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Book review: Web-Empower Your Church, by Mark Stephenson
Stephenson tell us the story of his own church’s journey, lessons and challenges, as it started on creating and developing a website. If you are a non-techie, you can skip the the technical explanations and concentrate on Mark’s clear explanations for the huge potential for church website ministry, based on the lessons that Ginghamsburg Church have learned.
Book review: Reaching the Community with Church Websites, by Ceri Longville. Free ebook
Ceri Longville, a student at Redcliffe Bible College in Gloucester UK, has published her college dissertation on church websites. Having been involved in church web development, Ceri saw the clear need for research. This free e-book is a valuable insight into the potential for making church sites truly ‘outsider friendly’.
Books on effective writing
Reviews of best books on writing, especially for the Web.
Christian writer housestyle guide to grammar, punctuation and writing style
This house-style guide was produced by a UK Christian printing ministry for writers of books and magazines and is used by permission. It also aims to be international in scope. The BBC offers a detailed style guide for Journalistic Writing in PDF format. Although some applies specifically to writing for radio, there is the same need for clarity and brevity as on the Web.
Book review: Plain English Campaign downloadable guides
The Plain English Campaign campaigns against gobbledygook, jargon and misleading public information. They encourage writers to use meaningful words. Their free downloadable guides in PDF format explain the principles. Particularly useful for a web writer are their two general guides: How to write in plain English and The A-Z of alternative words.
Book review: Net Words - Creating High-Impact Online Copy, by Nick Usborne
We have a lot to learn from the people who make a living by communicating on the Web in e-commerce. Not, of course, that Christian writing should become glib sales patter. However, Usborne’s book is not merely about sales techniques. It reveals much about the nature of the Web and the expectations of web users, and how it differs from other mediums.
Facing the Challenge: free study courses for Christians on engaging with the world around us
These acclaimed group-study courses are available as free downloads, or by post. Although intended for group study and discussion, you can also use them for personal study. The course ‘Facing the Challenge of our Times’ is thoroughly biblical in outlook and demonstrates how we are mandated to relate to the culture around us. Other courses cover TV, other faiths, and relating to a hostile world.
Book review: Culture Making - Recovering Our Creative Calling, by Andy Crouch
Crouch is a leading Christian analysist of culture, and in this ground-breaking book explains what culture is, how to understand it, and then how Christians can ‘make culture’. He gives believers tools for cultivating and creating culture by helping us to make sense of the world around us.
Book review: The Death of Truth, editor Dennis McCallum, Baker Book Publishers
Christianity and Christian ethics are under attack as never before. But so often, we are like a blind-folded child in a party game: we know someone is hitting us, but we don’t understand who, why, or the nature of the attack. This book is probably the best available for explaining ‘postmodernism’. Don’t be put off by this technical term! It really just means ‘mood of the age’.
Book review: The Seven Basic Plots, Why we tell stories, by Christopher Booker
Readers of Middlemarch by George Eliot may recall the dry old scholar Rev Casaubon’s failed attempt to create a unifying ‘Key to all Mythologies’. (You may have briefly felt in passing, that Casaubon’s plan was irrelevant and futile.) But Booker has succeeded in doing this and much more – a quite remarkable analysis of the nature of story, in a project which took him 34 years. But do not be misled into thinking that this is a sterile academic book – it is highly readable! And for its 700 pages, remarkably cheap.