    Hmm. Lots to think about there, John. Thanks.

    Please keep your thoughts and feedback coming here, everybody!

    I'm far from decided on this and still not leaning in a particular direction. I need to hear from you!


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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  AdamCollings on May 13th 2018, 6:52 pm

    jorowi wrote:
    5. It would contribute to the SEO of ChristianGeekCentral.com

    That's a really good point.
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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  fxruizx on May 15th 2018, 12:50 pm

    Been too long since I chimed in, but after Paeter brought this up on the podcast, thought it was a good time to Very Happy.

    Arrow In short I think moving to FB is the way to go for stimulating overall community conversation and probably growth too.

    Having only heard about Discourse from this post, I don't have any input regarding that, but I would like to know what Adam was going to say about Discord Very Happy . I actually prefer the way Discord handles community interaction EXCEPT for not having threaded conversations Mad . And since having topical discussion is fairly key it seems to how the CGC community interacts, I don't think discord would work.

    Thank you Paeter and Tim for thinking through this and trying to do what's best for the community!
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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  mindspike on May 16th 2018, 1:29 pm

    I don't know anything about Discourse, other than it's got a convenient Wordpress plugin.

    I don't use Facebook for anything significant. I'm not really in favor of a move to FB.

    I do use Google+ and Google Groups, both of which manage threaded posts very nicely for discussions. Plus, CGC is already on Blogger. Integration is very easy.


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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  jorowi on May 16th 2018, 1:44 pm

    mindspike wrote:I do use Google+ and Google Groups, both of which manage threaded posts very nicely for discussions. Plus, CGC is already on Blogger. Integration is very easy.

    I hadn't considered G+. I'm sure nearly everyone here has a Gmail account which would make a transition to G+ easy and it would also have the benefit of providing added SEO.


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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  Paeter on May 17th 2018, 8:14 am

    jorowi wrote:
    mindspike wrote:I do use Google+ and Google Groups, both of which manage threaded posts very nicely for discussions. Plus, CGC is already on Blogger. Integration is very easy.

    I hadn't considered G+. I'm sure nearly everyone here has a Gmail account which would make a transition to G+ easy and it would also have the benefit of providing added SEO.

    Great thoughts! Thanks, Winston! And anyone else, please feel free to put alternatives on the table!


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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  ComiKate on May 17th 2018, 5:31 pm

    Perhaps there are several CGC community members who are active here but are not on FB, and you'd have to subtract their number from the potential (but not guaranteed) new growth of the community.
    How many members are we willing to loose over the possibility of growth? Even one? What good would that do, I wonder.

    Same goes for any other platform, potentially.

    I don't know Discourse.
    Google+ might be an option if indeed every current member is willing and able to move there, although the nasty tracking remains, same issue as was mentioned about FB. Easy integration with Blogger might be a plus. Does it also enable easy posting on a mobile device?

    Guess the question is, how urgent & important is it to change platforms.

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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  Paeter on May 18th 2018, 10:18 am

    ComiKate wrote:Perhaps there are several CGC community members who are active here but are not on FB, and you'd have to subtract their number from the potential (but not guaranteed) new growth of the community.
    How many members are we willing to loose over the possibility of growth? Even one? What good would that do, I wonder.

    The way I would want to handle any transition would be to start by adding and not subtracting. So if there were a majority here (of those giving feedback) who wanted a move to facebook, I imagine we would start by adding a facebook group and trying to get activity going there while keeping these forums. I would plan to post and have conversation in both places for awhile and see what happens.

    As for losing people, we have unfortunately been losing people here already. Activity has slowly been stagnating and people who were once active members have at least been silent if not absent altogether for quite awhile. In hearing from a couple of these people, it sounds like they still love the community. It's just not as easy for them to check in, compared to a service like facebook that they are already integrated with and that also makes posting via mobile device much easier.

    No one is simply a number, and my aim would be to help everyone currently active here stay connected to the CGC community, whether through the continuation of these forums or the use of a different platform. And honestly, if there is a way to keep these forums AND bring some folks back while also making it easy for new folks to connect, I'd love to do that. I just need some good ideas on how to pull that off, since I don't know how to do that right now.

    Regarding the urgency of the situation, that's hard to quantify. But in terms of timetable, I think something should probably happen within the next six months that can noticeably increase interaction and enable growth, either on these forums or on another platform. Otherwise, on our current track, our numbers will eventually dwindle to the point that even those who prefer this platform will have almost no one to talk to here.


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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  jorowi on May 18th 2018, 2:00 pm

    Paeter wrote:As for losing people, we have unfortunately been losing people here already. Activity has slowly been stagnating and people who were once active members have at least been silent if not absent altogether for quite awhile. In hearing from a couple of these people, it sounds like they still love the community. It's just not as easy for them to check in, compared to a service like facebook that they are already integrated with and that also makes posting via mobile device much easier.

    The lack of a mobile-friendly interface is most-likely what is contributing to the lack of engagement. With FB, G+, or Discourse users could get notifications on their devices or use their devices.

    Here are some stats:

    14 out of 166 members have logged on this month.
    15 in the last 30 days.
    16 in the last 90 days.
    52 members have never posted even once.
    111 members have posted less than 10 times.

    If just logging on every 90 days is considered "active" then only about 10% of the registered users are "active". If we deactivated anyone who hasn't logged on in the last 365 days we'd lose 82% of the membership.

    That being said, there's nothing wrong with maintaining a close-knit community. However, if we want to grow the community I think a more visible, mobile-friendly platform is needed.


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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  AdamCollings on May 20th 2018, 8:54 pm

    fxruizx wrote:I would like to know what Adam was going to say about Discord  Very Happy . I actually prefer the way Discord handles community interaction EXCEPT for not having threaded conversations Mad . And since having topical discussion is fairly key it seems to how the CGC community interacts, I don't think discord would work.

    I agree, Francisco. Discord is mostly about live chat, which is a very different way of interacting. While it does store all discussion history, I think interactions that occur when one is not logged in would get lost. If anything, it could serve as a supplement, but it couldn't replace this, or another, forum.
    On that note, I just noticed the live chatBox at the bottom of this forum. I'd never ever realised it was there. I wonder if anyone ever uses it.
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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  Tim on May 20th 2018, 10:12 pm

    Recently, Paeter and I had a nice little talk about this. He had to refer me to this thread because I hadn't been on in a while. The reason for that is with the way life tends to be extremely busy, it is hard to keep up with a community site that doesn't have mobile connectivity. There is the Topic'it app, but the UI for that is absolutely horrendous and unorganized! So maintaining a presence on the boards is difficult when I only use my laptop about once a week for my tabletop small group. All that to say, whichever platform we go with, it will need to be mobile accessible. I believe that fact alone will greatly increase the interactivity.

    My suggestion is this, why don't we try it all. Like Paeter said with implementation, addition not subtraction. Like John's stats show, these forums are not growing the community. I'd like to see a Facebook group put together. I'm a part of several, but not extremely active. For me they are more of a way to get information rather than interact with a community. That may change by having a community I already interact with being present there. I am also a HUGE fan of Discord, as well as some of you are. I know it doesn't have threaded discussions but I love the interaction it provides, which is much different than either here or FB. A G+ group is also a good idea.

    I'd like to see all of them implemented and then just see what grows and thrives and develops a community behind it. There's no rule that says our community has to live in ONE place on the web. Just like the church (and Asgard apparently) the community is not a place, it's the people. Maybe there are people who would come to life on FB because that's how they like to interact. Maybe some people prefer Google+. Maybe people want to hang out with really cool people like me and Francisco on Discord! Each platform provides a different form of interaction. If we need a central hub like this, then we can try out Discourse too. That platform might need a little more investigation on it's requirements in order to keep it in our price range but it's another viable option.

    Basically, I'm for whatever helps our community grow and interact. So, here's a question to think about. What kind of interaction do you want to get out of the CGC community? If you could wake up tomorrow and you would see the thriving living community that you want out of this, what would it look like?


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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  Paeter on May 21st 2018, 11:13 am

    Tim wrote:

    My suggestion is this, why don't we try it all. Like Paeter said with implementation, addition not subtraction.

    I want to again affirm "addition, not subtraction". At the same time, trying it all at once may not be wise. I don't know how to say this without sounding self-important, so I'm just going to type and apologize if that's how I come across:

    My guess is that some people will want to connect to the CGC community, at least in part, because they've taken in my content elsewhere (podcast/youtube/etc.) and would like to connect with me. And I try to post often, keep conversations going and start new conversations here as much as possible. It's hard for me to imagine taking the time I give to posting here and multiplying that by 3 or more.

    I can imagine doubling it for a limited time, if we wanted to start by just adding one platform to our community. And of course if the community took off in a way that required more of my time I'd re-evaluate how I spend my time, as I've done repeatedly over the years, and adjust to give my time to where the ministry is at. But I at least wanted to put on the table the reality of my availability as we try to figure out what to try and when.

    Tim wrote:
    Basically, I'm for whatever helps our community grow and interact. So, here's a question to think about. What kind of interaction do you want to get out of the CGC community? If you could wake up tomorrow and you would see the thriving living community that you want out of this, what would it look like?

    This is a great question that I'd love to hear from people about!


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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  AdamCollings on May 21st 2018, 7:29 pm

    I agree with Tim that we should try a few things, but I also agree with Peater, that we probably don't want to try everything.

    While I use a computer over my phone any day (I hate trying to type on a phone), I agree that mobile is becoming increasingly important in today's world. Even I found myself last night thinking, "It would be handy if I could quickly post a little message on the forum from my phone, so I don't have to get up from the armchair and go back to the computer.

    Perhaps what we need, rather than the binary poll above, is rather a multiple choice poll.
    "Which of the following platforms would you be willing to engage with?"
    - Self-hosted forum, such as Discourse
    - Facebook
    - Google Plus
    etc

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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  Reed Benson on May 23rd 2018, 7:51 am

    I'm willing to engage with anything I don't have to pay for, really.
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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  Paeter on May 23rd 2018, 9:58 am

    Reed Benson wrote:I'm willing to engage with anything I don't have to pay for, really.

    Oh yeah, don't worry about that. We'd never go in that direction. In fact I don't even have it in the budget to add any costs on my end, either.


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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  jorowi on May 24th 2018, 7:26 am

    My suggestion would be to add a Facebook group first. This seems to be the easiest and most accessible platform.


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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  mindspike on May 24th 2018, 12:10 pm

    Clearly none of us remembered that there is already a Google+ Community for Christian Geek Central. It even still uses the old "Green Bay Packer" logo. As I much prefer G+ over Facebook, I'll try to cross-post there when I post. See what kind of traffic happens.


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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  fxruizx on May 29th 2018, 12:29 pm

    Tim wrote:Maybe people want to hang out with really cool people like me and Francisco on Discord!

    - All the cool kids are doing it pirat

    Tim wrote: If you could wake up tomorrow and you would see the thriving living community that you want out of this, what would it look like?

    - Great question! For me it would be a place where I could post memes and reactions to the latest video or podcast CGC/Paeter puts out. Also seeing other peoples posts about their geeky/christian lives. I want a fuller swath of emojis to get across how I feel in my own posts. Being mobile isn't as much of an issue for me as the desire(read my laziness) of being able to visit with the CGC community without needing to leave Facebook (or Discord Wink ).

    Reading the above, I am probably coming off as fairly superficial, and maybe I am, but those are the things I would like.
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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  Paeter on May 30th 2018, 9:19 am

    fxruizx wrote:
    Reading the above, I am probably coming off as fairly superficial, and maybe I am, but those are the things I would like.

    And that's the key. No right or wrong answers here. Please keep these thoughts coming everyone!


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    Re: Should We Move To Facebook?

    Post  AdamCollings on May 30th 2018, 6:26 pm

    Tim wrote:So, here's a question to think about. What kind of interaction do you want to get out of the CGC community? If you could wake up tomorrow and you would see the thriving living community that you want out of this, what would it look like?

    Hmm. On one hand, the community would be, as you say, thriving. The community would be bigger. There would be more than just a couple of voices. We would be reaching out and pulling in new members, engaging them well. The community would be fulfilling its purpose to help Christian geeks live more and more for Christ.

    On the other hand, it would still have that close sense of camaraderie that the forums currently have. A side-effect of this being a small close-knit groupis that there's a real sense of friendship and community among us. I feel like I know you all, and that you know me. There's genuine care and compassion in this place, for one another. We share each other's pains and joys, and even when we disagree about geeky subjects, we have a lot of fun together.

    These two hands may seem in conflict with one another. You can't grow without losing some of the "close-knitedness". I understand that. But I think there's a balance that can be found there. That balance is probably found through practicing Christian hospitality and extending grace toward newcomers.
    In essence, this is the same challenge faced by any church that is wanting to grow.


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